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Stuffed Crust Pizza

Janahan Sivaraman
Janahan Sivaraman
6 min read
Stuffed Crust Pizza
Beef Bacon Stuffed Crust Pizza on a 7 day, cold-fermented dough.

In 2021, the last Pizza Hut in Manhattan shut its doors.
It was in Times Square. New York's armpit.

My friend Wei and I used to meet there to enjoy a stuffed crust.
With jalapenos and pepperoni.
Half and Half.

Wei from our 2019 Pizza Hut trip.

Wei and I met in 1999, when I moved to the Maryland suburbs.
Growing up in the suburbs, corporationism is the culture.
And that's how stuffed crust became part of mine.

I love stuffed crust.

The buttery, soft crust oozing with white, gooey liquid. Drenched in a smooth, sweet tomato sauce. Topped with stringy cheese.

A textural delight.
A bite that doesn't quit.

Since I can't buy it anymore, I had to learn how to make it.
This is my 4th attempt. I'm dialed in.
I'm excited to share this with you.


Most of my setup is inspired by Notorious PIE pizza guides.
He has released 5 to date, and I bought every one.

I use a food mixer because my kneading technique is poor.
I use digital food scales for reproducibility.

I use a 14” circular pan to cook the pizza.
This makes it easier to have a circular final product.
And a buttery crust.

I use a baking steel because I’ve broken too many ceramic pizza stones.
I use a dough docker to ensure no air bubble in the base of the dough.


Stuffed Crust Formula

Makes 2 pizzas

This formula is inspired by Bar pizza guide by Notorious PIE. I highly recommend his pizza guides. I increased the hydration to 60% on consultation through with him via Instagram DMs.

  1. AP Flour - 638g
  2. Whole Milk - 378g
  3. Boiled Water - 126 g
  4. Instant Dry Yeast - 2.0g
  5. Sea Salt - 13g
  6. Olive Oil - 18g
  7. Honey - 14g

Mixing Dough

The mixing was inspired by Forza Silician pizza. I made a Sicilian pizza from their recipe and was thrilled with how soft and light the dough came out.

  1. Weigh out all the ingredients in Stuffed Crust Formula
  2. Dissolve honey in boiled water
  3. Pour milk into honey water
  4. Add IDY to liquids and mix with a fork until there's no clumps of IDY
    • Let sit for 10 minutes
  5. Add flour to the mixer
  6. Add liquids to mixer and mix for 2 minutes
  7. Add olive oil to mixer and mix for 90 seconds
  8. Cover the bowl with a towel and let the dough rest for about 20 minutes
  9. Add salt to the mixer. Mix for 3 minutes until you can't feel grains in the dough

Scaling Dough

Split the dough into two 596g balls using a food scale

Balling Dough

  1. Ball to ensure fully closed
    • This matters because if you don’t create a seal, the ball will rise asymmetrically. An asymmetric rise will result in an asymmetric crumb structure. I know because I used to not ball my dough balls closed and they were a chaotic nightmare.
  2. Store in a CIRCULAR container
    • This matters because the dough will take whatever shape of container you use. Store in a square, it’ll be a square when you stretch it. This leads to an asymmetric crust thickness when cooked in a circular pan. Start with a circle, end with a circle.

Fermentating Dough

  1. Cold Ferment in the fridge for up to 7 days
    • Here are 2 pizzas, made 7 days apart, with the same dough.
    • The 1st pizza I didn’t cold ferment at all. It didn’t get much browning and was a bit crunchier. The 2nd pizza was softer, yet brown. From a textural and aesthetic perspective, the 2nd pizza was superior. If you can cold ferment it for a while, do it.
  2. Leave it out the fridge for ~2-3 hours
    • Cold dough is difficult to manipulate
  3. (Optional) Re-ball the dough
    • Let re-rise at room temperature for another 8 hours. This helps build strength in the dough.

The Bake

Oven Prep

I put the baking steel 4-5 inches above the bottom heating element.
Not in the bottom most level, but the level above the bottom.

I preheat the oven to 500F.
Then I move into Pan Prep.
Total preheat time is 1.5 hours so I can eat 2 hours from the start of the preheat.

For example, if I want to eat pizza at 7pm, I start the preheat at 5pm.

Pan Prep

Use 1 tsp of crisco on the entire pizza pan. It’s more of a glue for the disc than a frying situation.

Make sure to get into edges of the pan where the base meets the walls.

Opening The Dough

I put a generous amount of flour on a clean surface.
I tip the dough out of the circular container into flour.

Using my fingertips, I press from the middle of the dough ball up to the top edge.
The goal is uniform thickness and working the gas bubbles to the edges of the disc.

Rotate the ball 90 degrees and repeat 4x.
Flip the disc and repeat for the other side.

The disc should be even thickness to the edge.
The string cheese filled crust will be created in Laying The Dough.

If it’s not bigger than your pan by at least 1.5”, move to Rolling The Dough.
Otherwise, skip to Laying The Dough.

Rolling The Dough

Start from the middle of the disc and go north.
Then go from the middle of the disc south.

Rotate 90 degrees and repeat.
Keep going until the disc is slightly larger than the pan.

Laying The Dough

Lay the rolled out dough in the crisco-ed pan.
Ensuring that the dough is flush against the base of the walls.

There should be enough dough overhanging the top of the wall by 1.5”.
Cut the string cheese into 4 pieces and tuck them into the base of the walls against the dough.

Fold the dough back into the pan and close the string cheeses in.
Crimp the folded over dough into the base with a fork.

Dock the base with a docker to ensure it doesn’t have any gas bubbles


Enough for 2 pizzas + leftover to dip

  1. Brush the base of the dough with olive oil.
    • This prevents the dough from potentially getting gummy when tomato sauce is added to it.
  2. Whisk these together until smooth.
    • 7 oz Tomato Puree
    • 6 oz Tomato Paste
    • 5 oz cool water
  3. Whisk these seasonings into your smooth sauce
    • 1 Tbs Sugar
    • 1 tsp Oregano
    • 3/4 tsp Salt
    • 3/4 tsp Fennel Seed (coarsely, like in a mortar pestle)
    • 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
    • 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
    • 1/8 tsp Crushed Red Pepper
  4. Refrigerate it. The flavors will deepen with time.


9oz whole milk, low-moisture mozzarella shredded

I get mine from Trader Joe's.


2oz hard cheese.

In this version, I used extra sharp provolone and pre-cooked beef bacon.
This combination added a distinct savoriness that I deeply enjoyed.

I find that oily meats, such as pepperoni, bacon, sausage, etc. should be pre-cooked and excess oil drained. Otherwise, they overwhelm the bite.

Prep And Bake

  1. Spread 6oz of the sauce evenly over the base of the dough
  2. Put more shredded mozzarella cheese closer to the crust than in the center. This will ensure a good bread to cheese ratio throughout the bite.
  3. Add your toppings
  4. Finish with the hard cheese.
  5. Place the pan into the preheated oven at 500F for 8 minutes.
  6. Then turn the broiler on to HI
  7. Rotate the pizza 90 degrees.
  8. Let broil for 3 minutes to give the top more direct heat.
  9. I slide the pizza out of the pan onto the steel directly for 1 minute to crisp up the bottom

These timings will vary for your oven. Please do not blindly time your pizzas. Let cool on a wire rack before cutting into 8 slices and serving.


Janahan Sivaraman Twitter

Secrets to growing your career in Tech. Learning 2 languages "by ear". Recipes.

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