disappointing thick crust unique

Blue Cheese, Balsamic Onion Marmalade, and Walnut Foccaccia

This pizza’s interesting combination of toppings can’t make up for its underwhelming crust and the extra effort it requires.

Ratings, percentages, and more

rating: 6/8 slices

6 out of 8 pizza slices rating

hydration: 80%

Flour to water icon

difficulty: challenging

recipe difficulty 4 out of 5

Ingredient percents

IngredientStandard %Baker’s %
Flour (567g)54%100%
Salt (11g)1.04%1.95%
Yeast (4g)0.38%0.7%
Water (454g)43.28%80%
Olive Oil (14g)1.33%5%
This chart shows the standard ingredient percentages — how you’d normally calculate percentages — in the second column. For the standard percent, I added up all the ingredients and then divided that number by each individual ingredient and rounded to the second decimal (i.e. 567g flour / 1050g total = 54%) The third column shows the “baker’s percentage,” which this post explains well.


Recipe available in Reinhart’s Book*

*Do I receive compensation for purchases made from links on this site? When I wrote this, the answer was "no." But, that might have changed. See this page for the current answer. 
Caramelized onion and blue cheese pizza.


I first made this the Sunday before Thanksgiving, November 21st, 2021. I am traveling to Orlando for Thanksgiving, so I’ll probably miss a week of pizza making. This recipe, like the last two I’ve made, is from Peter Reinhart’s book. It turned out much better than last week’s disastrous grandma style pie. This time, the recipe recommended lining the sheet pan with parchment paper. After last week’s issues with the crust adhering to the pan, I would have used parchment paper even if Reinhart did not recommend it. The paper led to an easy to remove pizza, with no sticking.

The crust was nice and light, largely due to the 4-hour in-pan rise I’m guessing. When a crust is as thick as this one, I think a longer rise is critical to get some air in the crust and prevent it from being a dense mass of dough. Unfortunately, the crust did not crisp on the bottom limiting the texture to one soft note.

slice of caramelized onion focaccia.
An interesting and unique pizza topping — walnuts, blue cheese, and caramelized onions.

It tasted, not surprisingly, more like focaccia than pizza. I found the toppings of blue cheese, caramelized onions, and walnuts interesting — not what I normally put on pizza. Reinhart says this topping combo is his “personal favorite and one of the best things I’ve ever eaten.” I think this raised my expectations to unreasonable heights and led to disappointment when I tasted it. Yes — the toppings worked well together but were certainly not the best I’d had, or even the best in the book. In fact, a modification to half the pizza resulted in a better flavored result in my opinion.

Before cooking, I had explained the toppings to my wife. She suggested the need for an additional accent. I had some leftover bacon that I’d cooked for breakfast, so I put that on half the pizza when I removed it to rotate the pan midway through cooking. The bacon definitely improved the pizza, adding a meaty, flavorful element.

A very pale crust — not what I was hoping for.

While I liked the toppings, the bottom of the crust fell short. It was more like a loaf of bread with the crust removed — no texture-enhancing layer of crisp on the bottom, only a uniform soft breadiness. I even cooked it for an additional 3-4 minutes beyond what the recipe suggested, but it stayed pale and never crisped up. I’m wondering if all the oil put in the bottom of the pan prevented it from browning.


This pizza is fine cold. The crust is nice and soft, bready. The flavors seem more distinct to me when it’s cold. The blue cheese especially stands out.


I followed this recipe closely with no modifications, aside from the bacon and extra cooking time. Reinhart said it’s a dish he’s known for, so I had high hopes. While it’s good, it paled in comparison the Detroit pizza from the same book. Plus, you need to take significant extra time to caramelize the onions. Overall, this pizza is not worth the effort in my opinion. Mr. Reinhart, did I miss something? If so, please let me know in the comments.

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