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St. Louis-style pizza facts for kids

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St. Louis-style pizza
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Type Pizza
Place of origin United States
Region or state St. Louis, Missouri
Main ingredients Pizza dough, tomato sauce, usually Provel cheese


St. Louis-style pizza is a distinct type of pizza popular in the Midwestern city of St. Louis, Missouri and surrounding areas. The definitive characteristics of St. Louis-style pizza are a very thin cracker-like crust made without yeast, the common (but not universal) use of Provel processed cheese, and pizzas cut into squares or rectangles instead of wedges.

The pizza may be found at local chains, most notably Imo's Pizza, and as standalone offerings at many local restaurants; frozen St. Louis-style pizza is also available at the local supermarkets such as Schnuck's.

Characteristics and preparation

Crust

The crust is made without yeast, as opposed to a deep-dish Chicago-style pizza or the thin but leavened New York-style pizza, yielding a somewhat crisp and cracker-like crust that cannot be easily folded.

Instead of the larger pie-like wedges typical of many pizza styles, St. Louis pizza is typically cut into three- or four-inch squares, a style referred to as party or tavern cut. Correspondingly, some local restaurants make their pizzas rectangular rather than round. The reason remains unknown.

Some say Ed Imo—founder of a prominent chain of St. Louis pizzerias—was a tile layer and cut his pizza accordingly; others say it is a practical measure that seeks to keep the thin crust from cracking under the weight of the toppings.

Cheese

St. Louis-style pizza often includes a white processed cheese known as Provel. Provel is a trademark for a combination of three cheeses (provolone, Swiss, and white cheddar) used instead of (or, rarely, in addition to) the mozzarella or provolone common to other styles of pizza. Provel cheese was developed by the St. Louis firm Costa Grocery in the 1950s and is made in Wisconsin primarily for the St. Louis market. The cheese is not widely available outside the St. Louis area.

Sauce

The sauce is often seasoned with more oregano than other pizza types. Despite its thin crust, St. Louis-style pizza can be layered deeply with many different toppings because of the sturdiness of the cracker-like crust. Some of the sauces have a sweetness to them, which is likely due to the influence of Sicilian immigrants upon Italian foods in St. Louis.

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