The Washington Post

Quad Cities-Style Pizza

Quad Cities-Style Pizza 16.000

Goran Kosanovic for The Washington Post

Feb 23, 2016

If you’ve ever thought pizza crust was one-size-fits-all, this pizza will alter your view forever. A generous amount of malt syrup gives a rich flavor to the Quad Cities-style crust, along with a blend of seasonings meant to complement the spicy sauce and fennel-laced crumbled sausage. Scott Weiner of Roots Handmade Pizza says any typical 1 or 2 percent mozzarella cheese will work, but they use one with a slightly higher milk fat content, at about 3 percent.

Make Ahead: The dough needs to rest in the refrigerator for 24 to 48 hours, then needs to sit at room temperature for 2 to 3 hours.

Where to Buy: Malt syrup is available at MOM’s Organic Market and some other natural foods stores.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 16 servings; makes two 12-inch pies

  • For the crust
  • 4 ounces (1/2 cup) warm water
  • 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast, preferably SAF brand
  • 6 tablespoons (3 ounces) malt syrup (see headnote)
  • 4 1/2 cups (18 ounces) bread flour, or more as needed
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
  • 2/3 cup (5 1/3 ounces) ice water
  • For the toppings
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seed
  • 2 cups cooked, finely crumbled Italian sausage
  • 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/4 cups no-salt-added tomato sauce
  • 18 ounces (4 cups) shredded mozzarella cheese

Related Recipes


For the crust: Combine the warm water and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough-hook attachment; let the mixture sit for 10 minutes, then add the malt syrup, flour, salt, pepper, dried oregano, sweet paprika and ice water. Beat on low speed for about 2 minutes, then increase the speed to medium and mix for another few minutes to form a dough that is smooth and elastic.

Divide the dough in half; wrap each portion in plastic wrap, then refrigerate for 24 to 48 hours. Before shaping the pizza, bring the dough to room temperature, 2 to 3 hours.

Place a pizza/baking stone on the lowest oven rack; preheat to 450 degrees. If you don’t have a baking stone, invert a large baking sheet on the lower rack.

Place each dough ball on top of its own 12-inch square of parchment paper. Use a rolling pin to stretch and roll each dough ball into a 12-inch round, folding the edges of the dough over about 1/2 inch and crimping with your thumb and forefinger, to form a lip.

For the toppings: Stir the fennel seed into the cooked and crumbled sausage. Stir the crushed red pepper flakes into the tomato sauce. Spread half of the tomato sauce across the surface of each dough round. Sprinkle the seasoned sausage evenly over the sauce, then top with the shredded mozzarella cheese, being sure to spread it evenly over the sausage.

Use a pizza peel to carefully transfer one pizza (with its parchment paper) to the pizza/baking stone; bake for up to 15 minutes, until the top is golden brown and bubbling.

Let the pizza sit for a few minutes before using kitchen shears to cut it crosswise into strips that are about 1 1/2 inches wide; then cut down the center (so the long strips are cut in half). Repeat with the remaining dough and toppings.

Recipe Source

Adapted from a recipe by Roots Handmade Pizza in Chicago. CORRECTION: An earlier version of this recipe gave the wrong equivalent weights for the bread flour and ice water. They are 18 ounces and 5 1/3 ounces, respectively.

Tested by Kristen Hartke.

Email questions to the Food Section.

Email questions to the Food Section at

Nutritional Facts

Calories per serving: 300

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 11g 17%

Saturated Fat: 6g 30%

Cholesterol: 25mg 8%

Sodium: 570mg 24%

Total Carbohydrates: 36g 12%

Dietary Fiber: 2g 8%

Sugar: 8g

Protein: 17g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

Most Read Lifestyle