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Crackling loud, crispy pizza dough. The one and only from Clo Clo

Clo Clo Pizza Crust

It’s thin, yes we know. But this one doesn’t fold like a soggy piece of paper. Its signature crackling crispness is impossible to resist. And it only gets better when you pile on the toppings. For those crazy enough to think that’s where the crust magic ends, they’re wrong! With each bite, as your teeth sink in even deeper, you’ll find that perfect balance between chewy and oh so crunchy.

So how does Clo Clo’s pizzeria do it? How do they manage to keep fans coming back for more with just their crust?

Well for one, I’m not crazy enough to think I’ve cracked their code in just a few days. But after countless attempts trying to make pizza worthy of restaurants at home…I may have gotten lucky.

I beg you though, don’t take my word for it. Read on and decide for yourself whether or not I’ve truly found the secret formula behind Clo Clo’s magical crispy thin pizza crust.

Clo Clo Pizza Crust

Ingredients and Techniques for Clo Clo's Crispy Pizza Crust

Ingredient/Technique
Description
Purpose
Flour Blend
Mostly bread flour with some whole grain flour.
Achieves a golden color and a balance between crispiness and chewiness.
Hydration and Mixing
About 60% water content. Intensive mixing.
Ensures the dough is cohesive and elastic, and achieves the desired crisp texture.
Slow Fermentation
Two-day cold proofing.
Enhances flavor and texture, creating air pockets and charred bubbles.
Resting
Proofing in warm rooms before stretching and topping.
Makes the dough supple and easier to shape thinly.

Key Oven Techniques for Achieving Crispy Crust at Clo Clo's

Technique
Description
Purpose
High Oven Temperature
Exceeding 800°F in a wood-fired oven.
Rapidly cooks the dough, preventing moisture absorption and promoting caramelization.
Smoke Infusion
Open flames impart a smoky essence.
Adds depth and complexity to the crust flavor.
Even Heating and Dehydration
Rotation and thin aluminum pizza pans with perforations.
Ensures even cooking and crisp texture throughout.

Tradition and Innovation – A Family Recipe That Has Lasted Generations

Clo Clo Pizza Crust

Clo Clo first opened its doors in Newport Rhode Island back in 1985 but its tradition can be traced back over a hundred years ago. When Carl “Clo Clo” Clapton founded his family pizzeria in early 20th century Chicago. As Italian immigrants flocked into the United States they naturally brought their traditional pizza making techniques along with them.

A classic Neapolitan-style pie wasn’t what these immigrants were trying to achieve though…and apparently neither was I because I had no idea that existed until now…

All jokes aside, These pizzaiolos actually created something much different when they arrived here. They made cracker-like thin crust pizzas instead of our iconic thick doughy ones which by now has become everyone’s go-to guilty pleasure.

Back to the story, Young Clo Clo learned the ropes from his old man and quickly became a master of crisp. Your childhood might have been filled with sports or school stuff, I don’t know about you but if this was my dad’s trade then I’d be right there by his side trying my damndest to make something that sticks when it cracks.

Years later, after trial and error…after burning more batches than anyone would like to admit… after diving deep into the endless world of *everything pizza*…Clo Clo finally perfected his thin crispy crust recipe. And thus we have our famous Clo Clo pizza crust!

Its distinct texture offers a crackle sound even at its mere existence. All while maintaining structure once buried under layers of cheese and sauce. It’s no wonder how someone could balance all this in one single bite. You can thank the gods for giving us pizzaiolos like these.

But what makes up this unique texture? Can it be recreated at home? Only chefs aiming to meet perfection will look for answers to these questions.

A Perfect Thin Crust – Finding That Perfect Chewy Crunch Ratio

Any pizzaiolo out there knows that even a slight change in ingredients or handling can ultimately change everything about your dough’s taste and shape. Which is why finding not only what goes in it but also how you handle it is the very key to a crispy crust like this!

  • The Custom Flour Blend: Clo Clo’s golden color and nutty wheaty flavor come from a blend of mostly bread flour with small amounts of whole grain flours. The higher protein content in bread flour forms more gluten, which allows the dough to stretch thinly without tearing. But for depth of flavor, they use smaller amounts of whole grain flours in place of some bread flour. That adds complexity while limiting excess chewiness.
  • Hydration and Mixing: Perfect hydration helps make crusts crisp. Too much moisture leaves pale, dense crusts; too little compromises gluten formation, leading to shrinking and cracking. After extensive testing, Mark settled on 60% water as the ideal amount for his dough batches. And he uses an intensive mixer to fully hydrate the flour — so that it’s cohesive and elastic enough to stretch easily.
  • Slow Fermentation: This is what creates flavor and texture: By giving yeast time to really eat all its sugars before baking, you get lift as carbon dioxide bubbles form; air pockets; signature charred spheres and holes (which form when residual alcohol burns); more complex flavors (as enzymes break down starches and proteins) from a two-day cold proof; char-spots; classic blistering on top — plus a partridge in a pear tree (if you order that).

Resting: Balled portions of dough are held at room temperature after mixing until they relax enough for their gluten networks to be stretched into thin disks without snapping back excessively.

With perfect ingredients and mixing steps, the pizza takes shape … but then things really heat up!

Blistering Heat and Smoke-Kissed Flavor

Clo Clo Pizza Crust Oven Temperature Chart

Behind counters strewn with sauce-smeared color wheels and balls of dough lies the beating heart of Clo Clo’s kitchen: an eye-popping custom Stefano Ferrara wood-fired pizza oven with an intricate red-brick dome that can crest temperatures beyond 800°F. In 90 seconds beneath that blast furnace, a disk of stretched dough becomes a cracker-crisp crust.

The extremely high heat cooks the thin, flattened rounds before their moisture has time to hydrate the crumb or make crusts soft and soggy. It also speeds up browning reactions and caramelization for better flavor. Blistered bubbles and charred char-spots are delicious.

Open flames fueling the oven also impart a subtle smokey essence — a hallmark of artisan pizza — as wood smoke components cling to each pie’s surface while firing at high velocities.

But mastering this style requires precise control within the breakneck oven. Pizzaiolos deftly shunt pies around the chamber to avoid burning. The motion also rotates dough, so it heats evenly and dehydrates completely for shatteringly crisp crust texture from edge to edge.

Thin aluminum pizza pans conduct heat efficiently so sugars brown and starches crystallize crisply; perforations under the crust promote airflow and allow moisture to escape from its bottom surface. This combination of crisp bottom shell surrounding an airy interior is how Clo Clo achieves its shatteringly crisp pizza crust profile.

Adapting the Craft at Home

Clo Clo Pizza Crust

I’ve made many a pilgrimage to watch the Clo Clo’s pizza team in action, and with every visit, I came closer to understanding how they got their dough so crispy. The custom tools and techniques used by professional pizzaiolos are mostly beyond the reach of your average home cook (and not always worth the effort). But knowing what makes a crust crispy — through knowledge of the science behind it all — can give you an edge.

  • Build Better Structure: Give your dough ample time to proof. While 48 hours might seem excessive for a simple pizza crust, doing that gives it time to develop more flavor and structure.
  • Cook Hotter: Not everyone’s oven goes up to 700°F like at Clo Clo’s, but just setting yours as high as possible will do. Aim for temperatures between 450°F and 500°F.
  • Transfer Heat Faster: Forget about baking sheets for now — they’re bad insulators. For better results,
  • Bake pizzas on dense conductors: like baking steels or stone slabs.
  • Move Air Out: Some commercial pizza pans have built-in ridges or perforations underneath them because good air circulation is crucial to getting an even crispness. If you don’t already own one, try placing a cooling rack on top of it before making your next pie.
  • Less is More: Toppings-wise.

Wrapping Up

Adapting these principles has been my best attempt at cracking the code for replicating that Crispy Crust taste and texture profile from my basic oven setup at home! And while there’s still much room for experimentation until I get closer to mastering it, I’m happier than ever biting into a supremely crispy crust with each homemade pizza slice.

So if you’re craving a crunchy, crumbly crust this weekend when you make another DIY pie, try using the same methods perfected by generations of pizzaiolos like those at Clo Clo’s. It might not be the same, but I guarantee you’ll be a step closer to perfection than you were before.

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