Seattle. Mention French bread pizza and people get feelings. The reason is right on the box of Stouffer’s French Bread Pizza, under the cozy logo with the name inside the outline of the pan: “Celebrating 40th Anniversary,” written in italics, and elsewhere: “Back to taste. Love “with” Love “in the shape of a heart. (Somewhat annoyingly, the box also feels like the need to say “Made with 100% real cheese” and that pepperoni contains “pork, chicken, and beef.” Chicken seems odd for making pepperoni, but then the chicken is cheap and therefore Stouffer’s French pizza French Bread Pizza – two boxes for $ 3.99.)
French Bread Pizza is a classic American come-from-school-eat-in-TV-style snack – if you’re lucky Stouffer, but simple enough for you to make yourself (sometimes, sigh, replacing English muffins) … Hot stickiness on a light and crispy bread torpedo of a pleasant shape – many happy moments were created from this; just add a glass of cold milk and a few repetitions.
Even the best pizza professionals in Seattle – masters of cold fermentation, hand-stirring, perfectly toasted and whipped pizza crust – profess a love of French bread pizza. When I wrote to Tom Siegel of The Independent Pizzeria, he sent a cat emoji from laughter to tears and said, “I grew up on what I thought was delicious at the time: pizza with French bread Stouffer! I think I remember how much I loved pepperoni. “
Brandon Pettit of Delancey and Dino’s grew up eating a New Jersey version made by a friend’s mom: “A can of tomatoes mixed with a couple of heads of garlic and olive oil, spread on French bread and then topped with tons of Parmesan” is not a classic. but it sounds very solid.
Marie Rutherford, former Moon Pizza’s pizza maker (her Instagram signatures reach lyrical heights), waxed reminiscent of “all evocative … soothing, familiar, homely, cozy … buildings made of bread, sauce, cheese.”
Rutherford also attended the French Bread and Pizza Pop-up, a newly created combo from Ben’s Bread (arriving in Finny Ridge this fall) and Post Alley Pizza (in, yes, Post Alley has long been) posted on a warm and breezy summer evening in London plane. She was by no means alone – just a few minutes after the party began, a line of 25 petitioners for sensory memory (not including babies) stretched along the sidewalk. Rutherford loved the French bread pizza she made there: “crispy, soft … warm, it smelled so good and it was [expletive] tasty. I could eat a few more.
The good news is no one needs to wait for another one-night-only event (or until someone opens a French bread pizzeria?), And we definitely don’t need to resort to Stouffer’s (I’m afraid to try it in my freezer as it just can’t live up to its nostalgic coefficient). A huge part of the appeal of French bread pizza is that it is so simple and quick that any impatient kid with a lock or stoned adult can make it on their own. And with a little scrutiny, this French bread pizza recipe will match – or better – any childhood TV memory.
HOW DO YOU REMEMBER PIZZA WITH FRENCH BREAD (AKA FBP)
The method of buttering and toasting the bread to trim it a little before the sauce / topping is pretty much common on the internet, but instead of melting the butter and brushing it on, you can just spread it gently if it’s at room temperature. The amounts here are left indefinitely – if you add an extra amount to freeze (see note), your booze-watching future will be very grateful to you.
– Bethany Jean Clement
French bread (tasty or cheap, whichever you prefer, but lighter / airier)
Butter (room temperature)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Pizza sauce (extra credit if you cook yourself – see recipe)
Pizza toppings of your choice (pepperoni – Stower’s classic)
Chopped whole milk mozzarella (plus some fresh mozzarella and / or cheddar, if you like)
Grated Parmesan (Reggiano or other good quality)
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees by placing the wire rack in the middle towards the upper middle section.
2. Divide the bread lengthwise with a good serrated knife, place on a baking sheet, cut side up, spread with butter and lightly sprinkle with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.
3. Bake for about 8 minutes, until the surface of the buttered bread is slightly crispy. Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes.
4. Ok, you know how to do it! Make a kebab with the sauce, one layer of topping thin enough to absorb the cheesy heat, and lots of cheese. (Note: you don’t want [technical term] your bread and sauce, but you want a hefty amount of savory – trust your instinct and you’ll find your lucky sauce path. Some people say that you need to put a few toppings in front of the sauce to protect the integrity of the bread, but this seems overkill to me, as well as, I would like to admit, this entire section in brackets – and beyond!)
5. Bake for another 8-10 minutes, or until cheese is mellow and bubbling. Then, toss over the broiler for a minute or three to add more melted cheese / blackened edges of the bread. (But watch carefully to prevent wholesale fire!)
6. Park in front of the TV and enjoy.
Note: To freeze your French bread pizza for the future: Place the unbaked FBPs in the freezer for a couple of hours until they are completely frozen. Place them in Tupperware plastic containers / recycled plastic containers and then back to the freezer. To bake frozen foods, preheat the oven to 400 degrees, place the FBP on a baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes, until the cheese melts and begins to bubble; then, for more melted cheese / blackened bread edges, follow the same process as above.
QUICK PIZZA SAUCE
Don’t be afraid of sugar. Stouffer is sure not – it’s the third ingredient in their sauce, right after the water and tomato paste.
– Bethany Jean Clement
1 28 oz can of whole San Marzano peeled tomatoes
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon red wine or sherry vinegar
Several fresh bay leaves or 1 dry leaf
1. Mix it all together in a medium saucepan and bring to a bubble over medium to high heat. Reduce heat to medium, spoon into tomatoes, then reduce heat until sauce thickens, about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Fish out the bay leaf, then whisk the sauce with a hand processor or blender until the pizza sauce is smooth.
3. Add more sugar and / or vinegar to taste; depending on the taste of the canned tomatoes, it may take more sugar per teaspoon for light sweetness and up to a tablespoon of vinegar for lightening. Let cool slightly before use; Store excess in a jar in the refrigerator and use for about a week (make more FBP with it!).