The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

USDA School Cafeteria Pourable Pizza Crust

Antilope's picture

USDA School Cafeteria Pourable Pizza Crust

USDA School Cafeteria Pourable Pizza Crust

Makes 1 half-sheetpan (13" x 18" x 1")

Makes 10 servings

For best results, have all ingredients and utensils at room temperature.

1 3/4 teaspoons active dry yeast active dry yeast
2 2/3 cups (11.25 oz) Enriched all-purpose flour 
3/4 cup (1.85 oz) Instant nonfat dry milk 
2 1/2 Tablespoons (1 oz) Sugar 
1/4 tsp Salt 
1 1/4 teaspoons Vegetable oil 
1 2/3 cups Water, warm (130° F)
2 Tablespoons (1/2 oz) Cornmeal 

Preheat oven to 475° F.

1. Mix dry yeast, flour, dry milk, sugar, and salt together.

2. Add oil to dry mixture mix for 4 minutes on low speed.

3. Add water to dry ingredients. Mix for 10 minutes on medium speed. 
Batter will be lumpy.

4. For 10 servings, lightly coat 1 half-sheet pan (13" x 18" x 1") with pan release spray. 
Sprinkle half-sheet pan with 1/2 oz (approximately 2 Tbsp) cornmeal.

5. Pour or spread 1 lb 11 1/2 oz (1 qt 1/2 cup) into each half-sheet pan. 
Let stand for 20 minutes

6. Prebake until crust is set:
Conventional oven: 475° F for 10 minutes
Convection oven: 425° F for 7 minutes

7. Top each prebaked crust with desired topping.

8. Bake until heated through and cheese is melted:
Conventional oven: 475° F for 10-15 minutes
Convection oven: 425° F for 5 minutes

9. Portion by cutting each half-sheet pan 2 x 5 (10 pieces per pan).

1 piece provides 2 servings of grains/breads. 

YIELD: about 1 lb 11 1/2 oz

Special Tip:
To use high-activity (instant) yeast, follow manufacturer's instructions.

Source: USDA 1988 Quantity Recipes for School Food Service

suave's picture

I don't know if the slice of pizza kids brought home from school was made using this recipe.  But OMG!!!  And not in a good way.

linder's picture

The recipe strikes me as strange for a variety of reasons - not the least of which is the 2 1/2 TBSP sugar!


suave's picture

You have to add sugar here - otherwise yeast won't have anything to feed off.

MangoChutney's picture

There is flour in the recipe.

suave's picture

Yes, but unfortunately there's no time.

Wild-Yeast's picture

Regular now you see it, now you don't with the English language. A recipe for pancake batter with fast rise commercial yeast - then calling it Pizza! 


Antilope's picture

Well thanks for the encourgement. I posted a recipe that I have made successfully as a newbie, and enjoyed and it is met with hoots and derision by the "experts". I guess this isn't a newbie friendly website. Sorry, I won't bother you again with my "stupid" recipes.

fh5786's picture

I'm a long time lurker. This is generally a very friendly, welcoming forum. Like all such venues there are occassional lapses. I'm a reluctant foodie who doesn't care much for many who are food snobs. Don't let this first bad taste keep you from posting. No recipes are "stupid". Some work, some don't. Tastes vary. Some folks may have forgotten what it is like to be a newbie and the simple satisfaction of making your own pizza (even if it isn't the result of a long cold bulk ferment and wasn't cooked in a wood fired oven). If you like it, you like it and that's good enough. Keep on baking what you like, try new things and be happy. 


Merry Christmas to all!!

suave's picture

You know, I just don't see why you are so offended all of a sudden.   You posted a recipe that has been posted on the web multiple times.  You did not type it up, it's clearly a copy-paste job.  There were no photos, no personal opinions, no indication that you have actually made it,  nothing.  Now you call this recipe yours (which it isn't) and consider a tiniest shred of justifiable criticism to be a personal insult.  We offer plenty of hugs and kisses to newbies, but you are expecting too much for no effort.

FlourChild's picture

Welcome!  Had we known you had made it and liked it, I'm sure you would have gotten different responses.  Many of us (myself included) have less than fond memories of the pizza served in our school cafeterias, which in my case colored my reading of the recipe without any further guidance or narrative.  My experience with school pizza was decades and decades ago, so I doubt the recipe was the same as this one.

Personally, I think it is interesting to see how institutional recipes are made.  The sugar is necessary for taste as well as to feed the yeast, though the yeast are really only just hydrated by the 20 minutes rest and so only participate in oven spring (along with the high hydration).  All breads should have some residual sugar (sugar that is left over after feeding the yeast) in order to taste good, and it comes from either adding it to the recipe, or from a long, slow fermentation, which allows the enzymes in the flour to release sugars from complex starches.

I also find it useful to know that there is a pizza crust recipe that is ready in short order and someone finds delicious enough to be worth posting- thank you. :) 

lazybaker's picture

Don't feel bad.

I did a search for that recipe. There was a discussion about it over at King Arthur:

There was a brief review where they said they liked it.

Someone at the pizzamaking community even tried the recipe and posted some photos of it.

I wonder if you have gotten different responses if you left the title "USDA School Cafeteria Pourable Pizza Crust" out.

The pizzas I had in elementary school had crusts that seemed to be made from flour, salt, water, and baking powder. I don't think they used yeast. I remember looking at the thin crust. The crust had no air bubbles and no chew. I kept thinking,"Why doesn't the pizza taste like the one at home?" LOL I did enjoy the fried chicken served at school. It was so crispy.

Karen Guse's picture
Karen Guse

I too have posted once here and received the same kind of comments.  I posted a quick bagel recipe, not for everyone, but great for beginners.  I was also made to feel stupid for doing so!  As long as you know you like it, and most importantly you can make it, don't listen to them!  I have just celebrated 1 year in business at our bakery wich is known to have the best bagels in town.

Karen (The Wild Mountain Baker)


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

It,'s on my bucket list.  :) 

pourable pizza crust is a good idea and tweaking is allowed to toss in flavours.  I remember helping a children's camp cook and how fussy the kids were if they detected or saw anything other than basic ingredients. Their taste receptors aren't trained like those of adults.  This recipe can easily be adapted to adults.  Altus crumbs anyone?

I'm going to try this today moving it up om my bucket list. Yes, fresh herbs from the garden going in also.  It's a rainy cold day and we have no time to spend cooking while we work on renovations.  (So what am I doing here?)

Be back soon with crumb and crust results. - Mini

yy's picture

For some reason, I remember school pizza fondly, in the same way I remember things like boxed mac n' cheese. It may not have been the most proper artisan product, but it was childhood, and reading this recipe brings those memories back. I miss the rubbery cheese and the rectangular shape that you don't find beyond school cafeteria walls. Thanks for sharing, Antilope, and happy holidays.


EvaB's picture

some people are bread snobs, if it isn't sourdough and long retard etc, its not "real". I enjoyed reading the recipe and am adding it to my recipes so there! Its like someone else said its nice to know there is a recipe out there that is fast, and actually might taste like pizza. Even if its not perfect. We never got things like pizza in our school, so its interesting to me to see how its made.

I can't see anything wrong with it, of course it would probably be better if it had time to rise properly and so forth, but hey schools are on a schedule so they have to be quick!

Someone else said that their school used something that seemed to be made with baking powder, and yes you can make pizza with baking powder biscuit dough, have done it, comes out good, just not yeast dough and no yeast taste, but hey, its good, just not the same. Personally I don't like huge puffy crusts on my pizza, I like thin crust pizza (wish I could get it without the semolina or cornmeal on the bottom though) so in the long run its what tastes good to you, what you need to do in the time you have and its all edible, maybe not raveable but edible all the same. I eaten cold 3 day old baking powder biscuits spread with mustard and liked it, it wasn't something I'd serve to company but hey it was what we had at the time, and it was all we had for a week, so you eat what you can and enjoy the fact that you can have it!

I have gotten plenty of flack here for enjoying the bread in 5 minutes bread, its not 'real" bread you know!

dabrownman's picture

the same recipe for pizza crust that when ever it is on the school menu for lunch the kids just won't eat anything else that day causing huge waste of everything else on the food line that has to be thrown away!

I think Fleischmann's has now cured the no time problem with their new Pizza Crust Yeast (not to be used for bread according to them and printed on the package)  that gets you pizza on the table in 30 minutes -amazing.  Using that yeast instead of ADY should help the formula from a time point of view.  Mrs. Esposito of Ciao Italia uses this yeast for pizza now and we saw her show in it the other day.  I have some in the fridge but haven't tried it out myself. 

Piggledy's picture

Well, I found the original recipe today, and, not knowing anyone had broken down the recipe, divided it by ten, to get the amount needed to experiment with a quarter sheet size. The measurements were about the same as given here, divided by two. I made three slight revisions:

1. I left out the dry milk, as few bread recipes have it, and I didn’t have any on hand.

2. I added garlic powder and crumbled leaf oregano to make more of a pizza flavor.

3. I brushed the pan with olive oil and after the pre-bake, brushed the crust with more olive oil prior to adding sauce.

For toppings, I made an impromptu pizza sauce from about 1/2 cup Classico brand marinara, 1 tsp balsamic vinegar, and 1 tablespoon tomato paste, mixed well. Then we added sliced Greek olives, chopped red pepper, prosciutto, cut into smaller pieces, goat cheese, and finely sliced yellow onion.

This recipe was a real success. My husband really liked it a lot, and asked me lots of questions about what I may have done differently from our local take and bake shop. He thinks it is one of the best pizzas we have had in years, so I imagine we will be making this much more often. Antelope, you did well to post this recipe. Even devoted artisanal bread bakers will sometimes want a decent pizza without time to go through hours of rising, and this recipe fills that need. By the way, we did not miss the milk powder at all, and I believe I will cut the sugar by half next time, as it was simply too sweet. The addition of the garlic powder and oregano, however, was really good.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Went metric and also did a few tweaks. Changed the yeast to instant, used milk instead of powdered milk and water, reduced the sugar, and took the olive oil and herbs from Piggledy. 

  • 1 teaspoon instant yeast (2g)
  • 270g griffig or coarse AP wheat flour
  • 1teaspoon sugar (5g)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (1.5g)
  • 1 teaspoon dried pizza herbs
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 400g lowfat milk
  • 2 Tablespoons cornmeal and olive oil for baking parchment lined baking tray

Pretty much followed the baking instructions except I used cold milk which slowed things down a bit. Still got the pizza on the table well under two hours. Pizza very good and can be eating free style or with a knife and fork as they do here in Europe.  After the first bake (15 min) lots of steam came out of the oven so stand back or get blasted when opening the oven door. Second bake was top heat.  I also extended the proofing time to 40 min in my 25°C kitchen.  Batter did rise slightly in the oven and shrunk a tiny bit.  

Photos: whole pizza, upsidedown piece to show crust better.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven
semolina_man's picture

This is a focaccia recipe with sugar and milk powder. 



Delete the sugar from the ingredients list and reduce the oil and yeast, add proper proofing time, and it looks like a useable focaccia dough. 


Or just use a reliable and proven focaccia formula. 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

without any dough experience.  Mix up a batter and bake it.  The aromas from baking sure do make one hungry no matter what toppings. ( I haven't got indigestion yet.)  One could also use sourdough starter instead of yeast, another rescipe for discards? A little play with the liquids and tah dah!   I bet there are quite a few folks that find making a focaccia a bigger challenge and if they could batter make a focaccia, they would. (But how would one make little indentations?)    Why not batter make a pizza crust?

Way back when... I actually designed a home pizza dough package that contained a squeeze out dough for a graphic design class.  So the "idea" is not strange to me.  

I do wonder how wet the original recipe with powdered skim milk behaves.  Almost 150% hydration estimate.  Powdered milk can be sweet too. 

idaveindy's picture

Dividing by 4, makes a nice personal-size pizza.  And converting to grams:

(Using 28.35 grams/ounce, and 236.8 ml per US cup) 

-  1-3/4 tsp ADY ---- 7/16 or 3.5/8. 

-  11.25 oz (319 g) flour (at 2-2/3 cup,
-  they must be figuring 120 grams flour
-  per US cup)  ----  2.71 oz, or 79.7 g. 

-  1.85 oz non-fat dry milk (3/4 cup) ---- .46 oz, or 13 g. 

-  1 oz sugar (2.5 tbsp) ---- .25 oz or 7 g. 

-  1/4 tsp salt (this seems low) ---- 1/16 tsp, or .5/8. 

-  1-1/4 tsp oil ---- 2.5/8. 

-  1-2/3 cup water (395 ml) ---- 98.7 g. 


My mods:

Used 2/8 tsp IDY instead of 3.5/8 ADY.

Used Gold Medal bread flour instead of AP flour.

Added 1/2 tsp corn starch.  Probably a mistake. I was thinking "I gotta turn this bread flour into AP flour."

Used 11 g powdered non-fat milk instead of 13 g.

Ran out of sugar, so used 1/2 tbsp of maltodextrin. 

Used 1/8 tsp salt instead of 1/16. 

Used 92 g water instead of 98.7. 

Added oil after mixing in the water, instead of before. 

Following Mini's and Piggledy's example, I added a pinch of pizza seasoning to the batter.

Stirred by hand for 7 minutes, instead of mixing in a mixer for 10.

Used a Lodge 8" cast iron pan (6.5" inner-diameter at base) instead of baking sheet.

Like Mini, I used a parchment paper liner, and oiled the top.

Added pinch of salt, pinch of black pepper, pinch of corn meal,  and a pinch of crushed red pepper to top of oiled parchment. This seasons the bottom crust nicely. Learned this from Adam Ragusea on Youtube. 

Let rise for 60 minutes instead of 20. 

After pre-baking, brushed top with olive oil before topping. 

Topped with 1/3 cup of vodka sauce (the only red sauce I had) mixed with 2 dashes of dried oregano.

Did not have any cheese on hand. :-(

Baked in a pre-heated toaster oven, with both top and bottom elements enabled ("toast" mode), no baking stone,  5 minutes. Rotated the pan 90 degrees, and baked 5 minutes more. Oven setting was 450 F, highest it will go, but actual was around 475-500.

Final internal temperature was 201 F.


It's a little too foamy for me. I like the airiness, but it's like a sponge cake. I'd like a little more gluteny chew. 

@Mini:  Do you think this is because I stirred by hand and didn't use a mixer?  And because I mixed in the oil after the water instead of before?  Can you develop gluten in a batter?


@Piggledy: Thanks for "bumping" this old post and your example.

@Mini: Thanks for the inspiration too.

@semolina: You're right, more of a focaccia. 





Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

than mine.  Maybe divide the recipe by 5 for individual rounds.  My crust corners were almost like crackers. You've got more bubbles in the crust too.  I didn't mind the topping moisture going into the crust the next day.  I ate most of it with my fingers cold from the fridge.  With a white blouse on and didn't make a mess!  Lol!

I think mixing or coating the flour with oil onto crumbs first before adding liquids...might  keep the dough lighter with less gluten development.  Maybe next time I split the recipe and see if it makes a difference to the crumb.