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Old Forge White Pizza

Old Forge White Pizza
  

I've never been to Old Forge, Pennsylvania, or tasted the famous "White Pizza" that originated there, but shortly after I moved to Maine I fell in with a sleeper cell of Wilkes-Barre / Scranton area natives (Lex, Joe and Lester) who march in lockstep devotion to the stuff. (Old Forge is a village of about 10,000 that has been subsumed by Scranton and Wilkes-Barre in their sprawling gallactic collision along the Susquehanna.) These are people who will drive seven hours primarily to go to a pizza shop. (I'm not getting in the middle of the battle about which one is the best -- apparently there are about ten shops clustered on the main drag and feelings run high when the question of which  is the best.)

Oldforgetshirt_1After a recent return from white pizza Mecca, Joe suggested that, with help from him and his cohorts, I might be able to create a reasonable facimile of Old Forge White Pizza, since I like to make pizza and I like to hang with the Old Forge contingent. So I agreed to take a run at it.

White Pizza (I'll drop the "Old Forge" designation for the rest of this post) is essentially a rectangular double-crust pan pizza, stuffed with a blend of cheeses and topped with olive oil and rosemary leaves. Variations on that theme are apparently available in the pizza shops of Old Forge, but the cognoscenti disapprove of any deviations from the orthodoxy: "It's the combination of the cheese, the rosemary and the olive oil, with a crust that's not too thin or thick, that makes a White Pizza," Joe informed me, "and nothing should be added or changed."

Never having attempted a stuffed pizza, I started this assignment (after determining in an extended Google session that no recipes for White Pizza are readily available on the 'net) by looking up similar recipes, settling on Marcella Hazan's recipe for sfinciuni, from Palermo, which, while round, stuffed with meat and fontina, and cooked on a stone instead of a pan at least pointed me in the right direction with respect to the dough proportions and preparation technique.

An email to Joe carrying the seemingly innocent question -- "What cheeses do we use?" -- started a flurry of about 40 emails back and forth between the group, more Googling and sending of links, etc., The result: it's a secret that no one has ever divulged. Lester, the most detail-oriented of the PA Gang, finally ruled that the cheeses would be fontina, provolone and Cooper sharp American cheese, in equal proportions.

Old Forge White PizzaSo last night we came together for the test kitchen, tentative recipe hot off the Epson. The first round was deemed to be in the ballpark, so we workshopped the recipe over a couple of beers and decided on a slightly thicker crust, more pronounced water bath at the start (see recipe below), double the cheese and a lighter hand with the salt. The second try took us deep into the third quarter of the Monday night football game (I rarely last beyond the half, especially with snoozers like last night's domination of the Jets by Atlanta) but by the end of the evening Lex and Joe (Lester was unavailable) pronounced the product worthy of respect (subject to the Addendum, below). Sweet success!

I love this kind of cooking:  setting out with only memory and a few related recipes for guides to try to reproduce the taste, texture and appearance of a favorite restaurant dish. It's an excercise I look forward to, and after years of reminding friends and family that I really like the challenge, I get requests on a fairly regular basis to try to reproduce this or that fondly-missed delight. The White Pizza was an extra challenge because I had never eaten it myself, but with guides so firmly committed to a shared vision of perfection I had a fairly easy time of it.

The bottom line: for members of the White Pizza diaspora, this recipe should allow some relief for your yearning to go home. For me, at the risk of offending the Old Forge brotherhood, this pizza is too cheesentric, for me, too much of a one-note Samba, and after a couple of bites I was wishing for more flavors and textures. However, I very much appreciate minimalist art and architecture, so I'm sure, with practice and dedication (Lester, Joe and Lex combine about 120 years of White Pizza experience), I could develop the deep understanding of the dance of four simple ingredients that is the Old Forge White Pizza. (Not that there's anything "minimalist" about 6 cups of cheese on a pizza....) My doctor and his weird obsession with cholesterol is going to be an obstacle to achieving that lofty goal, I'm afraid, but I'm sure I could do it if given a new set of arteries and valves....!

White Pizza (Old Forge style)
1 double-crust rectangular pie, about 10" x 16" (six slices about 4" x 5")

Crust
Notes:
1. This crust is different from the "standard" crust recipe I usually use, which is found in Pizza Basics.
2. This is the recipe actually tested. For a further adjustments suggested by my advisors (but not yet tested), see the Addendum below.

2-1/4 tsp instant yeast
3 C flour
1-1/2 tsp salt
1 C + 2 T warm water (about 105º)
1-1/2 T olive oil

Filling
2 C fontina cheese, shredded
2 C aged provolone cheese, shredded
2 C Cooper sharp American cheese, shredded (see the Comments attached to the post for discussion of alternatives)
1 T fresh rosemary (whole leaves, removed from stems - but see Addendum, below)
kosher salt
olive oil

Preheat the oven to 400º.

Place all the crust ingredients in the bowl of a food processor with the steel blade and process until the dough clumps together and starts to ride around on the blade. Place dough in a bowl, coat it with 1 tablespoon olive oil, cover with clear plastic and allow to rise 'til doubled, about an hour and a half.

Punch down the dough, knead it for a few seconds and then cut in half. Wrap one half tightly in plastic wrap. Roll the other half into a thin rectangular sheet, about the same size as the pan, with edges the same thickness as the center. (Use a dark-colored metal jelly roll pan.) Oil the pan with about 1-1/2 tablespoon olive oil and lay the crust in the pan. Roll out the other piece of dough to about the same size and shape. Cover the dough sheets with clean towels and allow to rise 30 minutes.

Spread 1 tablespoon olive oil over the bottom crust, stopping half an inch from the pan edge. Mix the three cheeses and spread over the crust, again stopping half an inch from the pan edge. Salt lightly and drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil over the cheese. Lay the top crust over the bottom crust and filling. Stretch the edges of the lower crust up and over the upper crust and crimp together to form a seal.

Brush the top of the pizza liberally with water, then bake 15 minutes, or until just starting to brown. Brush the top liberally with olive oil and scatter on the rosemary.  Bake an additional 10 minutes. Allow the pizza to rest 5-10 minutes before slicing.

Addendum (10/26/05):

1. Thicker Crust.  Les and Joe have said they would like a thicker crust, so the following is a recipe for a thicker crust for 1 pizza, assuming the samOld Forge White Pizzae pan dimensions:

4 tsp instant yeast
4-1/2 C flour
2 tsp salt
1-3/4 C  warm water (about 105º)
2 T olive oil

This recipe variation is as-yet-untested for O.F.White Pizza, though based on my extensive experience with pizza dough I have high confidence that it will work. As with all bread recipes, of course, the measurements will vary according to type of flour used (I use King Arthur All-Purpose Unbleached), specific yeast characteristics and freshness (I use the SAF brand, usually less than one year old and stored under refrigeration -- this is a sort of weaponized version of yeast that seems to be extremely consistent), atmospheric conditions and altitude. Similarly, baking time is approximate.

2. Rosemary. As noted in the Comments, a rough chop of the rosemary is advised, for a more even distribution on the surface of the pizza.

3. Cheese Quantity. Full disclosure: when we ate the results of the second test (the basis for the main recipe above), Lex and Joe both said that there could be more cheese. I ignored them in preparing the original post because to me a cup of cheese per serving is an appalling amount already. However, if the goal is to reproduce the original classic Old Forge White Pizza, the cheese quantities apparently have to be greater, according to my experts. How much greater? In my opinion, once you pass the 0ne-cup-per-serving barrier you're free to go as high as you want...1-1/2 times as much? twice as much? Hey, your arteries are already thick with goo, what's a little more?

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Comments

I'm a left coaster. I've never heard of "Cooper sharp American cheese". Can you tell us more about it, please? :)

I adore white pizza (possibly more than the old cheese and tomato sauce version), but I'm afraid I'm from the *other* side of the state!

I think I was in my late teens/early twenties before I finally tasted a white pizza. But oh, was it worth it!

Ok, this is getting really weird. The synergy continues. I just now finished writing a post on pizza myself! I go out and check other blogs and low and behold, Stephen once again we are on almost exactly the same page. It's becoming uncanny. Maybe Melissa (of The Traveler's Lunchbox) was right when she said "You and Stephen should start your own food event where the rest of us have to guess what the theme is!"

Wouldn't that be something...

Linda...to be honest I didn't know about Cooper sharp cheese until it was specified by Lester, one of my advisors on the White Pizza project...probably because it's one of those white bricks of "process cheese" on the shelf in back of supermarket deli counter...here's a link to the manufacturer, Shreiber Foods.

Dave...I hadn't seen that coment from Melissa yet...maybe it won't seem so weird if I confess to installing some keystroke recorder spyware on your computer with the worm attached to my last email to Mrs. D...for the rest of you who are wondering what we're talking about, see the recent Belly-Timber post by Mrs. D suggesting some sort of paranormal communications going on between me and Dave.

Stephen:

I have enjoyed visiting your blog on several occasions and commend you on the excellence in graphics, enthusiasm and writing style clarity.

This Old Forge White Pizza quest is an admirable pursuit. I recall several years ago, while visiting Joe in Ogunquit, that we worked with a local restaurant owner in trying to recreate the mystical taste treat. After several attempts, I concluded that we reached somewhere around 85% of the goal. For me, the benchmark reference OFWP was made at Gabello's Cafe in Duryea, PA [just a few minutes south of Old Forge], but alas Gabello's is now defunct. My second most favorite was made at Ghigarelli's in downtown OF, but it was closed last week on the night Joe and I went for a tasting. [The less said about the sadly disappointing representation offered by Revello's, the better.] I am told that Ghigarelli's is now under new ownership, so obviously a fresh sampling is on the horizon in order to see how it fares these days.

In looking at your blog recipe, etc., there are two small points I'd like to make. These should bring your OFWP closer to the ideal, so kindly take them into consideration. First, the crust in your photo is clearly too thin. My guess is that it needs to be almost twice a thick as shown. Second, the rosemary leaves need to be broken up and distributed more densely. Probably a rough chop with the chef's knife and a doubling of the amount would be helpful, especially in lifting the overall taste of the pizza. I would also suggest that the olive oil being used possess a robust and intense flavor.

This zone of gustatory pursuit is rich with controversy and variation, as you wisely note in your opening comments. So, from that perspective I would heartily recommend that experimentation and fine tuning are most appropriate excuses for making more of this fun, satisfying and enchanting taste treat.

Incidentally, Cooper Sharp Cheese is a very smooth, relatively mild white cheese item, probably closest to a medium sharp cheddar in most markets. It is complimented by the added flavor profiles of the fontina and provolone, but the blend is still generally "soft" in impact. The exact cheese mixture used in any of the multitude of white pizzas made in OF remains a deep, dark secret so I would encourage trying alternate approaches, while keeping the Cooper Sharp in the mix, at least for texture and mouthfeel parameters. This is the one cheese that appears to be 'revealed' consistently when OF pizza makers are tortured, btw.

Best regards and keep up the fine work. Les

Ok, I confess. I told him not to chop the Rosemary. I think the olive oil and rosemary part of the taste sensation was pretty much right on. I do agree that the crust was too thin.

Wow what a great looking pizza

I have found that cooking on a stone makes a huge difference to my pizzas

it changes the base and gives it a seal? then the base puffs up from that?

But if you like a pan pizza I guess it wont be right either.

I am never going to find Cooper sharp cheese here.... oh well :(

Hi Clare...this was the first pizza I had made in a pan rather than on a stone, but the Old Forge advisors were adamant that it must be made in a pan...the result is that the bottom crust is fried in the oil in the pan, while the top crust is baked, resulting in a nice counterpoint between the crispy bottom and breadier top crusts...which would be a little more pronounced with a thicker crust, as Lester and Joe are suggesting. This is apparently an important point with the Old Forge White Pizza so I did as I was told! Regarding the cheese, as Lester says in his comment, it's a smooth, white medium sharp cheddar-style cheese, for which I would hope you could find a replacement...

Lester...thanks for the long comment...for a thicker crust, see the addendum I've made to the recipe.

I'm an old Forge, PA native and can attest to the fact that there are many variations to the white pizza recipe. The best ones used to be made in the old back pizza kitchens by the old ladies (now deceased) and the cheese mixture was a fresh mozzarella, a scamorza and the 3rd one varied from place to place ... sometimes provolone, sometimes Cooper sharp, etc. Onion strips sauteed in olive oil on the pizza top crust was a common variant as well along with the rosemary leaves in abundance. One place had the old lady rub the upper crust with the olive oil which came with canned anchovies or even a crushed mash of anchovies (just a rub). Lots of salt and lots of black pepper on the top as well.

I'm a native of Scranton, and my favorite is Arcaro and Genell's white with spinach and garlic. Garlic and well-drained spinach is baked right into the filling, and it's topped with plenty of rosemary. Although the crust is thickish, the secret is its lightness. It's not a heavy, bready curst at all! I think you're on to something, but the picture of your pizza looks WAY too thin! Quadruple the cheese and go for the thicker crust, so long as it's light.

I tried the recipe over the weekend. I like the crust, but the cheese blend, although very good, wasn't quite what I've had in OF. I've had excellent results making OF pizza with a blend of whole milk Mozzarella and shredded white American.

I'm a Scranton,PA exile living in Los Angeles, and am thrilled to find a tested recipe for Old Forge pizza. I've gone so far as to have par-baked pizza shipped to me here, but it pales in comparison to the original..really looking forward to trying the recipe out.

The cheese used in old forge pizza is called Brick Cheese. You will have to google it to find a distributor. That recipe comes from the best in old forge, Ghigarelli's. Also, the black rectangular pans that have been used for 60 years has a magic to the pizza. I live an hour and ten minutes from old forge and it is a treat to go and get pizza. The also deliver anywhere in the continental usa.

Hey, I'm from Scranton, but now live in Utah. I get my mom to ship out some of these a coupla times a year. Two secrets that can help- first off, many of the restaurants in the area use white cheddar- especially on the Broc... (uh, I can't spell it) and Cheese, or Spinach Stuffed variety. Second, and this is among the most important things- you must use PEANUT OIL in the pan, not olive oil. Rub the pan with Peanut Oil before laying down the crust, and you'll get exactly the texture and flavor of Genuine Old Forge Pizza. I can't speak for all of the shops, but I've heard these secrets from more than one...

This seems a pretty good aproximation of the Old Forge "White...not Red, go to Rivello's" Pizza. I have tried them all, and Arcarro and Genells, is probably the best, though I can no longer eat more than a piece ( lest my coronaries seize up.)

Agree the crust is much too thin, but the baked/fried crust comment is right on. Also, while I remember a proponderance of Rosemary, I do remember onions, IN the Pizza , not ON ,if memory serves.

Finally, Stephen, I'd suggest a gustatorial tour of Old Forge. It isn't THAT bad a place ( ok, it is, but the Pizza is really good!)

Also, as you will be probably be sleeping in Scranton, I'd reccommend a try at tastinf Pappas pizza in downtown on North Washington Ave. It is arather unique Pizza in its own right, and I have never ever tasted another like it. Some hate it, some love it, but it is definitely worth tasting one, as long as you are in the area.

Don't forget in Scranton it is NOT bad manners to sop the excess oil off the top of your Pizza with a napkin. Just signs of good healthy habits.

Just found this site googling Ghigarelli's Pizza. I too have a 60 year old square pan refered to in my family as the "magic pan" from my aunts old bar "Rebeks", formerly on Main St near the turn to Chapel Street in Pittston. I have been trying to perfect my memories, and got several good ideas from this site.
I compete with Chicago Sytle pizza eating friends, but get many compliments on my presentation.
Does anyone know if the old Pizza trays are still for sale? Where would I look for them?

Second question: Re Cheese.
Is the "Brick Cheese" and the "Mild White Chedder" refered to above the same cheese? Here in Chicago I have found an acceptable Brick Cheese from Wisconsin, but still trying to come up with a third cheese for my Red recipe.
I seem to recall my mom using Munster, too as one of the cheeses.
Also, I recently heard someone refer to "Block cheese". What in the heck is that?
Any OF Cheese "subject matter experts" out there?

The first white pizza that I had, and that I remeber in Old Forge was in the early sixties at a place called Reba's Pizza. It was on main street in Old Forge, and the dough was home made in the back room. Her white pizza was dough baked with oilve oil, blackpepper, rosemary, and anchovies no cheese. Pizza with "la Leech" was how we ordered it. At the time Reba's pizza was ten cents a piece or a dollar a tray (12 pieces). She also baked bread from wed. to saturday (25 cent a loaf), and when she did the main street smelled of freshly baked bread.These are experiences and memories that never leave ones mind. I don't believe that any of the Old Forge pizza parlors make this type of white pizza, but several make an open face white which is easier on the waist. As a final note try Old Forge white pizza in the summer with a tomato salad using garden tomatoes you will not forget it. I belive Reba's closed in 1972.

I grew up in Wilkes-Barre and every once in a while my mom would bring home white pizza. It was the best. I don't know where she got it though. I've been gone almost 30 years and now that I stumbled onto this blog, I have a taste for white pizza!!!

Oh I was just posting on pizza myself this week, but this is something new and tasty--I've got to try it, thanks.

I grew up on Main St. in Old Forge, across from Ghigarelli's (Great-Grandmother) .There is no magic cheese mixture,you are barking up the wrong tree there.It is one cheese.

Hi Rick,
Which cheese if its only one at Ghigarelli's?

yeah Rick...what's the cheese? I'm dying here.

does anyone know if it is possible to get cooper sharp american in san francisco? or on the west coast at all? i grew up outside philly but live in SF now, and would love to find it out here.

Hi I from Wilkes-Barre PA and now live in Portland Maine I used to go to Old Forge probably every 10 days for White pizza tried them all (5 bars that make it) each one had a slightly different version.I loved them all you just can't get it up here.Thanks for the recipe!
George

it was told to me to use Wisconsin cheddar, but i blend it with mozz. and some shredded romano

Everybody is talking about the White, but what about the wonderful Red rectangular pizza with the crunchy crust? I am a Scranton native now living near Harrisburg, Pa. I'd love to get my hands on the red pizza recipe and the blend of cheeses used! Also, the Red pizza with hot peppers and shrimp served at Arcaro & Genells is out of this world! Can you say "Kielbasi!"

The one magic cheese is in fact brick cheese. It comes from Wisconsin. It's a mild cheddar -type cheese. (Check Wikipedia) It's the only cheese they use. I grew up outside of Philly, but all my relatives live in Scranton and we are die-hard Revello's fans. Anybody wanna try to tackle the red?

My husband, Bill Renfer, used to sell food to Arcaro & Genell's in Old Forge Pa. and the cheese for their "White Pizza" is definately "Mild White Wisconsin Cheddar". The way I found your site is, we have recently moved to Kansas, and he has been craving "double crust white pizza" and, on a whem, I typed it in search, and got your site. It was a pleasure reading all the entries.
Enjoy,
Ginger

My wife's owns Kristina's Kitchen in Pittston, PA. We make the holy grail of Old Forge pizza, the double crusted stuffed white. We sell tons of it! Our customers can't get enough!! Check out our website at www.kristinaskitchenonline.com and drop us a line!

I LOVE Old Forge pizza!!!!!

Having lived in Old Forge since I was born, but leaving in the 60's there is nowhere in the U.S. that has better Pizza.

My favorite is Ghigharelli's, but Club 17, Arcaro & Gennell, Salerno's, Maxie's, Revello's,Brutico's, etc. etc. are also good.

Don't have the pleasure of being able to have Old Forge pizza very often, but truly enjoy every bite when I do, and always "pig out".

hey, all... reading these interesting posts... i spent many summers of the late-50s, early-60s with my grandparents in exeter, PA... in the wyoming valley and have been trying to reproduce a pizza from my childhood! it was called "tommy's pizza" back then but is "pizza l'oven" now... we bought it by the cut, not slice and it was a simple cheese/tomato pizza. from what i can tell, it is kinda old forge red style... any help on cheeses, sauce or crust ingredients would be GREATLY appreciated! thanks in advance!
~sdg

The following is a response to Sourdough Girl's comment, above, from Joe, a member of my Old Forge Pizza Posse:

"This is a whole new vista in pizza discussion. The 'Fifi's, Victory Pig, Pizza Perfect'school of pizza. Personally I would take this over white pizza for daily consumption--white pizza is more of a 'luxury item' to be enjoyed occasionally.

"There is a place in Kingston, PA (across the river from Wilkes-Barre) called Tommy's Pizza which is our current favorite--and the one place we ALWAYS go when I'm visiting. The first time I had this style pizza I was knocked out--having grown up on great NY style pizza. It's also a pan pizza but with one crust and the thing that really distinguished it to me was the whole tomatoes in the sauce--giving it a sweetness that straight pizza sauce doesn't have. I'm not sure if it's just 100% whole canned tomatoes or not but it's not the denser red pizza sauce of the typical NY style pizza. I don't think there are a lot of spices--probably oregano and garlic but I had never had whole chunks of tomato on a pizza and I thought it was great. I have a feeling it's not cooked but just put on the crust and cooked while the pizza bakes.

"The first place I had it was called the "Pizza Casa" on the square in W-B and they just put big solid pieces of what I assumed was mozzarella on the top, so each (rectangular) slice was covered with one solid piece of cheese--it actually looked like American cheese (which incidentally is the ONLY cheese used in Revello's pizza). Since it wasn't really melted much it may not have been mozzarella. The other more common versions of this pizza didn't have this solid white top but were the same concept. Fairly thick bottom crust (probably the same as the white pizza crust) with the whole tomato sauce and the solid rather than shredded cheese on top. It's interesting that these pizza places aren't known for their white pizza, and the white pizza places aren't known for their red pizza."

I’ve been checking your site ever since Les T told me about your “white pizza project” and I have to say, I think you’ve gotten about as close to real deal as possible. The only variation I can think of is that some places use thinly sliced onions on the top crust along with the rosemary, which dehydrate and brown slightly as the pizza cooks. And of course, the cheese blend varies slightly from restaurant to restaurant as do the ratios. After all, if every Old Forge pizza place served exactly the same recipes, then we wouldn’t have so many.

Is Old Forge White Pizza too cheesy? Too much of a good thing? Well, yes. Generally, my friends and I order a ratio of one half-tray of white (six cuts) to two whole trays of red. Most people can only eat one cut of white pizza anyway and as someone who has suffered the inevitable repercussions of eating an entire half-tray, I can tell you firsthand that it should be savored only in moderation and with considerable respect.

If I might suggest another Old Forge-related project (one that should be undertaken only if you’re hell bent on inducing a massive case of the gout on yourself and all of your friends): you might try serving the belly-busting combo of Old Forge pizza with an appetizer sized portion of what Salerno’s restaurant calls “the half and half”: half Old Forge style Italian tripe, and half Old Forge Style Italian sofritto (or sofritta, depending on who’s doing the spelling). The tripe obviously is served in a spicy tomato sauce and that you can find recipes for all over the web; the sofritto, however, isn’t the vegetable base commonly known by the same name. For some reason, Old Forge is a parallel culinary universe where “sofritto” means lamb/sheep entrails sliced and served in a sauce of white wine, herbs and olive oil. And both the tripe and sofritto are delicious.

Anyway, should this Old Forge boy ever make it to Maine, he may drop by your kitchen with some authentic specimens of classic Old Forge cuisine. Excellent work and a fun read!

What is the best recipe for the dough for Old Forge Style Red Pizza? I can't seem to replicate it.

I think Bobby Flay should visit OF for a throwdown! But then again everyone would know about the world's best pizza. Did you all know there is an OF pizza franchise? They seem to be taking off and the pizza is really quite good. The crust is even lighter. A good alternative to FedEx.

If you live in the tri-state area and crave REAL "Old Forge" red and white pizza stop buy Augie's Chicago Beef in the little town of Wood-Ridge NJ 2 mi's from Giant Stadium. It is the REAL DEAL !! The crust and cheese come from OLD FORGE, yes you can get a CLUB 17 stuffed tray topped with rosemary and when was the last time you had a PORKETTA hero :) Just make sure you dont say the words PIE or SLICE!!!! It's tray or cut!!

We live in Wilkes Barre PA. There are more pizza sops here than anywhere in the US. Old Forge pizza is fantastic but sicilian pizza from Pizza Perfect or Magdas, both in Wyoming Valley are great as well. I know people who have left the valley and ask to have pizza mailed to them. What a place for pizza lovers to live!

White Pizza did NOT originate at Old Forge PA as this article suggests. White pizza (pizza bianca) Most common, especially on the East Coast of the United States, the toppings consist only of mozzarella and ricotta cheese drizzled with olive oil and spices like fresh basil and garlic. They have been serving this pizza at a rest. in NY for the past 50 years.

Only 50 years in NYC? Newbies.

Born and raised in Old Forge I've had every pizza that there is to offer and there all different in there own way. As for trying to copy them you might not be able to.
I don't think there really is a bad place to eat in Old Forge. My favorite place to eat is cafe Rinaldi's there is not a bad thing on the menu and you got to try there hot pizza out of this world. I cant say a bad thing about any place in town there all great. PS. And for all you jealous Old Forge haters out there we do have the best pizza and making it for over 100 years. that's why we are the PIZZA CAPITAL OF THE WORLD.

We are from Scranton but now live in Florida - hard to find good pizza here. We frequently visit Scranton, and my brother in law lives in Old Forge. When younger, we went to Tomeo's, now Arcaro's for their pizza and tripe (we make tripe). But often we would go to Old Forge, especially for white pizza. Will definitely make some this weekend. My sister in law works at Alfredo's in "the flats" - their pizza is good.

I lived in Wilkes-Barre from 1973 - 1983 and went frequently to West Pittston for white pizza. Ever since then I've been looking for a similar recipe. Not having found one, I've been trying to make my own, but my attempts were never the same. I'm SO glad I found yours. Thanks.

Years back Gabello's pizza was excellent. Think it was the cheese. It had a certain taste that made that pizza. Wish I could find out what it was.
I've taste the Wisconsin Pizza Cheddar, Muenster, Brick, Mozz. but it had a different taste. Anybody know?

Great website. I live 2 mins from Old Forge (place called Moosic). Arcaro & Genell's is definitely the best. They catered my wedding and everyone especially loved the white pizza appetizers. Yes, when you marry an italian from NEPA, you have white pizza at your wedding.

I am from the Wilkes Barre / Scranton area. I have been tweaking a pizza recipe for over a year now. I designed it after Pizza L'oven. In response to: "The cheese used in the Pizza L'oven style" I'd bet it's Land O'lakes cheddar, it is mild and creamy with no sharp bite at all. A local supply house in Wilkes Barre (City Mager Provisions) sells over 40,000 lbs a month to local pizza joints. It's approx 2.50 lb it comes in 40lb blocks. Please note Land O'lakes sells 3 types of Cheddar with various ages younger the better for pizza

Re: NYC comment-posted Dec.6-Gina Soluri..THat pizza recipie was brought to NYC from OLD FORGE, PA. Now I know you don't like to hear this NY, but NY is not the birth of this Pizza, they have NY Pizza that is round and very thin, It's NOT Old Forge. You can't claim it, no way, no how. Been in PA for almost 100yrs. if not longer....SORRY Gina.

A native of Wilkes-Barre, I have lived coast-to-coast in my career, schooled in NY, and now call Birmingham, AL home. There is NO pizza like Old Forge pizza. Many people have asked for the red dough recipe, but no reply - ANYONE??????

WOW!

Thanks for posting this. My wife and I now live in Spokane Washington but are from the Old Forge area and are in serious pizza withdraw. I'm going to try to make it this week. We thought we would have to dry-ice the pizza and have it shipped to get good pizza.
I also agree about the Papas Pizza from Scranton. It is also amazing as is Alfredos. One of the most unusual Scranton pizzas I think is Angies Pizza in Dickson City. It's another love hate type pizza but it has always been my favorite.
~Rob

Hi,I'M ORIGINALLY FROM OLD FORGE AND TRAVEL BACK FREQUENTLY,ALWAYS GETTING WHITE PIZZA FROM GHIGARELLI. I MAKE IT MYSELF THE SAME WAY THEY DO. THEY USE CASINO BRICK CHEESE ONLY. YOU CAN SUBSTITUE WITH MEUNSTER WHICH IS VERY SIMILAR IN TASTE AND TEXTURE.

I checked Revello's dumpster area and they had a lot of 5 lb block boxes of simple Kraft American cheese!

Not surprising that Revello's uses Kraft american. Their white pizza tastes like a bad grilled cheese sandwich.

I would venture to guess that this is an accurate report.

When I sampled the pizza at Revello’s about 2 years ago [with our Joe] it came across as nothing more than using simple American Cheese. In fact I would take any mediocre grilled cheese sandwich over the ludicrous offering that Revello’s passes off as white pizza.

Even their red pizza was a disaster, and they should rethink their red sauce, or maybe those people who crave that stuff need to get out more. I can’t believe they are able to stay in business in OF.

There is place in Sayre, Pa (Mangilardo's Restaurant) whose garlic pizza ranks worldwide. I can not or have I seen anyone who can duplicate it!

I used to live in the Wyoming Valley years ago and very much enjoyed the white pizza from the Old Forge area. It was good but there is an Italian restaurant (Mangilardos)in my old hometown of Sayre Pa who makes a tremendous garlic pie. I have tried to duplicate it and can't as no one else can either.

Mangilardos wins hands down. Never could duplicate it, but always go there to get a garlic pie. Have tried several, but no one can match it. I will have to try the Old Forge version as I live in Sayre adn Mangilardos is the best!!!

Still looking for a good red pizza recipe if anyone has one. I have tried a few but my dough seems to be to heavy and can't get the right taste to the sauce

I am a Scranton Native-lived there 46 years before moving to San Diego. CA. Gosh, we die for decentpizza- the Old Forge Style- alos love Alfredos AndPizza perfect with thier wingies-anyone have thier wing sauce? Tonight we are attempting to make Old Forge pizza casuewe are dying- we did experiment with Monterey jacl and white american cheese with sauce and it cameout too good.

A native of Wilkes-Barre, I have lived in Birmingham, AL for over a decade. The pizza sucks. Two years ago, I started experimenting, and I do a pretty good version of red now. I could not allow my children to grow up without good pizza. Now, they brag about me. Every time I go home, I buy the 5 pound blocks of Coopers at Wegman's, then upon my return, vacuum seal "pizza portions." I am going to try to order from smicksburgcheese.com. If I am given permission, I will post my version of sauce and pizza dough. Perhaps together, we'll perfect it.

ANy idea where to get the Casino Brick Cheese, I remember it as a kid but can't find it now.

Marjorie I'm also a Scranton native living in San Diego and I too would love to get my hands on pizza that replicates a tray from Old Forge, especially my favorite Ghigarelli's white. No luck there, but I recently discovered Sicilian Thing Pizza a whole in the wall in the North Park area of San Diego and their rectangular thick yet light and slightly crunchy crust is the closest i've found to the texture of the red I remember. i'd love it if the owner would take a crack at duplicating the OF white! www.sicilianthingpizza.com

Hi all,
My paternal grandmother and my father were both born in Old Forge and we had the good fortune of having two homemade pizza's made every Sunday night (from the afternoon's macaroni sauce). My dad made one red and one white pizza with the onion on the top of the two layered white. Shame on me for never learning the recipe!!!!

I came upon your blog by accident. The humorous attempts to replicate famous pizza recipes really made me laugh! As co-owner of a pizza restaurant which has been in business for over 50 years, I can tell you that no pizza maker ever reveals his/her recipe. And we NEVER tell what kind of cheese we use. People are always trying to figure it out and they'll ask me snoopy questions. I give them my standard reply: "I could tell you, but then I'll have to kill you." These secrets are locked in "the vault."

What a fun post! I was researching white pizza and found your blog. It was fun to read, and very educational. I'm from Texas and had no idea I was missing out on this "white pizza" concoction. As far as I knew, white pizza was probably chicken and alfredo sauce. Yikes!

Great post!

Great post!! I'm originally from the Scranton area and miss both the red and white Old Forge pizza. My favorite white is Salernos.

The last time I was in Salernos I noticed that they were pre-baking the crusts and putting them aside for future orders.

What a place to find "Old Friends." And yes, we sometimes make a Pizza run to Old Forge.
Nothing to add, all the places I visit are here, but non mentioned Julia's. C'mon the glass alone was worth the visit. (Though I never did try their pizza. With so many famous ones to visit, there is no opportunity for newbies). And yes Brutico's does ship.

We go to Old Forge for double crust white pizza with onions or broccoli stuffed inside every two weeks. Delicious.
Spoke to someone who bakes the pizza in the kitchen and they told us that they use the same cheese in double crust white as they put on the regular red trays.

You can find a picture of Old Forge double crust white pizza here:
http://www.well.com/~captward/

Just wanted to correct a previous post from Gina 12/06/07 of NY. Gina, we are talking Double Crust White Pizza from Old Forge, not single crust White Bianca pizza. Big difference. In double crust white, they lay out the rectangular piece of dough and stuff one side of it with different cheeses, and then possibly
onions, broccoli or even peppers if you want. They then pull the other half of the dough over the filled
cheese side and crimp around the edges. It is then brushed with some peanut oil and topped with some very
finely chopped rosemary and organo and placed in a pan lightly coated with peanut oil and baked in the oven.
Single crust white with mozzarella & ricotta is just a single crust white pizza.

arcaro's and victory pig are the two I remember from the 1960's. my dad george and the lefchak family came from old forge, still have some in area.recipe looks fairly close...ther was also an open face version.

Boy do I miss this stuff! My father was from Wilkes-Barre, and my ex from Scranton. Now, I'm stuck down here in MD with no 'real' white pizza. I am going to try this recipe and can tell from the pic of the cut piece that I'll want the thicker crust. Thanks so much for the post. It is the only O.F. white pizza recipe I could find.

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