Simply Tasty: The Tombari family secret is pizza

This pizza recipe was brought over from Italy when my great-grandparents immigrated to Canada in 1915. My great-grandmother taught it to her French-Canadian daughter-in-law (my grandmother) in the 1950s, who taught it to me in the early 1990s. The recipe is close to culinary perfection, since the kinks have been worked out over the past 92 years. Depending on how you place the dough on the baking sheet, the crust can be either thin or thick. I have always made it thick – as we joke at home: so thick it couldn’t fit under a door.


1 ½ cups warm water

1 tsp. sugar

1 pack “Fleischmann’s Traditional” yeast

4 cups flour

1 tsp. salt

3 tbsp. vegetable oil

Tomato sauce (either home-made or store-bought)

Various cheeses (ex. mozzarella, parmesan and romano)


Garlic salt

Toppings to your preference

Pre-heat oven to 400°F.

In a measuring cup, put ½ cup of warm water, sugar, and yeast. Don’t mix! Place the cup on the stovetop and wait for the yeast mixture to rise to the 1 cup line.

While yeast is rising, place 3 cups of flour, salt, and 1 tbsp. vegetable oil in a very large bowl.

Once yeast mixture has risen, add it and an additional cup of warm water to the flour mixture and stir manually, with a fork or a spoon.

Stir the mixture until it takes on a sticky, doughy consistency.

Cover a clean counter or board with flour (about ½ a cup).

On this surface, knead the dough. To do so, place additional flour on your hands, take the heel of your palm and press it into the dough with a forward motion. The dough should stretch. Fold it over and repeat, while continually turning the dough 90°. You may need to add more flour to your hands or your flat surface. Do not use excessive amounts of flour, as it will result in a dry crust. Knead the dough until it is no longer sticky (approx. 10 min).

Rinse the large bowl you were using earlier, and add a tablespoon of oil. Rub the oil around the bowl, so the inside is lined with a thin layer. Make sure not to get oil on the rim of the bowl.

Place the kneaded dough into the bowl, rubbing it into the oil. Cover the bowl tightly with saran wrap and place a dish cloth over the top. Place the bowl onto the stovetop (the oven is still pre-heating). Leave the bowl on the stove for approximately 35 minutes or until the dough had reached the top of the bowl and is touching the saran wrap.

While the dough is rising, prepare your tomato sauce and any other ingredients you want to use as topping. Also place a thin layer of oil in the baking sheet you will use to cook the pizza.

When the dough has risen, place oil on your hands, and the dough on the cooking sheet. Flatten out the dough onto the sheet, then press your fingers into the dough, making small indentations.

Dress the pizza with your various toppings. A trick for the tomato sauce: make sure all the dough is covered, even the crust. My family’s traditional toppings are mozzarella, parmesan, and romano cheeses with some oregano and garlic salt seasoning.

Place the pizza on the second shelf of the oven for 15 minutes. Check pizza every 5 to 10 minutes after that until the crust is golden brown.

Depending on the size of the pan and how thin you make the dough, this recipe can serve any where from 4 to 12.

This recipe is courtesy of Organic Campus. To learn more about Stephanie’s ancestry go to or email