old school rectangle pizza

Let me just preface this post by saying: high-end, quality pizza, this is not. This is your deliciously cheesy, tasty, greasy, eat-it-in-shame, so-bad-it’s-good sort of pizza. Don’t dive in expecting chewy, crispy, pillowy crust and high-quality toppings.

2014-09-21 13.37.54

Now that that’s out of the way, this pizza totally brought back the nostalgia in full force. Rectangle pizza was the highlight of my lunch week in elementary school! Everyone looked forward to Pizza Day, even if most of the kids would most certainly go on to enjoy much (MUCH) better pizza. I still look back on this pizza with a certain rose-colored fondness. I know it’s not good quality pizza, but it gets the job done and it brings back happy memories of careless youth. It’s the perfect final post in my back-to-school series, and if you ever had this pizza as a kid, I urge you to make it now. Relish the nostalgia and the grease.

You’re welcome.

All month long, I’ll be bringing you some childhood nostalgia in the form of re-vamped — and dare I say delicious? — recipes from those days of eating from plastic lunch trays with your friends by your side.

Previous back-to-school recipes:
Week 1 – Tart Cherry Crisp with Oaty Crumble Topping
Week 2 – Chicken Fried Steak Fingers with Country Gravy
Week 3 – Classic Soft Dinner Rolls

old school rectangle pizza

serves 10
recipe modified from archive.org

(note: because significant changes have been made over the years to the recipes used in public schools, my original source has been totally revamped with new, healthier options. However, the link above from archive.org has viewable scans of all the old school recipes in large scale portions!)

scant 2 tsp (6 g) active dry yeast
2 2/3 c (317 g) all purpose flour
3/4 c (52 g) nonfat dry milk powder
2 Tbs + 1 1/4 tsp (34 g) granulated sugar
1/4 tsp (3 g) salt [feel free to increase up to 1/2 tsp salt for more flavor!]
1 1/4 tsp (6 g) vegetable oil
scant 1 2/3 c (384 g) warm water
16 oz part skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 c prepared pizza sauce
22 slices (40 g / 1.4 oz) pepperoni, minced

Preheat your oven to 475 degrees. Spray a half-sized sheet pan (18″ x 13″) with cooking spray and set aside.

In a medium sized bowl, stir together the yeast, flour, milk powder, sugar, and salt. Add the oil and stir to combine.

Add the warm water and stir until a thick batter forms (there will still be lumps remaining, that’s okay!). Spread the batter into the greased sheet pan and let the pan sit for 20-30 minutes.

Bake the crust in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes. The crust will probably pull away from the edges of the pan, and that’s fine too.

When the crust comes out of the oven, sprinkle on 4 ounces of the shredded cheese. Spread the pizza sauce over the cheese, leaving a bit of crust showing around the edges. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and the minced pepperoni.

Bake the pizza for 12 minutes, until the cheese is melty and the edges are browned. Let the pizza sit 5-10 minutes before slicing into rectangles, two rows of 5 rectangles each. Serve hot! Indulge in the childhood lunchroom memories. Oh, and don’t forget the napkins!

To store any leftovers, layer pieces between parchment paper or foil and store in a zip top bag in the fridge for up to 3 days. It can be reheated in the microwave if you’re feeling extra trashy, or first in a hot skillet to crisp up the bottom, followed by a short stint under a hot broiler to melt the cheese.



14 thoughts on “old school rectangle pizza

  1. In the 60s our school pizza was so delicious.
    The one we had was made with just hamburger and chese.
    The crust seemed to be a little sweet.
    The hanburger filling had a somewhat sweet taste.
    It was really similar to sloppy Joe meat in sloppy Joe sauce then covered with cheese.
    Do you gave the exact r ecipe?

    1. Sorry, Jean! I wish I did, but I don’t. This is the only authentic school pizza recipe I could reliably find, and this was the cafeteria style pizza I was used to in the 90s.

      1. I have been actively searching for the school pizza recipe from back during 1978 thru 1983 and I must add that back during my formative school years at least during the high school years the students would literally run to get in line on the pizza and also hamburger days.
        At the staff that worked in the cafeteria would start early in the morning to prep(cook) the lunches for all the students and comparatively to today’s standards, the affordability was really inexpensive so I cannot understand why our children today are being fed this prepared reheated substandard meals that not only are they(the meals)not very healthy and dare I say tasteful but the cost is actually more.
        I know I have gone on a rant and for that I am very sorry but, as Our children have been told more times than what they would want, that once upon a time school food was so very delicious!

    1. Haha! I’m glad you enjoyed it so much! Pizza is evil like that, before you realize it, you’ve eaten way more than you should have!

  2. Hey Amanda!
    I’m making this now and blew the first batch of dough, didn’t really rise. I’m doing the second try now and got the dough rising. My question is what should the consistency of the bough be? I’m having to spread it with a spatula in the half sheet pan and I’m getting shallow spots. Should I increase the warm water to get it to pour a bit more even? Yours looks pretty smooth in the photos.

    1. Could your sheet pan possibly be uneven? With lots of use, they can warp from temperature changes, and cause low spots for something more batter-like. That said, the crust is more fluid and can be spread almost like a thick batter/thin dough. Good luck!

  3. I remember this pizza, Little Caesars deep dish pizza reminds me of it. Does anyone remember SOS? That’s hamburg gravy, mashed potatoes and corn, also corn chowder was on the menu.

      1. I typed in a phrase in google and hit this!!!! I am for sure making it and love this so much. The phrase I typed in google was “why was school pizza so good”. Thanks Amanda

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