Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Best Pizza You (even you in central Missouri) Have Never Heard Of

   Ellis Bakery.  Much like our small town itself, if you blink, you might miss it.  Located on a side street, inside a steel building that looks more likely to house, well...anything other than a bakery, is one of mid-Missouri's best-kept secrets.  In addition to making small quantities of breads and sweet baked goods (cinnamon rolls on the weekends, for example) for local grocery stores, Randy also cooks up great, simple, classic American pizza.  If you think 'pizza' in mid-Missouri, you generally think Shakespeare's and, let's be honest, they make an amazing pie as well.  Shakes is different, though, with a fairly thick, rich crust (and an amazing wheat crust, but that's another post) and mountains of toppings, some of a somewhat exotic nature.  Shakes pizza is awesome, but it's fairly pricey and can be pretty greasy as well, depending on the toppings you get. 
   Ellis Bakery's pizzas, as cooked up by Randy, however, are fairly minimalist in comparison.  Simple ingredients, classic 'hand-tossed' original crust, and a simple, slightly sweet, lightly savory sauce.  Oh, and the price? A large (the only size they offer) cheese starts at $9.00, with each additional topping only a dollar extra.  We've tried to pin down exactly what it is that makes this pizza so great on several occasions, but it's really pretty difficult.  The crust is awesome, with just a hint of sweetness and some similarities to a nice Italian loaf (I think Randy said the pizza dough recipe is fairly similar to his Italian bread recipe), the sauce is simple, and the ingredients are fresh.  In the end, I think, it's a good example of how restraint and simplicity can produce something that's far more than the sum of its parts. 

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