Thick Pizza Crust with Steak Bomb Topping: da bomb!

Several weeks ago, I posted the following question on King Arthur Flour’s Facebook page.

“HELP! I’m looking for pizza topping ideas. I’m in the process of developing a thick/chewy pizza crust, one that really has some body to it, and trying to figure out the best topping for a crust like that. Something substantial, I’m thinking… What do you guys think? Help me out here!”

And boy, did I get a collection of interesting answers…

Roberta Giammusso Cerasi started things off with “prosciutto and figs… with mascarpone cheese and fresh ricotta.”

Sue Pactur Francus continued the sweet bent with “Fontina, toasted pine nuts and butter-sautéed diced apple.”

Helga J. Marsh took it up a notch, with “Skip the sauce – pour on super fruity extra virgin olive oil, top w/whole roasted garlic cloves (never raw, too harsh), coarsely cracked black pepper and sea salt. Top w/spoonfuls of a good quality (homemade?) ricotta cheese, slices of butter-sautéed mushrooms (also not raw or the pie will be swimming in ‘shroom goo), a big handful of pecorino romano… and a chiffonade of basil when it comes out of the oven… my mouth is waterin’…”

Mine too, Helga.

Then I started to notice a pattern: steak.

From Mitzy Hileman: “Philly Cheese Steak Pizza!”

From m. Wilkinson: “How about Philly Cheesesteak Pizza… thinly shaved steak, green peppers, mushrooms, onions, provolone cheese OR sausage, goat cheese and roasted red peppers…”

Crystal Buckminster said, “Well, I’m in the mood for steak SO homemade blue cheese dressing as sauce, grilled ribeye sliced up on top, caramelized onions and some shredded asiago on top. MAYBE a side salad to keep it healthy. : )”

All of a sudden, two words appeared in my mind’s eye:

Steak bomb.

Must be my long (20-year) residence in New Hampshire, because the Granite State is home of the Original Steak Bomb sandwich.

Or so says USA Subs in Derry, N.H., which a few years ago sued Great American Subs in neighboring Londonderry, claiming they’d patented the name Steak Bomb and Great American must remove the words from their over-the-counter menu board.

Which would be akin to a Texas ‘que pit patenting the word “barbecue,” and trying to get every other smokehouse in the state to stop using the word.

Ain’t gonna happen.

Anyway, the Steak Bomb; think of it as over-the-top Philly Cheese Steak.

According to Wiki, “A steak bomb is a hot submarine sandwich commonly found in pizza and sub shops throughout the New England area of the United States. A typical over-stuffed sandwich consists of a bed of shaved steak topped with salami, melted provolone, and sautéed onions, bell peppers, and mushrooms on a grilled submarine roll.” Wiki adds, “other variations include pepperoni, sliced ham, capicola, or even bacon.”

Hmmm… How about subbing a thick, crisp-bottom pizza crust for the grilled submarine roll, then topping with Bomb toppings – in the order specified? Shaved steak, salami/pepperoni, provolone, sautéed onions/peppers/mushrooms?

But let’s not stop there; every self-respecting over-the-top pizza needs a shower of cheese on top, so let’s add some melting mozzarella.

The result?

Steak Bomb Pizza!

Don’t worry, USA Subs – we won’t even try to patent the name.

Let’s do it.

First, let’s talk flour. High-protein flour, to be exact.

Sir Lancelot is our highest protein flour, checking in at 14.2%.

So what, you ask. Why do I care how much protein is in my pizza flour? The meat and cheese on top will take care of my protein needs, right?

Sure, YOUR protein needs. But what about your crust? It needs protein, too – in the form of gluten, the elastic substance that allows yeast dough to rise and hold its shape.

When water is added to flour, two proteins – glutenin and gliadin – get together to form gluten. As you knead dough (and as it later rises), this gluten becomes stronger and stronger.

Translation: your dough will be more of a challenge to shape, due to the gluten-induced “snap back” factor; but it should rise like crazy.

If you start your dough with low-protein flour – say, pastry flour – no matter how strong the gluten gets, there simply won’t be enough of it to foster a good, strong rise. The dough will rise a bit, then fall; think leaky balloon.

Enter Lancelot. With its huge amount of protein, dough made with Lancelot will rise high and strong, and continue to rise, without collapsing, longer than any crust made with a lower-protein flour, using a comparable recipe.

Which makes it a good candidate for this over-laden Steak Bomb Pizza.

Put the following in a mixing bowl:

3 3/4 cups (16 ounces) Sir Lancelot High Gluten Flour
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon Pizza Dough Flavor, optional
1 teaspoon instant yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 2/3 to 1 3/4 cups lukewarm water, enough to make a smooth, very soft dough

Mix until well combined.

Knead, using your mixer’s dough hook, for about 7 minutes.

Can you knead this dough using the dough cycle in your bread machine? Absolutely.

Can you knead it by hand?

Sure. It’ll be a challenge, but if you let it rise overnight in the fridge, it’ll continue to develop its gluten – basically, it’ll self-knead – and all should be well by the next day.

The dough will be somewhat soft, and VERY stretchy; that’s the gluten showing its stuff.

Allow the dough to rise, covered, for 1 hour. I like to raise yeast dough in a clear 8-cup measure, so I can track how it’s doing.

After an hour, it will have risen somewhat.

Use the dough immediately; or cover and refrigerate it for up to 24 hours. This will heighten the crust’s flavor. Refrigeration, if only for a few hours, is highly recommended.

Here’s that same dough after 8 hours in the fridge. WOW. And the flavor will be a big WOW, too; a long, slow, cool rise allows yeast to produce organic acids and alcohol, both of which enhance flavor wonderfully.

Lightly grease a large cookie sheet or half-sheet pan (18″ x 13″). Drizzle oil over the bottom of the pan; this will promote a crisp bottom crust.

Remember, GREASE the pan with non-stick vegetable oil spray or shortening before drizzling with oil. The oil is there for flavor and texture, not for its non-stick qualities.

No grease = stuck crust. Trust me on this.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator, and use your hands to gradually stretch it into a large oval. Place it on the pan.

Your goal is to continue to stretch it until it nearly reaches the sides and corners of the pan, but you won’t be able to do this immediately; the dough’s gluten needs to relax. Walk away for about 10 to 15 minutes; you can leave the dough uncovered.

Stretch the dough until it starts to shrink back, then walk away again.

Return, and continue to stretch; by the third time, you should have been able to stretch it just about to the pan’s edges. If not, don’t worry; you’ll just have a slightly thicker crust.

If you’re determined to stretch the dough to the limit, walk away again, then come back and give it another go.

Let the dough rise, covered, for 1 to 2 hours or so, or until it’s noticeably puffy. If it’s been refrigerated, it’ll take longer to rise.

While the dough is rising, prepare your toppings. Here’s what you’ll need:

olive oil
3 medium-large bell peppers: red, green, and/or yellow, mix and match
1 large sweet onion
8-ounce package mushrooms, whole or sliced
8 ounces very rare deli roast beef, sliced thin and cut into 1″ pieces; or 8 ounces shaved steak
pepperoni to cover the roast beef, about 2 to 3 ounces or more
6 ounces provolone cheese, sliced
6 to 8 ounces pizza cheese, Italian cheese blend, or mozzarella

Core the peppers, and cut them in strips. Peel the onion, and cut it into about 12 chunks, separating the “leaves.”

Toss the peppers and onions with olive oil, and place them on a large, rimmed cookie sheet or half-sheet pan.

Bake them in a preheated 400°F oven for about 40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they’re nicely browned. You can also fry them over a burner, if you like.

If the mushrooms are whole, slice them (unless they’re tiny, in which case you can leave them whole). Sauté the mushrooms in olive oil until they’ve given up their liquid, the liquid has evaporated, and they’re starting to brown.

Remove the mushrooms from the heat, and toss them with the peppers and onions.

Roasting the vegetables in the same size pan you use for the pizza crust allows you to see if you have enough to cover the top of the pizza.


Towards the end of the dough’s rising time, preheat your oven to 425°F.

Ah, nicely risen. If you want an even thicker crust (this one will be about 1″ thick), let the dough rise longer.

Bake the untopped pizza crust for 12 minutes…

…until it’s barely beginning to brown.

Remove the crust from the oven, and start adding the toppings.

So, here we go. The first two layers on Da Bomb are supposed to be shaved steak and salami. Many sub shop owners substitute pepperoni for salami. And I’m substituting very rare deli roast beef for the shaved steak.

Why the substitution?

Because I’d rather use thin-sliced roast beef than frozen shaved steak, which is actually more expensive, less flavorful, and less convenient than deli roast beef. And I don’t live near a butcher who’ll shave steak for me. And I’m too lazy to do it myself.

Next, the provolone.

Return the pizza to the oven for about 5 minutes, until the provolone has softened a bit, and maybe started to melt.

Spread those delicious roasted/fried vegetables atop the provolone.

Return the pizza to the oven for about 7 minutes.

Top with the pizza cheese, and bake until the cheese is melted and bubbly, about 5 to 10 minutes.

Remove the pizza from the oven; the crust should be brown, and the cheese melted.

Let it rest for about 10 minutes, then cut and serve.

See that tall, air-pocketed crust? It’s wonderfully light.

One more view, showing the load of ingredients this thick crust supports.

See the beef and pepperoni peeking out below the peppers/onions/mushrooms? You  can even spot a thin layer of provolone atop the pepperoni.

This is definitely a complete meal on a crust!

Read, bake, and review (please) our recipe for Thick Pizza Crust with Steak Bomb Topping.

Print just the recipe.

PJ Hamel

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!


  1. bsteimle

    This looks great. In order to not have to buy yet another flour, can this be done with bread flour and/or semolina and/or vital wheat gluten?

    Try it with bread flour (no vital wheat gluten needed), reducing the water by a tablespoon or two to replicate the dough texture shown in the photos, OK? Good luck – PJH

  2. ebenezer94

    Wow, that isn’t a pizza. It’s a pizza pie. 🙂

    Not being a big fan of beef, I think I would lean more towards Helga’s thought–more like a focaccia than traditional pizza.

  3. archaeogrrrl

    ZOMG, spray the half sheet pan before you add the oil. YOU ARE A GODDESS! I make a really, really lovely kind of focaccia, and since my oven died, I am using pie plates in my toaster oven. Not sure why I neglected to think of the spraying the pan before adding the oil and dough, but thank you. It is rising in the kitchen right now, and I was dreading the removal process (which may include prying, swearing, a burn or two and more swearing).

    The pizza looks so pretty too, lol, thank you very much

    Little things mean a lot, eh? 🙂 PJH

  4. sue

    That looks amazing! Friday is always pizza night at our house. I’m making this tonight! I think I will brush the crust with a little garlic oil before adding the meat…gotta have garlic in there somewhere LOL

    I’m with you, Sue – garlic is ALWAYS a welcome addition! PJH

  5. jcanfiel

    Can KA Bread Flour be subbed? I don’t have the Sir Lancelot, but I do have your bread flour. Are any other adjustments necessary? Can’t wait to try this!

    Yes, just reduce the water by 1 or 2 of tablespoons, to get the dough texture shown – it’ll be fine. Enjoy! PJH

  6. Aaron Frank

    Do pizzas really get a chance to rest for 10 minutes after you take them out of the oven? I have to fight off the fiends with my peel just to get a couple of minutes and that’s mostly so they won’t burn their mouths.

    How would I modify this to use some white whole wheat flour? What else could I add to the mix to add some fiber? Flax? The high fiber maize?

    Is their a way you can add a comparison chart on your website between your different flours that shows things like protein content of the different flours and different uses?

    Hi Aaron! You could definitely use Whole Wheat or WhiteWW in this recipe just fine. I suggest going 1/2 WW and 1/2 Hi-G first, but if you go all the way keep an eye on the moisture content, and adjust accordingly. Those add-ins will be fine as well, I suggest starting with a smaller amount at first and increasing from there as well. We do in fact have a section with explanations on flours, types, grains in general. That can be found right HERE. Have fun with it! ~Jessica

  7. Teresa F.

    Wow, that does look delicious. I like the idea of using deli roast beef to save time. I can’t wait to try this out. I bet it would also be really good with roasted chicken under those vegetables. Yum!! Glad to learn I can pull it off with KA bread flour with some WWWheat. : )

  8. zeebee

    OMG, thanks for the steak idea! my husband thinks pizza must have sauce, so i made a garlic herb cream sauce for ours. then topped it with the deli roast beef and the roasted veggies and cheese. i didn’t include the pepperoni this time, but oh SO good! i think we’ll call it cheesesteak pizza. 😉

  9. Aaron Frank

    Thanks for the pointer Jessica. I was thinking more along the lines of what you see on REI or Amazon where the website creates a chart for me comparing like products.

    The link is cool. I never knew that whole wheat had a lower gluten producing content than the amount of protein listed, for example.


  10. Irene in TO

    Quick pizza sauce: condensed soup right out of the can. You will get 3 pizzas out of one can–you can freeze portions of the soup and just thaw the blob when you need it. Mushroom is real good under roast beef. Cheese soup specially good on a veggie pizza.

  11. junglejana

    Yum! I messed up and used 5 oz of white whole wheat before I noticed, the rest was bread flour. It came out great! The veggies took for ever to brown up but were so sweet it tasted like sugar was in the dough. Thanks another hit at my house!!!!! My son said it smelled like a real good pizza joint in our house 🙂

    Now that’s a nice, healthy “mistake”! Roasting vegetables does indeed bring out their sweetness; I like to toss a whole bunch of root vegetables with olive oil and a bit of salt, and roast until brown. Incredibly tasty. Glad your son gave the pizza a thumbs up- PJH

  12. kaf-sub-mleveene96

    Easy Pumpkin Bread

    Friends thought it was too bland so I substituted 2 teaspoons of pumpkin spice for the 1 teaspoon of nutmeg and they liked it much better.

    Thanks for sharing your flavor preferences with this recipe. We love the exchange that happens here – and throughout our website. Happy Baking! Irene @ KAF

  13. Kim

    I’m thinking definitely focaccia style, too. Those veggies look fantastic all by themselves. Being a vegetarian, that’s how I’d swing, but am definitely keeping this recipe in mind for my carnivore hubby & his three boys!


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