Making dough at Murray State

Published in FSD Update

Who doesn’t love a good pizza? The dining services team at Murray State University, in Kentucky, wanted to create a better tasting pie, so the team decided the best way to accomplish this was by making its own dough in house. “I didn’t think our pizza program, especially in a cash operation serving students, faculty and staff, was as good as it should be,” says Paula Amols, director, dining services and Racer Hospitality. “The better doughs that could be bought would make the price of a slice of pizza too expensive for this market, so making our own was the only other option.”

It was a team effort to determine how the pizza would be composed. “We have a relatively new cook who has done scratch pizza dough in the past, so we tried her recipe, one from [our chef] and one from a chef at another university. We settled on the first one, then started experimenting with different sauces, finally deciding on a marinara sauce. Then for the cheese, we switched from 100 percent mozzarella to a five-cheese blend,” Amols shares. After some training and practice preparing the fresh dough and working with the hearth stone oven, the new pizzas were introduced at the start of the spring semester within the new dining center, which was renovated last summer.

The dough is prepared fresh each morning by dining services staff.  Customers “can see us stretching it by hand, so they know it’s fresh, and because it’s so fresh, it has a rustic look when baked because they’re not preformed or mechanically pressed,” Amols says.

The offering is a hit, and students have dubbed it “the best pizza in town,” she adds. So far sales have increased about 10 percent and go up each week as the word gets out. “I don’t think you can underestimate the impact on customers of providing fresh products like this. When [students] see us making it, their perception changes about the other food we put out, and they believe us when we tell them that much of what we provide is made from scratch.”

In addition to personal pizzas, the team is “playing with cinnamon and sugar dessert breadsticks and a cheesy Parmesan breadstick. Calzones are something I hope to have us do in the future,” Amols adds. 

More From FoodService Director

Menu Development
sam kass peter romeo

We’ve heard it time and again—millennials are extremely conscious about what they eat. They want to know what is in their food, where it is from, how it was made and more. And, as we’re learning, Gen Zers are even more aware and information-demanding about the food they eat than their older counterparts.

Hitting those higher-quality food standards is no easy feat. But it’s becoming a must, said chef Sam Kass—known for being the White House chef for the Obamas, a senior White House policy advisor on nutrition policy while he cooked, and currently the senior food analyst for NBC News...

Sponsored Content
chicken veggies recipes

From Tyson Food Service.

With operators becoming increasingly strapped for time and labor, it’s a strain to prepare every aspect of a menu item back-of-house or keep the menu populated with a variety of options. While it doesn’t mean they have to cut corners when developing new items, operators can use more versatile items that are simple enough to apply across the menu to save on labor and cost as well as be more efficient.

With versatile proteins, operators can increase menu opportunities without kitchen complexity, and drive new customer traffic or increase the number...

Industry News & Opinion

An audit into Kennesaw State University’s dining services revealed the university accrued roughly $2 million from off-campus students paying for meal plans as part of their semester fees, according to a report by Fox 5 Atlanta .

Meal plans at the Kennesaw, Ga., university are automatically assessed to students whether they live on campus or not. The university does not refund unused meals, draining the pockets of commuter students each semester.

“I think it’s ridiculous that we pay all this tuition and then we’re here paying another big fee,” commuter student Emmanuel...

Industry News & Opinion

As part of a 10-year contract to run Eastern Michigan University’s foodservice, Chartwells will invest $5 million in the Ypsilanti, Mich., university, as well as provide it with $18 million in capital improvements, according to a report by the Detroit Free Press .

The university’s board of regents approved the contract on Tuesday, citing the new revenue as an opportunity to expand and improve campus foodservice. EMU’s website indicates the partnership will allow for more student input as well as the introduction of food trucks and improved technology.

“The primary reason...

FSD Resources