Papa Murphy’s Pizza #BehindTheCounter #PapaMurphysMoms
I remember my very first introduction to Papa Murphy’s Pizza. My friends told me about this great new place that made your pizza and you took it home to bake it. I thought, well that’s an interesting idea. This was almost 15 years ago. At that time, there were only 2 other pizza places around. I’ll let you guess who they were.
My friends insisted we try the chicken pizza. I was skeptical because I had never had chicken on a pizza before. Off we went to Papa Murphy’s, stood in line and watched them assemble the Gourmet Chicken Garlic pizza. We then took it back to their apartment and threw it in the oven. Somehow, we ended up burning the crust to complete ashes, but the toppings were delicious! We blamed it on the faulty apartment stove!
Since then, I have always LOVED Papa Murphy’s and my favorite pizza is still the Gourmet Chicken Garlic(I will always call it that even though the name is now Chicken Garlic).
I recently had the opportunity to see what happens behind the counter at Papa Murphy’s with a few other bloggers. This tour made me appreciate Papa Murphy’s Pizza in a way I didn’t think I could. I knew they had fresh ingredients, but I was amazed at just how fresh everything was!
Dan and Wes were our hosts for the morning at the grand opening of Papa Murphy’s on Midway Road in Menasha, WI. They made us feel extremely welcome and were so friendly!
First, they showed us how they make the dough fresh, every day. It doesn’t come pre-prepared or frozen(except for the gluten free dough, that is made by Udi’s). They put the ingredients in an industrial sized mixer and it makes a giant batch at a time. I could totally use that mixer some days in my kitchen!
After the mixer is done, they weigh out balls of dough to ensure everything is uniform. The next step for the balls of dough is to sit and proof(a process of rising) for 8 hours. Yes, that’s right. 8 hours. An employee wakes up nice and early to make this happen.
When the dough is done proofing, they flatten it a bit and put it into a machine that rolls it out flat. Which isn’t as easy as it looks, by the way. It came out of the rolling machine faster than I thought and I missed catching mine! Good thing it landed on the table. Then it is hand stretched the rest of the way, onto the special baking tray. Now they are ready for toppings!
Here comes the amazing part! I knew the toppings were fresh, but I didn’t realize they were local! The cheese comes from a cheese factory 10 minutes from my house! The mushrooms come from a mushroom farm 15 minutes from my house. I even buy mushrooms from that farm! All the produce says “Produce of U.S.A”. How great is that??
Every morning, the employees chop all the fresh vegetables and shred their own cheese. None of that frozen stuff. Just fresh cheese. That’s what makes it taste so much better than the rest!!
The only things that need to be brought in, are the meat because it is all has to be precooked and like I said earlier, the gluten free dough. With the gluten free dough comes extra food safety measures. They take their food prep seriously and want us all to be safe! Hands are washed, gloves are worn and we were no exception.
Now came the really fun part for us! We got to assemble our own pizza! No, we didn’t just throw whatever we wanted onto those pizza’s. They want to make sure the pizza is the same, whether it is made at that particular location or one on the other side of the country. In order to make that happen, they have little cards with the ingredients to each pizza and how much goes on each pizza, according to size.
That’s why, if you watch an employee make your pizza, you will see them using special scoops or weighing certain items out. They want to be sure they aren’t skimping on your toppings!
There is also a line of additional sides to choose from. It can range from salads to cheesy garlic bread to cookie dough to dessert pizza and more! They want to make sure you have everything you need for your meal. And I love me some dessert pizza!! If you haven’t tried the S’mores pizza yet….oh, you need to!
I also loved the fact that they have a strong sense of family! As Dan and Wes were helping us, Dan would refer to “his kids”. I caught on quick he was talking about his employees. It really is great to see them as not just employees, but as ones you care about.
My kids couldn’t wait to see what I brought home for them! They saw the Gourmet Chicken Garlic pizza with added bacon(yup, I did it again…Gourmet!). Then they saw the S’mores dessert pizza(ok, seriously people, haven’t you gone to buy one yet?). But what really had them excited was the Mini Murph. It’s a kid sized pizza they can assemble at home, themselves!
My youngest had a field trip to the pumpkin farm. So he decided, we should make his pizza pumpkin shaped. He had so much fun!!
And here’s a little tip on how I like to get my pizza out of the oven. After it’s baked and ready, I use a cookie sheet to slide under it and scoop it out! This is really handy for the family sized pizza! I had a bad experience once where I dropped the whole pizza upside down in the oven. Never again, my friends! Never again.