feasting with friends

Michigan Monday: Copycat Little Caesar’s Crazy Bread

crazybread3Little Caesars is one of the largest pizza chains in the United States…but did you know it was founded (and still headquartered) in Michigan. The first store was opened in Garden City, Michigan (a suburb of Detroit) in 1959. Today, it’s headquarters can be found downtown Detroit.

GardenCitymap

The chain was founded by Mike and Marian Ilitch and is still owned by them today. The Ilitch’s also happen to own the Detroit Tigers and the Detroit Red Wings. Not too shabby, huh? Not surprisingly, offerings from Little Caesar’s are available at both Comerica Park (Tigers) and Joe Louis Arena (Red Wings).

Crazy bread was introduced to the world around 1982. And let me tell you, for me, it was love at first bite!

crazybread1Back in my bar and Disco dancing days (yeah, yeah yeah…I’m very old!), Little Caesar’s was always the last stop before home. To the best of my memory, our local Little Caesar’s closed at 2am…as did the bar. You better believe we high-tailed it out of the bar by 1:30 or so in order to get our Crazy Bread before the door was locked!

My partner in crime…I’ll just refer to her as “Ms L” to protect her innocence…and I were 100% convinced that a full order each (yes, that’s 8 breadsticks/each…eek) would ward off day-after hangovers. All of that bread had to soak up the alcohol, right?

crazybread4I don’t even want to think about the calorie content! But…after dancing for 4-6 hours, we must have burned a ton of calories…the bread calories, by this point, couldn’t have counted!

Ms L always ordered hers lightly cooked with extra parmesan. I wasn’t as picky. I just wanted it warm from the oven…hot to the touch…and that heavenly aroma! Oh my…that aroma…buttery, cheesy and a hint of garlic…be still my heart.

We would sit in the car, scarfing down that delicious bread, barely getting out our Oohs and Aahs between bites. By the time the clock struck 2:00, we were satisfied and heading home…sneaking in a few minutes past curfew…shhh…

crazybread2My days of eating an entire order myself are long gone. But I must admit, I do enjoy an occasional breadstick or two. My kids, of course, were introduced to Crazy Bread as well. There was a Little Caesar’s located just around the corner from the softball fields Mandy played at for several summers…how convenient was that?! Even today, there are at least 3 Little Caesar stores within a five mile radius of our home.

I suppose these breadsticks are a part of our dining history at this point. Making them at home is simply the natural progression of things. Eaten alone, as a snack, or as an accompaniment to pasta…there’s always room for a breadstick! Make up your own batch to determine if you’ll be as smitten as me.

Note: I’ve utilized a basic pizza dough recipe for the bread which makes enough dough for 2 batches of crazy bread. If you only desire 8 breadsticks, freeze the other half of dough for another day. The original pizza dough recipe hails from Bobby Flay, here.

Copycat Crazy Bread

  • Servings: 8 breadsticks
  • Time: 1½ hr. prep, 6-8 min bake
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

For the Pizza Dough/Bread:
3½ – 4 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1 envelope instant dry yeast
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1½ cups water, 110°F
2 Tablespoons olive oil
Note: This recipe makes enough dough for 2 batches of crazy bread

For the Butter Sauce:
2 Tablespoons butter, unsalted
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Grated Parmesan cheese for topping

Directions:

For the Pizza Dough/Bread:

Combine the bread flour, sugar, yeast and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook and combine.

While the mixer is running, add the water and olive oil and beat until the dough forms into a ball.

Note: If the dough is sticky, add additional flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together in a solid ball. If the dough is too dry, add additional water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead into a smooth, firm ball.

Lightly coat a large bowl with cooking spray, add the dough. Cover the bowl with a lid or plastic wrap and put it in a warm area to let it double in size, about 1 hour.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide it into 2 equal pieces.

Cover each with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap and let them rest for 10 minutes before proceeding with the recipe.

Preheat the oven to 425 F.

Lightly coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.

Lightly dust your work surface with flour. Roll ½ of the dough (1 ball) into a rectangle, roughly 10x13inches. (Remember, the other 1/2 of dough can be stored in the freezer for another day.) Carefully transfer the dough to your prepared baking sheet.

Using a sharp knife, cut the dough in half down the middle (2 sections); cut each half in half again (you now have 4 pieces); finally, cut each piece in half one more time (8 pieces). Photos are below the recipe.

Bake in preheated oven for 6-8 minutes, or until the top is barely golden. (A quick check of the bottom should be light brown.) Note: for the true Little Caesar’s experience, the bread will appear under-cooked…no fear though, it will be baked through!

While the bread is baking, prepare the butter sauce…

For the Butter Sauce:
Melt the butter (via the stove or microwave). Add the garlic powder and salt, stirring until dissolved.

Finishing the Bread:
Using a pastry brush, coat the baked bread with the garlic butter sauce. (Allow the butter to drip down the sides of each breadstick.)

Sprinkle a generous amount of Parmesan cheese over each breadstick.

Dig in!

Bread recipe adapted from, here.

crazybreadcollage1

Readying the dough for baking.

crazybreadcollage2

Just baked. Brushed with butter sauce and cheese sprinkled.

26 comments

  1. I love breadsticks, Nancy, and have never had them from Little Caesars. I love the butter sauce in your recipe. Yum! That would just take them over the top. It was fun to hear the background on Little Caesars and your experience with them! How nice that you can make them at home now!

  2. Yes, I know of the Ilitch’s and their ties to Detroit sports and pizza. Actually, I cannot believe I still remember! For some time, I lived near a Little Caeser’s here in Chicago and was a frequent customer. Crazy bread was part of the order more times than not. I’ve long since moved away and the nearest Caesar’s is miles from here. Drat! I’ll have to give this recipe a try. Sometimes a guy needs a little nostalgia served with his bread. 🙂

    • How could you forget Detroit “royalty”, John? 😉 They’re still working to make Detroit great again. Quite frankly, I’d rather get my pizza elsewhere… but the bread… I’m still crazy about!

  3. toozesty

    I used to work at a knock off little Caesar’s pizza shop in high school! Everything was little Caesars except the name on the sign and the name on the boxes. If I remember correctly the bread sticks were a small pizza dough brushed with that awesome butter sauce and sprinkled with cheese.Yum, yum yum!

    • Yum, yum, yum indeed! It’s really a very humble recipe, yet for some reason, so good! If I worked where you did, I’d probably have that bread everyday, lol.

  4. We did and still do love our carbs; for you obviously it was the “crazy bread” along with some great memories of your “disco days”. Me, I’ve always been a pizza kind of gal but Domino’s, another great Michigan pizza but from Ann Arbor 🙂

    • Gotta love those carbs! Though, I admit I indulge in pizza quite regularly too! Oh yes…Dominos…we ordered from there frequently back in the day. 😋

  5. Ohhhh those bread sticks looks fantastic, I’ve never been to Little Caesar’s before but I know i would like that crazy bread. I remember the dancing days when I didn’t count calories or fat content,

    • Those were the days, Huh?! All in moderation for me these days! These breadsticks are so basic, but ohhhh so good. 🙂 Thanks, Suzanne…btw, love your new photo!

  6. It looks yummy Nancy – isn’t it great when you can think back and remember certain foods from your bygone days? I’m sure it brought back some wonderful memories for you. 🙂

    • Thanks, Loretta! My girlfriend and I enjoyed a few laughs over those memories and this post! We were in agreement that our bodies probably couldn’t handle the indulgence today as it did then!

  7. I didn’t realize Little Ceasars was founded in Michigan! Crazy Bread was a staple for my roommate and me in our college years. We always ate it very late at night–much in the same vein as you and your friend. 🙂 My kids would love me to try to make something like that at home….thanks for sharing!!

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