Saturday, September 15, 2012

Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza

I recently made a sojourn to Chicago, where I made a point to sample several examples of the famed ‘Deep Dish’ variety of pizza that the city is known for.  Now, I’ve always been more of a New York style pizza guy, but after sampling some pies at places like Giordanos and Lou Malnati’s, I have to say the Chicagoans have something wonderful and tasty going on.  It is very different from New York style, particularly in the sauce and even more so in the crust, and at this point, I’d be hard pressed to pick a favorite between NY and Chicago.  But hey, why choose?  Enjoy both styles.    Choosing one is like choosing between apples and oranges...they just ain’t the same thing.

Anyway, back home in Texas, I couldn’t help but try to make an attempt to clone this wonderful style of pizza here in my own kitchen.   After doing some research over at the extremely informative Pizza Forum, I was ready to attempt to master this baby.

Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza


4 Cups All Purpose Flour
3 oz Semolina Flour
4 tablespoons Butter
4 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 tablespoon Salt
1 tablespoon Active Dry Yeast
8 oz Water

Mix all the dry ingredients, then add the fats.  In a small bowl, warm a little bit of your water (about an ounce or two) to around 105F and stir in the yeast.  Let this sit for about five minutes, then add it, along with the rest of the water, to the flour mixture and knead, either by hand or with a mixer with a dough hook, until all the ingredients are incorporated, then continue to knead for just under a minute.  Place the dough in a covered bowl and place that in the refrigerator overnight, or for up to 24 hours. 

A few hours before you are going to bake your pizza, take the dough out of the fridge and let it warm to room temperature.  It should also rise a little bit during this time. 

When you are ready to bake, pre-heat your oven to 500F (you’ll lower the temp before you bake) and roll out your dough.   Roll it out to about a 14 inch round, then transfer it to an extremely well-oiled (olive or vegetable oil) 12 inch diameter deep dish pizza pan.  Press the dough with your fingers to make sure it is evenly distributed in the pan, then press the dough up the sides of the pan until it forms walls about 1.5 to 2 inches deep. 

Now, you must fill your pizza.  Start by layering slices of mozzarella at the bottom.  

I suppose you could use shredded cheese as well, but the sliced is traditional.  Then layer the rest of your ingredients on top of the mozzarella.  The traditional meat for a Chicago style deep dish pizza is Italian sausage, torn out of its casing and pressed into a layer or patty on top of the mozzarella.  I may try this one day, but to be honest, I’m just not a sausage on my pizza guy, so I went with my favorite topping, pepperoni. 

Finally, spoon your sauce over the top.  

Note, in a Chicago style pizza, the ingredients are sort of reversed from NY and other American styles, which put the sauce on first and the cheese on last.  I’ve surmised that the Chicago style does this because the pies bake for a much longer time than a thinner NY style, and if you didn’t reverse the order, the cheese would burn.  Also note, Chicago style pizza sauce is not a thin puree of tomatoes like on a NY pizza, but is made with large chunks of tomatoes, which cook in your hot over on top of the pizza to form wonderfully rich flavors.  Here’s my simple sauce recipe:


Muir Glen Organic Fire Roasted Chopped Tomatoes, drained:  3 cans (42 oz)
Dried Oregano:  1 tablespoon
Granulated Garlic:  1 tablespoon

Try to find the best quality tomatoes you can get.  The Pizza Forum guys recommend a brand called 6-in-1 tomatoes, but I couldn’t find any, so I went to Central Market and got the Muir Glen.  (I’ve since ordered some 6-in-1’s via mail order.  I will try them and report back)  Drain the tomatoes (otherwise you’ll get soggy pizza) and then stir in the oregano and garlic.   

Lower your oven to 450F, then pop the pizza in.  If you have a pizza stone, feel free to use it.  Let the pizza cook for 20 minutes, then open the oven and turn it a half turn.  At this point you can throw on some last minute toppings, such as the black olives I’ve used here.   Let it cook for 15 more minutes.

At this point, the crust on the sides should be crisp, golden-brown, and slightly pulled away from the sides.  Let the pizza rest five minutes or so, then slice and serve. 

 Right out of the oven.

Ready to slice!

First slice.

The crust is golden brown and crispy on the bottom, tender and flaky in the middle.  Mmmm, delish!

Until next time, 

When the moon hits your eye, like a big pizza pie, that's Amore!