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www.goodeatsfanpage.com • View topic - Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza - A Primer

Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza - A Primer

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Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza - A Primer

Postby Slamdunkpro » Sun Mar 08, 2009 1:23 am

The Pie
Mmmmm, Chicago deep dish Pizza. A deep pool of luscious goodness! Fresh sweet tomatoes, various toppings, cheese and a tender biscuit like crust. Uno’s, Lou Malnati’s, Giordano’s; the names invoke wistful expressions at their very mention. Chicago deep dish is different that what most people think of when you say deep dish. Deep dish does not equal thick crust. Thicker than New York Style and less chewy, yet not the thick bready “Sicilian Style”.
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Pans
The pan is a critical element of Chicago style pizza. You need a pan that allows the center of the pie to cook through, while at the same time allowing the crust on the sides and bottom to brown and finish before the top scorches and burns. To this end I prefer the 2-inch deep tin coated steel pans made by American Metal Crafters. These pans are available at most restaurant supply stores or over the Internet. I’ve found that aluminum pans - both plain and black anodized tend to cook the side and bottom too slowly. Don’t despair if you already have an aluminum pizza pan, you can cover the top of the pie with aluminum foil once it reaches its desired doneness to prevent it from burning while you wait for the sides and bottom to get done. If you don’t want to purchase a specific pan to try a pizza, a well seasoned cast iron skillet will work, but you’ll want to lower the oven heat and watch the pie carefully to insure the crust doesn’t burn.

If purchasing steel pans you’ll want to season and treat them in the same manner as a cast iron skillet.

There are two pan styles generally available; straight side and tapered side. While tapered pans allow easier removal of the pie, straight sided pans are more authentic and cook a little more evenly.

Examples

Aluminum pan with tapered sides.
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Steel Pans
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The two steel pans shown are a 7 inch and a 14 inch. The 7 inch will easily feed 2 people and the 14 will feed 6-8. A 10 inch is a nice compromise in that it will feed a group and not be too difficult to remove from the pan.

The Crust
Chicago style pizza crust is a firm bready crust with a biscuit like texture. While no major Chicago pizzerias use cornmeal in their dough, it’s easier to get the proper texture at home by incorporating it into the dough. Plus, I just like the additional taste.

Dough Ingredients
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If you want that authentic yellow tint to the dough so famous in Chicago, add 4 or 5 drops of yellow food coloring to the water before adding (yep, that's right, it's just food coloring)
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In a mixing bowl, add the water, sugar, yeast, flour, cornmeal, and salt.
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Mix on low speed for a couple of minutes until dough comes together.
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Once the dough starts to come together, slowly add the oil.
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Mix on medium speed for 6 additional minutes.

The dough should be somewhat wet and smooth, but not sticky. The dough should weigh about 916 grams (for a 14 inch pie).
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Form the dough into a ball and place in a bowl. Loosely and completely cover with plastic wrap and then a dish towel and put the refrigerator for an overnight rise.
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The next day

Pre heat your oven to 450 degrees (non convection mode) at least 30 minutes prior to baking.

Take the dough out of the refrigerator about one hour prior to making the pizza - you want it to be somewhat cool and firm so it will hold it's shape in the pan.
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Coat the bottom of a well seasoned deep dish pan with butter flavored shortening.
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Don't skimp on the shortening
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We want a dough thickness of about 3/16's to 1/4 inch across the entire pan.
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One way of testing that is to take a Sharpie and mark a chef's knife at the proper level...
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then gently insert the knife tip into the dough to test the thickness.
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Place the dough ball in the center of the pan and press it out until it covers the entire bottom.
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You want to use your fingers to form a lip as you go, this will be pulled up to form the sides.
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The edge should be pinched up against the side of the pan.

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If the dough resists holding it's shape, cover with a towel and let rest for 15 to 20 minutes before trying again. A little dough over the top of the pan is a good thing as there will be a little shrinkage.
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Finished dough
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you can see that the over pinched dough has shrunk back down to the correct level
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The fixin's
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Cheese
Slice down some part skim mozzarella about a 1/4 inch or so per slice. Whole milk mozzarella has too much moisture and will release a lot of liquid during cooking making the crust soggy and the sauce runny.
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Layer the cheese in the bottom of the pan covering as much of the surface of the dough as possible.
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The sliced cheese acts as a moisture barrier and allows the bottom of the pie to cook correctly. Shredded cheese should not be used.
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At this point you can add your favorite topping, in this example we are adding home made Italian sausage and pepperoni.

Pepperoni
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Sausage - most Chicago pizzerias add raw sausage since the sausage will have plenty of time to fully cook in the oven. If you want to brown it first, feel free.
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Time to sauce
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The sauce
Canned crushed tomatoes and a touch of sweet basil. That's it. The best canned tomatoes that I've found are the 6-in-1 brand, they have the sweetness lacking in most canned tomatoes and don't have a lot of surplus water. If they are not available locally they can be ordered off the internet (see the source list). Believe me, they're worth it. I've found that most other brands need to be strained in order to remove some of the water before using.
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Sauce the pizza and use the ladle to work the sauce down into the toppings
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Leave a little room at the top (about a 1/2 inch) of the pie to allow for the bottom dough to rise so that your sauce doesn't overflow.
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Sprinkle some sweet basil on the top of the sauce when finished. (If you are wondering about the lone pepperoni on top - this pizza was only half sausage - the pepperoni indicated the sausage half.)
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Use your ladle to work the basil into the sauce a little so that it won't burn
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Place in the center on the bottom rack of the oven and cook for 25 to 30 minutes, turning once half way through. Use a spatula to slightly push the edge of the pie away from the pan to check for doneness.
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Remove from the oven and let cool for about 3 minutes.
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Removal
Getting these pies out of the pan in one piece requires a little practice. For larger pies 12 inches and up it's difficult to the the pie out in one piece. For large pies, cutting it in the pan is usually the best bet. A fish spatula is an excellent tool for this.
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With a little practice it is possible to remove even the large pies from the pan in one piece.
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In order to get the pie out in one piece you will need two tools, a pizza pan grabber and a flexible cake spatula.
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Grab the pan with the grabber.
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Work the cake spatula around the sides of the pie to loosen it.
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Tilt the pan slightly and work the spatula in at an angle; you then want to push the spatula under the pie (this will cause the pie to lift slightly)
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Once the spatula has slipped under the bottom of the pie
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Quickly lift it out.
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You want to do all the above in one motion, it's sort of a grip; tilt; slip/lift; flip motion.

If you are doing a larger pie you might want to have 2 larger spatulas handy (grill spatulas work well here). Insert the cake spatula on one side and lift the pie, then insert one of the grill spatulas. Repeat on the other side and use the grill spatulas to lift the pizza out. With a little practice you can use one grill spatula, and tilt the pan quickly, sort of flopping the pie out in one motion.

These pizza freeze really well, and will keep in the freezer up to 6 months with little loss of quality. Tip: a 7 inch pie fits perfectly in a 1 gallon food saver bag. If your are going to vacuum pack your pizzas, make sure they are fully cooled (I like to refrigerate them over night) and use a Foodsaver with the insta-seal option to avoid crushing the pie.

Enjoy!
Last edited by Slamdunkpro on Sun Mar 08, 2009 9:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby nolafoodie » Sun Mar 08, 2009 4:46 am

Thanks much, SDP.

Question: what would happen if one were to use olive oil instead of corn oil?
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Postby Grovite » Sun Mar 08, 2009 9:31 am

Excellent!!
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Postby Slamdunkpro » Sun Mar 08, 2009 11:27 am

nolafoodie wrote:Thanks much, SDP.

Question: what would happen if one were to use olive oil instead of corn oil?


Olive oil will give the dough an "off" taste unless you use light olive oil.
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Postby Pixietoes » Sun Mar 08, 2009 2:04 pm

Beautiful work, Slam. Thanks!
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Postby Painaxl » Tue Mar 10, 2009 2:03 pm

SDP, this is EXACTLY the type of tutorial I hoped would fill this section. GREAT JOB!
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Postby LucyLu » Wed Apr 29, 2009 12:49 pm

Do you have an ingredient formula for a 10'' pizza pan? Or should I just make the 14'' recipe and use a little less of the finished dough?

Thanks dude! Great tutorial!!!

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Postby Slamdunkpro » Wed Apr 29, 2009 1:17 pm

A 10 inch x 2 inch pan should work out to:

AP Flour---------100.0%- 439.2g
Water------------61.1% - 268.4g
Yellow CM-------19.4% - 85.2g
Oil----------------19.4% - 85.2g
sugar-------------2.1% - 9.2g
Salt---------------1.4% - 6.1g
IDY----------------1.1% - 4.8g

Finished dough ball should be around 898g
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Re: Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza - A Primer

Postby EricE » Wed Apr 29, 2009 5:33 pm

Excellent tutorial. Now why didn't I buy some pans when we were at restaurant depot?

Slamdunkpro wrote:If your are going to vacuum pack your pizzas, make sure they are fully cooled (I like to refrigerate them over night) and use a Foodsaver with the insta-seal option to avoid crushing the pie.


Or if you are food saver OCD like I am, freeze it in a regular zip-loc bag and after it's frozen hard (usually overnight) move it from the zip-loc to a food saver bag and vacuum seal it.
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Postby Parrothead » Mon Aug 17, 2009 9:16 am

I do a variation on these - I use the GE Pizza Pizza dough recipe, and shredded cheese works fine.

I wonder...if you used a large good quality springform pan if it would work easier to get the pizza out.

I think a test is in order.
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Postby Myrealana » Mon Aug 17, 2009 3:43 pm

Is there any reason why you couldn't use a spring form pan?
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Re: Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza - A Primer

Postby Champagne Charlie » Fri Sep 18, 2009 9:23 pm

I got the pie pan a few months ago, but just got around to trying it out now. This is an outstanding procedure! The pie is perfect, and I may never go out for a Chicago style pie again. Thanks so much!
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Re:

Postby nolafoodie » Mon Sep 21, 2009 3:50 pm

Myrealana wrote:Is there any reason why you couldn't use a spring form pan?


Bump -- good question!
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Re:

Postby Slamdunkpro » Mon Sep 21, 2009 5:48 pm

Myrealana wrote:Is there any reason why you couldn't use a spring form pan?

I guess you could. You'd have to season it and I don't know if the crust would brown properly in a spring form.
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Re: Re:

Postby mhalbrook » Mon Sep 21, 2009 6:14 pm

Slamdunkpro wrote:
Myrealana wrote:Is there any reason why you couldn't use a spring form pan?

I guess you could. You'd have to season it and I don't know if the crust would brown properly in a spring form.


Only one way to find out :) I think my dough I make @ Church is adequate to this task, I'll just go with a 5 batch rather than a 4 batch, and hopefully I remembered to return the springform to the kitchen lol. It's technically mine, like almost all the decent stuff in the kitchen, but since all my good stuff is there anyway, It does me little good here :D
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Re: Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza - A Primer

Postby Dana » Tue Sep 22, 2009 12:32 pm

I'm with SDP on the steel pans. I use them every weekend at work - and they get nicely seasoned. If I decide to make a deep dish at home, I'll borrow some from work. I would use my seasoned cast iron before trying a springform. (If the crust is made right, like SDP's, the pizza will slide right out with a spatula.)

At work, our dough is pretty similar. Same texture/moisture. I'm guessing similar gluten level. We do use light olive oil. Also some garlic salt, oregano and basil for a garlic herb crust. We add the dough ingredients in a different order. However the finished product looks very much like SDP's.

Each week I make 12-15 "stuffed pizzas." (A bit different from "deep dish" - though you will sometimes hear the names used interchangeably. And, Chicago Style could be either stuffed or deep dish - depending on which Chicagoan you ask.) Our sauce goes first, romano, sausage or pep next, then our shredded mozz/provolone mix. Then a very thin lid crust. And, a ladle of sauce.

Our sauce is similar.
Crushed, seasonings, bit of paste to thicken, salt, sugar.

SDP, those look outstanding.
Truly outstanding.
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Re:

Postby repmogirl » Mon Oct 12, 2009 8:21 pm

Slamdunkpro wrote:A 10 inch x 2 inch pan should work out to:

AP Flour---------100.0%- 439.2g
Water------------61.1% - 268.4g
Yellow CM-------19.4% - 85.2g
Oil----------------19.4% - 85.2g
sugar-------------2.1% - 9.2g
Salt---------------1.4% - 6.1g
IDY----------------1.1% - 4.8g

Finished dough ball should be around 898g


This is Saturday night's dinner plan... we'll be doing 10" x 2. Any other helpful hints?
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Re: Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza - A Primer

Postby shenanigater » Sat Dec 26, 2009 1:18 pm

Hello!

Long time lurker, first time poster. Go easy on me, it's my first time. ;)

This is an excellent demo, well written, great visual aids, and what looks like an awesome recipe. I'm definitely gonna try it. But I have a question, and it is as follows---

I'd like to try this in my cast iron skillet. However, I know cast iron is slower to heat up, and it dishes it out differently than a cake pan. So, what procedural differences, temperature, and cooking times would you recommend for a cast iron skillet?

Thank you very much, and I look forward to contributing in a positive way to the discussions on this board!

Cheers--- jp
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Re: Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza - A Primer

Postby Slamdunkpro » Sat Dec 26, 2009 7:39 pm

shenanigater wrote:Hello!

Long time lurker, first time poster. Go easy on me, it's my first time. ;)

This is an excellent demo, well written, great visual aids, and what looks like an awesome recipe. I'm definitely gonna try it. But I have a question, and it is as follows---

I'd like to try this in my cast iron skillet. However, I know cast iron is slower to heat up, and it dishes it out differently than a cake pan. So, what procedural differences, temperature, and cooking times would you recommend for a cast iron skillet?

Thank you very much, and I look forward to contributing in a positive way to the discussions on this board!

Cheers--- jp


Welcome!

Cast iron skillet tips
  • Make sure your cast iron is well seasoned
  • Make sure you use plenty of shortening
  • Cast iron skillets aren't as deep so you'll use slightly less dough(you'll have some left over")
  • Go 25-50 degrees cooler your first time - cast iron will brown the bottom of the pie much quicker
  • The sloped sides of the CI will make removing the pie easier
Hope these help
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Re: Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza - A Primer

Postby shenanigater » Sun Dec 27, 2009 1:57 pm

That they did, sir--- thank you kindly!

I'll try this soon, and post pics of the results. It looks great as it is, can't wait!
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Re: Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza - A Primer

Postby Unknown Foodie » Mon Jan 18, 2010 6:23 pm

I was watching Emeril Live on FLN a week ago and he was making pizzas. I had to laugh when he made his version of Deep Dish "Chicago pizza since he assembled it exactly the same as the New York style he made previously. Yes, he put the sauce on the bottom, the meat/veggies in the middle and the cheese on top. Through the magic of television, it came out of the oven, after a supposed 35 minutes, with the cheese perfectly browned and not burnt. It must be Magic!
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