Sunday, January 24, 2016

Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza

My first disclaimer is this: I have never been to Chicago. Therefore, I have never eaten authentic pizza in Chicago. A few years ago, I bookmarked the America's Test Kitchen version of this pizza, because it looked so good and I really wanted to make it!

One of my former student's, who is from Chicago, was lamenting that finding authentic Chicago style pizza in California has been  fruitless, for her. She described the pizza as being buttery and crunchy on the outside, with ooey gooey cheese in the middle. Her eyes took on that dreamy look that I get when I recall, and describe in great detail,  one of the best things I've ever eaten. That was it. It was time to make the pizza.

What's missing are my usual step-by-step photos. In the winter, I lose the natural photography light, during the dinner hours. So sorry... The pizza crust ingredients include all-purpose flour, of course (I use King Arthur Flour unbleached), cornmeal, yeast, salt and a few others (printable recipe is at the end of this post).

It's the technique of rolling the dough that is a little different. The dough is laminated, and that means it's rolled out and then slathered with softened butter, then folded--creating layers of dough and butter, and then it's chilled.  You then roll the dough into a cake pan, coated with olive oil. The laminated dough (similar to puff pastry) creates steam pockets creating lots of flaky layers.

While the dough is rising, you make a fairly simply pizza sauce with crushed tomatoes, fresh basil and a few other aromatics.

Most of us non-Chicago pizza lovers are used to layering cheese on top of our pizza. In this case, it's the reverse. Freshly grated mozzarella is layered on top of the crust and then topped with pizza sauce, and then given a layer of freshly grated Parmesan cheese. NOTE: the blackened areas is caramelized tomato pizza sauce, and it was actually quite good!

This recipe makes two 9" pizzas, so it's perfect for a Super Bowl party.  I didn't add pepperoni, but next time I think I'll do that for my meat eating boys.

It took about two hours to make the pizza, from start to finish. Best of all, it was delicious!

TASTING NOTES:  I tend to prefer a thin crust pizza, and if it's baked in a wood fire, even better!  However, this thick crust had a tender texture, with a little crunch on the outside. The butter gave the dough a lot of rich flavor.  The sauce was very "tomato-ey" and  thick. I took a shortcut and bought pre-shredded mozzarella. I won't do that, again, because it didn't melt as much as if I had shredded it myself (pre-shredded cheese tends to have an additive that inhibits the ability to full melt). No biggie, because it still tasted great.  Would I make this again? You bet!  Someday, if I ever get the chance to visit Chicago, I'm going to make it my personal mission to try the real deal.  I have no idea if this pizza hit the mark for Chicagoans, but this California girl thinks that melted cheese in the middle rocks it!

Here is the printable recipe. 

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Anonymous said...

We love this pizza, and I've never been to Chicago, either. LOL! I actually like it best with pre-cooked spicy Italian sausage.

Matt said...

Debby -

I've followed your blog for two years now, and this is the first time I've posted, because Chicago-style deep dish pizza is a passion of mine (I'm a St. Louisan; close enough to get it occasionally, but far enough away to need to cook it myself to eat it regularly), and I have previously used the ATK recipe you show. I find it makes a 'good' pizza, but not a *great* pizza, and if you have the ability to make dough and let it chill out in the fridge for a day or two (or four), you can make a *great* pizza without having to go through the trouble of folding/laminating the dough.
(a link to my favorite dough recipe, if allowed: ...this is not mine, and I'm making no money or anything by sharing)

Also, I find that an uncooked pizza sauce gives a great pop of tomato flavor to a deep dish pizza; since you're in California, I would think you should have no problem finding "fresh packed" crushed or ground tomatoes - drain a can in a strainer and put it on top of the cheese - no fuss, no muss. You can season with oregano or other herbs if you like. (here in the Midwest, I have to go to specialty Italian shops to get Stanislaus fresh packed canned tomato products)

Next, you can save time on shredding your own cheese - just use cheese slices instead! You can buy pre-packed or from the deli counter, and it doesn't come caked in "cellulose" like pre-shredded cheese does (to prevent caking; this is why pre-shredded doesn't melt as easily or uniformly). Just put your slices on top of the dough before adding your toppings. I use mozzarella and provelone as well as occasionally adding muenster as well (muenster is not authentic Chicago; I happened to have some extra in my fridge and found I liked its 'meltyness').

Last, your meat-eating boys will definitely love added toppings! Sausage is the "authentic" Chicago topping, but pepperoni is great, too! Since the pizzas have to cook for so long, you can actually add the sausage raw, as long as you make sure to portion it out thin enough (it took me a little bit before I was brave enough to try it raw). Pepperoni definitely needs to go under the tomatoes (or you need to be ready to top the pizza with foil if necessary), as the long cooking time will burn it on top. One tip for any veggies you might want to add - try pre-cooking in the microwave for a few minutes to work out excess moisture; the water the veggies give off tend to sog up the pizza.

Again, thanks for a great blog! I love your Bavarian recipes, and I'm glad to read a post on a favorite of mine, with a recipe I've already tried!


Debby Foodiewife said...

Dear Matt,
Thanks for a such an informative comment! Really. Thank you. Like I said, I've never had the real Chicago style pizza, so I was baking "blind". I do buy fresh mozzarella at Whole Foods or even at Trader Joe's, so that's worth a try. I was being lazy, when I bought pre-shredded cheese. While the cheese was still melted, and good, your suggestions would kick it up a whole lot more! Good crushed tomatoes are a challenge to find, and sometimes I'll find some at my local Cost Plus. Uncooked, huh? Okay, I'm game to try that route. Thanks for writing to me, and I appreciate your kind comments.

Amy said...

Having lived in Chicago for almost 20 years, I think your recipe is spot on!

Debby Foodiewife said...

Awww, thank you, Amy! America's Test Kitchen is one of my most trusted recipe sources.

Big Dude said...

Looks good Debbie and if I ever get up to Chicago I plan to have one of their hot dogs and a deep dish pizza,

Cathy at Wives with Knives said...

Hi Debby, I go to Chicago often and your deep dish pizza looks completely authentic and delicious. I like deep dish but I prefer a thin, crispy crust. We don't see deep dish very often on a menu out here. I have made many of your recipes and they always turn out so good. I know this recipe will be delicious. I agree with you about the grated cheese. I usually don't like the way it looks when it melts. Your photos are making me hungry.

Ciao Chow Linda said...

I have eaten deep dish pizza in Chicago and yours looks just as good. I used to make this years and years ago and now I'm remembering how we all loved it. I have to get back to making it - especially while there's snow on the ground. It was always a big hit.

Karen (Back Road Journal) said...

I've been to Chicago but never had the pizza there. I'm like you and prefer thin crust pizza. Having said that...after looking at your photos, I think I would enjoy a slice of your pizza. It looks delicious.

Karen (Back Road Journal) said...

I've been to Chicago but never had the pizza there. I'm like you and prefer thin crust pizza. Having said that...after looking at your photos, I think I would enjoy a slice of your pizza. It looks delicious.

Debbie said...

Having lived near Chicago my whole life, this recipe is similar to Uno's pizza. I prefer thin crust, so I go to Giordanos's for their Chicgo style pizza. It is a stuffed thin crust pizza that is wonderful! I moved to Colorado and am missing that pizza!