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Chicago Deep Dish Pizza Recipe | Master & Cook Your Own

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Pizzas come in all shapes and sizes, big and small, cheesy and dry, vegetarian and meat lover. But no style of pizza has ever caused as much controversy and infighting, than the infamous Chicago deep dish style Pizza.

Deviating from the norm of adding marinara sauce on top of pizza dough, followed by the cheese and toppings, the Deep Dish pizza flips the script by adding cheese directly on top of the pizza dough, cooking the pizza and then adding the marinara sauce on top.

I know, defies all logic, has absolutely no rhyme or reason to its existence, but in the famous words of every jack of all trades, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. Despite it defying the laws of all things pizza, the deep dish pizza works. And millions of people go out and enjoy it every day.

close-up image of deep dish style pizza

And so today, despite the controversy this may put me in, and all the death threats New York style pizza lovers might send me, I am going to present the best recipe for making Chicago Style deep dish pizza.

History of the Deep Dish

At Pizzeria Uno’s original location in Chicago, deep-dish pizza was created in 1943. Ike Sewell, one of the Pizzeria Uno founders, is credited with inventing it, but some argue that pizza maker Rudy Malnati and/or cook Alice May Redmond were responsible.

When Sewell and Riccardo founded Pizzeria Due a block away in 1955, they changed the name of their first store from Pizzeria Uno, which had previously been called as The Pizzeria and then Pizzeria Riccardo (after a different founder named Ric Riccardo).

Along with Uno and Due, other well-known deep-dish eateries include the now-closed Original Gino’s Pizza, which debuted in 1954. In 1966, Alice May Redmond and her sister Ruth Hadley were employed as chefs at Gino’s East. It is still regarded as one of the top places to get deep-dish pizza.

Other establishments that provide deep-dish pizza include Connie’s, Edwardo’s, Pizano’s (owned by Rudy Malnati Jr.), and Lou Malnati’s (which was started by Rudy Malnati’s son from his first marriage, Lou, and is currently controlled by his grandsons).

Deep Dish Pizza Method:

The dough:

So let’s get started with the foundation of our pizza; the crust we are starting with 8 and an a quarter ounces of room-temperature water to which we’re going to add one packet or two and a quarter teaspoons of active dry yeast along with a teaspoon of sugar which is going to act as a nice little snack for our yeast while we let it bloom for 10 minutes.

This is both a way to jumpstart your yeasts efficacy and make sure that it’s alive and well. After 10 minutes if you got some nice foamy junk on the top you are ready to start adding the other ingredients.

First we are going to whisk together the dry stuff; 12 and a half ounces of all-purpose flour, two and a half ounces of medium grind cornmeal, one and a half teaspoons of kosher salt, and an eighth of a teaspoon of cream of tartar.

Go ahead and whisk to combine, make sure that everything is all good and homogenous and then it is time to get it wet or rather add it to the wet ingredients. So into the bowl with the yeast, the water and sugar it goes along with one third of a cup plus 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil.

 Fix a dough hook on your stand mixer above the bowl and get to stir. Out of all the dough mixers that I have tried, I just love this one by the Kitchen Aid. Anyhow, you can also see my detailed recommendations on the best dough mixers.

We are just going to let this go on low speed for one or two minutes, until it clears the side of the bowl and then we are going to crank up the speed to medium and let it knead for seven to eight minutes.

mixing deep dish pizza dough in stand mixer

During this time the dough may appear soft and sticky but just let it go and it should become smooth and elastic and supple.

But even if you measure everything exactly it might end up a little bit too hydrated, a lot like mine did when I first tried out this recipe – not to worry because we’re just going to turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for an additional one to two minutes until a nice, soft, tacky, but not sticky consistency is achieved.

Continue shaping it and you will see that it becomes light and bouncy, and a lot more easy to handle by the average joe.

Stretch it into a taught little ball that we are going to let rise in a lightly oiled bowl. Like most pizza dough’s, it will become even more easy to handle after hanging out in the bowl for sixty to ninety minutes or until doubled in size.

Just give it a little toss around to make sure that it’s coated completely with oil, cover with plastic wrap and let it hang out at room temperature for about an hour, until it looks like it has doubled in size.

deep dish pizza dough in a bowl after resting for some time

The baking Vessel

Most Chicago deep dish pizzerias generally use aluminum pans to get signature crust, however, at home, your best bet is using a cast iron pan with tall sides.

You can also buy the deep dish pans dedicated for pizza making from here.

Generously lubricate the pan with vegetable oil, this will help develop that beautiful brown crust we all know and love.

oiling the black pizza pan with brush

Grease up your hands as well and place your proofed dough into the cast iron pan and gently start coaxing it into the shape of a pizza, just gently press and stretch the dough out and try to push it up against the sides of the pan.

It is going to resist a little at first but that’s okay we’re going to let this rest under the cover of a plastic wrap for 20 to 30 minutes, until the gluten relaxes, and we can more properly form the crust.

setting the pizza dough inside and against the sides of the pan

The Sauce

Chicago style tomato sauce is generally very thick and sweet and has big old chunks of tomato in it. So we are starting with one twenty eight ounce can of whole San Marzano tomatoes. Putting them in a bowl and crushing them by hand until they’re down to bite-sized pieces.

Some people claim that Chicago style pizza uses uncooked marinara sauce, but I just don’t think that’s possible and that tomatoes don’t really become sauce until you cook them.

So we are just going to make a rudimentary marinara sauce by finely chopping half a white onion nice and fine, we don’t want big old chunks of onion, and smashing and peeling a few cloves of garlic in preparation for crushing.

Into a high-walled sauté pan we are going to add a few tablespoons of olive oil that we are going to heat over medium heat until shimmering, adding our chopped onions and sweating for two to three minutes or until translucent around the edges.

Adding our crushed garlic and sautéing for an additional minute until fragrant. Add a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes, a little shake of oregano and a little shake of basil, along with two to three tablespoons of tomato paste to deepen the flavor.

We are going to sauté that together for an additional minute until everything smells nice and really good. Then we’re going to add the crushed tomatoes along with a tablespoon of sugar to achieve that nice sweet Chicago style sauce.

preparing the new york style pizza sauce

Simmering for 20 to 30 minutes stirring regularly to prevent scorching, over medium heat until the raw tomato flavor has cooked off and the sauce is nice and thick and when you drag a spoon through it, it parts like the Red Sea.

Preparing for the Oven

While the sauce is made, the dough will have had sufficient time to develop gluten, and should be nice and relaxed, letting you press it more into shape more easily. It should also hold its shape up more easily.

Every Chicago pizza I’ve ever seen uses sliced deli style cheese, so we are going to start with a thin layer of provolone followed by a nice thick layer of sliced low-moisture mozzarella.

I think they use the deli style cheese because it inherently has less moisture, which you don’t want in a pizza this thick and badass. So feel free to go a little bit overboard with the cheese, especially if you want an epic cheese stretch.

And as the legend so devastatingly point out; the sauce goes confoundingly on top of the cheese. So go ahead and generously smear it on top.

Once the cheese is all hidden, we are going to hit the pizza with two finishing moves. First a generous sprinkling of pre grated Parmesan

And then a generous drizzling of olive oil, both on the sauce and around the edge of the crust. Because it’s not like we’re trying to be healthy here I mean this pizza weighs like five six pounds, at least.

And with that, our pizza is finally ready to enter into the oven.

Baking

Preheat your oven to 4250 Fahrenheit. Some people might suggest a lower or higher temperature, but in my experiments, I found this to be the best temperature for best pizza baking.

Bake for twenty five to thirty five minutes, rotating once when inside. And your pizza should come out red and bubbly.

Run a thin spatula around the edges of the pizza, in between the crust and the pan. Now remember, the pizza is heavy. So be very careful in trying to get it out of the pan and onto your work surface.

freshly cooked Chicago style deep dish pizza

Let it rest for 10 minutes, you may eat it immediately, like I did, but it would be much better if you waited a bit. This will help the pizza stick together better and overall will not feel like a sloppy mess when you are eating it.

Remarks:

The first time I baked this pizza, I was very nervous about it tasting like runny sauce and cheese. However, after eating it I had different opinions.

Despite the stringiness of this affair, it was completely delicious. The cheese of course was cheesy, the sauce of course was saucy, but the crust is what separates a good Chicago style from bad Chicago style.

The crust is light and crunchy and has a nice chew to it without being ready or stodgy I know I didn’t use butter in the crust, but it is somehow buttery and flaky. And everything in life just feels much better.

Benefits of the Deep Dish Pizza

1.      Filling

Rest easy, stomachs! Deep dish pizza is so filling because each slice is so thick and packed with stuff. (In contrast to a slice of thin crust, which could appear more like a snack than a meal.) This implies that one pie will also go a very long way, allowing you to share pizza with friends and family.

2.      Fits more toppings

Regular pizza is flat, so there isn’t much room for toppings. Anything that does go to the top is thinly chopped in order to cook fast. Deep dish pies cook for a significantly longer period of time and the thicker crust may support heavy toppings.

These additional toppings actually slow down digestion and reduce the glycemic index, which measures how quickly your body breaks down carbohydrates. This implies that deep dish may not only keep you satisfied but also aid in weight loss.

3.      Multiple Cheese Options

Standard cheese is used in regular pizza. Although I don’t intend to disparage mozzarella, it would be difficult to find a thin slice of anything else. Sliced cheese is used on deep dish pizza rather than shredded cheese, expanding the dairy selection.

Romano and Ricotta cheeses, which can pleasantly surprise your pizza taste senses, are probably available throughout the menu.

4.      More enjoyable sitting

Pizza with a thin crust made in New York was created to be folded up like a sandwich and eaten on the fly. While this is suitable for a quick snack (especially if you want to eat alone), deep dish is preferable if you want a sit-down meal.

Because it is so thick, you must not only sit at a table at the restaurant and engage in social activities, but you also possibly need to use cutlery to hold the layers together. Who said pizza couldn’t be elegant?

5.      No Grease

Everybody has clothing or other items that have pizza grease stains. Despite our best efforts, droppage inevitably occurs when we least expect it. Keep to deep dish if you’re a particularly messy eater (like I am). In general, the pizzas are dryer, and a thick crust won’t droop and spill oil like a thin crust does.

6.      Options Galore

The components of a traditional deep dish pizza are placed as follows: dough smashed into a pan, slices of cheese, toppings, and sauce. Although it may appear out of wack, the increased bake time is the explanation.

By doing this, the buried cheese prevents burning and keeps its stringy, soft texture. Although this is the conventional approach, there are many other deep dish options available.

Pan pizza is cooked halfway before being frozen, while stuffed pizza has a second layer of dough. Given how popular cheese on top is, some eateries also provide that choice.

7.      The crust is to die for

We have divisions in our society. People can either eat their pizza crust or they can choose not to. This honestly wouldn’t exist if deep dish was more well-liked. There is nothing wrong with the deep dish crust, even if many people dislike the ultra-crispy crust that comes with a thin pizza.

It has the perfect amount of crispiness on the outside without the risk of cutting your gums because it is thick, buttery, and buttery. We can easily bridge one of our major gaps; let’s move on to politics.

8.      Chewier

You know what makes me think of thin crust pizza? Really good. a cracker that quickly crunches, is chewed, and is gulped down. With deep dish, that does not take place.

Deep dish provides you more to chew on, which may be beneficial for alerting your body that you’ve had enough to eat. According to a BMJ Open Diabetes Research and Care research, those who chew their food more thoroughly and for longer periods of time feel fuller more quickly and are less likely to feel hungry again right away.

So why are you still waiting? Consuming more dough will make you look less doughy.

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