When I was a kid I used to work at a place in Chicago that made some of the best Italian food that I ever ate. One of their specialties was Chicago Deep Dish Pizza. Now that I live on the East Coast I find myself wishing more and more that I had access to that pizza. Not that I can’t make it, but because like anything it is a chore and it is easier to pick up the phone and order a few for the family.
Alas I am the only person in my house that knows how to do it so the chore gets put on me fairly regularly. Normally I don’t give up my secrets without a fight, but living on the East Coast has made me sympathetic to the people that are not in Chicago who do not have access to the great pizza. That being said here I go:
You’ll be able to make two good sized pizzas with this recipe. It takes about 3 hours so make sure you have everything you need before you start. This recipe is expensive, probably comparable to what it would cost to buy them. The ingrediants need to be fresh, and if you substitute or don’t do something the way I tell you to, don’t blame me for the results. Making Authentic Deep Dish Pizza is an art, it took me a long time to get it right.
You will need an electric mixer with a dough hook. If you don’t have one you can try and follow along by kneeding the dough yourself (You will need to add another 45 minutes to this process if you kneed the dough).
Make sure you have the following ready:
2 18″ deep dish pizza pans – Don’t use a baking dish, go out and splurge on a few pans, this is serious pizza and you shouldn’t go screwing it up by trying to make it in a 9×15 baking dish it won’t cook right, it won’t be the same and you will probably end up thinking this recipe stinks.
2 Tablespoons of Sugar (Needs to be sugar, the yeast feeds on it and won’t proof without it).
4 Cups of Warm Water (110 degrees when you pour it in the bowl it will cool by the time you get everything else done)
4 Packages of Yeast or if you have the jar you can do 8 teaspoons of Yeast.
1 cup of First Press REALLY GOOD Extra Virgin olive oil.
1 Cup of Yellow Cornmeal
9 Cups of Flour (Up to 10)
Proofing the yeast is an important part of this process. Make sure you do it right, you want your bowl of water to be about 95 – 100 degrees. Mix in the 2 tablespoons of sugar and stir it with a wisk. Once you disolve the sugar in the water, put the yeast in and make sure it all gets wet. (Yeast tends to float on the top and some of it won’t proof if you don’t wet it). Now walk away from it for about 10 minutes. It should be in a big bowl because this stuff is going to FOAM up and it will spill over if you don’t have a big enough bowl – you have been warned 😉
In your mixer mix the olive oil, the cornmeal and 5 cups of flour. Mix it up for about 1 minute and add the yeast slowly while it is mixing up. Slowly add the rest of the flour and let the mixer mix on about 1/3 speed for 5 minutes. The dough should not be sticky or wet, it should feel like really soft smooth elastic. Coat a plastic bowl with a little olive oil and put the dough into the bowl (Big bowl). Cover the top of it with a damp towel and let it rise until it is double the size.
Punch it down and let it rise again.
Prep your pizza pans, spread a little olive oil on the surface and sides and sprinkle yellow cornmeal on the bottom of it. This will prevent the pizza from sticking to the pan. Alternately (and I do it this way quite a bit) you can take REAL butter and really give it a good coating all away around and in the pan. Layer it on very thick. It gives the crust an amazing flavor. Sprinkle with yellow cornmeal the same way you would if you used olive oil.
Make your sauce & cheese mixes while you are waiting around for the dough to rise. Here is what you do:
4 Pounds of Grated Mozzarella
1 Pound of Provolone
1 Pound of Romano, Parmigiano, Asiago mix (You can get them predone at the store in the deli section)
Mix the cheese mix in a big bowl so it is blended well.
4 28 oz Cans of Plum Tomatoes, Drain them and then put them through your blender for about 10 – 15 seconds you want them to be crushed up and chunky, but not liquid.
5 Teaspoons of FRESH Chopped up Basil
5 Teaspoons of FRESH Chopped Oregano
2 Tablespoons of Sugar (Or Splenda, I use Splenda)
10 Cloves of FRESH Garlic Peeled and Crushed with a Garlic Press
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/2 cup of Parmigiano Cheese Grated
Combine the ingrediants together and make sure it has good time to sit and steep in the acids from the tomatoes. This will bring out the flavors of the seasonings.
Once your dough has doubled again take it out and divide it into two sections with a knife. Roll it out onto your deep dish pizza pans (last chance to go out and buy pizza pans if you are using a baking dish you will not get the consistancy you need and you will not be happy). When you are laying the dough onto the pan push the dough to the edge. You can then turn the pan slowly while you pull the dough up the sides. If you have extra dough (and you should) roll it flat put it on a cookie sheet mist it with some olive oil, sprinkle it with garlic powder, Parmigiano, a little salt and bake it with your pizzas. You slice it with your pizza cutter after it’s baked and dip it the left over pizza sauce. Presto free pizza bread / bread sticks.
Now that you have your pizza dough ready take a brush and brush olive oil onto the dough. Add your toppings (I use Portabella Mushrooms, Italian Sausage, Pepperoni, Green Pepper, Onion and Black Olives.) on the dough, then put half of your cheese mix on one pizza, half on the other. Use it all!
Pour your sauce on top until it reaches the edge of the dough (which should be all the way up the side of the pan), spread it out evenly and sprinkle with Parmigiano. Note: For all you folks that have never had Chicago Deep Dish Pizza, the sauce is on TOP so it’s a red top pizza. This is traditional, and trust me it is good!
Preheat your oven and bake for 25 minutes on 350 degrees. After 25 minutes crank the oven up to 475 and bake for another 10 – 15 minutes. You want to watch the pizza and take it out when the top is light golden brownish and the crust is a light golden brown.
IMPORTANT: Let this pizza cool for 20 minutes, if you do not it will be all over the place. Once it cools for 20 minutes it will be just the right temp and will come out of the pan the right way. Cut and serve. This recipe should feed a family of 7 with maybe a slice left over.