Chicago Deep-Dish Pizza

by cillefish

Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza
Makes two 9-inch pizzas, each serving 4 to 6

Equipment

  • Stand mixer with dough hook
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Box grater
  • Rubber spatula
  • Saran wrap
  • Medium saucepan
  • Tape measure or ruler
  • Rolling pin

Dough

  • 3 1/4 cups (16 1/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (2 3/4 ounces) yellow cornmeal
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons instant or rapid-rise yeast
  • 1 1/4 cups water (10 ounces), room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus
    4 tablespoons, softened
  • 1 teaspoon plus 4 tablespoons olive oil

Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup grated onion, from 1 medium onion (see note)
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Table salt
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes (see note) [instead we used a can of crushed tomatoes with chiles and the taste was great]
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • Ground black pepper

Toppings

  • 1 pound mozzarella, shredded (about 4 cups) (see note)
  • 1/2 ounce grated Parmesan cheese (about 1/4 cup)

1. FOR THE DOUGH: Mix flour, cornmeal, salt, sugar, and yeast in bowl of stand mixer fitted with dough hook on low speed until incorporated, about 1 minute. Add water and melted butter and mix on low speed until fully combined, 1 to 2 minutes, scraping sides and bottom of bowl occasionally.

Increase speed to medium and knead until dough is glossy and smooth, and pulls away from sides of bowl. 4 to 5 minutes. (Dough will only pull away from sides while mixer is on. When mixer is off, dough will fall back to sides.)

2. Using fingers, coat large bowl with 1 teaspoon olive oil, rubbing excess oil from fingers onto blade of rubber spatula. Using oiled spatula, transfer dough to bowl, turning once to oil top; cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let rise at room temperature until nearly doubled in volume, 40 to 60 minutes.

3. FOR THE SAUCE: While dough rises, heat butter in medium saucepan over medium heat until melted. Add onion, oregano, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid has evaporated and onion is golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in tomatoes and sugar, increase heat to high, and bring to simmer. Lower heat to medium-low and simmer until reduced to 2 1/2 cups, 25 to 30 minutes. Off heat, stir in basil and oil, then season with salt and pepper.

4. TO LAMINATE THE DOUGH: Adjust oven rack to lower position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Using rubber spatula, turn dough out onto dry work surface [such as a cutting board] and roll into 15- by 12-inch rectangle. Using offset spatula [or a normal spatula], spread softened butter over surface of dough, leaving 1/2-inch border along edges. Starting at short end, roll dough into tight cylinder [don’t squish it longer in the process; just make it tight enough that the edges cohere]. With seam side down [important!] flatten cylinder into 18- by 4-inch rectangle. Cut rectangle in half crosswise. Working with 1 half, fold into thirds like business letter; pinch seams together to form ball. Repeat with remaining half. Return balls to oiled bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let rise in refrigerator until nearly doubled in volume, 40 to 50 minutes.

5. Coat two 9-inch round pans with 2 tablespoons olive oil each. Transfer 1 dough ball. to dry work surface and roll out into 13-inch disk about 1/4 inch thick. Transfer dough to pan by rolling dough loosely around rolling pin and unrolling into pan. Lightly press dough into pan, working into corners and 1 inch up sides. If dough resists stretching, let it relax 5 minutes before trying again. Repeat with remaining dough ball.

6. For each pizza, sprinkle 2 cups mozzarella evenly over surface of dough. Spread 1 1/4 cups tomato sauce over cheese and sprinkle 2 tablespoons Parmesan over sauce. Make until crust is golden brown, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove pizza from oven and let rest 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Note: Place a damp kitchen towel under the mixer and watch it at all times during kneading to prevent it from wobbling off the counter. Handle the dough with lightly oiled hands, or it might stick. The test kitchen prefers Dragone Whole Milk Mozzarella; part-skim mozzarella can also be used, but avoid pre-shredded cheese, as it does not melt well. Out preferred brands of crushed tomatoes are Tuttorosso and Muir Glen. Grate the onion on the larger holes of a box grater. For recipes for Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza with Chives and Ricotta and Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizza with Sausage, go to http://www.cooksillustrated.com/feb10.

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2 Comments to “Chicago Deep-Dish Pizza”

  1. Yeah, yours turned out better than mine. (1) I used 8” pans, not having 9”. (2) I didn’t cook it long enough. The dough was softer and lighter.

    • oh, that photo’s from some other site — the dough should be softer and lighter than in that picture (that stuff looks almost hard and glassy …but it was the closest approximation I could find). Also, it shouldn’t be quite that soggy, and it should have a little cheese on top, if I’m remembering correctly. :]

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