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Chicago Deep Dish Pizza Crust Recipe - How do I get that Buttery Goodness?

A casual search showed that a lot of people on various blogging sites have been following the very erroneous Cook's Illustrated Chicago deep dish recipe (King Arthur also has a wrong recipe on their site). Once again, there is no cornmeal in authentic Chicago deep dish (the golden color comes from food coloring) and you don't need to laminate the dough (the high oil content and the short knead--just like a biscuit!--is what makes the characteristic biscuit-like crust) or add potatoes (a la an earlier CI guess).

Recently I made an excellent (if I may say so) deep dish and I'll go through my exact steps because I think maybe some here are proceeding incorrectly. I gave the recipe to a friend and she made the pizza. I asked her how it was and she said, "O.K." So I asked, "Did you follow the recipe?" Her answer was no, I decided to change it. So then I asked, "Did you use this and that ingredient?" "No, I didn't have time to go to the store." So I just shook my head--you enter in bad data and the outcome is bad results. Another friend I gave the recipe to thought he should dump an entire 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes on a 10-inch deep dish!

So here's what I did.

Dough (to fit a 9 1/2-ince deep dish pizza pan)

2 cups all-purpose flour (I used Ceresota, aka Hecker's, because it has a touch more gluten than regular AP, but it doesn't matter--you can use any AP, just not bread flour)

12 Tablespoons 110-degree water

6 Tablespoons corn oil (you can use canola, light olive oil [extra virgin has a low smoke point, so if you use it, mix in a small amount for flavor]--but I stick with corn oil because this is what a lot of pizzerias use)

1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast (maybe a little more--I just eyeballed it)

1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt (I like Kosher salt because it tastes better to me than table salt--I use very little salt, anyway, because to me most restaurant and fast-food food is a sodium bomb that masks the flavor of the ingredients)--but feel free to add more to taste, if you like

1/8 or a little more cream of tartar

Sauce

I can 6-in-1 tomatoes (remember, you're just going to use enough to cover the pizza--don't use the entire can!) As someone said, sometimes these can be a bit watery (but not too badly in my experience), so you can strain them through cheesecloth, if you like.

1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt (or to taste)

3/4 teaspoon sugar (or to taste)

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder (or to taste, or add minced garlic)

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

(or other spices to taste)

Cheese (1/2 pound total)

A 60/40 blend of part-skim Sella mozzarella and Frigo whole milk mozzarella (you can adjust to any ratio you like, but the addition of the whole milk mozzarella really makes the finished pizza sing)

First, I proofed the yeast with a little sugar in the water (110 degrees, measured with a thermometer)--I mix and knead in the bread machine (you can do the same by hand or with a mixer). The friction of the bread machine paddle adds approximately 2 degrees to the overall heat for every minute of kneading, so if I aim for a temperature of approximately 115 degrees, this is about right).

When the yeast was proofed, I added all the ingredients into the bread machine pan and let it mix for 1 minute. Then I pulled the pan out until the machine cycled to knead, then re-inserted it and let it knead for just over 2 minutes. Then I turned it off, pulled out the dough (a perfect smooth ball--a beautiful thing!), put it in a bowl, rubbed a little corn oil on it, covered it and put it in the oven. Then I turned the oven on to 200, let it warm for a minute, then turned it off.

I let the dough rise for a total of 6 hours, turning the oven on again for a minute after the first hour. It was a beautiful rise, all full of nice little carbon dioxide holes and bubbles.

When the dough had risen fully, I deflated it and rolled it out with a rolling pin until it was fairly thin (I like a deep dish crust that isn't so deep it's like a hunk of bread--you can hand stretch it or roll it out more thickly, if you like). Then I draped it over the buttered pan and pushed it against the sides, trimming off the excess (which will make a nice mini thin crust later). Next I par-baked the crust at 450 on the bottom rack for about 10 minutes, until it was just starting to take on color. Then I took it out, layered in the cheese (I like plain cheese pizza--obviously you can add whatever toppings you like) and covered this with sauce, then sprinkled shredded Parmesan cheese on top.

I baked the pizza on the top (actually high middle) rack for a total of about 30 minutes more. You have to watch it here because each oven has individual idiosyncrasies--mine acts up at times, so I have to watch it carefully. If the upper crust or the cheese starts to get too dark or burn, then cover it with foil until the final stages of baking.

The result was excellent! So, if you follow these steps exactly (unlike my friends above), then you can do the same! Once you've mastered this procedure, you can experiment as you like!

Enjoy!

Oct 27, 2014
stevel6 in Home Cooking
1

Why is my pizza dough tough?

No need to make your dough in this fashion. Just mix it all together and knead. I knead my thin crust in the bread machine (mix/knead for 10 minutes total).

Your yeast might not have been activated properly; your dough might not have risen enough (I let mine rise for 4 hours, and if it's cold inside, I put the bowl in the oven and heat it to 200 degrees for one minute every hour or until the bowl retains enough residual heat (the yeast need warmth). I also add cream of tartar to my dough (the yeast like the acidic environment); you could have overcooked it; your flour might have been old; you might have used too much or too little water.

I always use AP flour and par-bake my crust before adding toppings. Once in a while my crust is tough and the reason is always excess water from the sauce (if I've frozen the sauce, I always forget to drain it first). Excess water cam come from vegetables, too. If you pre-heat your oven to a high temperature, this can help to boil off excess liquid. I also cook mine on parchment paper.

May 08, 2014
stevel6 in Home Cooking

What's the Best Frozen Pizza?

Frozen pizza tastes like frozen pizza. They all have a horrible over-processed, over-chemicaled undertaste and aftertaste, and many taste exactly the same, leading me to think that they are farmed out to the same plant and the same pizza is put into different boxes.

Dec 06, 2013
stevel6 in General Topics

Taco Bell Pre-90s Was Good - Do You Notice the Difference Now?

When I was a kid in the '70's, Taco bell was still owned by Glen Bell, and the food was excellent. Taco shells were fried at the store in coconut oil; the higher-grade meat was cooked on a grill; and the non-dehydrated beans were prepared with lard.

Now it's dog food and so over-salted that it's inedible. It's a shame, because they could be doing it right.

Aug 02, 2013
stevel6 in Chains

five guys burger sucks

Five Guys is way, way, way overpriced. The burger is tiny, the toppings are skimpy. The fries are decent, but I can make better at home for a fraction of the price.

Oct 04, 2012
stevel6 in Chains

Chicago Deep Dish Pizza Crust Recipe - How do I get that Buttery Goodness?

I don't have the problem you report. I would keep experimenting to find the perfect match for your humidity, oven, etc.

Feb 17, 2012
stevel6 in Home Cooking

Chicago Deep Dish Pizza Crust Recipe - How do I get that Buttery Goodness?

I would do 95% corn, 5% olive.

Feb 17, 2012
stevel6 in Home Cooking

Chicago Deep Dish Pizza Crust Recipe - How do I get that Buttery Goodness?

I saw the ATK episode and laughed out loud! Lou Malnati's---like every other deep dish pizzeria in Chicago--uses oil and lots of it. It's essentially the same recipe as Uno's and if you care to, you can look at the ingredient list on their frozen pizza, which specifies corn oil--and that's where the buttery taste comes from as it does in Home Run Inn pizza. Some pizzerias do, however, grease their pans with butter.

It's the oil and the short knead that makes the biscuit-like crust. of course, you can make a biscuit crust with butter, but the taste is all wrong.

Feb 09, 2012
stevel6 in Home Cooking

Chicago Deep Dish Pizza Crust Recipe - How do I get that Buttery Goodness?

Yes, room temperature for a long period--4-6 hours. I keep mine in the oven and once an hour or so, I turn it to 200 for a minute, then turn it off.

You might want to experiment with an overnight (or longer) refrigerator rise. The yeast slow down when it gets cold, but are still working to make CO2. Then you would have to take the dough out and let it slowly come to room temperature and rise more (4 hours or so).

I use 2 cups of flour for a 10" pan, and trim off what I don't need (but I don't use a top crust).

Feb 04, 2012
stevel6 in Home Cooking

Chicago Deep Dish Pizza Crust Recipe - How do I get that Buttery Goodness?

Somehow you added too much liquid! The dough ball should be a bit sticky, but still solid. There's nothing wrong with a adding a little more flour at that point, however, until it comes together.

If you knead for 10 minutes, then I would definitely go for a thin crust!

Feb 04, 2012
stevel6 in Home Cooking

Chicago Deep Dish Pizza Crust Recipe - How do I get that Buttery Goodness?

Muir Glen canned plum tomatoes are excellent--very good for pizzas. I haven't tried their crushed tomatoes, but I'm sure they're good!

Jan 22, 2012
stevel6 in Home Cooking

Chicago Deep Dish Pizza Crust Recipe - How do I get that Buttery Goodness?

I found no difference in taste. I used only about 1/8 teaspoon per cup of flour.

Jan 20, 2012
stevel6 in Home Cooking

Chicago Deep Dish Pizza Crust Recipe - How do I get that Buttery Goodness?

Safeway does carry them. Also, check in an italian deli-style grocery store.

Jan 19, 2012
stevel6 in Home Cooking

Chicago Deep Dish Pizza Crust Recipe - How do I get that Buttery Goodness?

6-in-1 tomatoes are ground tomatoes used by many pizzerias. They are far superior to the other known brands. Look for them in Italian deli-type stores, if you can't find them in a big grocery store around you. Also, Pagliacci crushed are good. I use part-skim Stella, but a lot of pizzerias sue a combination of part-skim and whole.

Jan 19, 2012
stevel6 in Home Cooking

Chicago Deep Dish Pizza Crust Recipe - How do I get that Buttery Goodness?

I finally saw the CI show and had a good laugh! there is no cornmeal in Chicago deep dish. There is no butter (except some chains grease their pans with butter--the buuter flavor comes from corn oil. And with the short knead, there's no reason to laminate the dough (although you can). And never, never cook the sauce.

Jan 19, 2012
stevel6 in Home Cooking

Chicago Deep Dish Pizza Crust Recipe - How do I get that Buttery Goodness?

Glad you liked it! I like to make it without the "stuffed" top crust. If you want to mimic Giordano's taste, you need to use Stella mozzarella, 6-in-1 tomatoes, and red pepper flakes in the sauce.

Jan 17, 2012
stevel6 in Home Cooking

Chicago Deep Dish Pizza Crust Recipe - How do I get that Buttery Goodness?

Once you make it, you won't want to even go out anymore! As I said, the recipe makes a great thin crust, too (or, if you knead for 10-15 minutes, it also makes a terrific thin crust).

Enjoy!

Jan 15, 2012
stevel6 in Home Cooking

Chicago Deep Dish Pizza Crust Recipe - How do I get that Buttery Goodness?

You're a little light on the oil--it should be around 10 TBS for 3 1/2 cups floor (actually, since Uno's/Malnati's pizza is quite greasy, you really need a litle more), but otherwise this recipe should make a good crust.

I would recommend not cooking the sauce--there is no point in double-cooking it. Uno's uses crushed whole tomatoes, but Giordano's uses 6-in-1.

Jan 15, 2012
stevel6 in Home Cooking

Chicago Deep Dish Pizza Crust Recipe - How do I get that Buttery Goodness?

I'm glad you enjoyed it! It really does come out well. You are correct about the yeast procedure--that's the best way to go about it. I'm just used to doing it in my own personal way and should have specified this.

This recipe also makes an excellent thin crust (usually I knead it for three minutes instead of two if I'm doing thin crust).

Lately I've been experimenting with cream of tartar, which gives the yeast an acidic environment they like and conditions the dough so it's very easy to roll out.

If you can find Stella mozzarella and 6-in-1 tomatoes, you will make yourself very happy!

Again, I'm glad you tried it and liked it!

Enjoy!

Jan 03, 2012
stevel6 in Home Cooking

Chicago Deep Dish Pizza Crust Recipe - How do I get that Buttery Goodness?

You can proof the yeast first--during the proofing time the water will cool somewhat. Or use instant yeast (different from "rapid rise"), which requires no proofing.

Oct 08, 2011
stevel6 in Home Cooking

Chicago Deep Dish Pizza Crust Recipe - How do I get that Buttery Goodness?

Some pizzerias press the dough into the pan by hand and others sheet it first, then drape it into the pan, like a pie crust. I think the latter makes a better finished product, but if you try both, you can find out which one you prefer.

Oct 08, 2011
stevel6 in Home Cooking

Chicago Deep Dish Pizza Crust Recipe - How do I get that Buttery Goodness?

I haven't had Nancy's for years, so I'm not sure what it tastes like. What you can do is to experiment with oil levels (a little less, a little more). But always the short mix and knead. A lot of the taste depends on the brand of cheese they use--there are a lot of commercial cheeses not available to the general public.

As for the cornmeal--some pizzerias use it (sometimes in combination with oil) as a non-stick agent.

Oct 05, 2011
stevel6 in Home Cooking

Chicago Deep Dish Pizza Crust Recipe - How do I get that Buttery Goodness?

I would use 3 cups. But, if you want to play it safe, use 3 1/2, then trim off any extra (and make a roll out it!). It all depends on how thick you want the finished crust to be. Even if you roll it out thin, it does puff up, so I make mine fairly (a la Giordano's, which sends their dough through a sheeter).

Sep 29, 2011
stevel6 in Home Cooking

Chicago Deep Dish Pizza Crust Recipe - How do I get that Buttery Goodness?

If you want to make it right, then make it right. If you don't, then don't. Cornmeal in the dough (even finely ground cornmeal) lends an unpleasant grittiness to the pizza (which is why they don't use it). The buttery taste actually comes from the corn oil. I find butter (and milk) in a pizza dough to be unpleasant, but to each his or her own!

Sep 28, 2011
stevel6 in Home Cooking

Chicago Deep Dish Pizza Crust Recipe - How do I get that Buttery Goodness?

Giordanio's is not a particularly sweet dough. It has a lot of oil, though less than Malnati's/Uno's. They use 6-in-1 tomatoes and Stella cheese.

Sep 28, 2011
stevel6 in Home Cooking

Chicago Deep Dish Pizza Crust Recipe - How do I get that Buttery Goodness?

Looks good! It's the same idea--lots of fat, short knead time, like a biscuit or pie dough.

Sep 27, 2011
stevel6 in Home Cooking

Chicago Deep Dish Pizza Crust Recipe - How do I get that Buttery Goodness?

I'm a hands-on person, so I like to scoop and level. Depending on the age of the flour, the humidity levels, etc., I might have to add a little more flour or a little more water, but that's the fun of it for me.

This is a pretty hydrated dough, so it comes out a bit sticky. If it's too sticky, just knead it for a few seconds with a little bench flour. The same after the rise. You should also oil up the dough ball before rising so it doesn't form a crust. If you choose to roll it out, you can flour up your rolling pin first.

This also makes an excellent thin crust dough. I like to roll it out very thin, then parbake the crust at 500 until it just starts to brown, then add sauce and toppings and stick it back in the oven.

You can also take this basic recipe and knead it for 10 minutes to make a thin crust. If you use corn oil and use a mozzarella-provolone blend (about 70-30), you will get a Home Run Inn clone.

Sep 27, 2011
stevel6 in Home Cooking

Chicago Deep Dish Pizza Crust Recipe - How do I get that Buttery Goodness?

Depending on your oven, you may find it beneficial to parbake the crust a bit before adding cheese and sauce. Remember, the cheese goes on the bottom, then toppings, then sauce.

Sep 27, 2011
stevel6 in Home Cooking

Chicago Deep Dish Pizza Crust Recipe - How do I get that Buttery Goodness?

What I saw was an old recipe--they specified shredded potato, if I recall. There is no cornmeal in Chicago deep dish--the yellow shade from some pizzerias comes from food dye.

Sep 27, 2011
stevel6 in Home Cooking

Chicago Deep Dish Pizza Crust Recipe - How do I get that Buttery Goodness?

I have tried it with cake flour and did not like the results. You might, however--it's worth a try. Or a combination of AP and cake flour. Some pizzerias use a small amount of shortening, too--and that's worth a try to see if you like it.

Sep 27, 2011
stevel6 in Home Cooking