Deep dish pizza is my favorite kind of pizza! But unfortunately where I live in Charlotte, NC there aren’t any Chicago Style Pizza Restaurants at this time. One night, I happened to see Bobby Flay’s Throwdown Show with Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria on the Food Network. That’s when I saw how easy this pizza is to make, so I decided to make my own version of this recipe, but this by no means was an easy task. There are so many ways and theories on how to make the dough and the sauce. Certain things are not the “Chicago Way” which aggravates the reviewers on the Food Network to no end. I am in no way here to argue who’s right or wrong, I just know what I like. I combined two separate recipes and tips from the people who reviewed them and came up with the perfect combination to make this recipe awesome!
My recipe makes two 12 inch pizzas. I made one with Spinach, onions and mushrooms and the other with pepperoni. If you would like the more authentic Chicago Style ingredients then see the recipe on the Food Network link below. The other recipe is for the deep dish dough since the Lou Malnati recipe was not clear on all the steps on how to make it. Then below it is my version of a combination of all these ideas and my own personal touch.
Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza
For the dough
- 1 packet Fleichmann’s active dry yeast ( 2 1/4 tsps)
- 1 1/4 cups lukewarm water
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 3 1/4 cups unbleached Bread flour, plus more for dusting
- ¼ cup yellow cornmeal, plus more for dusting
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup olive oil, plus more for oiling bowl and pan
For the Sauce
- 1 14oz can of stewed tomatoes
- 1 14oz can of tomato sauce
In a bowl, crush the stewed tomatoes with a potato masher and add the can of tomato sauce. Add your favorite seasonings. Do not heat the sauce. (I added garlic, basil, Italian seasoning mix, salt and pepper)
Mozzarella cheese, Lou’s recipe says to use sliced, I used shredded. Parmesan cheese.
- Spinach, mushrooms, onions: Add salt & pepper and sauté in 1 tablespoon of olive oil to reduce moisture or if you are using fresh just layer them in. (I used frozen spinach & mushrooms and I did not want too much moisture, I thought it would make for a soggy pizza).
- Pepperoni slices
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in 1/4 cup of the warm water. Add the sugar and 1/4 cup of the flour and stir with a rubber spatula to combine.
Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place for 20 minutes.
Add the remaining 1 cup warm water and 3 cups flour, cornmeal, salt, and 3/4 cup olive oil.
Mix in mixer with bread hook on lowest setting, level 1, for 1 minute. Then mix on low to med, level 2-4 setting for 2 minutes. (If you do not have a mixer you can mix by hand, see Food Network recipe & reviews).
Lightly oil a large bowl with olive oil. Add the dough and turn to coat on all sides.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place a clean, damp, kitchen towel over the top.
Set the bowl in a warm spot and let rise until doubled in volume, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.
When the dough has doubled in volume, dust flour or cornmeal (we used cornmeal) on a work surface and punch the dough down and knead it for 2 to 3 minutes. Cut dough in half. Grease the pans with olive oil and real butter. ( I used butter and Olive oil so I would get that heavy moist crust, you can skip the butter if you do not want the extra calories). Dust the pans with cornmeal. Press the dough evenly into the bottom of a 14-inch round deep-dish pizza pan. (I used two 12 inch spring form pans). Press the dough until it comes 2 inches up the sides and is even on the bottom and at the corners of the pan. Let the dough rise in the pan for 15 to 20 minutes.
Add the mozzarella first as the bottom layer. Next layer your toppings, then the sauce and sprinkle with Parmesan. To a lot of people this may sound reversed, if you have never made this kind of pizza before, but the “Chicago Way” is cheese the bottom and sauce on the top. Bake 30-40 minutes.
These pizzas both turned out fantastic! They are not as hard to make once you try to make them. It seems like a lot of steps but it was well worth it. You can also make the dough ahead and freeze it. I plan on making these from now on. They were soo good.
Freezing directions: Make dough, skip the whole rising part, dust with flour and place in zip lock bag. Freeze up to 1 month. To thaw~ Put in refrigerator the night before, 10-12 hours. Thaw on counter for up to 3 hours in oiled bowl.
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