Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Pizza at Home - Chicago Deep Dish Pizza revisited!

Oh boy! I'm excited for this one. 
June 1st, 2020 was a day that started a big pizza journey for me. Having been cooped up due to COVID home isolation, my family was really missing having pizza every Sunday. It was Theresa who suggested that maybe we could start making different style pizzas at home. What a suggestion that turned out to be! Since then, nearly every Sunday has been Pizza Day at the Flowers' house! I've made so many different flavors and varieties of pizza.
But, the very first pizza. The one that kicked everything off on week 1. My favorite style pizza. Chicago Deep Dish. It didn't turn out as good as I was hoping that very first week, and ever since I haven't recreated it. 

Theresa - You need to make yourself another deep dish pizza!
Joe - Yes, I should. 
Theresa - I just bought you the right pan. You can make one this next Sunday!

Well, let's get right to it! 

A YouTuber I like to watch, Brian Lagerstrom, posted a video with his favorite recipe for deep dish pizza. His recipe is for a 12" pizza, while I have a 9" springform pan. Hmm, math math math... 1" overhang to go up the sides... Pi*r^2... I need to cut the recipe by about 2/3rd. 
The recipe calls for cold butter to be cut into the dough via a food processor. I don't have one of those at the moment, but I do have a manual pastry cutter. 

The food processor would also bring everything together really quickly by spinning and kneading the dough, but I'll just do that by hand. Time to let this sit in the fridge for 24 hours! 

The next day, I pulled the chilled pizza dough out of the freezer to start warming back up and get that yeast waking back up. 
While that's happening, I need to make my deep dish pizza sauce. I started by grating some onion and mincing some garlic then frying them in a little bit of butter. Let me tell you, the smells in here are amazing. 

Add in some basil, oregano, salt, sugar, and those delicious red pepper flakes from the FlatIron Pepper Company

The pizza dough is warm and starting to rise. I got it out onto a floured surface and got it ready to roll out. 

I spread a little olive oil over the bottom of my springform pan, trying to make sure I only covered only the bottom and not the edges. 

That's because the edges need to be a little sticky to hold this dough! 

Pressing all the dough into the corners to make sure I don't have any air pockets, then pulling and pinching it up the sides. Good thing those sides aren't lubricated, otherwise this might not stick! 

A Chicago Deep Dish pizza is built a little backwards. On the very bottom is the cheese layer! There's going to be a lot of wet stuff going on top, and we need to make sure the crust stays crispy and not soggy. To help, we'll use whole slices of mozzarella and put them down in a shingle pattern to make sure no sauce can sneak through. 

Then just a few more slices of provolone cheese to add a little bit more flavor to the creamy mozzarella. 

Before the sauce goes down, a layer of raw sausage goes down directly on top of the cheese layer. The slices (versus shreds) of cheese make it easier to smoosh the sausage down onto the bottom. 

Those FlatIron peppers gave this sauce a delicious kick! Time to add the hot sauce to the top of this pizza. 

Spreading it around to get everywhere. 

Because I like meat, I added a layer of pepperonis to the top of the sauce, then added some freshly grated parmesan cheese. 

Yum! That's just about ready for the oven! 

Minus the weight of the pan, this pizza weighs in at 3.25 pounds! 

Into the oven! 45 minutes at 425F! 
While it baked, it filled the room with delicious smells! The baking crust had its own aroma, then the tomato came shortly after. Jacob was invited to dinner, and I suggested he come early to bask in these amazing smells. 

After 45 minutes, it was time to pull my pizza out. Will it release from the sides of the pan without sticking? Success!

In order to keep that crunchy crust I've been working for, it needs to come out of the pan and onto a cooling rack. Can I move it without spilling super hot sauce and toppings everywhere? Did I have any holes in the crust that will cause everything to leak through? 

With about 20 minutes of baking to go, I was tempted to cover the top with aluminum foil, but I didn't want the pizza to steam. As a result, the pepperonis on top got a little toasty, but not burnt. They were actually pretty yummy with the extra heat on them. 

That crust is looking good! Jacob gave it a scrape, hearing the crispy crust, and said "That's a good bake!" in the Great British Baking Show Paul Hollywood style. 

And I love how it looks this time. Proper straight sides. Not the cast iron skillet slanted sides that I used before. THAT is a deep dish pizza! 

Even after letting it sit for 10 minutes, and cool for a few more while I cut it, I still burned my mouth on the first bite! The cheese has a nice pull. 
The flavors are delicious! Loving this deep dish pizza! 

Which is not to say that there's not a few things I wouldn't change. First, the crust on the outside ring of the pizza is fantastic. Crispy and crunchy. Amazing. The crust on the bottom though is a little dense. Not quite as good as I hoped. I'll be looking for a recipe that focuses on a flaky crust, including on the bottom. A food processor that could cut in the butter a little better might be helpful. 
Second, I went overboard on the sausage. More isn't always better. I should have used smaller pieces and less of it to not have big hunks of cooked sausage to chew. 
But, the pizza sauce itself was delicious. The mozzarella and provolone tasted great. The pepperoni and grated parm I would definitely do again. 

But overall, I was very encouraged by this latest attempt at Chicago Deep Dish. Jacob and I had no problem finishing off this pizza between the two of us. 
I'll try tweaking just a few things in my next try to see if I can get it just right! 

1 comment:

  1. What a hearty-looking deep dish pizza in its uncut glory...beautiful creation!!! That last photo showed the deepness of the deliciousness...the sauce looked so good when it was just in the pot...then filling the crust with it along with the meats and cheeses made everything more amazing! Nice, smooth removal of the pizza from the springform, especially when considering the weight of the pizza and the wet filling...shows how the crust wasn't soggy and ready to collapse. I'm sure future tweaks to the recipe will only make it more amazing. Yes, the aroma of cooking onions and garlic is tantalizingly wonderful! :-) EOM