Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza

Published January 1, 2010. From Cook's Illustrated.

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Why this recipe works:

We had to discover the secrets to achieving the perfect crust—an airy, flaky inside, a lightly crisp outside, and a rich taste that could hold its own under any topping—before we could claim that our Chicago-style deep-dish pizza recipe was authentic. A combination of flour, cornmeal, and… read more

We had to discover the secrets to achieving the perfect crust—an airy, flaky inside, a lightly crisp outside, and a rich taste that could hold its own under any topping—before we could claim that our Chicago-style deep-dish pizza recipe was authentic. A combination of flour, cornmeal, and butter gave us the flavor we were looking for in our deep-dish pizza recipe. Rolling and folding the dough gave the crust delicious layers. Refrigerating the dough during the second rise allowed the butter to chill, resulting in a high and flaky rise.

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Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza

Deep-dish pizza was born in Chicago, where it boasts a distinctively rich, flaky, biscuit-like crust. The problem? No pizzeria in Chicago would tell us how to make it.

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Makes two 9-inch pizzas, serving 4 to 6

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 slightly oiled hands, or it might stick. The test kitchen prefers Dragone Whole Milk Mozzarella; part-skim mozzarella can also be used, but avoid preshredded cheese, as it does not melt well. Our preferred brands of crushed tomatoes are Tuttorosso and Muir Glen. Grate the onion on the large holes of a box grater.

Ingredients

  • 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)
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • Ground black pepper
  • Toppings
  • 1 pound mozzarella cheese, shredded (about 4 cups) (see note)
  • 1/2 ounce grated Parmesan cheese (about 1/4 cup)

Instructions

  1. 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, 45 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 and roll into 15- by 12-inch rec-tangle. Using offset spatula, spread softened butter over surface of dough, leaving 1/2-inch border along edges. Starting at short end, roll dough into tight cylinder. With seam side down, 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 cake 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. Bake until crust is golden brown, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove pizza from oven and let rest 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Deep-Dish Impersonator

If it's too bready, like this slice from Uno Chicago Grill, it's not the real deal.

Making Flaky Pizza Crust

1. ROLL OUT On dry work surface, roll dough into 15- by 12-inch rectangle.

2. SPREAD BUTTER Spread softened butter over dough, leaving 1/2-inch border along edges.

3. ROLL UP Starting at short end closest to you, roll dough into tight cylinder.

4. FLATTEN, HALVE Flatten cylinder into 18- by 4-inch rectangle. Halve crosswise.

5. FOLD, FORM BALL Fold each dough piece into thirds; pinch seams to form balls.

6. RISE IN FRIDGE Let balls rise in refrigerator 40 to 50 minutes to chill butter.

7. ROLL OUT Roll out each ball into 13-inch disk about 1/4 inch thick.

8. PRESS INTO PANS Transfer disks to pans; press into corners and up sides.

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