Bringing Chicago to New York: How To Make Great Deep Dish Pizza At Home

A few years ago, I went to Chicago for the first time and fell in love with deep dish pizza. Previously, the only deep dish I’d ever had was from Pizza Hut and Uno’s, and after trying the real thing, I now realize that’s sort of like saying the only hamburger you’d ever had was from McDonald’s. The real deal was a glorious pie of molten mozzarella cheese, big chunks of tomato, a flaky, corn-breadish crust…Sure, it’s not an every day meal like a NY-style slice, but definitely worth the occasional expansion in belt size.

Except, as far as I can tell, no one is making Chicago-style pizza in New York. Seriously, in a city that has lobster sandwiches as good as anything in Maine, I’m amazed no one has taken up the challenge. After much experimenting, this is the best recipe I’ve come up with for doing it at home, and the good news is that it tastes pretty darn close to the actual thing (as opposed to making thin crust at home, which always tastes like thin crust made at home).

Enjoy, and by all means, suggestions are very welcome!

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INGREDIENTS

The Dough

  • 2 packages of rapid rise yeast
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup corn meal
  • 5+ cups flour

The Pizza

  • 2 28 oz cans whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1/2 lb ball mozzarella (fresh!!)
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1/8 c grated Parmesan cheese
  • basil, salt, pepper for flavoring
  • Any additional toppings you want

Finally, you need a deep pan to cook it in. This recipe is for a 10″ pan. I found this bad boy at a kitchen store, which is nice because you can remove the sides and easily slice the pizza. But anything about 2″ deep works.

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 MAKING THE DOUGH

1) In a large mixing bowl, add 2 cups warm water and two packages of the rapid rise yeast. Let sit for 10 minutes.

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2) Add in the 1/2 cup of vegetable oil…

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3) Add in the 1/4 cup of olive oil…

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4) Add in the 1/2 cup of corn meal (more if you like the corn-bready taste)…

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5) Finally, add in 2 cups of flour and begin mixing the whole thing together. If you’re using a mixer, use the dough hook attachment. If you’re doing it by hand, you can start with a wooden spoon, but you’re going to just want to knead it by hand after a while.

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6) The dough will start out super sticky at first, but don’t get discouraged. Keep adding the rest of the 5 cups of flour and mixing thoroughly until it is no longer sticky. This may require the entire 5 cups, it might need more, it might need less. Stop when it’s not longer sticky. I have a fancy mixer now, but I did this by hand for years.

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7) Punch the dough down into a ball on a floured surface…

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8) And cover it. Leave it to rise for about 45 minutes.

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9) After it’s risen, it’s time to make the pizza

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MAKING THE PIZZA

1) Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F

2) Punch the dough down again into a ball, cover, and allow it to rise again while you’re doing the rest of this

3) Now prepare the ingredients. First, open both cans of whole peeled tomatoes and dump them into a colander. Then, get in there and start mushing these things to pieces. Seriously, squeeze them as hard as you can, break them up, DESTROY THEM. Get as much of the liquid out as you can, otherwise you’ll have a really watery pizza.

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4) Grate the mozzarella ball completely:

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5) Mince one clove of garlic

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6) Finally, prepare any additional toppings you like. I’m a fan of peppers and onions…

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…plus a little sausage:

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7) Take your pan and lightly grease it with vegetable oil

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8) Take about half the dough and make your crust. You want to have it at about 1/4″ thickness covering the entire pan and sides, maybe about two inches tall. It’s going to want to bunch up. Keep mushing it flat, or else you’re going to have a very thick pizza.

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9) After you’ve got your crust in place, add the cheese, evenly distributing it on the dough:

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10) Next, add whatever toppings you have. As I said, I’m a big fan of sausage, peppers and onions; my girlfriend is not:

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11) Now add your tomatoes, making sure to fully cover the pizza:

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12) Finally, add the minced garlic (you don’t have to use the whole clove if you don’t like garlic), about 1/8 cup of Parmesan cheese, plus some basil, salt, and pepper to your liking. I wish I had exact measurements for this, but I just make it up each time. Drizzle some olive oil on top with a spoon.

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13) And that’s it! Pop it in the oven for 25 minutes, or until the crust is a golden brown…

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14) Let it sit for about 5 or 10 minutes, then enjoy!

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Couple of notes:

1) The dough recipe, derived from PizzaMaking.com, makes enough for two 10″ pies;

2) How long you keep the pizza in the oven depends on your oven; some recipes tell you to leave it in for like 45 minutes, but I’ve only ended up with burnt pizza. Your goal is to have the crust be crunchy on the outside, gooey on the inside, and 25 minutes seems about right for this.

3) This pizza seems to always have some moisture on the top. I have no idea why this is – maybe from the mozzarella ball or the whole tomatoes? I usually just dab this away with a paper towel, but if anyone has advice, let me know!

-SCOUT

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23 comments

  1. Red Pack is the best tomato sauce!!! Try a little more garlic next time, looks delish!!

  2. i’ll say that lobster rolls in this city are good, however, they probably don’t match prices of places when you start to get closer and closer to maine.

  3. Hi Scout,

    Seems like a nice recipe, but your intro threw me for a loop. Where have you had lobster rolls in Maine? A lobster that’s flown on a plane to get to your plate just won’t taste the same. Try these next time you’re up there:

    Bayley’s in Pine Point
    Red’s Eats in Wiscasset
    Tobey’s Grocery in South China
    Thurston’s in Tremont

    …and others could undoubtedly chime in with dozens more. Red Hook and Luke’s are fantastic, but there’s no comparison.

    Keep up the fascinating work. Love this blog. By the way, I donated to your movie and never got a sticker or button…not sure if others have had the same problem (not that it’s a major one).

    Thanks,

    Mike

    • Hey Mike – In the interest of not being tarred and feathered by every New Englander with a taste for lobster, I’ll just change that to “as good as.” ;) (though I grew up in Massachusetts, and I’ve had quite a lot of Maine lobster rolls in my day)

      Sending you an email about the Scouting NY swag…

  4. Thanks for the recipe, Scout. It would be great if someone knew of a good Chicago-style pizza place in NY and could share the restaurant’s name.

  5. When I worked on the floor of the NYSE, we ate here a few times.

    http://www.bigalspizzanyc.com/

  6. Thank you for this! After spending part of the year last year in Chicago before relocating to NYC, I grew to love deep dish pizza and despise NY thin crust. I have yet to have pizza in Manhattan that impresses me, and I can’t believe there are no deep dish places in NYC that aren’t an Uno’s.

  7. So the sauce goes on top…how do you know which half is yours and which is your GF’s?

  8. That’s an awful lot of oil, I wouldn’t eat that if you paid me.

    I prefer Neapolitan or Sicilian pizzas – much lighter than the greasy pan pizzas imo.

    For real pizza, be sure to try Numero 28′s pizza on Carmine Street, then go to Joe’s Pizza on Carmine for a slice. You can do it, and it’ll fix you up nice.

    Then go to Bleecker street to Rocco’s Pastry – have a cannoli with pistachios (don’t get chocolate chips, please, it’ll over sweeten the thing and ruin it). Do not eat any of the cakes. They look good, but all are made with rum, which can be a disconnect when eating Oreo cheesecake. You’ve been warned.

    btw This one of the websites I’ve ever seen, and that’s coming from a lifetime resident NYer. I’ve been in and out of the film industry for years and love location scouting. But I naturally hate Chicago pizza, please don’t take it personally.

    ciao
    R

  9. I meant to say “one of the BEST websites I’ve ever seen”.

    I mean that Scout!

  10. There is another step, that I’ll share with you, which is to lightly dust the oiled pan with some corn meal prior to adding the dough.
    It makes all the difference in taste and appearance.

  11. Hi Scout!

    Long time follower. I’m a keen cook, but (for whatever reason) I’ve never attempted deep pan pizza (which is impossible to buy here in the UK). I think I’ll give this a go. It looks great.

    It is possible to make decent thin crust pizza at home, though. Mine is pretty good these days, after a lot of practice: http://objection-salad.com/post/22851583238/three-cheese-and-shaved-asparagus-pizza I use a cold-fermented dough recipe from Cook’s Illustrated that works very well. Hand stretched, stone baked (in a regular domestic oven) and it comes out great (see the end of that post for a cross-sectional photo of the crust).

  12. That is a springform pan! Typically used to make cheesecakes (removable sides are necessary for cheesecake!). Speaking of which, I have an amazing cheesecake recipe and now I want to bake it…
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Springform_pan

  13. Cooking with Scout? Exploration and history with your meal? Move over stupid Food Network shows, you have some competition.

  14. See, that’s what cookbooks have been missing all of this time: such descriptive instructions as “DESTROY THEM”.

    Always entertaining, Scout!

    Cheers.

  15. First, love the blog. Your “American Psycho” post helped me with a project and as a NYer was priceless.

    That being said, couple of things about pizza:

    1) Chicago “style” pizza isn’t really pizza. It’s a great dish invented by an American Italian, probably Lou Malnati’s grandad to “class up” pizza to knife-and-fork territory. Ok. It’s delish. But it’s never caught on here in NYC because we have several varieties just killer pizza. Best in the nation if I might say so. No disrespect, but not “pizza” like we think of it from Naples or Rome.

    2) If you really love pizza, you must read Peter Reinhart’s “American Pie: My Search for the Perfect Pizza”. It is simply a great book on his literal journey to find the perfect pizza. For the sake of brevity and great pie, I don’t think he’d mind if I shared his deep dish pizza dough recipe. Because you’ll buy his book.

    Here ya go. Knock it out!

    CHICAGO DEEP-DISH PIZZA DOUGH

    Chicago deep-dish pizza has come to national attention through the expansion of the Pizzeria Uno chain and a number of independent Chicago-style pizzerias in many cities, such as Zachary’s in Berkeley and Sicilia’s, my local verison in Providence. Most Americans associate the crust with a cornmeal flavor and texture. While this is often accurate, it is not always the case; there is also a version that calls for no cornmeal, but is instead a soft,
    white dough made with a small amount of milk. But a cornmeal crust is the most defnitive style, and even within that category differences exist. Gino’s East, for example, makes a thick, airy cornmeal crust, while Lou Malnatti’s and the original Pizzeria Uno (and Pizzeria Due, its even better sister restaurant) make a thinner, Due, its even better sister restaurant) make a thinner,
    crispier crust. I much prefer the latter, and this dough recipe is my version of it, although the same dough can be used for the thicker style as well. Unlike most pizza dough, this one does not improve from an overnight rise.

    Makes two 18-ounce dough balls

    4 cups (18 ounces) unbleached bread flour
    ⅔ cup fine-grind yellow cornmeal
    2 tablespoons sugar
    1¼ teaspoons table salt or 2½ teaspoons kosher salt
    2 ¼ teaspoons instant yeast
    5 tablespoons corn oil
    1½ cups lukewarm water (90° to 95°F)

    1. With a large metal spoon, stir together all the ingredients in a 4-quart bowl or the bowl of an electric stand mixer until combined. If mixing with an electric mixer, fit it with the dough hook and mix on low speed for about 4 minutes, or until the dough forms a coarse ball and clears the sides and the bottom of the bowl. Add more flour or water by the tablespoonful as needed. Let the dough rest for 15 minutes, then mix again on low speed for an additional 2 to 3 minutes, or until speed for an additional 2 to 3 minutes, or until the dough is smooth, stretchy, and tacky but not sticky. The dough should pass the windowpane test. If mixing by hand, repeatedly dip one of your hands or the spoon into room-temperature water and use it much like a dough hook, working the dough vigorously as you rotate the bowl with your other hand. Continue mixing for about 4 minutes, or until the dough forms a coarse ball, adding more flour or water by the tablespoonful as needed. Let the dough rest for 15 minutes, then transfer it to a lightly floured counter. Dust the top with flour to absorb the surface moisture, then knead the dough by hand for 2 to 3 minutes, or until it is smooth, stretchy, and tacky but not sticky. The dough should pass the windowpane test.

    2. Form the dough into a ball and place it in a bowl brushed with olive oil. Roll the dough in the oil to coat the entire surface, and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let the dough sit at room temperature for about 2 hours, or until doubled in size.

    3. Divide the dough into 2 equal pieces and round them into balls. Rub the surface of the dough balls with olive oil, place them on the countertop, and cover them with plastic wrap. Let the dough sit at room temperature for 15 to 20 minutes before making the pizzas.

  16. Being from Chicago, I can mention two things that are off.

    a) That sauce is far too thick. If you like tomatoes, put tomatoes on it. But the sauce needs to be a little thinner so it can spread around. You can see from this video the sauce should be thinner:

    http://youtu.be/N5KBMnrMUg0

    Go to about 1:30

    b) No oregano. Any one will tell you in Chicago that pizza sauce is not just crushed tomatoes. That sauce needs seasoning to spice it up.

    Paul Brin is right. To get the best flavor in your crust, you need a dash of corn meal for the bottom.

  17. That looks fantastic! And I truly appreciate the “everyman” instructions; good to know that my spring-pan can be used for more than cheesecakes.

  18. Dear Scout, thank you so much for this recipe! Today I bought all the ingredients and dared to cook it. The result was delicious! I enjoyed it outdoors with a good glass of red Spanish wine. Thank you!!

  19. Thank you very much for posting the recipe. I’m from Germany and up to your post I wasn’t even aware of this kind of pizza. Tried it out last night and it was fantastic. And thanks to your post and the comment of Jeff I learned of “Man vs. Food”, too :).

    Keep up the good work!

  20. Great use of a springform pan. There is an italian or maybe italian/american dish I once ran across that uses a spinach ricotta filling inside this type of crust. Actually, I seem to recall currants as well, so it might have been sicilian… In any event, thanks for this and the great blog, too. Just fascinating.

  21. Let’s be honest: deep dish pizza might be delicious, but it isn’t pizza – it’s a casserole, folks! If you can’t pick up a slice, it ain’t pizza!

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