Chicago Style Pizza

Introduction

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I recently checked my website’s stats and found out that Chicago is my most popular city in the US. I have more readers in Chicago than anywhere else in the country. That’s incredibly awesome because I love Chicago! As a tribute to my number one city, I’m wrapping up this year with a blow-out Chicago-inspired recipe. So, get ready for the ultimate deep-dish pizza experience, Chicago style!

Table of Contents

Sr#Headings
1Introduction
2The History of Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza
3Why Chicago Loves Deep-Dish Pizza
4Ingredients for the Perfect Deep-Dish Pizza
5Making the Crust: The Foundation of Your Pizza
6Crafting the Perfect Pizza Sauce
7Choosing the Best Toppings
8Step-by-Step Assembly Guide
9Baking Your Deep-Dish Pizza to Perfection
10Serving and Enjoying Your Pizza
11Tips and Tricks for the Best Results
12Conclusion: A Tribute to Chicago
13FAQs

The History of Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza

Chicago-style deep-dish pizza has a rich history that dates back to 1943. It all started when Ike Sewell and Ric Riccardo opened Pizzeria Uno in the River North neighborhood. They wanted to create something different from the traditional thin-crust pizza, and thus, the deep-dish pizza was born. With its thick, buttery crust, layers of cheese, and hearty tomato sauce, it quickly became a Chicago staple.

Why Chicago Loves Deep-Dish Pizza

Chicagoans love their deep-dish pizza because it’s more than just a meal; it’s an experience. Each slice is a hearty, satisfying piece of culinary art. The combination of a crispy crust, gooey cheese, and robust tomato sauce makes for a flavor explosion in every bite. It’s the ultimate comfort food, perfect for the city’s cold winters and bustling lifestyle.

Ingredients for the Perfect Deep-Dish Pizza

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Before we dive into the process, let’s gather all the ingredients we need to create this masterpiece.

Crust:

  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 1 package yeast
  • 1/3 cup corn oil
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 pound bread flour

Pizza Sauce:

  • 28 ounces plum Roma tomatoes (or San Marzano tomatoes – my favorite)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • A pinch of basil
  • A pinch of oregano
  • Fresh ground black pepper

Toppings:

  • 16 ounces mozzarella (about 4 cups, low-moisture part-skim, NOT low-fat)
  • Pepperoni
  • Italian sausage, uncooked and pinched into little pieces

Making the Crust: The Foundation of Your Pizza

The crust is the foundation of any great pizza, and for a deep-dish, it needs to be just right.

Step 1: Mixing the Dough

In a bowl, add the lukewarm water, yeast, corn oil, sugar, and cream of tartar. Mix these ingredients by hand until the yeast dissolves. Slowly add the bread flour a little at a time. Use your hand like a dough hook, curving it to mix the dough until it starts to come together.

Step 2: Kneading the Dough

Once the dough is mixed, it’s time to knead. This step is crucial for developing the gluten structure that will give your crust its chewy texture. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes straight. If the dough is too sticky, add a bit more flour until it’s firm but still pliable.

Step 3: Letting the Dough Rise

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After kneading, roll the dough into a ball and place it in a bowl lightly brushed with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel. Let the dough sit overnight at room temperature. This long rise time allows the dough to develop its flavor and texture.

Crafting the Perfect Pizza Sauce

A great pizza sauce can make or break your deep-dish pizza. Here’s how to make a simple yet delicious sauce.

Step 1: Preparing the Tomatoes

Take the plum Roma or San Marzano tomatoes and pour them into a bowl. Using a potato masher or your hands, mash the tomatoes until there are no chunks bigger than a quarter. This ensures a smooth, even sauce.

Step 2: Adding the Seasonings

Add the salt, basil, oregano, and fresh ground black pepper to the mashed tomatoes. Stir well to combine. Be cautious with the basil and oregano – a little goes a long way. Adjust the salt and pepper to taste.

Choosing the Best Toppings

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The toppings are where you can really get creative, but for a classic Chicago deep-dish, we’ll stick to mozzarella, pepperoni, and Italian sausage.

Mozzarella

Use low-moisture part-skim mozzarella, and avoid low-fat varieties. The cheese is a key ingredient, providing that signature gooey texture without making the pizza too greasy.

Pepperoni and Italian Sausage

For the meat toppings, pepperoni and uncooked Italian sausage pinched into small pieces are ideal. The sausage will cook through in the oven, adding a rich, savory flavor to the pizza.

Step-by-Step Assembly Guide

Now that we have all our components ready, it’s time to assemble the pizza.

Step 1: Prepping the Pan

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Prepare your deep-dish pizza pan (or a round cake pan with straight sides) by coating the inside with a generous layer of melted butter or oil. This helps create a crispy, golden crust.

Step 2: Shaping the Dough

Roll the dough out to about 3 inches larger than the bottom of your pan. Place the dough inside the pan, pressing it down and pinching it up along the sides to form a thick edge.

Step 3: Adding the Cheese

Start by layering the mozzarella cheese directly on the crust. This helps create a barrier that prevents the crust from getting soggy.

Step 4: Adding the Toppings

Next, add the pepperoni and sausage pieces. Spread them out evenly over the cheese.

Step 5: Adding the Sauce

Finally, spoon the pizza sauce over the toppings. Spread it out evenly, ensuring all the toppings are covered.

Baking Your Deep-Dish Pizza to Perfection

Place your assembled pizza in the preheated oven and bake for about 45 minutes. You’ll know it’s done when the crust starts to brown, the cheese bubbles up through the sauce, and the edges of the pepperoni start to crisp.

Serving and Enjoying Your Pizza

Let the pizza cool for a few minutes before slicing. This allows the cheese to set slightly, making it easier to cut and serve. Enjoy your slice of Chicago heaven while it’s still warm and gooey.

Tips and Tricks for the Best Results

  • Use Quality Ingredients: High-quality tomatoes, cheese, and meats make a significant difference in the flavor.
  • Don’t Rush the Dough: Letting the dough rise overnight enhances its texture and taste.
  • Bake at the Right Temperature: Ensure your oven is preheated to 350°F for even cooking.
  • Avoid Overloading Toppings: Too many toppings can weigh down the pizza and prevent it from cooking evenly.

Conclusion: A Tribute to Chicago

Creating this Chicago-style deep-dish pizza has been a joy, and it’s a delicious way to pay tribute to my most popular city. Chicago, you have a special place in my heart and in my kitchen. Here’s to many more pizzas shared with my readers in the Windy City and beyond!

FAQs

1. Can I use a different type of flour for the crust?

While bread flour is recommended for its higher gluten content, you can use all-purpose flour in a pinch. The texture might be slightly different, but it will still work.

2. What if I don’t have a deep-dish pizza pan?

You can use a round cake pan with straight sides as a substitute. Just ensure it’s well-oiled to prevent sticking.

3. Can I add vegetables to my deep-dish pizza?

Absolutely! Feel free to add your favorite vegetables like bell peppers, onions, or mushrooms. Just be mindful not to overload the pizza to ensure even cooking.

4. How do I store leftover pizza?

Store leftover pizza in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. Reheat in the oven at 350°F until warmed through.

5. Can I freeze the dough?

Yes, you can freeze the dough. After kneading, let it rise, then portion it and freeze in airtight bags. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using.

This detailed recipe ensures you can recreate an authentic Chicago-style deep-dish pizza at home, satisfying your

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