Deep Dish Pizza

Deep Dish Pizza

     A pizza argument is something I shouldn’t get involved in. Chicago vs New York. Deep dish vs thin. Neopolitan vs Sicilian. What’s the best? I don’t know. I have never been to New York and tried their pizzas. Nor have I been to Chicago. I know there are die hard cult like followings of both and I wouldn’t want to offend any of them. Speaking of…this might not be a true deep dish pizza, but it sure was good AHH-Mazing!! That much, at least, I can tell ya.

     A recent trend on the Egghead Forum has been deep dish pizzas (at least that is what they are calling them). And I think one of the main reason’s was Zippylip’s Mushroom Lovers Deep Dish Pizza (you really should check it out). Ever since that post, people have been making them like crazy and I knew I had to try my hand at one as well.

Ingredients for dough

Ingredients for dough

     I’m not going to get into the dough recipe. I’m no expert by far, but Zippylip has a great write up with pictures HERE that will walk you through it and here is a condensed version:

Batch of Zippylip Dough 

1) Combine 1.5 cups of cold water, 3 cups of bread flour, 1 teaspoon of yeast and 1 teaspoon of salt; 
2) Mix with a spoon for a few seconds to eliminate any large pools of water; 
3) Let stand for 20 minutes; 
4) Mix on medium for 20 minutes (it will be very soupy, don’t worry); 
5) Turn off, cover, let stand for another 20 minutes; 
6) Turn mixer back on & add up to 1 additional cup of flour (about 1 tablespoon at a time) allowing it to incorporate. Repeat this until you get the consistency you are looking for (it should be pulling away from the bowl, yet still be sticky enough so that it is a pain in the ass to get out of the bowl); 
7) Remove from bowl, cut into individual pieces (2 for 2-16 inch pies, 3 for 3-12 inch pies, or 4 for 4-12 inch thin-crust pies or 2 deep dish pizzas in a 10.5″ Cast Iron Skillet); 
8) Place in separate oiled plastic containers & cover; 
9) Refrigerate for a minimum of 24 hours and up to 4 days; 
10) Remove about 2 hours before you are ready to use; 
11) When removing from the bowl, be patient, it will want to stay in the bowl, this is normal; 
12) On a floured surface, gently shape the dough (due to the higher moisture content, this dough will be harder to work with than more typical dough, so be careful not to tear it – tossing will not likely be possible); 

     I will say that you may need to play around with the water and flour ratio to get it just right, will probably depend on your location and weather conditions. I had to add more water to get the soupy consistency mentioned in step 4.

     So you’ve made your dough, you’ve let it rise in the fridge for 24 hours at least (I know, seems like a long time and a lot of work, but it’s worth it, I promise) and you’ve pulled the dough out and are ready to get started. Take out a 10.5″ cast iron skillet. Add oil just enough to coat the bottom (I used canola oil), then turn over your plastic container holding the dough and let it fall into the skillet. That’s it, don’t shape the dough, don’t knead it, don’t stretch it out. It will do that on its own. (Step 12 is more for a hand tossed pizza or a thin crust.) Now its time to let the dough rise at room temperature. But wait…it’s winter right now. I don’t know about you, but I know our house isn’t warm like in the summer. So what do you do? Turn the light on in your oven and place  the dough as close to it as possible. It will generate just the right amount of heat to allow it to rise. Trust me on this one.

My dough after rising in the oven for 3 hours (I know it said 2, but I had to go to a doctor's appointment and then the store. I'm sure two will be fine)

My dough after rising in the oven for 3 hours (I know it said 2, but I had to go to a doctor’s appointment and then the store. I’m sure two will be fine)

     OK…you dough has risen, now its time to talk sauce. You have a favorite sauce? Ok, use that. You want to buy a store bought one or one from a restaurant? Ok, go for it. We opted to keep it simple. And by simple, I mean really simple. We took a can of diced tomatoes, the basil, garlic and oregano seasoned ones, 14.5 oz or whatever size they come in, and drained the liquid but reserved it in case we needed to thin our sauce. Dumped it into a skillet and then mashed the tomatoes using a fork. Heat on medium and adjust to taste using salt, pepper, Italian seasoning and maybe some garlic powder. Once you’ve got the flavor you want, turn off the heat and allow to cool. How easy was that?

Our simple sauce for pizza

Our simple sauce for pizza

     You’ve got your dough, you’ve got your sauce, now its time to talk toppings. I don’t know if there are special rules for toppings for deep dish pizza. If there are, who cares? This is your pizza. I say top it the way you want. We opted for pepperoni, our Home-made Hot Italian Sausage (which we are now out of :( ), mushrooms and red onions, but you can add whatever your lil heart desires.

Browning up the last of our Hot Italian Sausage

Browning up the last of our Hot Italian Sausage

     Time to start topping your pizza now that you have decided on what you want on it. Sauce first, right? Wrong! On this pizza, you don’t want the sauce to go down first. The liquid of the sauce will mess up the dough. You’ve got to protect that dough.

Start with cheese

Start with cheese

     Start with a layer of cheese. Mozzarella. But don’t use that pre-shredded stuff. We’ve talked about this before. Its got chemical and stuff added to it to keep it from clumping. That also keep it from melting nicely and leaves a gritty texture. No, buy a block of cheese and grate it for yourself. It’s cheaper, too. ;)

A pizza isn't complete without pepperoni!

A pizza isn’t complete without pepperoni!

    Follow the cheese with your choice of toppings. We started with pepperoni.

The rest of the stuff

The rest of the stuff

 Then added the sausage, mushrooms and diced red onions.

Let's get saucy!

Let’s get saucy!

Followed by our sauce. Can you guess what comes next?

More Cheese!!

More Cheese!!

If you guessed more cheese, move to the head of the class. You guys are so smart.

On to the Egg

On to the Egg

     Time to get cooking. Guess I should have mentioned to pre-heat your grill or oven to 425. Whoops. If using an Egg, the placesetter should be used legs down (and pre-heated a minimum or 30 minutes). Then place your cast iron skillet on top of the three green feet or use spacers of some kind to elevate it off of the placesetter.

20 minutes in

20 minutes in

Check your pizza every 10 to 15 minutes and rotate it to ensure even cooking.

35 minutes in and done

35 minutes in and done

Our pizza took about 35 minutes at 425F. Your times may vary and you may want to pull it earlier depending on how much you like your cheese browned.

Resting

Resting

Upon finishing, bring your pizza inside. Using a thin knife, cut around the edge of cast iron skillet so that you can remove the pizza and then allow it to rest on a wire rack for 3 to 5 minutes. Leaving it in the pan will cause the crust you worked so hard on to get soggy.

Sliced

Sliced

Mmmm…doesn’t that look good. Look at all those air bubbles in the crust. Light and airy.

View of bottom

Golden brown and crispy crust

One bite was all it took. I was in love. Heavenly. Crispy crust on the bottom, yet slightly chewy. Light and airy with a slight buttery flavor from the oil it cooked in. pepperoni and a bit of heat from the sausage. Every bite better than the next. We sliced it into six pieces and even though I thought I was only going to have one, I ate two. I just couldn’t stop myself. Mrs G, who has been to Chicago and eaten plenty of their pizzas, at one point said that it could stand with any of the famous places. I don’t know about that, but I’ll take her word for it. I usually prefer thinner crust pizzas, but now…I don’t know…this might be my go to style. And the good news…that dough recipe…it makes enough for two. So I’ve got another ball in dough in the fridge. Guess I’ll be having pizza again this weekend. ;)

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