My family loves pizza! We have it at least two to three times per week. I know, that’s a lot of pizza. I have developed a standard pizza crust and sauce recipe that everyone is happy with, but I wanted to expand my repertoire to include some variety. Enter the deep dish pizza. I found a great recipe from the nice folks over at King Arthur Flour, but naturally I have modified mine to accommodate my family of picky eaters and the ingredients available in my area.
Please note that this is Tauren style deep dish pizza, not “Chicago style.” I have never been to Chicago and I have no idea what true Chicago style pizza is like. I just know that this pizza tastes great and my family loves it!
This pizza is not for the diet-conscious, the strict vegan, or those who fear cholesterol. Even if you substitute veggies for the meat, there is still a lot of oil and cheese in this pizza, and that means lots of calories. Of course you could eat just one small piece . . nah! who am I kidding? Once you try it you will not be able to eat just one small piece.
A FEW NOTES:
DOUGH — I make the dough in my bread machine, because it works great and I have more free time to do the other 100 things I need to do. You can make the dough using a stand mixer with dough hook or the old fashioned way. It all works and it all tastes great. The dough has three kinds of oil: olive oil, vegetable oil, and butter. (There is a lot of oil in this pizza!)
I bake my pizzas in cast iron skillets, which works great and gives the crust the perfect finish. The pizzas come out of the skillets with no sticking problems, even with the 4-inch deep skillet. This may be because my skillets are so well seasoned; I inherited them from my grandmother and they are seasoned from many years of use. It is just a bit tricky with the 4-inch deep skillet to keep the pizza from folding up or splitting the crust while getting it out.
Feel free to use two round 9-inch cake pans if you don’t have cast iron skillets or a single 14-inch deep dish pizza pan. If you have only one cast iron skillet, make the pizzas one at a time. If you are lucky enough to have two, you can bake them in the oven at the same time side-by-side.
Make sure to add oil to your pan before placing the crust in it. (Did I mention that there is a lot of oil in this pizza?)
This recipe calls for par-baking (pre-baking) the crust before filling it with cheese, meat, etc. Some say that the par-baking is not necessary. The crust is not really any thicker than regular pizza crust; it just has high sides to hold all of the filling. That thick filling, however, may be the reason for the par-baking step. Extra filling ingredients mean more moisture on the raw crust, and that may prevent the crust from being cooked properly. I will try skipping this step at some point and report on the result.
FILLING — My recipe lists the amounts of filling per pizza, because half of the family will not eat all of the delicious things that the other half wants in the pizza, so I have to make each filling separately. (I have to make one pizza with plain old pizza sauce in place of the delightful tomatoes and seasonings and limit the filling to cheese and pepperoni. I like to think that I am not alone in this situation.) Use the ingredient list as a guideline and modify it to accommodate your household. If you wish to make two pizza exactly the same double the filling ingredients listed.
You will notice that in deep dish pizza the filling ingredients are layered in the crust in a different order than with standard flat pizza. First comes the cheese, next the meat and/or vegetables (all precooked and/or sauteed first,) then the tomatoes and seasonings (not pizza “sauce”,) and finally a bit more cheese and some more olive oil. (I”ll say it again: there is a lot of oil in this pizza!)
The KAF recipe calls for sliced mozzarella cheese, but that is prohibitively expensive in my area, so I use shredded mozzarella from my neighb0rhood Costco. That is also what I put on the top of the pizza and I have not heard any complaints.
Taurens like our pizza with meat, but if you want a veggie version simply substitute about 1 cup of sautéed vegetables of your choice.
Deep dish pizza with Polska Kielbasa, artichoke hearts, black olives, spinach, and onions
Crust for two 10-inch deep dish pizzas; ingredients listed in bread machine order
- 1 3/4 teaspoons salt
- 1 cup + 2 tablespoons lukewarm water
- 4 tablespoons butter, melted
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or salad oil
- 4 cups (17 oz.) All-Purpose Flour
- 3 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
- 2 3/4 teaspoons instant yeast
Filling Per 10-inch Pizza
- 6 to 8 ounces sliced or shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
- 14-ounce can plum or other whole tomatoes, lightly crushed and chopped;
- OR 14-ounce can diced or chopped tomatoes
- more minced garlic, to taste
- 1 tablespoon sugar, optional (This adds great flavor imo ~G.)
- 1 teaspoon mixed dried Italian herbs (1/4 tsp each of basil, oregano, marjoram, rosemary)
- 6 to 8 ounces precooked pizza meat, sliced or crumbled (sausage, salami, linguiça, ham, bacon, etc.)
- 1/2 cup chopped sweet onions
- 1 tsp minced garlic (about 1 or 2 cloves)
- Optional add-ins, such as sliced black olives, spinach leaves, artichoke hearts, etc.
- Optional 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan or Asiago cheese can be used in place of an additional 2 to 3 ounces of shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 tablespoon olive oil for drizzling, optional
Deep Dish Pizza with salami, bacon, linguiça, black olives, and onions
MAKING THE DOUGH AND PAR-BAKING THE CRUST —
Place ingredients in your bread machine in the order listed above, or follow your bread machine instructions. Select the dough setting.
Just before the bread machine cycle ends, prepare your pizza pans. You can use two 9-inch pie pans, or, my favorite, two 10-inch (#8) cast iron skillets. Grease your chosen pan(s) with olive oil, vegetable oil, or cooking spray, being sure to oil the bottom of the pan, and partway up the sides.
If you have a kitchen scale (how did I ever get along without one?) use your scale to divide your dough in equal halves. Don’t worry if you do not have a kitchen scale; just eyeball it and you will come out with something close enough.
Start preheating the oven to 425°F.
Form each half into a ball, and then flatten it out into a circle. Pat each half into one of the prepared pans and push and stretch it out to fit the pan the best you can. It may shrink up a bit at first, but don’t worry; it will fit.
Cover and allow the dough to rest for 15 minutes.
NOTE: If you are having trouble with the dough, and it just doesn’t seem to want to stretch out, place it on a microwave safe plate and pop it into the microwave on high for 15 to 20 seconds or so. This will warm it up and relax it. Give it more microwave time if it seems to need more, but try to keep it under one minute.
After the dough has rested, stretch it some more. Gently manipulate it and shape it to fit the pan, pushing it up the sides to form a pizza crust reservoir to hold all of those delicious ingredients. (I enjoy this part; the dough is soft, slightly warm, and it feels alive from the yeast.) Allow the dough to rest for another 15 minutes or so until your oven reaches 425°F.
Now you are going to par-bake the crust so that it sets up nice and firm to hold all the cheesey goodness.
If you desire, you can line the raw dough crust with a square of aluminum foil and fill it with dry beans – pinto, white, kidney, any sort will do. This helps the crust to keep its shape while it pre-bakes. The beans can be re-used for this same purpose.
Par-bake the crust in the 425°F oven for 10 minutes, until it is set and just beginning to brown.
While the crust bakes, prepare the filling:
Drain the tomatoes completely, and slightly crush or roughly chop them if they are whole. Add in the seasonings and sugar. You may want to add salt to taste, especially if you use “no salt added” tomatoes.
Sauté 1/2 cup onions and 1 tsp garlic in olive oil. Add in the cooked meat and continue to sauté until the onions are golden and soft.
After the crust is pre-baked, cover the bottom evenly with 4 to 5 ounces of sliced or shredded mozzarella cheese. Layer on the sautéed meat and onion mixture, and follow with the tomato-herb mixture.
Sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella (or optional grated Parmesan or Asiago,) and, if you like, drizzle with an optional 1 Tablespoon olive oil.
BAKE THE PIZZA —
Bake the pizzas at 425°F for about 25 minutes on the same rack, side-by-side. When done the filling should be bubbling hot and the top cheese should be a nice golden brown.
Remove the pans from the oven. Depending on the pans you use, it may be challenging to lift the whole pizza out of the pan in one piece. A really deep skillet (one of mine is about 4-inches deep) presents some difficulty.
If you can remove it in one piece, allow it to cool for about 15 minutes before cutting. Don’t be surprised if your crew turns mutinous at this point. The reason for the delay as KAF says is ” for less oozing” when you cut it. My family doesn’t mind a bit of ooze, but, oh, they do mind the wait!
Your basic deep dish pepperoni pizza, fresh and hot out of the oven . .
Give this recipe a try when you want to change up your standard pizza night. I think that you will like it. Let me know what you think.
Next time I will post my tried and true, standard pizza crust dough and pizza sauce recipes.