Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza Recipe
According to Tim Samuelson, Chicago’s official cultural historian, there is not enough documentation to determine with certainty who invented Chicago-style deep-dish pizza. It is often reported that Chicago-style deep-dish pizza was invented at Pizzeria Uno in Chicago, in 1943, by Uno’s founder Ike Sewell. However, a 1956 article from the Chicago Daily News asserts that Uno’s original pizza chef Rudy Malnati developed the recipe and Michele Mohr from the Chicago Tribune reports that Saverio Rosati opened Rosati’s Authentic Chicago Pizza in 1926.
The primary difference between deep-dish pizza and most other forms of pizza is that, as the name suggests, the crust is very deep, creating a very thick pizza that resembles a pie more than a flatbread. Although the entire pizza is very thick, in traditional Chicago-style deep-dish pizzas, the crust itself is thin to medium in thickness.
Deep-dish pizza is baked in a round, steel pan that is more similar to a cake or pie pan than a typical pizza pan. The pan is oiled in order to allow for easy removal as well as to create a fried effect on the outside of the crust. In addition to ordinary wheat flour, the pizza dough may contain corn meal, semolina, or food coloring, giving the crust a distinctly yellowish tone. The dough is pressed up onto the sides of the pan, forming a bowl for a very thick layer of toppings.
The thick layer of toppings used in deep-dish pizza requires a longer baking time, which could burn cheese or other toppings if they were used as the top layer of the pizza. Because of this, the toppings are assembled “upside-down” from their usual order on a pizza. The crust is covered with cheese (generally sliced mozzarella), followed by various meat options such as pepperoni or sausage, the latter of which sometimes is in a solid patty-like layer. Other toppings such as onions, mushrooms and bell peppers are then also used. An uncooked sauce, typically made from crushed canned tomatoes, is added as the finishing layer; though sometimes, a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese is added for extra flavor. It is typical that when ordered for carry-out or delivery, the pizza is uncut, as this prevents moisture from the sauce and toppings from soaking into the crust, causing the pie to become soggy.
- To make the crust: Mix the dough ingredients, and knead — by hand, mixer, or bread machine — to make a smooth crust. This will take about 7 minutes at medium-low speed in a stand mixer.
- Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl or 8-cup measure (which makes it easy to track its rise), cover, and let rise till very puffy, about 60 minutes.
- While the dough is rising, ready your 14″ deep-dish pizza pan. Grease it with non-stick vegetable oil spray, then pour in 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil, tilting it to cover the bottom of the pan, and partway up the sides.
- Stretch the dough to make as large a circle as you can. You can do this on a lightly oiled baking mat, if you choose; or simply stretch the dough in your hands.
Lay the dough in the pan, and stretch it towards the edges till it starts to shrink back. Cover, and let it rest for 15 minutes. Start preheating the oven to 425°F while the dough rests.
- Stretch the dough to cover the bottom of the pan, then gently push it up the sides of the pan. The olive oil may ooze over the edge of the crust; that’s OK. Let the crust rest for 15 minutes or so, as your oven comes up to 425°F.
- Bake the crust for 10 minutes, until it’s set and barely beginning to brown. While it’s baking, prepare the filling.
- Drain the tomatoes thoroughly. Combine them with the Pizza Seasoning or herbs, and the garlic and sugar (if you’re using them). Add salt to taste; you probably won’t need any additional salt if you’ve used the Pizza Seasoning.
- Cover the bottom of the crust with the sliced mozzarella, fanning it into the crust. Add the sausage (or sautéed vegetables), then the tomato mixture.
- Sprinkle with the grated Parmesan, and drizzle with the olive oil.
- Bake the pizza for about 25 minutes, or until the filling is bubbly and the topping is golden brown. Remove it from the oven, and carefully lift it out of the pan onto a rack. A giant spatula is a help here. Allow the pizza to cool for about 15 minutes (or longer, for less oozing) before cutting and serving.
Tips from our Bakers
For individual deep-dish pizzas: Grease the wells of an individual hamburger bun pan. Divide the risen dough into 12 equal pieces; if you have a scale, each piece will weigh about 2 1/2 ounces. Roll each piece into a tight ball, then cover six of them and transfer to the refrigerator. Allow the remaining six balls of dough to rest, covered, at room temperature for 20 minutes. Stretch an unrefrigerated dough ball to cover the bottom of a well, then push it up the sides of the pan. Repeat with the remaining dough. After a 15-minute rest, bake the individual crusts for 10 minutes until they’re set and barely beginning to brown. Fill, then bake the pizzas for another 20 to 25 minutes, until the filling is bubbly and the topping is golden brown. Repeat with the remaining (refrigerated) dough.