Monday, October 19, 2009

Chicago Style Pizza

I thought I hated Chicago-style pizza. You know the one I'm talking about: the 3-foot-thick gut bomb, sauce-bucket, the one with 10 pounds of cheese. Turns out that version is more of a parody of what true Chicago pizza is and should be. The bellman, Jeffery, at Hotel Allegro suggested that we try Lou Malnati's, a no-nonsense local pizza chain that serves up genuine deep-dish pizza.

From the 1st bite I had a better understanding of what all the fuss was about. The crust was like a sourdough focaccia. That was topped with a generous, yet not obscene, amount of cheese with the sauce on top of the cheese. It worked for me. You could pick up a slice, but most of us choose to use a knife and fork.
I knew I had to recreate this at home. For the crust:

1 warm beer (I used a pale ale)

3 cups bread flour

1 tbsp. active dry yeast

1 tbsp. honey

1 tsp. salt

olive oil

Throw the dry ingredients and also the honey into your Kitchen Aid stand mixer with the dough hook attachment, and then turn it on low. Add the warm beer 1/4 cup at a time. You may need the whole beer, or you may not. Look for the dough to come together. You will know it when you see it. Let the mixer run on low for about 7 minutes. This will develop the gluten in the bread flour – this is required for a good pizza dough. Now turn off the mixer, remove the dough hook, divide dough in half, and coat your dough in a generous amount of olive oil. Press each dough down into a 8-10 inch straight-walled cake pan or use a spring form pan if that is what you have. Cover and allow the dough to rise until doubled. This should take about an hour or two.

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Top each dough with a cup to a cup and a half of shredded provolone cheese and stick it in the oven. Once the cheese has melted top with a layer of your favorite pizza sauce or crushed tomatoes. They take about 20 to thirty minutes to cook through. You will see the crust tart to turn golden brown and the sauce on top will be nearly dry. Remove each pizza from the pan, top with some parm, and enjoy.


Amuse-bouche for Two said...

Thank goodness for shameless self promotion...found your blog on Bittman's blog today. Happy to have found your pizza dough recipe. Beer...that might be genius. I'll be giving this a try...and soon.

Benito said...

Awesome! On my one trip to Chicago, I was in my veggie phase and had a deep dish pie at Gino's. Loaded up with goat cheese and asparagus among other goodies.

Sarah S. said...

So glad to see someone pointed you in the right direction! Lou Malnatti's is in the top 3 Chicago pizza joints for sure. Your version looks great!

Susan G said...

I have been making this for years with a recipe from the Frugal Gourmet. The dough has no salt, and to me tastes very authentic. The nice thing about making it at home is you can control the amount of cheese (and sodium - Uno's personal deep dish has over 2,000 mg - even too salty for a confirmed salt lover like me!))

Bianca said...

I believe the pizza we had was four times that size. At least.

Rose said...

That looks PERFECT. I am going to have to try this on my snotty boyfriend from Chicago ;) I mean, choosy. Not snotty!! :P

KariH said...

I made this for my husband and myself. It is so perfect! Thanks for a great recipe and I love your blog!