The Creation of a Deep Dish Pizza

Wow!  What an afternoon!  You see, my wife and I tend to have strange cravings for food here and there.  Once it was baked pretzels, then it was brick-oven pizza, and of course southern style biscuits.  Yes, I know that you can buy these things in the frozen food section; but you know as well as I do that they could never compare.  So, today I had a day off from work, and we had one of those cravings.  This time it was the famous Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizza.  Once that craving comes, however, it is near impossible to stop!

This time, it was my turn to fulfill the craving!  I went out shopping at one of our local markets for cornmeal, Italian sausage, and cheese.  Thankfully, every item I was looking for was on sale, which made the purchasing of it a lot easier.

I imagined that I should share the recipe with all of our readers.  Here it is (with some pictures that we took):

Pan Dough:

  • 1 cup warm tap water (110−115ø)
  • 1 pkg. active dry yeast
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup coarse ground cornmeal
  • 1 teas. salt
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil

Pizza Topping:

  • 1/2 lb. mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 lb. Italian Sausage, removed from the casing and crumbled
  • 8 slices sandwich pepperoni
  • 1/2 quart can of whole tomatoes, drained and coarsely crushed
  • 2 cloves Garlic, peeled and minced
  • 3 fresh basil leaves, chopped fine
  • 1 teas. fresh dried oregano
  • 4 tbls. Freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
Pour the warm water into a large mixing bowl and dissolve the yeast with a fork. Add 1 cup of flour, all of the cornmeal, salt, and vegetable oil.
Mix well with a spoon. Continue stirring in the rest of the flour 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl.
Flour your hands and the work surface and kneed the ball of dough until it is no longer sticky.Let the dough rise in an oiled bowl, sealed with a wet towel, for 45 to 60 minutes in the oven with just the light on (the oven turned OFF!), until it is doubled in bulk.
Punch it down and kneed it briefly. Let it rise agian for another 30 minutes. Punch it down and press it into an oiled 15−inch deep dish pie pan, until it comes 2 inches up the sides and is even on the bottom of the pan ( about 1/8 inch thick). Let the dough rise 15−20 more minutes before filling.
Preheat the oven to 575 degrees. While the dough is rising, prepare the filling. Cook the crumbled sausage until it is no longer pink, drain it of its excess fat. Drain and chop the tomatoes. When the dough has finished its rising, lay the cheese over the dough shell.
Then distribute the sausage, pepperoni, and garlic over the cheese. Sprinkle on the seasonings and Parmesan cheese.
Top with the tomatoes.
Bake for 10 minutes at 475 degrees. Then lower the temperature to 400 degrees and bake for 30 minutes longer. Lift up a section of the crust from time to time with a spatula to check on its color. The crust will be golden brown when done. Serve immediately. And that's that!
I will say that it was a blast making it; but it was by far the best eating it.  It turned out pretty close to perfect for us.  As you can see, at least someone liked it..
We also shared with some of our friends; one of which has never had Chicago-Style Pizza before!  We’ll see if they like it.  Some of you may be wondering why we didn’t offer you any…well, come out and visit, and we’ll be honored to share!
By the way, Andrea’s sister Sharon got us the pizza-themed plates for Christmas.  Yes, they’ve already been of good use!

Our Attempt at Pizza

Some of you may think this is partly a food critic’s blog.  It does seem to be that way sometimes, doesn’t it?  Both Andrea and I have a love for good eats.  Since we are newly married and don’t have the enormous budget it would take to support being restaurant critics, we like to make our own food, then review it.  I am especially the critical one!  I really enjoy making some things.  Since we have been in PA, I have tried making a few things from pretzels, to Italian Beef, to donuts, and now to pizza.

And it’s not just any pizza that I tried to make today–my evening off from work.  I adore wood-fired/brick oven pizza!  The greasy kind that is made in bulk in rotating ovens at CiCi’s buffet is just what I DON”T want to make–those are pretty easy, and taste sub-par to me.  If I am going to take the time, I figured, to make pizza at home, I want to do it right.  The problem is that brick oven pizzas are not all that easy to make.

Several months ago I was curious on just how those few-and-far-between places that make brick oven pizza do it.  I found out that it took a VERY hot oven (500+ degrees), a pizza stone, and a peal (a big pizza spatula).  Today, as we were out at the store, I saw it–A real pizza stone–included with a little wire rack and pizza cutter for only six dollars. What do you think?  I just passed it up?  Not!

We got home in the late afternoon and I all of the sudden wanted to make it for dinner.  I researched a couple of recipes online and pretty much found what I wanted.  It took a 550 degree oven, and all of the normal pizza ingredients.  We made our own sauce out of those canned tomatoes that we make fun of so much and some spices.  Then I made the dough with mainly 5 parts white flour and one part whole wheat flour (for chewiness, the recipe said).  Then I had to heat up that pizza stone in the hot oven, and…ahhh!!! I still don’t have a peel to put the pizza in the oven with!  So I made a makeshift one out of a cardboard box that we had.

I slipped that pizza in the oven and, oh no, a slice of pepperoni slid off the pizza an d stone and on to the bottom of the oven.  Do you know what occurs when something like that happens in an extremely hot place?  Fire!  Thankfully, I just blew the flame out a few times until it burnt off.  Other than that, that was the only real mishap.  It only took about six minutes to cook, and came out pretty good looking.  We used our peal-wannabe to take the pizza off the stone and onto the top of the oven.  We cut it up, and served it.


It tasted delicious!  That pizza stone does wonders!  It tasted just like I wanted, and that’s coming from me of all people!  The crust was crisp on the outside, and soft and chewy on the inside.  Even though the pizza wasn’t perfectly round, it tasted great.  The funny thing is that we live practically right next to a good pizza place: Golden Crust.  Occasionally we can smell it through our open windows; and we both agreed it tastes better.  Take that Golden Crust!  We’ll save that recipe!  Maybe it will even be a family tradition.