Deep Dish Pizza

Deep-Dish Pizza

Some people like thin crust. Others want it thick.

But Chicago-style deep-dish pizza takes crust to a whole new level.

Instead of being bread-like, the crust is airy inside, lightly crisp outside and flaky throughout.

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This crust includes butter, layered throughout in a technique called laminating. The dough has to rise twice, the second time in the refrigerator to make sure the butter doesn't get too soft. Total rising time takes 1½ to 2½ hours, so start a little early in the day.

You'll want to use your mixer with a dough hook to make this dough. 

Also, be sure to oil your cake pans, which crisps the crust crisp and makes it even more flavorful.

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Following Chicago tradition, cover the dough with shredded mozzarella before topping it with a thick tomato sauce. The cheese forms a barrier between the crust and the sauce, which prevents sogginess. A sprinkle of nutty Parmesan over the sauce provides a second layer of cheesy bite.

Deep-Dish Pizza

Makes 6-8 servings in 2 cake pans. Start to finish: 3 to 4 hours (Rising time: 1 ½ to 2 ½ hours; baking time: 20 minutes)

Dough:

3¼ cups all-purpose flour

½ cup cornmeal

2¼ teaspoons instant or rapid-rise yeast

1½ teaspoons salt

1¼ cups water, room temperature

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus 4 tablespoons softened

2 teaspoons sugar

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Sauce and Toppings:

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

¼ cup grated onion (use large holes on grater)

¼ teaspoon dried oregano

Salt and pepper

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes

¼ teaspoon sugar

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

4 cups whole-milk mozzarella cheese, shredded

¼ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

1. For the dough: Whisk flour, cornmeal, yeast and salt together in bowl of stand mixer. Whisk water, melted butter and sugar in 4-cup liquid measuring cup until sugar has dissolved. Using dough hook on low speed, slowly add water mixture to flour mixture and mix until cohesive dough starts to form and no dry flour remains, about 2 minutes, scraping down bowl as needed. Increase speed to medium-low and knead until dough is smooth and elastic and clears sides of bowl, about 8 minutes.

2. Transfer dough to lightly floured counter and knead by hand to form smooth, round ball, about 30 seconds. Place dough seam side down in lightly greased large bowl or container, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled in size, 1 to 1½ hours. (Unrisen dough can be refrigerated for at least 8 hours or up to 16 hours; let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before shaping.)

3. For the sauce and toppings: Heat 2 tablespoons oil in medium saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion, oregano and ½ teaspoon salt and cook until onion is softened and lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook about 30 seconds. Stir in tomatoes and sugar, bring to simmer and cook until sauce measures 2½ cups, 25 to 30 minutes. Off heat, stir in basil and remaining oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to bowl and let cool completely before using.

4. Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 425 F. Press down on dough to deflate and transfer to clean counter. Press and roll dough into 15-by-12-inch rectangle, with short side parallel to counter edge. Spread softened butter over dough, leaving ½-inch border along edges.

5. Roll dough away from you into firm cylinder, keeping roll taut by tucking it under itself as you go. With seam side down, flatten cylinder into 18-by-4-inch rectangle. Cut rectangle in half crosswise.

6. Working with 1 half at a time, fold dough into thirds like business letter, then pinch seams together to form rough ball. Return dough balls seam side down to greased bowl, cover tightly with plastic, and let rise in refrigerator until nearly doubled in size, 30 minutes to 1 hour.

7. Coat two 9-inch round cake pans with 2 tablespoons oil each. Press and roll one dough ball into 13-inch round of even thickness, sprinkling dough and counter with flour as needed to prevent sticking. Loosely roll dough around rolling pin and gently unroll it into prepared pan. Gently press dough into pan, working it into corners and 1 inch up sides. (If dough resists stretching, let it relax for 5 to 10 minutes before trying to stretch it again.) Repeat with remaining dough ball.

8. For each pizza, sprinkle 2 cups mozzarella evenly over surface of dough, spread 1¼ cups tomato sauce over cheese, and sprinkle 2 tablespoons Parmesan over sauce. Bake pizzas until crusts are golden brown, 20 to 30 minutes. Let pizzas cool in pans for 10 minutes, then transfer to cutting board with metal spatula. Slice and serve.