Author Topic: Chicago style thin cracker crust  (Read 3359 times)

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Offline BTB

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Chicago style thin cracker crust
« on: September 30, 2011, 09:56:41 AM »
Tom, in another thread here you wrote:
I think my all time favorite crust is a thin, cracker crust (Chicago style)
By the way, to answer your question of why do I like the Chicago style thin cracker crust, the answer is because I'm originally from Chicago, and that is the type of crust that I remember growing up with. In case you're wondering, there ain't anything crispy, except for the four corner pieces (party cut) of a Chicago cracker crust. But since the crispy corner pieces are everyones favorite pieces, and the first ones to go, I developed a process for making a Chicago style cracker crust that is crispy across the entire bottom. Now, I can REALLY enjoy my Chicago style cracker crust pizzas!
Being originally from Chicago myself before moving far away, Chicago style cracker crust is among my all time favorite crusts also.  Some of the great southside pizzas that I'm sure you're familiar with are Ed & Joe's, Nino's, Aurelio's, Papa's, Beggars, Fox's, Vito & Nick's, etc.  Sure do miss those places.
 
I would certainly like to hear from you about your "process for making a Chicago style cracker crust that is crispy across the entire bottom."  Thanks.
                                                                                       --BTB          :D


Offline The Dough Doctor

  • Tom Lehmann
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Re: Chicago style thin cracker crust
« Reply #1 on: September 30, 2011, 12:05:07 PM »
BTB;
Ed and Joe's is the pizza that I was raised on as a kid! I remember them from back in the 50's! Best of all, they're still out there, and everytime I get back to the south side I get one of their pizza.
For the improved (crispy version) of the Chicago thin, cracker crust, go to the PMQ web site at <www.pmq.com> and under "culinary" click on the RECIPE BANK drop down. Then type in "Pizza dough" for your search words. You will find my Chicago thin cracker crust posted there. After step #11, parbake the formed dough skin (be sure to dock it well) These can be saved for use later, or used right away. Resume with step #12, or dress the parbaked shell in your perferred manner and bake in an airimpingement oven for 5-minutes at about 465F. We make this version at all of the pizza shows that we attend. It is also a great buffet pizza as it holds its crisp so well.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Offline BTB

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Re: Chicago style thin cracker crust
« Reply #2 on: September 30, 2011, 01:16:22 PM »
Tom, the way that recipe is laid out in PMQ is a little confusing.  Perhaps the printer didn't lay it out right.  The recipe there is:
--Flour 100%
--Salt 1.5%
--Sugar (optional) 1.5%
--Compressed yeast 0.25%
What is described afterwards is a little confusing, but I think what was intended was to then add olive oil 8% (or a blend of 2% olive oil and 6% vegetable oil for economy), an optional addition of 4% unsalted butter and water or hydration (70F) of 45%.  Is this correct?  Instead of compressed yeast, what would the proportion of ADY or IDY be?
 
Thereafter in that recipe, Step 12 of the Thin Crust Procedure seems incorrect.  Step 12 says "Apply slices of Mozzarella cheese to the dough skin, followed by the sauce and toppings."  That is the usual sequence for Chicago Style Deep Dish, but not the usual sequence for Chicago style thin cracker crust.  For most Chicago style thin cracker crusts, the sauce and toppings are usually applied first, followed by shredded Mozzarella or other cheeses, not the way it is described in that recipe procedure.  Correct?
 
                                                                         --BTB

Offline The Dough Doctor

  • Tom Lehmann
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Re: Chicago style thin cracker crust
« Reply #3 on: September 30, 2011, 04:10:07 PM »
The dough formula is correct as you have shown it. To use ADY you will use half (50%) of the compressed yeast amount and to use IDY you will need to use 40% of the compressed yeast amount. Keep in mind that regardless of the type of yeast used, they should all be suspended in water prior to adding it to the dough.
You are right about the procedure (step #12) being incorrect. They must have taken that from the Chicago deep dish formula when they transscribed and entered the formula in the Recipe Bank. Just sauce the par-baked crust, then add the toppings, and finally the cheese, as the cheese goes on last in the Chicago presentation. Remember, the mixing time is VERY SHORT. The resulting "dough" looks more like a biscuit or pie dough than what you might think of a pizza dough as being. If there ain't dry, white flour in the mixing bowl when you're through mixing, you have over-mixed the dough. Trust me.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Offline BTB

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Re: Chicago style thin cracker crust
« Reply #4 on: October 01, 2011, 09:20:55 AM »
Tom, part of your advice to us home bakers on baking Chicago style thin cracker crusts included
. . . dress the parbaked shell in your perferred manner and bake in an air impingement oven . . .
I don't know many home pizzamakers with air impingement or conveyor ovens.  I often use a Loyds cutter pan (which often time can somewhat duplicate the effect of a deck oven) or use a pizza screen in my home electric oven.  And I know there are new types of pans out there for use.  To maximize the making of the crisp pizza crust throughout, what/how do you recommend baking the Chicago style thin cracker crust in the average home oven?
 
And when you say to use half (50%) of the compressed yeast in the recipe, do you mean, for example, with ADY to use 50% of the recipe's .25% or .125% ADY?  Is that what you meant?

                                                                                  --BTB

Offline weewillys

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Re: Chicago style thin cracker crust
« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2011, 01:38:32 PM »
Hi Tom,

I'm very interested in your Chicago Cracker Crust Recipe, here are my question?

1) What brand and type of flour do you recommend? Protein level would also be helpful.

2) When you pre-bake do you use a pan, if so do you put the pan on a pizza stone, or do you pre-bake right on the stone?

3) What temp do you pre-bake at in a gas oven? How long do you pre-bake?

4) What temp do you do the final bake at? How long is the final bake?

Take care,

Bill

Offline The Dough Doctor

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Re: Chicago style thin cracker crust
« Reply #6 on: October 31, 2011, 09:48:14 AM »
In response to replies #4 and 5 above;
ADY is typically, and correctly substituted for compressed (cake) yeast at 50%, or 1/2 of the compressed yeast weight or percentage.
The type of flour used to make the Chicago style cracker crust would be Ceresota brand, but any flour with around 11.5% protein content would work equally as well. When baking in a home oven, I like to par-bake the crusts at 400F, and bake on a stone if possible, or on a dark colored pan if a stone is not available. When baking the dressed dough/crust, I increase the oven temperature to 475 - 500F, and bake on a dark colored, solid pan, like the Lloyd's cutter pan, but any dark colored, solid pan will work. The baking time will be about 25-minutes on a raw dough skin, or about 15-minutes on a par-baked crust. Some experimenting will be needed due to the vast differences in the way different home ovens bake.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor


 

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