Author Topic: What purpose does oil serve in Chicago thin?  (Read 118 times)

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Online orangeman1

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What purpose does oil serve in Chicago thin?
« on: Yesterday at 11:05:14 AM »
I've followed so many of the Chicago thin and cracker recipes but never really understood the reason. Compared to NY style, many of the Chicago thin recipes have massive amounts of oil and Crisco. Olive, vegetable, corn, etc., all in varying amounts.

If I want to tweak a formula, I would like to understand what it is that I am doing, and the cause and effect of making the change, and what each type of oil brings to the taste and texture.

It seems like most of the recipes are in the neighborhood of 50% hydration and then oil is added. I know the oil adds to the the hydration but performs a specific function. That is what I am trying to learn.

Thanks in advance.

Tom
« Last Edit: Yesterday at 11:15:52 AM by orangeman1 »


Offline Pete-zza

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Re: What purpose does oil serve in Chicago thin?
« Reply #1 on: Yesterday at 01:06:12 PM »
Tom,

Our historians of the Chicago styles of pizza will no doubt give you a better answer but I understand that some Chicago-area pizzerias use the same dough for the thin style as for the deep-dish style. Maybe that set a pattern where some of those who specialize in only the thin style have continued with the high oil content for their doughs.

Peter

Offline Mad_Ernie

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Re: What purpose does oil serve in Chicago thin?
« Reply #2 on: Yesterday at 04:40:15 PM »
Tom:

As Peter said, there are probably more knowledgeable people here about the scientific rationale of the increased oil (fat) in a Chicago style thin crust pizza.  I'll give it a shot.  I think it is linked to deep dish pizza in that the explanation for adding more fat has a similar answer.

For that, we need a brief history lesson.  Any thin, crackery, Midwestern style pizza is the way it is due to history.  That is, in the 40's-60's, the Midwest did not have ready access to some of the ingredients that East-coasters did.  For example: high gluten flour was not as easy to come by.  And when someone said "pizza pie", the Midwesterner keyed in on what was familiar in that term: pie.  Midwesterners know pie.  What's in a pie crust?  A lot of fat (shortening/butter/oil).

Here is a link to some scientific explanation of fat used in pie crusts that ultimately leads to their texture and appearance that may be of some help: http://sweets.seriouseats.com/2011/07/the-food-lab-the-science-of-pie-how-to-make-pie-crust-easy-recipe.html

So basically, I think the reason for the larger fat content is the final texture of the crust.  You are almost frying the dough in a way with the dispersion of the fat with the flour, creating a carmalized color and a crispy texture.

That's my 2 cents, for what it's worth.

-ME
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Offline jeffereynelson

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Re: What purpose does oil serve in Chicago thin?
« Reply #3 on: Yesterday at 04:56:07 PM »
I also believe the oil helps as a relaxer for sheeting. Without oil it wouldn't sheet very well.

Offline Garvey

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Re: What purpose does oil serve in Chicago thin?
« Reply #4 on: Yesterday at 07:13:45 PM »
Paging the Dough Doctor!  :D

This is a question made for Tom Lehmann.

I'll disagree about the deep dish lineage.  DD was a style conceived long after other pizza was being made in Chicago.  I will also disagree with the "Midwesterners are yokels" theory that Mad Ernie served up.  Really, bro, there are 50M people in the Midwest.  We're not all that dumb.  :D  Nor is the Midwest some ingredient-less backwater, where we all sit around and pine for those New York ingredients that never make it west of the Hudson.

The real question is, what is the role of oil in dough?  From my own experience, I would agree with jeffereynelson.  Oil makes dough really easy to work with.  This dough is sheeted in restaurants or rolled out at home.  I.e., it isn't for tossing.  So besides extensibility, oil also adds texture, affects crumb, etc.  Again, forget the NY comparison.  It's a completely different animal.  The texture is much shorter, with less gluten and less chew.  You want to aim for something that is crispy and crackery on the bottom and softer on top.  There is also a LOT less dough per pizza.  No "bones" to discard, either.




Offline vcb

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Re: What purpose does oil serve in Chicago thin?
« Reply #5 on: Yesterday at 08:41:00 PM »
"Dough Doctor" Tom Lehman has written an article about oil in dough that may be relevent to this thread:

http://www.pizzatoday.com/industry-news/oils-affect-dough/
-- Ed Heller -aka- VCBurger -- Real Deep Dish - Deep Dish 101
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Offline Chicago Bob

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Re: What purpose does oil serve in Chicago thin?
« Reply #6 on: Yesterday at 09:27:22 PM »
Paging the Dough Doctor!  :D

This is a question made for Tom Lehmann.

I'll disagree about the deep dish lineage.  DD was a style conceived long after other pizza was being made in Chicago.  I will also disagree with the "Midwesterners are yokels" theory that Mad Ernie served up.  Really, bro, there are 50M people in the Midwest.  We're not all that dumb.  :D  Nor is the Midwest some ingredient-less backwater, where we all sit around and pine for those New York ingredients that never make it west of the Hudson.

The real question is, what is the role of oil in dough?  From my own experience, I would agree with jeffereynelson.  Oil makes dough really easy to work with.  This dough is sheeted in restaurants or rolled out at home.  I.e., it isn't for tossing.  So besides extensibility, oil also adds texture, affects crumb, etc.  Again, forget the NY comparison.  It's a completely different animal.  The texture is much shorter, with less gluten and less chew.  You want to aim for something that is crispy and crackery on the bottom and softer on top.  There is also a LOT less dough per pizza.  No "bones" to discard, either.
I`m going with Garvey 100% on this one but would also add that back in the day lard was king in these same day doughs and that added a lot of flavor to the pizzas.....
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