Author Topic: First attempt at Chicago pan  (Read 2047 times)

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Offline aks801

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First attempt at Chicago pan
« on: December 26, 2011, 02:17:52 PM »
I've been making hand-tossed NY style pizzas at home for a few years now.  Generally happy with the results, though they sometimes tend to turn out uninspired.

Of greater interest to me has been getting a Sicilian pizza to turn out "right", meaning crispy crunchy crust on the outside edges.  That is turning out to be somewhat elusive, but I've gotten pretty darn close.

Never have tried a Chicago deep dish.  Have been wanting to for a while.  I'm not sure why I was hesitant to try it, but there it is.  I looked over many threads in the most valuable of forums, and decided that the Malnati's thread by BTB contained clear instructions, and the various photos looked very much like what I had in mind.

So I gave it a shot!!!

Cliff's Notes version: very happy with the results, want to keep trying.

I followed BTB's recipe for the 15% Semolina fairly closely ("fairly" meaning hundredths or even tenths of a teaspoon are nigh impossible to nail).  Late in the evening of the 23rd I prepared the dough ball, put it in an oiled plastic baggie, and put it in the fridge.  On Christmas Eve we got home from worship service at about 5:30, and I took the dough out of the fridge.  Took it out of the baggie and placed it in an oiled shallow bowl, then put that in the unheated oven, with the light bulb on.  Kept that in there for a little over an hour, then set it on the counter while I pre-heated the oven for about 30 minutes.

I cooked two NY style cheese pizzas for our 3 younger kids (they turned out quite good I must say.  The pizzas, as well as the kids!).  I left the pizza stone on the middle rack.  I don't have a proper deep metal pan for this pizza, so I used a 10" cast iron skillet.  Oiled it, pressed the dough into place, trying to crimp the top edges to be thin.  The dough did not go up the sides as tall as I'd like, so if I use this skillet again, I'll up the recipe ingredient amounts accordingly.  Layed in sliced mozz primarily, with a decent amount of provolone added.

Next was to lay in a sausage "pancake".  I made mine using a pound of ground pork, 2.5 tsp salt, 3 tsp black pepper, 1 tsp sugar, 1/4 tsp garlic powder and 1 tsp fennel seeds.  I know using fennel is anathema to some, but I like what it brings to the party.

Next was the tomato layer.  I had drained a large-ish can of Cento crushed tomatos, to which I had added probably 2 tsp of minced garlic, 2 tsp of "Italian seasoning", 1 tsp black papper, 3 tsp honey, and 1 tsp oregano.  Also added in the remnants of the sauce I had made for the thin pizzas (about 1/4 cup's worth, if that).

Sprinkled on a goodly amount of parmesan, and put that pan right on top of the pizza stone in the oven, which was rocking along at about 425.  Kept it in there for about 25 minutes, turning it once for good measure.

Let's take a look, shall we.

In the first you can see the whole thing, right after taking it out of the pan (which was easier than I would have thought).  You can see some wall-failure on one side, and I think that is where I couldn't nudge the sides up high enough during preparation.  To me the crust has just the right color I was hoping for, just not tall enough.  But I was pleased at this point, and ever so hopeful.

The second photo is just a different angle of the same thing.  Lookin' good.

The third photo is a slice on a plate (duh).  Sorry for the dubious picture quality.  You can see that cheese was not in short supply for this pizza.  You can see what I think is a nicely formed rim, and the chunky tomatos on top.

The last photo is the money shot.  Nice rim, which has fallen away some (I think this was where the wall failure was).  Nice tomatoes with yummy cooked parmesan on top.  You can also see the sausage layer.  Hmm, looks a little pink.  I didn't encounter any bites where it looked undercooked, but was also a touch leery of it.  Turned out fine.

My review: yum!  This was a lot of fun to make!  The taste was fantastic!  I'm surprised I liked the tomato aspect of it as much as I did.  Very garlic-y, and just delicious, really added a lot to the pizza.  The sausage was good, but I'd say needs more development.  I think next time I will still apply it uncooked, but will lay in a bunch of shallow silver-dollar sized pieces to let more heat get in and around the pork.  Won't change anything about the cheese: just the right mix and amount.  As mentioned earlier, I will up the ingredient amounts to yield more dough, if I use this pan again.  Speaking of which, I do plan on ordering a few Chicago Metallic pans in different sizes.  I think I'd also like to cook one incorporating a modest amount of pepperoni, with some slivers of onion.

Thanks to BTB for the Malnati's post, and to everyone who contributes to this forum!

« Last Edit: December 26, 2011, 02:19:33 PM by aks801 »
alan in Katy, TX

"Meet the new boss.  Same as the old boss."
 - Pete Townshend


Offline BTB

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Re: First attempt at Chicago pan
« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2011, 09:38:53 AM »
Alan, I'm happy to hear about your excitement and success with Chicago Style deep dish pizza.  It truly is one of God's gifts to America.  Some thoughts from your posting . . .

--I highly suggest not putting ANY oil into the Ziploc bag when its used is for refrigeration.  Way too much oil results.  Putting the dough into the bag prior to letting it rise in a bowl is . . . unusual.  But if it worked, great.

--A pound of ground pork would seem to be a little high.  Also would suggest to look long and hard for a local Italian deli in the area that makes it's own sausage.  Such is usually ten times better.  And I agree with your thoughts on silver dollar sizes of sausage.  I no longer do the pancake or disc thing.

--Regarding the "wall-failure on one side," I can't tell you how many times that happened to me in the early days of my pizzamaking learnings (which is only a few years ago).  You'll learn over time some techniques and ideas about "extracting" a deep dish pizza from a pan.  One suggestion is to use a frosting spatula and shove it under the pizza at one point and move it around the pizza in the pan until you can feel that the pizza is loose all around in the pan before extracting the pizza.  I, like you, would still have liked a little more browning color, but sometimes that is still very tasty and it still looked great to me.

--You seemingly used more cheese than most, but I like lots of gooey cheese, too.  Bear in mind that lots of cheese often make pizza pan extraction a little more challenging (to avoid "shifting" of all the toppings upon taking it out of the pan). 

--Just take a look at Pizzatools.com pans as one possibility.  They help esp. with crust browning.

Thanks especially for the photos.  Despite the "wall failure" which is super minor, the pizza made my mouth water.  Great job.
                                                                                       --BTB          :D

Offline aks801

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Re: First attempt at Chicago pan
« Reply #2 on: December 27, 2011, 01:58:38 PM »
Thanks for the feedback, BTB.

A point of clarification on the dough ball: I put it into a baggie and then into the fridge overnight.  When I set it out to bring to room temperature, I took it out of the baggie and into the little bowl.
Since there is already a high oil content in the dough recipe itself, you are certainly right that no additional oil inside the bag is needed, as it won't stick as-is anyway.

I'll definitely look for some sausage from a deli, but was just wanting to make it myself.  The challenge of it all, you understand.

A frosting spatula is exactly what I used, how funny!  I worked at a pizza joint in high school, and that is basically what we did for the Sicilian pizzas.

I'll probably be giving this another go this coming weekend, and will put up an update, this time with pictures also of the assembly process.
alan in Katy, TX

"Meet the new boss.  Same as the old boss."
 - Pete Townshend

Offline BTB

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Re: First attempt at Chicago pan
« Reply #3 on: December 27, 2011, 03:24:45 PM »
Regarding sausage from a deli, I'm often reminded how much people do not understand about sausage (and I didn't until a few years ago).  Others can correct me, BUT all of sausage land is divided in two (Ceasar said three), . . . smoked and non-smoked.  What that means -- if I have my wits about me -- is that the smoked is "cooked" and the non-smoked (commonly referred to as "fresh") is NOT cooked.  For pizzamaking -- at least in my book -- uncooked or fresh sausage is preferred.  But differences are what makes the world go around, right?  So if smoked or cooked sausage is one's thing, then . . . why not?

Happy New Year to all,
 
                                                                        --BTB
                               

Offline aks801

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Re: First attempt at Chicago pan
« Reply #4 on: November 10, 2012, 09:08:31 PM »
Ok sports fans, it's been a while since the last one, but in honor of the Houston Texans taking on the Chicago Bears this Sunday night, I'm making one to enjoy at game time.

Time to make the dough.

Stay tuned!
alan in Katy, TX

"Meet the new boss.  Same as the old boss."
 - Pete Townshend

Offline aks801

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Re: First attempt at Chicago pan
« Reply #5 on: November 17, 2012, 05:42:10 PM »
Cooked the deep dish as planned, and it sure was good.  Several observations:

- had a "crust failure" when taking it out of the skillet.  Basically, the middle stuck to the pan right when I was taking it out, so the crust really separated.  Only affected the appearance.  Getting proper pans will be very helpful.
- the store-bought "Italian sausage" I used was really not good enough.  This is something I'm going to really spend more time on and make it myself going forward.
- the garlic-y tomatoes were again a high point.

My wife noted several times how good this was, which is good to hear, as I plan on making it more frequently now.  Took several pics and will upload them shortly.
alan in Katy, TX

"Meet the new boss.  Same as the old boss."
 - Pete Townshend

Offline Chicago Bob

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Re: First attempt at Chicago pan
« Reply #6 on: November 17, 2012, 09:16:46 PM »
Regarding sausage from a deli, I'm often reminded how much people do not understand about sausage (and I didn't until a few years ago).  Others can correct me, BUT all of sausage land is divided in two (Ceasar said three), . . . smoked and non-smoked.  What that means -- if I have my wits about me -- is that the smoked is "cooked" and the non-smoked (commonly referred to as "fresh") is NOT cooked.  For pizzamaking -- at least in my book -- uncooked or fresh sausage is preferred.  But differences are what makes the world go around, right?  So if smoked or cooked sausage is one's thing, then . . . why not?

Happy New Year to all,
 
                                                                        --BTB
                               
BTB is a cool cat...sure wish I had been around when he was posting. Maybe one day he will return... 8)
"Care Free Highway...let me slip away on you"