Author Topic: Chicago Thin - a labor of love  (Read 49144 times)

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Offline Garvey

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Chicago Thin - a labor of love
« on: February 09, 2012, 11:22:09 AM »
I've been making this exact recipe for almost 11 years.  It was developed by a buddy and me back in the summer of 2001.  We had to make and eat this pizza no less than five times a week that summer--tough work, but somebody's gotta do it--just to get it down pat.  It is based on a long-gone childhood pizzeria known as Pizza Factory.  There are many similar Southside/Chicagoland/Calumet Region pies like this, but this was our favorite as kids.  We had to reverse engineer every bit of the flavor profile based on memory, and then we tested it out on family and friends for confirmation.

Once we had it nailed, we went as far as to bag it up, drive it around the block, and deliver it to ourselves before eating--just for full fidelity with the childhood experience.  This picture is from 2001 (me on the right, back when I still had hair).  [Recipe to follow.]
« Last Edit: February 09, 2012, 03:32:53 PM by Garvey »


Offline CDNpielover

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Re: Chicago Thin - a labor of love
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2012, 01:38:47 PM »
wow, pizza in bags!  i've only seen that one other time in my life, and it was at Carbone's on Raldolph Ave. in Saint Paul, MN.  Seems virtually everyone is using boxes these days!

I'm looking forward to seeing the recipe you're using, and want to add it to the list of Chicago-thin formulations available on the site (http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,16422.0.html).  I'd like to give it a try, too!  Do you have any more pics of the pizzas????   :chef:

Offline Garvey

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Re: Chicago Thin - a labor of love
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2012, 02:01:44 PM »
PIZZA FACTORY RECIPE

I. DOUGH

For each 14" pie, you'll need a 300 g dough ball.  Here is the recipe for two (because who in their right mind would make only one pizza? ;-))

AP Flour (100%):
Water (50%):
IDY (.5%):
Salt (1%):
Oil (8%):
Sugar (1%):
Total (160.5%):
Single Ball:
373.83 g  |  13.19 oz | 0.82 lbs
186.92 g  |  6.59 oz | 0.41 lbs
1.87 g | 0.07 oz | 0 lbs | 0.62 tsp | 0.21 tbsp
3.74 g | 0.13 oz | 0.01 lbs | 0.67 tsp | 0.22 tbsp
29.91 g | 1.05 oz | 0.07 lbs | 6.65 tsp | 2.22 tbsp
3.74 g | 0.13 oz | 0.01 lbs | 0.94 tsp | 0.31 tbsp
600 g | 21.16 oz | 1.32 lbs | TF = .06875
300 g | 10.58 oz | 0.66 lbs | TF = .06875

Make dough 48-72 hrs ahead (absolute minimum is 24 hrs.; my personal preference is 72; still great after 96 hrs), kept in fridge until a couple hrs before baking.  Punch down as needed during the first 12-24 hrs.  I like to separate out the dough balls after the first 24 hrs. of rising as one mass.

When making the dough, dump all the dry ingredients into the mixer bowl, stir to combine, and then add the liquids.  Mix until it the dough comes together, and then let it sit for 20 minutes, covered, to hydrate.  Resume with kneading until windowpane stage (5-10 mins).

II. SAUCE

Most recipes on this site fail to give sauce recipes.  Well, you're in luck.  Here's mine. Makes enough for two pizzas (or maybe a little more than two, depending on your preferences).

12 oz. can Contadina tomato paste
3/4 c. water
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp. basil
3/4 tsp. oregano
1 1/4 tsp. marjoram
1 tsp. fennel seed
1/2 tsp. McCormick Italian Seasoning
3 dashes paprika
1/2 tsp. sugar

Mix all ingredients together in a small or medium sized bowl, making sure to crush the leaves and seeds between your fingers as you add them, so that the essences of the spices are released into the sauce.  Mix well. 

Make sauce on day of baking and leave at room temp.  (If made too far ahead and refrigerated, the cold plus all the dried leaf herbs thicken the paste too much so that you will have to mix some water back in to get it to spreadable again.)

[NOTE ABOUT SPICES: Use dried spices, and use spices that are in the form of dried leaves, not the pulverized, "ground" varieties, except for salt, pepper, and the garlic and onion powders.]

OK, I admit that this may seem fussy with so many specific herbs and spices listed and even brand names.  Trust me: try it this way.  BTW, many Southside joints use tomato paste as the base, so I'm surprised more folks don't talk about that here.  And for whatever reason, Contadina is the best paste for this particular recipe.  Hunts and others just don't work nearly as well.  And since this is a saucy pie, there is a big difference.

III. ASSEMBLY

Roll out your 300 g dough ball to 14", which is just under the size of a typical pizza stone. The pizza will cook directly on the stone--no cutter pan or screen or anything. (I have lately been assembling on foil on the peel, just because I'm lazy and that's easier and less messy to slide onto the stone than cornmeal. Do whatever way you like, but you should not pan the pizza.)

Top with sauce.  I like to go pretty heavy.

Add sausage (ideally), raw and flattened out a bit, or however you like it.

Add any veggies or other toppings.

Top with about 6 oz (by weight) of shredded mozz; if you really want more, that's fine, but don't put more than 8 oz. (if you are using pre-shredded stuff, it's about 1 1/2 c to make 6 oz by weight)

IV. BAKING

Preheat a baking stone to 500° for one hour and reduce to 450° before putting in the pie.  (I like putting my stone on an upper rack, but you know your oven and local conditions better than I do.  I only know my oven.)

Carefully slide the assembled pizza onto the hot baking stone.  Bake at 450° for about 10 minutes (or 9-13 minutes, depending on your oven and your desired doneness).

When the cheese starts to brown and the crust looks golden, remove from oven and let stand on a cooling rack for 6-7 minutes before cutting.  [NOTE: The cooling rack is a key step, since it lets air under the crust to cool it and allow steam to escape; otherwise, if left on a pan, the crust will soften and no longer have that the desired texture on the bottom.  If you do not have a cooling rack, jury rig something.  At the very least, you can cool the pizza on cheap, non-waxy paper plates, which I have used with some success, since they are porous.] 

Of course, you'll need to slide it back onto a pan for cutting, which you see pictured in my profile and below.

"Party cut" only!  The square party-cut style is mandatory--never the more barbaric pie-cut. 

And then…
YOU'RE EATING PIZZA FACTORY!

Feel free to download the txt file of this recipe, pasted below the picture.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2012, 11:26:31 AM by Garvey »

Offline Garvey

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Re: Chicago Thin - a labor of love
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2012, 02:08:24 PM »
CDNpielover:

I hope you do give this recipe a try.  Let me know how you like it.  Feel free to add it to the formulations.

Yeah, the pizza in bags thing is still around in some places around the Chicago area.  I am trying to remember if I saw any at Xmas.  My mind must be clouded by all the pizza that was inside the bag/box/whatever.

I can post more pix later, I think.  I'm sure I have some somewhere.

Cheers,
Garvey

Offline Garvey

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Re: Chicago Thin - a labor of love
« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2012, 02:41:11 PM »
Being a Chicago ex-pat, consigned to life in the South, where people think "good pizza" means Papa John's, it is pretty much impossible to find passable sausage for pizza.  And since Chicago pizza is all about the sausage, I used to go through long stretches where I wouldn't make pizza just because I couldn't source any usable sausage.

Luckily for me, Kenji Lopez-Alt at Serious Eats posted the procedure on how to make pizza sausage, so now I can go the homemade route.  Last month, I tried four different spice formulations for Pizza Factory sausage and tested them with six people from two different generations of Pizza Factory eaters.  We made multiple pies with each formulation over the course of a five day visit to determine which one tasted just like we remember.  Recipe to follow.

Maybe I should add this to one of the existing sausage threads?  BTW, I have to give thanks to CDNpielover, whom I suspect supplied one of my formulations over on the SE thread by another name.

Cheers,
Garvey

Offline anikun07

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Re: Chicago Thin - a labor of love
« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2012, 02:42:49 PM »
AWESOME!!  I can't wait to try this recipe!  Not only is the delivery to yourselves Super Awesome, but it's totally something we would do!  I also love the pizza bag, but I only knew of a few places that used to use them.  I'm excited to go back to Little Villa in Mt. Prospect next time I'm back in the Chicago area.  It's an Italian restaurant and pizzeria and they also use paper bags, at least the used to.

Thank you for your recipe, I am so excited and will definitely be sure to let you know what I think.  Just out of curiousity, do you leave the pizza out for a period of time before placing it in the fridge?

Offline anikun07

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Re: Chicago Thin - a labor of love
« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2012, 02:50:27 PM »
I also meant to ask what kind of cheese you like to use?  It melted so perfectly, I haven't been able to get that look yet on my pizzas.

Offline Garvey

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Re: Chicago Thin - a labor of love
« Reply #7 on: February 09, 2012, 03:01:20 PM »
PIZZA FACTORY SAUSAGE

Note: You must use a scale for this sausage. There is no way to accurately estimate the amount of salt needed otherwise. This recipe can be made with pre-ground pork as well. Mix ingredients as directed in Day 1, allow to rest at least 8 hours, then skip the grinding step and proceed as directed in the paddling step in Day 2 (i.e., all you need is the first step of Day 1 and last step of Day 2).

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 lbs. pork shoulder cut into rough 1-inch chunks
  • 17 g kosher salt
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 Tbs fennel seed, cracked/crushed in mortar & pestle
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 3 Tbs cold white wine (cheap, dry, and Italian), to be added on Day 2

PROCEDURE [Needs 24 hrs., ideally]

DAY 1:
  • Combine all ingredients EXCEPT WINE in a large bowl and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to 48 hours.
  • Place the meat grinder in the freezer overnight: the feed shaft, screw, blade, and 1/4-inch plate (the larger of the two for the KitchenAid).

DAY 2:
  • Chill meat and mixer bowl for 15-30 minutes in freezer before grinding. Grind meat at speed level 4 into the mixer bowl.  Make sure it doesn’t “smear” as it comes out: it should look clean and dry and ropey, like fresh ground hamburger.
  • In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, ADD THE WINE and beat the sausage meat on medium high speed until it becomes tacky and sticky, about one minute. Wrap in plastic wrap to get out extra air and transfer to a zipper-lock bag and seal. Sausage will keep for up to 1 week in the refrigerator.

-------------------------
Adapted from J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, Serious Eats: http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2011/09/juicy-sweet-or-hot-italian-sausage.html, http://slice.seriouseats.com/archives/2011/09/the-pizza-lab-why-does-sausage-need-to-be-salty.html, and http://aht.seriouseats.com/archives/2011/04/the-burger-lab-whats-the-best-way-to-grind-beef.html
« Last Edit: February 09, 2012, 09:28:10 PM by Garvey »

Offline Garvey

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Re: Chicago Thin - a labor of love
« Reply #8 on: February 09, 2012, 03:11:40 PM »
Thanks, anikun, for the feedback.

I use mozzarella cheese.  Or did you mean for me to be more specific?  I used to use pre-shredded stuff--every which brand--and actually got decent results (despite the cellulose additives, etc.).  Lately, I've been shredding my own Polly-O, Sargento, or Walmart bricks of whole milk mozz.  All have been very good.  YMMV.

Pizza in the fridge?  Whatsoever for?  ;-)  I just cut the leftovers into smaller squares and leave 'em on the counter.  There is always room for another tiny square over the course of the next couple hrs.  Eventually, I may put some away in the fridge.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2012, 03:17:39 PM by Garvey »

Offline anikun07

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Re: Chicago Thin - a labor of love
« Reply #9 on: February 09, 2012, 04:22:45 PM »
Thanks, I just tried 2% mozzarella this week, but I don't think I put enough on, I could hardly taste it.  I'm sorry, but just to clarify, so you use whole milk mozz. from just Walmart bricks, or all the brands listed?  I've only used part skim mozz. so far - besides the recent one with 2%.  I was thinking that the fat content was going to be key to the browning and flavor of the baked cheese.

About the fridge comment, I was wondering if the dough ball was placed in the fridge right away.  I didn't know if it needed room temperature or a warm spot to rise for an hour or so before going in the fridge.  Oh boy, I'm making this dough after I get home tonight!


Offline CDNpielover

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Re: Chicago Thin - a labor of love
« Reply #10 on: February 09, 2012, 04:28:11 PM »
anikun07, i hope you don't mind if I add a few comments.   :chef:  if you're looking for more flavor in your cheese, you can try blending provolone and/or white cheddar with your mozzarella (that will also improve the creaminess and IME stretchiness, although some say it's the mozza that gives the stretchiness).  For nicely-browned cheese like Garvey has, you can try moving your pie from the bottom to the top of the oven partway through cooking, or perhaps turning on the broiler for the last couple of minutes of cooking.

cheese was the limiting factor on my pies for at least a few years.  Then I stumbled upon something where Pete-zza mentioned the use of the provolone/cheddar/mozza blend, and my pies have been awesome ever since!
« Last Edit: February 09, 2012, 04:29:44 PM by CDNpielover »

buceriasdon

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Re: Chicago Thin - a labor of love
« Reply #11 on: February 09, 2012, 04:40:32 PM »
garvey, What do you estimate the thickness factor to be? It was not included in the recipe.
Don

Offline anikun07

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Re: Chicago Thin - a labor of love
« Reply #12 on: February 09, 2012, 05:00:27 PM »
Thanks CDNPieLover, I've got "Pizza" cheese too, which I think is a combination of those cheeses, I will double check though.

Offline Garvey

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Re: Chicago Thin - a labor of love
« Reply #13 on: February 09, 2012, 07:45:21 PM »
anikun07:

Use any whole milk mozz you can find.  I've had success with all three I mentioned.  I didn't blend them.  Polly-O is pretty good.  Has a bit of a "nutty" flavor, as my Italian buddy at work calls it.  And CDNpielover is right about the top rack for better browning.  I cook all my pies near the top (not the actual top rack, because that doesn't give me enough headroom to maneuver comfortably with the peel, etc., but the next one down from there).  I actually use two stones: one high and one low.  I start high and if it seems like the cheese is starting to brown before the crust is to my liking, I move it down to the lower stone, which finishes the crust faster (Kenji at Serious Eats explained all this once, and ever since then, my baking has improved dramatically).

Your "pizza cheese" should work fine.  I've used that before.  (Like I said, I've had this recipe for a while, so I've done just about every minor variation like that, depending on what we had on hand and such.)

As for refrigerating the dough, I cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put a rubber band on it to hold it on (but let gases out) and put it immediately in the fridge.  It'll rise plenty.  You don't even need particularly warm water when making the dough if using IDY.  Something like 75 degrees would be fine (room temp) or warmer or cooler if you have good yeast (i.e., not the stuff sold in little envelopes; I get the bulk stuff sold in 1 lb bricks at Sam's, which are only a few bucks anyway...so much cheaper than the envelopes and much better quality).

And make the sauce per the recipe.  Really, it is a major component.



OK, Don, you asked about thickness factor.  I had to plug the numbers back into the calculator and play with it for a while, just for you.  ;)  I'm thinking it's .06875.  Or so the calculator tells me.

Cheers,
Garvey




buceriasdon

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Re: Chicago Thin - a labor of love
« Reply #14 on: February 09, 2012, 07:49:29 PM »
Garvey, Ok good,thanks, that's close to what I figured. I rounded up to .070. This way any size can be duplicated.
Don

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Chicago Thin - a labor of love
« Reply #15 on: February 09, 2012, 08:07:27 PM »
The easy way to calculate the thickness factor is 10.58/(3.14159 x 7 x 7) = 0.068729.

Peter

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: Chicago Thin - a labor of love
« Reply #16 on: February 09, 2012, 08:14:03 PM »
Very nice posts Garvey.  I love the extra measures that you have taken in your process for cloning your favorite pizza.  From driving around the neighborhood and delivering pizzas to yourself to all the tests you have done with the sausage.  I haven't made sausage before but look forward to trying out your recipe.  I'm sure it will be good on any pizza.   Also glad to see Chicago pizza getting more representation. 

Cheers,
Chau

buceriasdon

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Re: Chicago Thin - a labor of love
« Reply #17 on: February 09, 2012, 08:19:45 PM »
Lol Peter, Oh boy, That is much easier than going back and forth adding thickness as I did starting at .060 until I got the right percentage.
Don :-D


The easy way to calculate the thickness factor is 10.58/(3.14159 x 7 x 7) = 0.068729.

Peter

Offline Garvey

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Re: Chicago Thin - a labor of love
« Reply #18 on: February 09, 2012, 08:21:08 PM »
Thanks, Chau.  Report back on the sausage if you decide to make it.  I'd like to hear your results.  I've done it with the meat grinder and with pre-ground pork.  If you use the latter, just make sure it's fatty (80/20).  

And Peter, what does the 10.58 represent?  I can figure out what the rest of the formula means, but that one has me stumped.  (I did the same thing Don did but started at .085 and worked my way down.)

Cheers,
Garvey

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Chicago Thin - a labor of love
« Reply #19 on: February 09, 2012, 08:43:38 PM »
Garvey,

The 10.58 is the weight of your dough ball in ounces. It is 300 (grams)/28.35 grams per ounce = 10.58 ounces. The dough calculating tool gives weights in both ounces and grams.

Peter


 

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