Author Topic: Chicago Thin - a labor of love  (Read 42093 times)

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Offline mykall

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Re: Chicago Thin - a labor of love
« Reply #100 on: April 26, 2012, 09:51:36 AM »
I think you're correct about paste base in many local favorite pizzerias throughout the country not just in the Chi burbs.  I have no problem with it and if done right can really work with a thin crust pie, just was making the point that I have not had much success and most probably because of herbage and the choice of paste and there is a difference like anything else.  I'm going to follow your sauce recipe except for 1 or two items like fennel because I know what it tastes like and that I specifically don't remember in the sauce at Two Brother's (which I Googled and it's still around).  Anyway I went 0-2 last night on Contadina on the way home.  Tonight a different route home and two different grocery stores to try again. 


Offline Chicago Bob

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Re: Chicago Thin - a labor of love
« Reply #101 on: April 26, 2012, 01:14:54 PM »
I will second the Contadina paste...I've used it and it is good. Prefer it over the other brands.In the early seventies all the joints I worked at in the burbs used puree an water...good stuff,think I might revisit good ole puree soon on a "thin".

Bob
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Offline CDNpielover

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Re: Chicago Thin - a labor of love
« Reply #102 on: April 26, 2012, 01:16:15 PM »
we don't get contadina here in canada, but I made garvey's sauce using Hunt's, and I thought it turned out just fine.

Offline mykall

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Re: Chicago Thin - a labor of love
« Reply #103 on: April 27, 2012, 09:54:26 AM »
.In the early seventies all the joints I worked at in the burbs used puree an water...good stuff,think I might revisit good ole puree soon on a "thin".

Bob

Interesting that they used water with puree because I thought that puree was already watered down paste.  So I'm thinking that if they used puree w/o water it would thicken while in the oven to what I remember of Chi-pies from the burbs.    BTW found Conti last night on the way home at Farm Fresh and scored two cans.   The Chi-pie is on for this weekend, even borrowed a little fennel seed so my first will be faithful to Garvey's recipe. 

Offline Garvey

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Re: Chicago Thin - a labor of love
« Reply #104 on: April 27, 2012, 10:18:12 AM »
Some purees are heavier (denser) than others.  I'm not sure if any moisture cooks out of the sauce when baking the pizza.  A paste base, however, is good for sucking up extra moisture from the sausage and veggies when the pizza cooks.  Paste can handle that without making the pie soggy.

Offline mykall

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Re: Chicago Thin - a labor of love
« Reply #105 on: April 27, 2012, 10:33:29 AM »
I was looking at Garvey's pie again and he pretty much takes the sauce to the edge of the pie.  My memory of Two Brother's and Barone's of Geln Ellyn was that there was a nice 3/4" bare rim on the pies.  This meant that in the wonderful dynamics of a cross cut pizza that all but the center squares had a rim on them.  And those wonderful 4 triangle pieces were sometimes mostly crust with a little sauce and sometimes a little cheese and sauce depending on how the pie was cut but always crispy.  No conventionally cut pizza can ever match this.  While I respect all forms of pie I admit that there is something very special about a thin cross-cut Chi-pie. 

Offline Garvey

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Re: Chicago Thin - a labor of love
« Reply #106 on: April 27, 2012, 11:07:21 AM »
I am a rim minimalist, but there is a definite rim.  The pictures I've posted may not show that.  My buddy Dave, co-creator of this recipe, leaves a bigger rim.  He likes the margin of error for slinging the pie around in the oven, etc., and gets annoyed with me when I assemble them more to my liking.

Quote
And those wonderful 4 triangle pieces were sometimes mostly crust with a little sauce and sometimes a little cheese and sauce depending on how the pie was cut but always crispy.

Yes!  They were always the first grabbed.  Bonus if a little nub of sausage was on one.

Offline vcb

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Re: Chicago Thin - a labor of love
« Reply #107 on: April 27, 2012, 11:08:56 AM »
I am a rim minimalist, but there is a definite rim.  The pictures I've posted may not show that.  My buddy Dave, co-creator of this recipe, leaves a bigger rim.  He likes the margin of error for slinging the pie around in the oven, etc., and gets annoyed with me when I assemble them more to my liking.

Yes!  They were always the first grabbed.  Bonus if a little nub of sausage was on one.

Say "rim minimalist" five times fast!  :chef:
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Offline CDNpielover

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Re: Chicago Thin - a labor of love
« Reply #108 on: April 27, 2012, 11:09:16 AM »
rim width definitely varies   ;D  some even have no rim at all.

Offline mykall

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Re: Chicago Thin - a labor of love
« Reply #109 on: April 27, 2012, 04:07:48 PM »

Yes!  They were always the first grabbed.  Bonus if a little nub of sausage was on one.

I was always very hungry and left those for later.   I'd attack with one of the rounded squares and then maybe a full rimless square, cheese was usually thicker towards the cener.  Then later when diminishing returns set in I'd hit a triangle.  It was always illegal to just pull a center square out without starting on the outside.  ;D


Offline BTB

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Re: Chicago Thin - a labor of love
« Reply #110 on: April 27, 2012, 08:33:35 PM »
I have a long, long list of pizza formulations that we've seen from some great pizzamakers here on this website (i.e., my "bucket list").  I recently had the opportunity to check off one and dive into Garvey's great Chicago thin crust pizza that has been very favorably reviewed here lately.  After living in the Chicago area for many years, I thought that I knew all the great pizza places there, but never heard of the Pizza Factory, so I recently put the formulation together that is reflected in Reply #2 above  . . . with one exception.  I emptied my bag of KAAP flour and that only amounted to 162 grams.  So I then decided to add the remainder of the 212 grams needed for the 374 gram recipe by using my King Arthur's Bread Flour (KABF).  That is usually not a problem for me as I have used bread flour in the past for some very successful Chicago style thin crust pizzas (but AP is a must for deep dish).  Many Chicago area pizzas, esp. in the early days, often only used bread flour as their primary flour.

As is my practice, I mixed everything in a bowl with a wooden spoon and by hand, and I don't go overboard with the mixing and kneading.  I wasn't certain what kind of oil to use, so I did 50% olive oil and 50% vegetable oil.  Oh, and as is also my practice, I used ADY foamed up for 10 minutes in a little bit of 105 degree F water (its just a personal thing with me and IDY -- too many failures with IDY).  The dough ball came together nicely and I put the covered bowl into a 90 degree oven for about an hour, punching down twice, then into a ziplock bag and into the refrigerator for the retardation of the dough.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2012, 09:00:20 AM by BTB »

Offline BTB

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Re: Chicago Thin - a labor of love
« Reply #111 on: April 27, 2012, 08:36:09 PM »
Seventy-two hours later I took the dough out of the refrigerator and left it on the counter for approx. 2 hours.  Thereafter I cut the dough in half -- which came to 307 grams -- and I proceeded to make the first of two pizzas.  I followed Garvey's suggestions pretty well, but like Sinatra, I just have to do some things my way.  For instance, my pizza stone collects dust as I have not found it advantageous to use in the light of my great GE Profile electric oven (with no apparent heating elements). Further, I am a big, big, fan of using my great 14" anodized PSTK coated, non-perforated cutter pan from pizzatools.com.  I've found that baking a pizza with it -- if done right -- is just like baking a pizza in those good old-fashioned stationary or revolving deck ovens (not the disreputed conveyor ovens).

For pizza No. 1, I did not par bake the crust, but simply rolled it out on a slightly floured countertop.  It rolled out nicely and easily.  I then rolled it out onto my rolling pin and onto a slightly oiled (with some previous pinches of corn meal) pan and dressed it up in preparation for the oven event.  I did not use the suggested sauce and used another sauce instead.  But I added some fennel seed and some special ground fennel seed, and while I am conservative on the amount of additives to the sauce and pizza, the fennel made a big difference (in a positive way).  I of course used a top quality Italian deli sausage that was put on in small pieces totally uncooked like 90-some percent of all Chicago area (and many other areas, too) pizzerias.  I added about 6 oz of mozzarella and an oz or two of cheddar for flavor and color.  On top of all that I added 3 or 4 pinches of dry oregano and basil and a sprinkle or two of garlic powder.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2012, 08:04:27 AM by BTB »

Offline BTB

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Re: Chicago Thin - a labor of love
« Reply #112 on: April 27, 2012, 08:36:49 PM »
And into the oven on a LOW rack at 450 degrees F (previously warmed up to 500 degrees) I put the prized pizza.  I strongly disagree with use of a high rack for baking such a pizza and will leave it at that.  The pizza baked for around 13 to 15 minutes.  Since I like a little browned topping on the pizza, I put my oven's "convection" (blown hot air) on for the last couple of minutes to get the desired color on top of the pizza.  Those without a convection feature can accomplish the very same thing by putting the pizza on the top or high rack level for a couple of minutes at the end of the bake cycle.

Edit:  Note how low I have the pizza in the oven.
« Last Edit: April 27, 2012, 08:46:54 PM by BTB »

Offline BTB

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Re: Chicago Thin - a labor of love
« Reply #113 on: April 27, 2012, 08:38:52 PM »

The pizza among the 3 or us that devoured it in just a few minutes was . . . excellent.  It reminded us all of the taste of true "southside Chicago thin crust pizza."  The edges were crispy and towards the center it got to be less so, but still tender and tasty . . . just like so many Chicago thin crust pizzas.  I cut the pizza in the only way any decent Chicago pizza aficionado would do . . . and that is in "squares."  Many on this site refer to that as "tavern cut" or "party cut" but I never heard those words or terms when I grew up in Chicago.  It just was the normal Chicago way of cutting up the pizza (except for the Chesdan "strip" style of cut).


Offline BTB

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Re: Chicago Thin - a labor of love
« Reply #114 on: April 27, 2012, 08:40:11 PM »
Here are the spices that I used on the pizza.  I try not to overdo any of them.  The fennel seeds must be crushed before adding them to release their special flavor enhancement abilities.  I just crust them with a big spoon on top of the countertop and pinch them afterwards onto the pizza.  Putting them out without so crushing the seeds will not extract their special flavor potential in my opinion.  Of course, the ground Penzey Indian fennel does wonders also for the wonderful Italian fennel flavoring.  

I will later report on my experience with pizza No. 2 because -- as Garvey said: " . . . who in their right mind would make only one pizza?"  I did some things just a little different with the second pizza and there were some very good things about doing so.

                                                                                                --BTB         ;D

Offline Garvey

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Re: Chicago Thin - a labor of love
« Reply #115 on: April 28, 2012, 12:02:50 AM »
Nobody writes a better "pizza travelogue" than you do, BTB! 

Love the pic of the old school Durkee jar.  Brought back memories. 

The pizza looked great, too.  And you've got your local conditions down pat with the PTSK pan, convection blast, etc.  That is a huge part of making pizza--being able to adjust to different conditions and so forth.  When someone knows their way around the pizza process, they can coax a great pie out of just about any oven or setup.

Offline BTB

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Re: Chicago Thin - a labor of love
« Reply #116 on: April 28, 2012, 01:28:51 PM »
The dough ball for pizza No. 2 weighed in at a little less at 293 ounces so I couldn't fill in a full 14" pizza in my cutter pan, but it was still plenty.  Everything went together similar to pizza No. 1 above, but I did two things differently with it.  First I decided to par bake the crust, not docked, at 500 degrees F on the bottom oven rack for approx. 3 minutes.  It puffed up a little after the par bake, so I tried to depress the dough a bit with a fork somewhat.  I then dressed the pizza similar to the first one, but baked it on the very bottom oven rack (one of eight rack levels in my oven) at 500 degrees F, which is the second difference from cooking the first pizza at 450 degrees F.

Offline BTB

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Re: Chicago Thin - a labor of love
« Reply #117 on: April 28, 2012, 01:29:40 PM »
Note again that the pizza is baking on the very LOWEST level in my oven.  Those with electric ovens that have visible heating elements would have to raise the level 2 to 3 inches above the elements and cook the pizza at that level.  Trial and error, I'm afraid is necessary then.

Offline BTB

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Re: Chicago Thin - a labor of love
« Reply #118 on: April 28, 2012, 01:31:22 PM »
This is the slightly browned coloring that me and mine love in a baked Chicago thin crust pizza.  A pizza with just a slight melt of the pizza cheese is NOT popular among my pizza fans.  This version was much crispier than the first one and has a lot going for it.  And of course the only logical, sensible, proper, just and righteous way to cut such a pizza is the NORMAL way that God intended . . . . . . in SQUARES! ! !  Is there another way?    :-D    :-D    ???    >:D

A great pizza recipe that many will want to work with.

                                                                 --BTB                    :chef:
« Last Edit: April 28, 2012, 02:12:51 PM by BTB »

Offline mykall

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Re: Chicago Thin - a labor of love
« Reply #119 on: April 28, 2012, 01:43:59 PM »
Really nice pie BTB, especially that pic at the top of #113.  Never thought of mixing cheese the way you did in what looks like a little cheddar.  The finished product and the cheese specifically look phenomenal.  In the world of pizza and even my own experience on this board and from making what would be considered traditional NY or Neo pies the rules tell you that you use only Mozz or buffalo mozz on the pie.  And with all due respect while NY and especially Neapolitan pies have that stipple burnt crust from an 800deg oven, aside from that it seems that the cheese and sauce are all too often an after thought.  This is why I believe that Garvey stated in a previous post something to the effect that after the dough recipe in specifics there is little mention of the sauce or the cheese.   Again, while I respect all pies and will make many in the coming years it is exactly this type of blending that has produced the UNIQUE kinds of taste that most of us remember from any of a number of existing or expired neighborhood pizzerias.   A true Neapolitan would frown upon these pies but many have cultured tastes that none of us could forget.   How else could bread,sauce and cheese taste so different?