First off, thanks to everyone who contributes to this forum - you guys are awesome! I have learned a TON about Chicago-style pizza by reading this forum. I''m a huge fan of Lou Malnati's pizza, so I have concentrated my reading on the Malnati threads, and I have to say you guys have really hit the mark with your knock-off recipes. I did have a couple of issues though, so I'd love some feedback/advice if anyone has suggestions to improve this!
Anyway, I made my dough yesterday, following the recommendations in the Malnati thread. My final formulation was:
100% Flour (20% Semolina, 80% AP blend)
47% 100 degree Water
17% Corn Oil
3% Olive Oil
To make the dough, I used a technique that I think I read about here, but I can't find the thread anymore. It utilizes the same principle I use in my pie dough recipe, which is to completely coat the flour in fat before making the dough, to prevent excess gluten formation. Therefore, I added all the fats to the flour and mixed well, until the flour felt like wet sand. Then I added the remaining ingredients, gave it a good stir and allowed it to sit for about 20 minutes. After the rest, I kneaded it for just about 30 seconds and stuck it in the fridge overnight. Took it out this morning and let it double, then punched it down and let it double again before shaping.
I used about 1/2 lb mozzarella and 1/4 lb provolone for each 9" pizza - a little more than most recommendations, but I REALLY love cheese. On the sausage pizza, I used a "frisbee" made of about 12 oz sausage - I might reduce this slightly next time. The other one was caramelized onions and pepperoni, and I think it could have used a LOT more pepperoni than I used (just a couple of ounces, slightly defatted) - it kind of got lost. Sauce was about 32 oz of canned whole San Marzano tomatoes, well drained and crushed by hand, plus a few cloves of crushed garlic and some salt. I probably drained off 12 oz of liquid, and I found this to be just about the right amount of sauce for two pizzas.
I used a springform pan for one pizza and a high-sided cake pan for the other - the one in the springform turned out better, for sure, but that might have been due to the darker color of the pan or the slightly longer baking time (it was a slightly larger size than the cake pan). Baked at 400 degrees for about 35 minutes.
The pizzas tasted GREAT but unfortunately, the crust was underdone, especially on the bottom. I had them on the middle rack of my oven and I did have a sheet pan underneath, just in case the springform leaked grease. What temperature do you guys recommend, and for how long, keeping in mind that my pans aren't black? Convection or no (I didn't use it this time)? There was also a bit of excess liquid, but I think that might have been a result of the too-low oven temp/slight undercooking.
Despite these issues, the pizza was delicious and a welcome change from NY style (we live in NYC and don't visit Chicago frequently enough to get our Lou's fix as often as I would like!). I will definitely keep experimenting! Thanks again to everyone who did all the hard work figuring out the basics!