Author Topic: Malnati Deep Dish with Semolina  (Read 142761 times)

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Offline BearcatPizza

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Re: Malnati Deep Dish with Semolina
« Reply #760 on: September 05, 2013, 09:26:09 PM »
Well, not bad for my first pizza ever (frozen does not count unfortunately). I stumbled acrossed this thread about a week ago after craving my favorite pizza on earth from Malnati's (and I have only been there ONCE). I'm a decent cook (well... I'm decent at following directions) and this sounded like an awesome challenge. So here we go:


1. Good news: the crust on the side of the pizza turned out PERFECTLY - I mean perfect flake / crisp factor. Bad news: the crust on the bottom did not.. I'm not sure if I took it out too early or maybe it was a result of my not greasing the bottom of the pan; not sure.

2. I put WAY too much white pepper in the sauce. Otherwise that also came out just right.

3. Like many impatient pizza makers, I cut the thing way too early after it came out of the oven. I refuse to apologize for that, it looked way too darn good.

Here's some pics below, overall tell me what you think:
« Last Edit: March 16, 2014, 08:41:50 PM by Steve »

Offline BearcatPizza

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Re: Malnati Deep Dish with Semolina
« Reply #761 on: September 05, 2013, 09:27:30 PM »
Two more, the final product (sorry for the rotated photos, don't know why that is happening):
« Last Edit: March 16, 2014, 08:43:07 PM by Steve »

Offline Garvey

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Re: Malnati Deep Dish with Semolina
« Reply #762 on: September 05, 2013, 09:57:51 PM »
Wow--looks amazing!  I can't tell from the picture that there's a problem with the bottom crust.  It was underdone inside?

As far as troubleshooting goes, I see you have an electric oven.  Did you use a pizza stone?  A stone will temper the violent mood swings of most electric ovens.  Also consider placement within the oven: high racks cook the top more quickly, while low racks cook the crust more quickly.  Personally, I use two stones--one high and one low-- and shuttle the pizza between the two as needed.



Offline BearcatPizza

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Re: Malnati Deep Dish with Semolina
« Reply #763 on: September 05, 2013, 10:00:55 PM »
Thanks! I placed the pan on the bottom rack for the entire 25 minutes, turning 180 degrees half-way through cooking. I do not have a stone however, I need to make that investment. And I suppose the bottom crust wasn't bad necessarily, just not flakey / crispy.

Offline mbrulato

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Re: Malnati Deep Dish with Semolina
« Reply #764 on: September 05, 2013, 10:13:18 PM »
Recently, I started using a preheated stone placed towards the bottom of my oven underneath my pan when I make Sicilian or pan pizza.  It definitely helps to achieve that nice brown bottom while ensuring that the dough cooks all the way through.
Mary Ann

Offline Jdurg

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Re: Malnati Deep Dish with Semolina
« Reply #765 on: September 07, 2013, 04:42:15 PM »
The only thing I can add is that while having the pizza LOOK good, the one trait to worry about the most is whether or not it TASTES good.  :D  I've been a bit absent from the forums for a few weeks as I've been trying out thin style, NY style, and a bunch of other styles of pizza.  This has just resulted in me needing to spend more time in the gym as I've put on a bit of weight thanks to this hobby.  :p

Anyway, right now I'm trying some variations on the "standard" deep-dish Chicago pizza just to see if I can come up with my own style of crust that is a Chicago style at heart, but with some modifications to suit my taste.  Now that I know that I can repeat the standard recipes and have it come out exactly the same each time, I feel that I can go ahead and start experimenting.  :D

The other week, I got two 12"x2" AMCO deep-dish pans.  They have been seasoned and look AMAZING!  Went from a bright, shiny silver color to a rich, deep, heat absorbing dark black color. 

The recipe I am using is based on vcb's "Holy Grail" recipe.  The weights are as follows:

Stop & Shop Unbleached All-Purpose Flour:  200 g.
Hodgson's Mill Semolina Pasta Flour:  50 g.
105 Degree Tap Water:  125 g.
Generic Corn Oil:  2 Tbsp.
Orville Reddenbacher's Buttery Popcorn Oil:  2 Tbsp.
Active Dry Yeast:  1/2 Tsp.
McCormack Garlic Salt:  1/4 Tsp.
Table Sugar:  1/4 Tsp.

I started out by putting the Yeast, Sugar, Garlic Salt, and water in the mixing bowl, mixing it well, and letting it sit for about 10 minutes until I could see some good bubbling action start.  When the bubbling started, I added the oil and mixed it in well.  The semolina and AP flour were mixed and sifted beforehand to ensure they were combined properly.  I then added about 1/4 of the total flour mix to the liquid and combined it well until it looked like a smooth pancake batter.  At that point, I went and added in the rest of the flour while mixing.  ALL of the mixing was done with a simple wooden spoon and my hands as I don't have an electric mixer.  I mixed until everything was combined which was only about 30 seconds or so.  At that point, I put my hands in there and combined everything into a smooth mass.  This was a total mixing/kneading time of only around 1.5 to 2 minutes.  While some gluten is wanted, I wanted to minimize this as much as possible.

Right now, this dough is sitting in the fridge in an oiled bowl and will sit there overnight.  I always like to let my doughs sit in the fridge to rise for a full 24 hours so that it's easier to work with the next day.  Based upon the recipe I used, I don't foresee any issues working with this dough.

Tomorrow, when I go and cook this, I will do so by first buttering up the pan it will be cooked in.  And I will actually butter the bottom and sides of the inside of the pan to ensure good browning and infusion of more butter flavor, and ease of release.  (Though with how well seasoned the pan is, I don't see any issues forthcoming).  I will take the dough out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature.  At that point, I'll go and roll it out using a rolling pin into an even, flat circular shape.  Yes, I know that most Chicago deep-dishes press out the dough, but to get a nice even thickness the rolling out of the dough works great.  The dough sheet will then be placed into the center of the pan and flattened completely on the bottom to remove any air holes, and even out the amount rising up the sides.  Slices of part-skim mozzarella cheese will be layered on the bottom, followed by a layer of mild Italian Sausage, and a good amount of pepperoni.  I'm then going to  put on the sauce, press in some more pepperoni on top to give some char to it, and sprinkle a mix of freshly grated, authentic, Parmesan and Romano cheeses.  Will cook on a preheated baking stone at the bottom of my oven at 425 degrees for about 30 minutes until I see that the crust has browned and the top is bubbling a bit. 

For the sauce, I'm planning on doing a partially cooked sauce.  America's Test Kitchen put together a recipe for sauce that I think tastes great and is what I plan to use.  The difference is, they cook the full sauce while I'm only going to cook some of the ingredients.  The recipe is:

Two Tbsp of unsalted butter melted in a skillet.
1/4 cup of grated onions.
1/4 tsp of dried oregano.
2 medium cloves of minced garlic.
1 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes.
1/4 tsp of sugar
2 Tbsp of chopped fresh basil.
Salt and pepper to taste.

Start out by melting the butter in a skillet and adding in the dried oregano and grated onions.  Cook until the onions just start to brown.  At this point, add in the garlic and cook until it blooms and you can smell it.  At this point, take the skillet off of the heat and let it come to room temperature.  Once at room temp, add in the drained tomatoes and mix well.  Add the sugar and very finely chopped basil, as well as the black pepper.  Let this sit for about 30 minutes in order to let the flavors meld.  Taste, and add salt and more pepper if needed.  This sauce will be used on the pizza, and due to the amount of time it will spend in the oven, it's important to make sure the basil is finely chopped so that it can better absorb into the sauce and prevent burning of any large pieces.  By letting the sauce sit for 30 minutes, I've found that the basil will absorb a good amount of water from the sauce and not burn if this is done.

I know that this recipe isn't a "clone" of any well-known Chicago Deep-Dish Pizzeria, but I like the garlic flavor that will be present throughout the crust, as well as the evenness of everything.  I also know that garlic will help relax the dough and make it easier to form, so that will help out as well.  I'll hopefully be able to take pictures of the process this time as I know that's something I've failed to do in my past efforts.  Heh.  Stomach's rumbling just thinking about it.  :)

Offline mugwump

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Re: Malnati Deep Dish with Semolina
« Reply #766 on: September 10, 2013, 03:59:20 AM »
In terms of maximizing the "taste" the most important thing to keep in mind that a two-day refrigerator rise gives the crust more flavor.  Doing it in less time is fine but a bit more dull. 

Also with regard to "taste" not "looks", in my opinion the more semolina the less dough fermentation and less taste.  I think of semolina almost like plaster, that it helps to form a good strong crust but I keep it at 7% to get the greatest dough taste.

Offline Klankster

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Re: Malnati Deep Dish with Semolina
« Reply #767 on: September 20, 2013, 10:21:44 PM »
*** Corrections: I initially put "DKM" in here where I meant BTB -- oops. ***

I took my visiting sister, her husband and my wife down to Chicago yesterday for a museum visit and planned the trip around visiting Malnati's on State street -- I had only been to Uno's on previous trips to Chicago but after reading this thread, had to try Malnati's.

My sister and I split one of the buttery-crust versions of the classic sausage deep dish pies; it was fantastic as I had expected.  The crust was airy but with a crunchy bottom, really nice texture.

So this new reference benchmark gave me the impetus to ask here about what the heck went wrong with my last two attempts to duplicate this crust...

A few weeks ago, I tried the basic recipe from the website.  I followed the usual procedures for making a Chicago-style as I always do, and found that the crust didn't really "fluff up" like I was expecting -- usually with a Chicago-style pizza from Uno's I can eat it by cutting off a chunk easily with the side of my fork -- the crust should be tender enough that there's just a bit of extra resistance as it cuts through the bottom part of the crust.  Well, trying to do that with this pizza was very hard -- the crust was dense and tough.  Had to use a lot of pressure to cut off a piece.  Hmm.  I figured it might be the recipe...

The following week, I took a stab at the later BTB crust recipe in this thread with semolina.  Followed the instructions very closely.  Very little kneading, and I mean VERY LITTLE, mostly to just get the dough in a ball, so I wouldn't develop the gluten -- adding the butter at the end like the recipe indicates.  Refrigerator rest in a ziploc bag overnight, warmup prior to putting into the pan.

I thought I was right on target with this dough because when I pulled the warmed-up dough out of the bowl to put into the pan, where I tore the dough off the ball (I was using an 8-inch pan with 9-inch recipe, so I left a little dough in the bowl), the dough had a beautiful fluffy character to it.

I pressed it into the pan (I'm using one of the dark gray pre-seasoned deep dish pans), added the cheese, sausage and sauce and baked it -- I had preheated the oven and my stone to 475 then dropped the oven to about 440, and put the pan on the stone.  Rotated after about 15 minutes, put a little foil over the top to prevent overbrowning of the top cheese.  Baked for about 25 minutes total.

I was stoked because the dough going in looked so great, but when I cut the pizza the crust was just kind of dense and tough.  Again, fork-side-cutting was difficult.

What the heck could I be doing wrong?  I'm attaching a photo I took of the BTB attempt.  Maybe I'm just loading the thing with too much sauce, and that's keeping the dough from rising properly when baked?  The Malnati's pizza we had yesterday did have a lot less sauce than I use.  As you can see in the photo, the crust bottom and sides were nicely browned and didn't look overdone to me, but as the crust there was extremely tough, I have to wonder what could have caused that -- I sprayed the pan with a little Crisco cooking spray prior to pressing the dough in.  Should I use more?  Less?  Something else?  Would it help to let the pressed-out dough in the pan sit for a while before adding the toppings to let it rise a bit?

I think I'll make another batch of dough tonight and try again tomorrow, with less sauce this time, more like I had at Malnati's.  But if anyone has some ideas about what I could do differently to correct this problem, I'd appreciate hearing them!

Edit: I just put the dough into my proofing box for the initial 90-minute rise.  Went together nicely and I have my fingers crossed...

« Last Edit: September 20, 2013, 11:17:27 PM by Klankster »
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Offline vcb

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Re: Malnati Deep Dish with Semolina
« Reply #768 on: September 22, 2013, 10:03:59 PM »
25 minutes baking time for an 8 inch sounds about right. Not sure how to get you closer to what you're looking for except maybe use more dough or bake for a shorter amount of time. My recipe is on the thinner side and may result in a sturdier crust.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2013, 10:13:20 PM by vcb »
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Offline greggw2gs

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Re: Malnati Deep Dish with Semolina
« Reply #769 on: December 28, 2013, 11:12:31 AM »
My family couldn't wait to dig into this delicious, tasty looking deep dish pizza.  Its been a while and mouths were watering.  I extracted the pizza out of the pan using both my small metal frosting spatula and the bigger pancake spatula.  Once on the cutting board, it was time to cut the pizza and get the plates ready, which is the rewarding part.   This pizza tasted soooooo good and didn't last that long unfortunately as it was consumed in just a short time.  I was pleasantly surprised on how good it came out and that even the center of the pie was somewhat crispy, but not as much as that on the outer edge, of course.  We will definitely be doing more of this in the near future.


I made this for some close friends in town from NY for the 1st time last weekend.  I cooked it in a 15" cast iron skillet.  Holy Cow it was amazing Pizza!!!!!!  Gonna make another one tonight for my Daughter and her Husband!!!!  Thanks for the help!  Gregg

Offline skunker

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Re: Malnati Deep Dish with Semolina
« Reply #770 on: December 28, 2013, 12:41:58 PM »
Hello BTB,
 I was wondering if you've updated your Malnati recipe based on your latest findings, research, and experience? This thread is quite long, so wondering what your "latest" recipe/formula is? Thanks!