Author Topic: Cast Iron Skillet for Chicago Style?  (Read 7641 times)

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Offline Navin Johnson

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Cast Iron Skillet for Chicago Style?
« on: February 21, 2005, 02:00:07 PM »
I do not have a proper deep dish pan for making a chicago pizza.  Would a well seasoned 12 inch (2 inches or so deep) cast iron skillet suffice until I something better?

Thanks,
Eric


Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Cast Iron Skillet for Chicago Style?
« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2005, 03:07:33 PM »
Eric,

Others with more experience than I on baking deep-dish pizzas may be able to answer your question, but if you have a deep cake pan, especially one that is heavy and coated with a dark non-stick coating, that can be used. A lighter weight cake pan, or an aluminum cake pan, may also work, but you will have to watch the baking temperature and bake time closely and use an upper oven rack position so that the pie doesn't burn.

Peter

Offline stiletto

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Re: Cast Iron Skillet for Chicago Style?
« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2005, 10:03:13 PM »
I have made a few Chicago style pizzas in my time, but it has been awhile!  I found that non-stick interior baking pans made my crusts too hard and crispy.  My favorite crusts came out of a cheap, high walled aluminum pan that we got at a garage sale.  They came out much softer and doughier.  I had bought the non-stick to increase my capacity to 2 pizzas, but I didn't like it.  I later found out I could buy more of those cheap silver aluminum pans from Michaels craft store.  I think they are supposed to be used for making wedding cakes or something.

Offline Navin Johnson

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Re: Cast Iron Skillet for Chicago Style?
« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2005, 08:12:22 AM »
Back when I asked this question I decided to go ahead with the cast iron since I didn't have the other type of pan handy.  It turned out quite well.   Pete-zza, I just bought some non-stick cake pans last week, so next time I cook the deep dish I'll try that (whenever that is, deep dish are third on my list of preferences behind NY and thin so they aren't done as often).  And, stiletto, thanks for the lead on Michaels for non-non-stick cake pans.  It seems almost everywhere you look you can only fine non-stick, which I really only want for a small number of things.  Thanks to you both for your responses.

Eric


Offline LowRent

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Re: Cast Iron Skillet for Chicago Style?
« Reply #4 on: March 31, 2005, 02:32:01 PM »
Back when I asked this question I decided to go ahead with the cast iron since I didn't have the other type of pan handy.  It turned out quite well.   Eric

Funny you should bring this up, because I just had the exact opposite experience with a 12" Lodge brand cast iron skillet.  The crust was dry, and I mean dry, too dark, and ridgid.  The dough that wasn't hard and too dark was bready.  Not good bready, bad bready.

Now, the recipe I found was reputed to be that of Uno's.  I have no idea if it was or not, but it called for baking at 500 for 15 minutes, if memory serves, before lowering to 400 for another 25-35 minutes.  I can assure you, I will never dable with this combination again.  Terrible.  Big disappointment.

I don't know if the outcome was related to the skillet or not.  Since you had success I'll have to rethink the recipe and cooking times/temps.

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Cast Iron Skillet for Chicago Style?
« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2005, 04:25:06 PM »
Cheesy,

Is the cast iron pan like one of those Lloyd cast iron skillets with a handle or is it one of those that has essentially no handle? And how to you remove the pie from such a pan if the pan is so hot when it comes out of the oven? Finally, do you have a recipe you can share with us for your Chicago-style pizza?

Peter

Offline LowRent

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Re: Cast Iron Skillet for Chicago Style?
« Reply #6 on: April 01, 2005, 06:27:34 AM »
As far as the handling of the cast iron pan goes, I have a one with a handle too.  It was no problem to work with.  I used a silicon glove made by Orka.  Notice how long it is, e.g. how far it will come up your arm.  You don't really risk burning your fore arms in the oven either.  See below.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B0002JA1PI/103-1546610-2944618?v=glance/103-1546610-2944618

(http://images.amazon.com/images/P/B0002JA1PI.01._SCMZZZZZZZ_.jpg)

Here's another option that still comes pretty far up your arm:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B0001V4AEA/103-1546610-2944618?v=glance&s=kitchen

(http://images.amazon.com/images/P/B0001V4AEA.01._SCMZZZZZZZ_.jpg)

My 12" pan/pie was so heavy, and I'm no girly man, that I found it difficult to lift from the oven and place on the oven top with just one hand.  I did it, but I wasn't completely satisfied with my control of the incredibly hot/dangerous item.

So, to move the pan/pie to another area, I used another silicon insulator for my other hand (I don't have 2 of those mitts 'cause they're too expensive):

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B0002JA1QM/qid=1112354628/sr=1-10/ref=sr_1_10/103-1546610-2944618?v=glance&s=kitchen

(http://images.amazon.com/images/P/B0002JA1QM.01._SCMZZZZZZZ_.jpg)

Both got a little warm, but neither got hot.  Great products.  I use 'em for all sorts of stuff, and they were life savers for my first attempt at a Chicago pie.

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Cast Iron Skillet for Chicago Style?
« Reply #7 on: April 04, 2005, 01:42:08 PM »
I like it :).

Peter

Offline LowRent

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Re: Cast Iron Skillet for Chicago Style?
« Reply #8 on: April 04, 2005, 02:08:33 PM »
Yup, that looks about 100 times better than mine.

Nice work.  You used a 12"er, right?

Is the basic recipe similar to any of the ones found in the Pizza Recipe section of thgis site?


Offline Navin Johnson

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Re: Cast Iron Skillet for Chicago Style?
« Reply #9 on: April 05, 2005, 09:56:42 AM »
LowRent:  I used the DKM Chicago recipe which I think is 450 degrees for 20-25 minutes.  I wonder if yours turned out hard and dry because you cooked it so much longer. 

I use a 12 inch lodge skillet with handle.  I take it out with a relatively thick oven mitt.  Cheesy:  I would not recommend wetting the oven mitt as you would risk steam burning your hand (done that before).  I simply tilt the pan and with the help of a spatual extract the pizza onto a cooling rack.  I need to get one of those silicon mitts someday.

Just bought a bunch of cheese so perhaps I'll have to try some more pizzas for this week.  It's been several weeks since I've made any pizza!  Maybe I'll have to try out my new digicam and take some pictures to post.

Best,
Eric



Offline LowRent

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Re: Cast Iron Skillet for Chicago Style?
« Reply #10 on: April 05, 2005, 10:45:12 AM »
LowRent:  I wonder if yours turned out hard and dry because you cooked it so much longer. 

Yes, that's probably the single biggest part of it.  I'm not convinced it would have been all that good of a crust even if properly baked, though. 

I need to get one of those silicon mitts someday.

Best,
Eric

They are a little pricey, but worth it IMO.  I just got one mitt and one pad.  They're not "that" expensive.

If nothing else, add one to your Amazon cart.  At my birthday or Christmas I check my cart to see what $20 or so items are in there.  I am usually scratching my head for stuff I want at that price point when gift givers ask.

I'm going to do the DKM dough tonite.  It needs to sit for about a day, if memory serves.  So, I'll be eating it mañana.

Offline LowRent

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Re: Cast Iron Skillet for Chicago Style?
« Reply #11 on: April 05, 2005, 10:55:00 AM »
I need to get some better ingredient measurements to make
up the recipe.
 


Great, and thanks for the photos.

Do you have a digital scale?  If not and you’re looking for input, if I had it to do over again I would get the Cook’s Illustrated recommended Soehnle 66524 Futura Digital Food Scale (11 pounds capacity) or the Salter Housewares Aquatronic Baker’s Dream.

Offline Navin Johnson

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Re: Cast Iron Skillet for Chicago Style?
« Reply #12 on: April 07, 2005, 09:45:15 AM »
I cooked some more deep dish the other night, one in a lodge cast iron, the other in an old non-non-stick pie dish.  450 degrees for 30 minutes and both turned out very well, and pretty much the same, at least in appearance.  We only ate the larger one from the cast iron, which was tasty.  My sister just had a baby this week so I froze the second and will give it to her (since my own wife is due next week perhaps she'll just give the frozen pie right back!)

So, for me, the cast iron seems to work just fine.  No better, no worse than pie plate provided it doesn't cook for too long.

-eric

Offline LowRent

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Re: Cast Iron Skillet for Chicago Style?
« Reply #13 on: April 07, 2005, 10:14:42 AM »
I tried DKM's deep dish last nite in the Lodge.  I used dough for an 11" pan.  Turned out very well--especially for a first try.  Definitely the best deep dish I've made at home.  Now I need to do some fine tuning on the toppings.

Offline DKM

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Re: Cast Iron Skillet for Chicago Style?
« Reply #14 on: April 15, 2005, 05:28:12 PM »
Funny you should bring this up, because I just had the exact opposite experience with a 12" Lodge brand cast iron skillet.  The crust was dry, and I mean dry, too dark, and ridgid.  The dough that wasn't hard and too dark was bready.  Not good bready, bad bready.

Now, the recipe I found was reputed to be that of Uno's.  I have no idea if it was or not, but it called for baking at 500 for 15 minutes, if memory serves, before lowering to 400 for another 25-35 minutes.  I can assure you, I will never dable with this combination again.  Terrible.  Big disappointment.

I don't know if the outcome was related to the skillet or not.  Since you had success I'll have to rethink the recipe and cooking times/temps.

I doubt it was related to the pan.  Pizza deck ovens cook differently than home ovens and times and temps often account for the fact that the oven doors open and close a lot for the loading and unloading of pizza.  According to my new source the average Uno's cook time is 35 minutes at 450o.

DKM
I'm on too many of these boards

Offline LowRent

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Re: Cast Iron Skillet for Chicago Style?
« Reply #15 on: April 21, 2005, 02:42:29 PM »
I doubt it was related to the pan.  Pizza deck ovens cook differently than home ovens and times and temps often account for the fact that the oven doors open and close a lot for the loading and unloading of pizza.  According to my new source the average Uno's cook time is 35 minutes at 450o.

DKM
I'm pretty sure it was just a lousy recipe--at least it was for me.

I'm trying another deep dish tomorrow. Makin' the dough tonite.

Offline Zig

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Re: Cast Iron Skillet for Chicago Style?
« Reply #16 on: February 03, 2007, 07:55:55 PM »
I think the trick to using cast iron pan is to preheat the pan, and never clean it off, just scrape it and leave it in the oven, ready for the next pizza.

Offline sanchez

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Re: Cast Iron Skillet for Chicago Style?
« Reply #17 on: May 28, 2007, 08:36:20 AM »
I'm planning on making my first deep dish tonight in a lodge cast iron skillet.  Can anyone address a few questions I have?  First off, do I sit the cool cast iron skillet on top of a hot pizza stone or do I sit it directly on the oven rack without the stone?  Seconly, someone mentioned preheating the pan?  Is this true?  Would I preheat the pan and then press my dough ino the hot pan and then build my pizza?  Seems a little odd to me.  How should I go about this?

Navin what was your process?  Thanks.

Offline drroger

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Re: Cast Iron Skillet for Chicago Style?
« Reply #18 on: May 28, 2007, 01:29:58 PM »
Sanchez, I have done a few deep dishes now with my skillet. So far, I have used a cold cast iron skillet on top of a preheated stone. If my skillet was preheated, I wouldn't be able to handle putting in the dough. I've cooked it at 450 for 30 minutes. I think that cooking it longer than other recipes helped compensate for the time that it takes for the skillet to get up to temp. I'm not sure whether the stone is necessary or not, but it's in my oven almost all them time anyways.

Offline Zig

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Re: Cast Iron Skillet for Chicago Style?
« Reply #19 on: June 23, 2007, 06:50:19 PM »
I build the pizza on the cast iron pan on top of our electric stove with the burner turned on, preheating the pan,... just not so hot that it actually starts to sizzle. Just below that temp. Then I put the completed pizza in our preheated oven. I don't have a stone anymore, but with the thick cast iron I don't feel that it is needed. Pull it out a little early and let the pan finish cooking the crust, letting all the juices go back into the pizza where they belong. ;D