Author Topic: A first effort: tips?  (Read 2582 times)

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Offline wiyum

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A first effort: tips?
« on: October 13, 2009, 10:53:52 PM »
I'm in the process of making my first attempt at making Chicago-style pizza. My goal, eventually, is to make something very close to what I get every time I return to Lou Malnati's. A lofty goal, I realize, but I need to do as best I can while I'm here in godless New York, where Chicago pizza is verboten (I say the same thing about godless Chicago, where NY pizza is likewise verboten... I'll never understand this pointless feud).

At any rate, I'm starting with DKM's recipe to make sure I can get the dough basics and prep down, then I might branch out into some of the other recipes found on the forums (most of the promising ones are also from DKM, though the newer one with a semolina blend sounds intriguing if I could lay my hands on some semolina flour. I grabbed some deli-cut sliced moz, a 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes (Cento, chosen because it was the only can that listed nothing but tomatoes in the ingredients list... once I get my feet wet and feel confident I'll drop the coin to order some 6-in-1), and some Trader Joes pepperoni. My 12-inch diameter, 2-inch deep iron skillet is well-seasoned and ready for action. Dough is rising in the fridge, and felt nothing like the normal dough I make.

Now I ask each of you (especially the Malnati-heads) which recipe you've had the best luck with in mimicking Lou's. I also wonder how you source your moz and if you find that it makes much of a difference. I wonder what kind of pepperoni people have the best luck with. I wonder if you anticipate the Cento crushed tomatoes to have such a terrible effect that they ought not be used for training purposes (is there a suitable training brand that'd be easy to find until I feel ready to special order the 6-in-1?). Should the skillet be fine, or do I really need to get a pan? Finally, I've watched the Marc Malnati throwdown clip on Youtube, and noticed that he puts raw sausage on the bottom of the pie. I've always pre-cooked sausage for pizza, and wondered what the consensus was there, for my next effort.

I'll report back when this one's in the rearview, but any info on any of these questions would be very appreciated. I've been pouring through these forums for a couple of days and have certainly learned a great deal, but it is hard to consolidate all of the info, so I figured I'd come out and ask what was on my mind.

Thanks,

Will


Offline loowaters

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Re: A first effort: tips?
« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2009, 06:45:17 AM »
Will, I've never used Cento's crushed tomatoes but their Italian whole peeled tomatoes are really good and I prefer to use them when I can get them for my deep dish pies.  Hand crushed and de-seeded Cento's are excellent.  6 in 1's are fine as well but I do something different with them, I puree them and add that puree to lesser quality tomatoes (like if I have to use Progresso or, heaven forbid, Hunts) that I've hand crushed to better the flavor of the sauce when I can't find Cento's.

Using a skillet should be fine so don't worry about that.  While I didn't love the results I had with a cast iron skillet, many have had success.  Again, don't worry about it...but get a pan down the line.

Some here will precook sausage before going on the pie but the major deep dish places use raw sausage on the pie.  I press it down a bit now just to flatten it out to be sure it cooks through as a thinner layer will cook more quickly, and thoroughly, than a larger chunk.

Loo
Using pizza to expand my waistline since 1969!

Offline BTB

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Re: A first effort: tips?
« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2009, 08:47:56 AM »
Will, welcome to the website.  I'm just returning to pizza making myself after having the summer off.  I spent my summer back in the Chicago area tasting some of their best and now have to try again myself to recreate some of their great pizzas.

Just some quick remarks in response to yours:  I tried various forms of Cento (am told it's pronounced like Chento) tomato products and found all of them to be unsatisfactory to me and my taste testers at least.  And they were rated, I believe, in last place in one of the website reviews (believe it was Amer. Test Kitchen or Cook's Country) and "not recommended."  But others think differently, so like everything, you'll have to try and decide for yourself.  My favorites are 6-in-1 (cheap & easy to order over the internet), Pastenes, or Glen Muir.  Many have reported Walmart's Great Value crushed tomatoes to be excellent also.  For deep dish you should strain the crushed tomatoes for 15 to 30 minutes or else risk getting a "wet" pizza.

Regarding cheese, I've never found much difference in all the various brands and I know that's heresy here.  Boar's Head is great, but so are Sorrento, Polly, Kraft and many other brands that I've come across.  Use low moisture to avoid the possibility of a "wet" pizza also.  And for deep dish, I use 50/50 mozzarella and provolone.  Sometimes I add a tiny bit of "fresh" mozzarella to get a more creamy affect, but such has a great tendency to get the pizza too wet.

I've never used a cast iron pan but many have reportedly done well with such.  I think if you get serious with making pizzas you may want to get a dark pan like those at the famous Chicago deep dish pizzerias.  Actually, those got dark after years of use and seasoning.  One cannot hope to get a shiny pan dark in home use except over the course of decades, so its best to buy one pre-darkened.  I've found the 12" and 9" straight-sided pans to be the ideal sizes for general use.  My large 14" rarely gets used and its best to use that size for a larger group.  (Caution: 16" pans often don't fit into many people's oven.)

I always put my sausage on uncooked just like 98% of all Chicago pizzerias.  One exception may be for thin crust pizzas made in an extremely hot oven whereby cooking time is just a quick few minutes, which is more common in many east coast pizzas (hence the reason for sausage slices rather than clumps or larger sausage pieces).  Otherwise 20 minutes of cooking for deep dish or 12 to 15 minutes for Chgo thin crust thoroughly cooks the sausage (at 425 to 475 degrees F).  When I add pepperoni, it usually is Boar's Head brand.  Avoid the common cheaper brands.  And you may want to "nuke" some of the pepperoni on a paper towel for a few seconds in a microwave to get some of the oil out.

As far as the dough recipes go, you should search this whole website and experiment with the formulations to find what suits your tastes and determine what you think most closely matches what you are looking for.  I've put many recipes on this site and prefer those with a little semolina and even -- from time to time -- a little rice flour (which my taste testers really prefer).

Good luck.  Take plenty of pictures and report on your experiences.      --BTB

Offline Ryderman

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Re: A first effort: tips?
« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2009, 11:04:19 PM »
I have been trying this recipe for over 10 years. It does not work for me. I will tell you the closest I came is using crisco shortening but still not right. I would love to get this recipe right. Lou Malnatti's dough is the best. It is crispy and is crumbly not flaky. Cheese, matters. The best I used is Gardena whole milk. The flavor is great. Good Luck, Jim
I'm in the process of making my first attempt at making Chicago-style pizza. My goal, eventually, is to make something very close to what I get every time I return to Lou Malnati's. A lofty goal, I realize, but I need to do as best I can while I'm here in godless New York, where Chicago pizza is verboten (I say the same thing about godless Chicago, where NY pizza is likewise verboten... I'll never understand this pointless feud).

At any rate, I'm starting with DKM's recipe to make sure I can get the dough basics and prep down, then I might branch out into some of the other recipes found on the forums (most of the promising ones are also from DKM, though the newer one with a semolina blend sounds intriguing if I could lay my hands on some semolina flour. I grabbed some deli-cut sliced moz, a 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes (Cento, chosen because it was the only can that listed nothing but tomatoes in the ingredients list... once I get my feet wet and feel confident I'll drop the coin to order some 6-in-1), and some Trader Joes pepperoni. My 12-inch diameter, 2-inch deep iron skillet is well-seasoned and ready for action. Dough is rising in the fridge, and felt nothing like the normal dough I make.

Now I ask each of you (especially the Malnati-heads) which recipe you've had the best luck with in mimicking Lou's. I also wonder how you source your moz and if you find that it makes much of a difference. I wonder what kind of pepperoni people have the best luck with. I wonder if you anticipate the Cento crushed tomatoes to have such a terrible effect that they ought not be used for training purposes (is there a suitable training brand that'd be easy to find until I feel ready to special order the 6-in-1?). Should the skillet be fine, or do I really need to get a pan? Finally, I've watched the Marc Malnati throwdown clip on Youtube, and noticed that he puts raw sausage on the bottom of the pie. I've always pre-cooked sausage for pizza, and wondered what the consensus was there, for my next effort.

I'll report back when this one's in the rearview, but any info on any of these questions would be very appreciated. I've been pouring through these forums for a couple of days and have certainly learned a great deal, but it is hard to consolidate all of the info, so I figured I'd come out and ask what was on my mind.

Thanks,

Will

Offline IndyRob

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Re: A first effort: tips?
« Reply #4 on: November 28, 2009, 07:49:25 PM »
I've not had Malnati's pizza (other than a supermarket frozen one) - or any other true Chicago pizza other than Uno's, so I can't comment specifically, but...

I used the DKM recipe for my first serious Chicago style attempt a couple of weeks ago and got a great result.  But I think I'll eliminate the corn meal on future attempts since I agree with some other comments here concerning a "grittiness" that can come from it (not sure yet exactly how I'll compensate).  Otherwise, the dough was a real pleasure to work with.  I only made two departures from the recipe.  First, since I was wanting pizza that day, I did a first rise at room temp.  I also rolled the dough lightly rather than spreading it in the pan, and let it do a second rise in the pan.  I was going for a light textured crust and I think this was a good choice for my tastes.

For all my pizzas I don't ascribe to a particular brand of cheese, but do look for a cheese that has a proper texture.  It seems that more and more, cheese is becoming more like Velveeta.  Lately I've settled on a sorta' generic brand of shredded mozzarella & provolone called Primo Gusto that I can get in 5lb bags for $10-$13.  But for the Chicago style I needed slices.  So I sprinkled some on a plate and nuked it in the microwave for 20 seconds or so and then let cool.  It was surprising to me that, not only did this work fine, but it brought out a stretchy nature in the cheese that I had not seen before.

I put the sausage on raw and used an old standby for me - Emge Mild breakfast sausage.  This proved to be perhaps the best single element of the pizza.

I didn't have any fancy crushed tomatoes but did have a can of store brand ones.  I think they were fine except that I should been more vigilant in draining them since I ended up with some water separation issues.

I think next time I will try the garlic butter on the crust trick.

Offline vcb

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Re: A first effort: tips?
« Reply #5 on: November 30, 2009, 02:22:15 PM »
I just opened my first can of Cento crushed tomatoes a few days ago. (I used some of them in a crock pot roast to enhance the flavor).
Tasting them straight out of the can, they had a slightly sweet flavor, but not really the fresh bite of what I would look for in a Malnati's style sauce. It could be because there was no salt. I will try the Cento, with a bit of salt added, on my next pie and see if it makes the difference.

I'm a big fan of a tomato brand I found at Treasure Island Grocery called "San Marzano".
http://www.thenibble.com/REVIEWS/main/vegetables/san-marzano-tomatoes.asp
I prefer the 'diced' version, but they also sell crushed and whole. If you can't find those, I'd go for the Muir Glenn.

Check out other places that I've posted in this forum, as I was on the same journey several months back and had early success in replicating a worthy (possibly better) version of the Lou Malnati's pizza.
My first post has a link to instructions I compiled from this forum on making deep dish pizza if you need a guide: http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,8450.0.html

A few things:

Drain your tomatoes in a strainer for a few minutes to get rid of excess water (unless you like that kind of thing)

Unless you completely squeezed your tomatoes dry and precooked your meats , it's perfectly normal to expect a watery puddle from a Lou's pie. Wait a few minutes after pulling a baked pie out of the oven for everything to settle a bit, then grab a wad of paper towels and gently soak up any excess water/grease that may have puddled up from tomatoes or sausage/pepperoni, etc.

Let us know how it turns out! (post pics if you get a chance!)
-- Ed Heller -aka- VCBurger -- Real Deep Dish - Deep Dish 101
http://www.realdeepdish.com/
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http://virtualcheeseblogger.com/

Offline dbgtr

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Re: A first effort: tips?
« Reply #6 on: December 31, 2009, 03:49:56 PM »
Loo, you only deseed, crush and strain the Cento's?  Do you do anything else to them.  The 6-in-1's have a thick puree, so I was wondering whether you add anything to the Cento's.

Offline loowaters

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Re: A first effort: tips?
« Reply #7 on: December 31, 2009, 08:25:03 PM »
The Centos come in a fair amount of puree so I don't add any additional to the sauce.  In fact, most recently I haven't even drained them much.  I'll give them a squeeze and place them into a colander until all are done, then back in to the puree they go.  I'll give them some salt and pepper and if I'm feeling like giving more they'll get a clove of garlic that I make a paste out of and about a teaspoon of EVOO.

Loo
Using pizza to expand my waistline since 1969!