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Offline Kristi

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Watery Inside and Some Questions
« on: October 26, 2009, 10:47:44 PM »
Hi All,

I'm fairly new to this forum and just made my fourth Chicago pizza. I have read this board and taken lots of tips from you guys from what types of cheese to use, etc. I cannot find any of the brand name cheeses you list like Sorrento, etc. in Sioux Falls, SD, but I can find low-moisture which is what we are now using. We do have meat place in town that sells cheese so I might check with him and see if he has anything different to offer.

Even though they have been watery each time, it does NOT take away from the taste, but does make the bottom part of the crust a little soggy. I want to perfect this so it does not do this. What am I doing wrong?

Part of me thinks the water and possibly oil could be coming from our green peppers and onions (we use A LOT of them in our pizza), and possibly the meat toppings we are using. I have been chopping the green peppers and onions and then let them drain on a paper towel for a few hours before putting it on the pizza and I think that helps a little. For meats we used a spicy salami from Hy-Vee (really good flavor in the pizza) and canadian bacon. The salami is thin sliced, but a little oily so that too could be part of the liquid.

I used Buzz's recipe tonight and it was DELICIOUS. The pizza was probably the prettiest one we have made.

Now some questions about the crust. Is there a top layer of crust, then sauce on Giordano's pizza? I have seen the video and have eaten it, but my dad insists there is not a top layer. He is quite stubborn about this. Or do they make more than one type of deep dish pizza? Making Buzz's recipe today we did not have enough dough for a top layer for a 9 inch spring form pan.

I would like to add some garlic to the crust and is wondering if anyone has done this. If so is fresh garlic best or would garlic salt and or powder be best mixed with the dough. We cooked some garlic with some olive oil with our pizza before this one with a cornmeal type crust (which I did not like, but everyone else did), but the garlic didn't come through very well. I, and others would like it a bit stronger whether it be in the crust or throughout the toppings.

I really just want to get rid of the watery/oily inside and have a nice pizza. We are going to try a pizza stone next time and see if this helps. Others  have suggested cooking the meat first as Canadian bacon can hold a lot of water.

I would appreciate any feedback or suggestions on what to do.


Offline RoadPizza

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Re: Watery Inside and Some Questions
« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2009, 01:37:10 AM »
Hi All,

I'm fairly new to this forum and just made my fourth Chicago pizza. I have read this board and taken lots of tips from you guys from what types of cheese to use, etc. I cannot find any of the brand name cheeses you list like Sorrento, etc. in Sioux Falls, SD, but I can find low-moisture which is what we are now using. We do have meat place in town that sells cheese so I might check with him and see if he has anything different to offer.

Even though they have been watery each time, it does NOT take away from the taste, but does make the bottom part of the crust a little soggy. I want to perfect this so it does not do this. What am I doing wrong?

Part of me thinks the water and possibly oil could be coming from our green peppers and onions (we use A LOT of them in our pizza), and possibly the meat toppings we are using. I have been chopping the green peppers and onions and then let them drain on a paper towel for a few hours before putting it on the pizza and I think that helps a little. For meats we used a spicy salami from Hy-Vee (really good flavor in the pizza) and canadian bacon. The salami is thin sliced, but a little oily so that too could be part of the liquid.

I used Buzz's recipe tonight and it was DELICIOUS. The pizza was probably the prettiest one we have made.

Now some questions about the crust. Is there a top layer of crust, then sauce on Giordano's pizza? I have seen the video and have eaten it, but my dad insists there is not a top layer. He is quite stubborn about this. Or do they make more than one type of deep dish pizza? Making Buzz's recipe today we did not have enough dough for a top layer for a 9 inch spring form pan.

I would like to add some garlic to the crust and is wondering if anyone has done this. If so is fresh garlic best or would garlic salt and or powder be best mixed with the dough. We cooked some garlic with some olive oil with our pizza before this one with a cornmeal type crust (which I did not like, but everyone else did), but the garlic didn't come through very well. I, and others would like it a bit stronger whether it be in the crust or throughout the toppings.

I really just want to get rid of the watery/oily inside and have a nice pizza. We are going to try a pizza stone next time and see if this helps. Others  have suggested cooking the meat first as Canadian bacon can hold a lot of water.

I would appreciate any feedback or suggestions on what to do.

How do you place your toppings?  I usually will brush on some oil on the dough at the bottom of the pan, so it will cook.  Then I place mozzarella.  The mozzarella acts almost like a sealant when it cooks and keeps the bottom of the crust from getting soggy.  The mozzarella also absorbs some of the excess moisture.

Was the Canadian Bacon frozen or was it thawed?  If it was frozen, the moisture could have come from it.

I thought that Giordano's had a top layer of dough so their deep dish is actually a stuffed pizza.  They then put the sauce over the crust and not inside the pizza.  I saw them make it on the Pizza episode of Food Paradise.
« Last Edit: October 27, 2009, 01:50:46 AM by RoadPizza »

Offline RoadPizza

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Re: Watery Inside and Some Questions
« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2009, 01:49:08 AM »
My Chicago (the last pic was taken from our poster):

Offline Kristi

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Re: Watery Inside and Some Questions
« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2009, 01:58:58 AM »
We do mozzarella, then our meat toppings, then veggies, more cheese, than sauce. I might try switching the order of the meat and veggies and see if that makes a difference next time.

All meats were thawed and were just bought in the refrigerated section at the grocery store.

I put butter around the pan before putting the crust in the pan. We tried oil in previous pizzas and the butter gave the crust a nice taste. I will try putting some oil on the crust before toppings like pictured and see if that makes a difference in the watery texture in the pan.

Thanks!

Offline loowaters

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Re: Watery Inside and Some Questions
« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2009, 05:45:47 AM »

Part of me thinks the water and possibly oil could be coming from our green peppers and onions (we use A LOT of them in our pizza), and possibly the meat toppings we are using. I have been chopping the green peppers and onions and then let them drain on a paper towel for a few hours before putting it on the pizza and I think that helps a little. For meats we used a spicy salami from Hy-Vee (really good flavor in the pizza) and canadian bacon. The salami is thin sliced, but a little oily so that too could be part of the liquid.


My guess would be that you need to sweat out some water from those peppers and onions as they are extremely high in moisture content.  Sautee them and maybe back off on how much of them you use.  You can lay the salami out on a paper towel and nuke it for 20-40 seconds (depending on how much you have) to extract some of the oils from that before placing on the pie.


Quote
Now some questions about the crust. Is there a top layer of crust, then sauce on Giordano's pizza? I have seen the video and have eaten it, but my dad insists there is not a top layer. He is quite stubborn about this. Or do they make more than one type of deep dish pizza? Making Buzz's recipe today we did not have enough dough for a top layer for a 9 inch spring form pan.

There most certainly is a top layer of dough.  It's a stuffed pizza so no top layer would just make it...unstuffed?  Up the recipe by 50% and use that extra 1/3 as your top layer.  It's a very thin layer of crust.  Trim off the top layer that overhangs the edge before adding sauce to the top of the pie.


Quote
I would like to add some garlic to the crust and is wondering if anyone has done this. If so is fresh garlic best or would garlic salt and or powder be best mixed with the dough. We cooked some garlic with some olive oil with our pizza before this one with a cornmeal type crust (which I did not like, but everyone else did), but the garlic didn't come through very well. I, and others would like it a bit stronger whether it be in the crust or throughout the toppings.

I really just want to get rid of the watery/oily inside and have a nice pizza. We are going to try a pizza stone next time and see if this helps. Others  have suggested cooking the meat first as Canadian bacon can hold a lot of water.

I would appreciate any feedback or suggestions on what to do.

Your best bet for total garlic penetration of the crust would be garlic powder. 

Loo


Edit:  completing a thought that I guess I never finished
« Last Edit: October 27, 2009, 08:25:13 AM by loowaters »
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Offline WrongSauce

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Re: Watery Inside and Some Questions
« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2009, 06:24:32 AM »
That Loo knows his stuff(ed).  Ha!  He's the best pizza maker in the country.

WS

Offline BTB

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Re: Watery Inside and Some Questions
« Reply #6 on: October 27, 2009, 07:23:27 AM »
Just some thoughts:

Nine out of ten times the culprit for an excessive watery pizza is either the cheese and/or the tomato sauce.  You hadn't adequately described what brand and kind of mozzarella you used, except low moisture is a good start.  "Fresh" mozzarella should be avoided when first learning how to make Chicago style deep dish (which I assume you are referring to).  It will make for a very wet pizza.  The tomato sauce for a Chicago deep dish is usually a crushed or chunky style and most of the great brands straight from the can must be drained from 20 to 45 minutes or more or else you risk getting a very watery pizza also.  You hadn't described anything in regards to the sauce.  The toppings occasionally can be the source of the water also and others have given you some good tips on that. 

The Giordano's style pizza, while a variation of Chicago style deep dish pizza, is usually referred to as "stuffed" pizza or "stuffed" deep dish pizza in Chicago.  It -- like others said -- always has a second or upper layer of crust to which only sauce is put on top of it (maybe occasionally some finely grated cheese also).  But it is a little confusing when one says Chicago style because an estimated 95% of the pizzas made in Chicago (which I consider Chicago style) are thin crust pizzas.  But I know most people outside of Chicago when they refer to "Chicago Style" mean deep dish pizza (or even occasionally deep dish pan pizza).  And most of the great deep dish pizzerias in Chicago do not serve the "stuffed" kind like the unique and special pizzas at Giordano's and do not have a second layer of crust.  I don't know if this helps or confuses things for you.

So when one says they made their "fourth Chicago pizza," the true Chicago pizza aficionado would ask . . . is that thin, deep dish, or stuffed pizza? 

I sometimes add a little garlic or onion powder to the crust ingredients when in the mood for the flavor, but not as a general rule.

Quote
I usually will brush on some oil on the dough at the bottom of the pan, so it will cook.  Then I place mozzarella.  The mozzarella acts almost like a sealant when it cooks and keeps the bottom of the crust from getting soggy.  The mozzarella also absorbs some of the excess moisture.

Putting oil right on top of the dough before adding the cheese or anything -- if I understand correctly -- is highly unusual for a deep dish pizza crust.  I've never heard of that before (except Lou Malnati's brushing on melted butter for added crust flavor), but I'm not saying its bad or anything.  The picture of the finished product in fact looked very good.  I usually put oil or crisco or butter under the dough or onto the pan before putting the dough into it.  But on top of the deep dish crust is . . . different.  I may have to try it some day.  But the statement that mozzarella absorbs the excess moisture does not make sense to me, so I'll remain a skeptic on that.   But I admire all the good pizzamaking work here.  --BTB

Offline loowaters

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Re: Watery Inside and Some Questions
« Reply #7 on: October 27, 2009, 08:22:42 AM »
Thanks for the kind words, WrongSauce.

BTB is right about the cheese being a contributing factor to moisture to the pie but since Kristi indicated that she's using low-moisture mozz I figured that wouldn't be the problem.  Also, like BTB said, the sauce can be a big problem for those that don't take any measures to eliminate water from the tomatoes.  When someone says they use a lot of onions and peppers, I know from experience that can make for a really soupy pie. 

Loo
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Offline RoadPizza

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Re: Watery Inside and Some Questions
« Reply #8 on: October 27, 2009, 09:02:17 AM »
Putting oil right on top of the dough before adding the cheese or anything -- if I understand correctly -- is highly unusual for a deep dish pizza crust.  I've never heard of that before (except Lou Malnati's brushing on melted butter for added crust flavor), but I'm not saying its bad or anything.  The picture of the finished product in fact looked very good.  I usually put oil or crisco or butter under the dough or onto the pan before putting the dough into it.  But on top of the deep dish crust is . . . different.  I may have to try it some day.  But the statement that mozzarella absorbs the excess moisture does not make sense to me, so I'll remain a skeptic on that.   But I admire all the good pizzamaking work here.  --BTB

I may have misspoke on whether the mozzarella actually absorbs the excess moisture.  I do use it more as a barrier to keep oil/sauce/liquid from escaping from the top of a stuffed pizza.  I usually put it on top of pepperoni and right under the upper crust/cover of a stuffed pizza.  When the stuffed pizza cooks, some oil seeps out of the pepperoni slices and the mozzarella on top of it keeps the excess oil from escaping when it solidifies.  I always attributed it to the mozzarella absorbing some of that excess oil.

I've seen the pizza makers from Lou Malnati brush butter on top of their crust also.  The oil just happens to be part of our recipe and I was told that it was to help the inside part of the crust to cook.

Offline loowaters

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Re: Watery Inside and Some Questions
« Reply #9 on: October 27, 2009, 09:16:43 AM »
RoadPizza, you're right about the cheese being a barrier that "seals" away much of the moisture from the toppings above it.  The brushing of oil (or butter in Malnati's case) before adding any cheese or toppings isn't helping anything cook, just adding flavor to the dough. 

Loo

Edit:  RoadPizza, I just re-read what you wrote and you're putting the cheese on top of the toppings and under the top dough layer?  That's different.  Like I wrote above, the cheese is used to keep the moisture from seeping into the crust.  Giordano's uses shredded cheese, not slices, but it goes in first then the other toppings.  Except I believe they mix the cheese and spinach together before it goes into the pie.  Giordano's even tears a few holes in the top dough, as a steam release during cooking, before topping with sauce.
« Last Edit: October 27, 2009, 09:23:26 AM by loowaters »
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Offline Kristi

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Re: Watery Inside and Some Questions
« Reply #10 on: October 27, 2009, 01:02:58 PM »
We have used different cheeses for each pizza. I didn't take down the name. I know with this last pizza we made we used Hy-Vee brand mozzarella and Kraft Provolone. I don't believe the water is coming from the cheese. I'm going to check our newest and biggest Hy-Vee for the next pizza as they have one of the biggest deli's in town and see if they have some better cheese to offer. I thought our grocery stores would have a much bigger selection for cheeses. I have used anything from shredded, sliced, and block.

We are getting less water as we continue to make them. I thinking putting the onions and peppers on a paper towel after chopping has helped that some. I think sweating them might just do the trick. I will try nuking the the salami next time and see if that helps. We layer both the meats and vegetables pretty heavily as the flavor is OUTSTANDING. I did nuke a couple of pieces of salami in the microwave yesterday in a bowl and there was a little oil in the bottom of the bowl which looked similar to what we are getting out of our pizzas.

As for sauce, we are just using Ragu out of a can for now. It tastes good and it's quick when we just want to make a pizza. I think we found a crust we like now so now we will be experimenting with sauces.

I would describe the pizzas we are making Giordano style without the top layer of crust. Delicious.

I appreciate everyone's tips and tricks. Making pizza tastes so much better than the take out we have here. We have the standard chains and a few small pizza local pizza places, but non that I have cared for.

And thanks for the explanation on what is a true Chicago style pizza. I have only visited Chicago and eaten at a few of the pizza places, Giordano's being my favorite.


Offline BTB

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Re: Watery Inside and Some Questions
« Reply #11 on: October 27, 2009, 03:54:48 PM »
I am one of the few who isn't stuck on too many brands of mozzarella and provolone cheese.  Just look for some part-skimmed, low moisture cheese, altho whole milk, low moisture can work also (I often combine some of each).  Stay away from "fresh" for the time being (altho I love to put some "dabs" of such here and there).  Hy-Vee must be a local chain's house brand as I've never heard of it, but such is most often just fine.  Sam's Club has some excellent cheeses.  They have many different brands at times.  Polly-O is commonly available there and elsewhere, but read the label carefully and get their low moisture cheese, altho you'll be experimenting with others later. 

For Chicago style deep dish, use sliced cheese.  For Giordano's stuffed deep dish use shredded as they do, altho either will work just fine, however.  My crew isn't big on salami and meats like that for pizza.  We like pepperoni or Italian sausage the best, but that's a personal thing.  Pepperoni is best "nuked" for 10 to 12 seconds before putting on the pizza.  OR it's best to cook the pizza until near finished and then put the pepperoni on during the last 5 or 10 minutes (which is my preferred method).

I have to give a big, big "boo" on use of Ragu sauce.  I'm restrained from commenting any more about that.  It cannot "taste good!!"  Just joking.   Get some Great Value crushed tomatoes at Walmart (if unable to find some of the other great tomato products mentioned elsewhere in these threads), drain and use them for Chicago style deep dish or stuffed pizzas.

Keep working on making the best pizza you can, Kristi, and you'll be a pro at this in no time.  --BTB

Offline pizzoid

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Re: Watery Inside and Some Questions
« Reply #12 on: October 27, 2009, 04:45:11 PM »
I like diced bacon, red pepper & onion on a "regular" pie. However, the water released turns the pie into soup if I'm not careful.

One trick I use is dicing and freezing the red pepper when it's on sale. Thawing in the microwave releases a lot of that water, especially if they are wrung out in some paper towels. I don't mind the texture and flavor changes, myself. You might.

The onion I try to slice thin and put on top to dry, as I can't stand what freezing does in bringing out the sulfur and slime in an onion. Since you're burying them in a deep dish, I think slicing and baking to dry them would be one good option. Whether you'll want to do it low and slow just to dry, or oiled, salted and roasted at high temp. to get some carmelization is up to you.

- Al

Offline RoadPizza

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Re: Watery Inside and Some Questions
« Reply #13 on: October 27, 2009, 05:55:58 PM »
RoadPizza, you're right about the cheese being a barrier that "seals" away much of the moisture from the toppings above it.  The brushing of oil (or butter in Malnati's case) before adding any cheese or toppings isn't helping anything cook, just adding flavor to the dough. 

Loo

Edit:  RoadPizza, I just re-read what you wrote and you're putting the cheese on top of the toppings and under the top dough layer?  That's different.  Like I wrote above, the cheese is used to keep the moisture from seeping into the crust.  Giordano's uses shredded cheese, not slices, but it goes in first then the other toppings.  Except I believe they mix the cheese and spinach together before it goes into the pie.  Giordano's even tears a few holes in the top dough, as a steam release during cooking, before topping with sauce.

Yes, there's 2 layers of cheese on our stuffed Chicago.

I'll usually put just one small hole in the middle of the top crust to allow the steam to release there. 

I never thought the oil imparted that much flavor to the finished product (that's why I believed the "it helps the inside of the dough to cook" story).  ;)  If I was making the original base recipe, I would have spread butter instead to add more flavor like Lou Malnati's.

Well, thank you for the feedback, Loo & BTB.  I'm off to work.
« Last Edit: October 27, 2009, 06:04:22 PM by RoadPizza »

Offline Deacon Volker

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Re: Watery Inside and Some Questions
« Reply #14 on: October 27, 2009, 09:16:47 PM »
Jeff Zeak teaches the use of a very thin brushed coating of good olive oil on the dough. Since oil repels water, it does seem to help the formation of a gum line and does serve to keep some water from migrating into the bottom crust making it all well, gummy.  I don't personally follow this step in my deep dish, rather Loo and the posters that are guiding you to sweat off your veggies are giving good advice. Making sure to place them last so the water they release during baking can escape may bring you some relief as well.  I do a 6 minute pre-bake with just a good layer of cheese on my dough, then dress with meat, veggies last, a little sauce, and a bit of cheese for looks, then it's usually around 20-24 minutes of baking to finish one off.

Offline RoadPizza

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Re: Watery Inside and Some Questions
« Reply #15 on: October 27, 2009, 09:23:13 PM »
One thing I forgot to mention: with stuffed pizzas and Chicago-style pizzas, I usually allow them to rest a few minutes before cutting.  If you slice them right away, the juices start running all over the plate and it all becomes a mess.

Offline loowaters

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Re: Watery Inside and Some Questions
« Reply #16 on: October 28, 2009, 05:29:38 AM »
One thing I forgot to mention: with stuffed pizzas and Chicago-style pizzas, I usually allow them to rest a few minutes before cutting.  If you slice them right away, the juices start running all over the plate and it all becomes a mess.

This is very good advice!
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Offline WrongSauce

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Re: Watery Inside and Some Questions
« Reply #17 on: October 28, 2009, 09:11:47 AM »
You're right AGAIN Loo!  Once again your domination in the pizza world is evident.  I love this guy!

Three Cheeses for Loo!

WS

Offline Kristi

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Re: Watery Inside and Some Questions
« Reply #18 on: October 28, 2009, 02:16:48 PM »
LOL! I thought I would get some heat for saying I used Ragu, but seriously, it is good. We wanted to get a good crust first before deciding on what sauce we want to make. I was thinking to myself Ragu is probably like a naughty word around here. I promise we will get a REAL sauce on our pizzas. :)

I think I'll be making one again Sunday and possibly again next week for my workout crew. Really defeats the purpose of working out if you are going to chow down on a big piece of pizza right after it, but my PT loves the pizza so he doesn't care.  :-D

I do let it set a good 5-10 minutes before cutting, but it's not very warm inside after that. We have a really good oven, but it's not a pizza oven either.

I'll take all your tips with the next pizzas and see if we can cut down on the watery substance. Thanks!

Offline Aldo

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Re: Watery Inside and Some Questions
« Reply #19 on: November 06, 2009, 01:43:18 AM »
I agree with everyone else that a watery stuffed pizza can result from (1) use of straight, fresh, normal mozzarella instead of low moisture mozzarella, (2) a watery sauce, (3) 'wet' (i.e., not sauteed) veggies -- particularly peppers and (4) not letting the pie 'set' a few minutes after it's done.

I've found that searing diced peppers (or whatever wate-rich veggie I'm using) on a very hot pan (slight or no oil added, maybe a shake of salt) gets rid of enough water to avoid swampy stuffed pizza.  I only sear enough to very slightly darken the edges of the veggie -- be it peppers, onions, or sometimes even zucchini.  Real hot pan, constantly moving the veggies around so they don't burn, but just a few minues -- five minutes on hot, that's about it.

If you use frozen spinach, be sure to squeeze out the water.  Fresh and dry spinach, in my view, is probably preferable to frozen, tough I have used frozen chopped spinach plenty and squeezed the water out, with good results.

Good suggestions so far, you all.
« Last Edit: November 06, 2009, 01:46:23 AM by Aldo »


 

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