This is an update of the original posting on this thread about 2 years ago (but not about the potato variation).
I recently saw the American Test Kitchen (ATK) television program (Dec.'11) on the making of Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza. It was first aired several months ago, but I hadn't the opportunity to view it until recently. I had earlier wondered why a program on the ATK/Cook's Country Chicago Style Deep Dish Recipe that was published over 2 years ago had not earlier been included in a TV program until this year. I don't think their recipe changed in the intervening two year period, which surprises me as they've totally ignored many facts that have been frequently recited on this and other websites. I would have thought that they would have taken that into account -- but maybe we don't count.
For duplicating anything close to Malnati's or Classic Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza, I simply have to say that ATK and CI got it wrong. And they got it real wrong. . . . Where did they get it wrong, one may ask? Excellent question and I will -- in part -- attempt to answer that. Others can feel free to add their 2 cents.
1. Corn meal in the formulation -- WRONG. That has LONG been established that there is none as witnessed by the many postings on this website and others (as well as a simple "look" at the ingredients portion of their crust products that one can easily purchase). Corn meal in the Chicago deep dish pizza has long been debunked. See many references here and elsewhere (e.g. esp. Ed's http://www.realdeepdish.com
). Some may like corn meal, but it is not part of the real Classic Deep Dish pizzas. That is clear and convincing.
2. The ATK formulation has NO oil in it -- WRONG, WRONG and WRONG -- anyone tasting a Malnati's or most classic deep dish pizzeria pizza will notice the distinct taste and flavor of olive oil and most often corn oil -- altho some pizzerias deviate a bit on the latter. But no one tasting a Malnati's deep dish pizza cannot help but say . . . . yep, olive oil and corn oil is there. And guess what? It is included on their government required listing of ingredients! But ATK has ZERO of this included in their TV formulation. Where was ATK on this? ? ? Did they NOT even look at the ingredient list (which is insufficient we know, but close).
3. Lamination with butter. . . interesting . . . BUT no classic Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizzeria does anything close to it. Nice experiment for home pizzamaking, but not in the commercial world.
4. Use of shredded cheese . . . never on Chicago classic Style Deep Dish pizza. That would be a rarity. Always use sliced cheese. Why . . . why . . . why would a TV program trying to represent "typical" Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza use as a recipe example . . . something that is NOT used typically for such style pizza? ? I know there is one exception to this and that is Giordano's but their style demands a different approach to doing the cheese. Where is ATK's head on this? Did they not watch a Malnati's, Uno's or Gino's East pizza being made on the many TV programs? ?
5. Butter in Malnati's dough formulation. Here I'll give ATK some leeway, BUT they should learn . . . . there is none! In my formulations, I always have some as me and mine like it. But the truth of the matter is that the "regular" Malnati's deep dish pizza contains NO butter. But there is a butter option, but unknown to most is that that means a "brushing" on the raw dough prior to dressing and baking that some melted butter is brushed on . . . but as an option at a small premium price. On this point, like many others, Marc Malnati is a master of deceit. He knows on the regular pizza crust (i.e. the vast majority), there is NO butter associated with it. But if you choose the "buttercrust" option, you can get a little brushed onto the pre-dressed crust. Marc, please respond here if you would like to correct this, which I believe you cannot.
The ATK TV program starts out with Chris Kimball visiting Marc Malnati at one of their great restaurants (I think it was the Wells' St. location). And Chris and Marc go about putting together a pizza in the restaurant's kitchen for their meal apparently. Marc first puts the dough for the crust into the deep dish pan and presses the dough in and tightly up the sides of the pan -- all the while ignoring most of Kimball's questions about the composition of the dough (the most critical and important part of the pizza). Marc then puts in the sliced squares of mozzarella cheese, then the Italian sausage made from pork shoulder (like Marc, my favorite pizza topping is good Italian sausage), then the "chunky" tomato sauce (which from their source is outstanding), then the "Romano" grated cheese with a little Oregano mixed in. And all this is the correct way.
Questions for Chris Kimball: On your trip back from Chicago to Vermont, did you return with a package of pre-made Malnalti deep dish pizza dough (available at their restaurants) to take back with you? Huh? Did you bring back to Vermont a 4 or 6 pack of Malnati's frozen deep dish pizzas (or have them overnighted)? ? On both product packages, you could examine and get a rough idea of what is included and NOT included in the dough formulation listed on the product packages (government requires such, you know). But your personnel ignored what was on that formulation list . . . it appears. (Such is detailed in many postings herein.) What happened to NO corn meal listed but it was included strangely in the ATK formulation? What happened to real oil listed but it was not included in the ATK formulation? What happened to NO butter being listed in the Malnati formulation on their government required list? Etc., etc., etc.
Whatever, if you've seen my postings before you know I love most of the things on ATK and CI, except for the thoughts on pizzamaking. Best to stay with the great ideas here on this pizzamaking website -- at least have someone spend a little time reviewing our thoughts and comments and not ignoring us.