• #1 by chefjeff on 25 Oct 2005
  • Hi all,

    I would like to share a version of Chicago Deep Dish pizza with all of the Chicago-philes out there.  My brother turned me on to, and while I've always felt that I was the most detailed oriented home cook on the planet, from this site of dedicated pizza lovers, I've come to learn that I am far from that!  I've read some pizza posts that have put me to shame, and it is thrilling me to no end.  So much to strive for-------honey, I'm home!!!

    Regarding the following recipe and pics, I could kick myself for failing to take a picture after every stage of assemblage.  Oh well, I'll learn for the future.   The pics denote my Pepperoni variation of the original recipe, and they consist of a "pre-bake" photo of the assembled pie before baking, a "post bake" photo to show how the Pepperoni crisps up, and the final photo shows the pie out of the cast iron skillet.  My justification for the last photo was to illustrate that in a well seasoned cast iron skillet, it becomes almost "non stick", hence a very easy pie removal.

    I hope that this pie resonates with some of you.

    Best wishes,

    Chicago Deep Dish Pizza Pie
    1 3/4 cups flour (7.7 oz.)
    1/4 cup cornmeal (40 g.)
    1/2 tsp. Salt
    1/2 package dry yeast
    1/2 cup plus 1 1/2 tb. water (4.75 oz.)
    1/2 cup plus 1/2 tb. water (4.25 oz.) and 1/2 oz. crushed garlic (this crust is my deviation from the original recipe)
    3 tb. Olive oil (42 g.)

    Assemble the above as you would any yeast dough, and let it rise once.  I like to let the dough rise overnight in the fridge.

    An alternate method of preparing the dough is one that I use for most of my pizza recipes.
    Into a standard sized food processor, place all of the dry ingredients, including the yeast.
    Pulse the dry ingredients to combine and then pour the combined wet ingredients through the feed tube in a stream.
    When the dough forms a ball, let the dough process for 2 minutes.  After 2 minutes, enough heat is generated to activate the yeast.

    Put the dough into a non-reactive container, cover and let rise.  If time permits, let the dough rise in the fridge overnight.  I’ve never bothered to bring the dough back to room temperature before assembly and baking the pizza, and I have yet to be disappointed with the results.

    Into an oiled 10 1/2 inch cast iron skillet, pat or roll the dough out dough to cover the bottom, and about 1 and 1/2 inches up the sides. If the sides of the dough don’t want stay up, and they tend to shrink back down, don’t worry.  As the topping ingredients fill the pizza during assembly, it is easy to push the sides back up, by pressing down into the “corners” of the skillet.  The filled pizza will keep the sides in tact.

    In the order given, layer the following ingredients into the dough.

    1/2 pound of shredded cheese (I use equal parts of aged Provolone or Asiago, whole milk Mozzarella, and Jack)
    1/2 pound cooked crumbled sausage
    2 chopped cloves of garlic (of late, I now thinly slice garlic with abandon, and probably end up using 6 or more cloves, which is about an ounce.
    One 14 ounce can of chopped tomatoes, drained well in a strainer.
    1 1/2 tsps. dried Oregano, crumbled
    2 tb. (.5 oz) Parmesan cheese

    If desired, you can completely assemble the pie, and keep it in the fridge for hours before baking.

    Place cast iron skillet onto the middle rack of a COLD gas oven.  Turn the heat to 500.  When it reaches that temp, turn the oven down to 400, and let the pizza bake for 30 minutes. In a gas oven, only the bottom heating element is used during the preheat, and the toppings will not burn during the fairly long preheat to 500 degrees, and the 30 minute bake time at 400 degrees.

    I am not sure if this deep dish pizza baking technique will work in a standard electric oven, as the preheat cycle may make the bottom and top broiler elements both heat the oven.  But if you have an electric oven which has a “pure convection” mode (where the heat comes only from behind the back of the oven), I have had excellent results.  I have a Dacor convection wall oven that has one convection fan.  I also have a Wolf convection range, which has 2 convection fans, and they perform in a slightly different manner.

    For my Dacor wall oven, I place the assembled pizza into the middle rack of the COLD oven.  Set the temperature to pure convection 475.  When the temperature reaches this point, reduce the heat to 375 pure convection, and time for 30 minutes.

    For my Wolf range with 2 convection fans, I place the assembled pizza into the middle rack of the COLD oven.  Set the temperature to pure convection 450.  When the temperature reaches this point, reduce the heat to 350 pure convection, and time for 30 minutes.

    The above recipe, I’m told is standard for a Chicago Deep Dish Pie.  I have particularly been impressed with the concept of chopped canned tomatoes, versus a sauce.  Somehow the chopped canned tomatoes seem to meld into a different texture, and they are not watery at all. 

    After making this pizza for years, I now have my own rendition of a Chicago Deep Dish.

    I omit the cooked crumbled sausage.
    In order I place the following ingredients:
    Cheeses from the above recipe
    Tomatoes from the above recipe
    Garlic from the above recipe
    Oregano from the above recipe
    Parmesan from the above recipe
    Sliced black olives to taste
    Sliced mushrooms (I used canned, well drained) to taste
    3.5 oz. of thinly sliced Pepperoni, fanned out in concentric circles, to completely cover the pie.
    Baking in the cast iron pan, with the intense heat transfer, creates the crispiest, yummiest pepperoni you’ve ever had, as long as you put it on last.  It’s like Pepperoni “bacon”.

  • #2 by chiguy on 26 Oct 2005
  •  Hi, Chefjeff
     A job well done. I think your recipe is in line with a Chicago Deep Dish. There are some that do not  agree with the addition of corn meal. I have experimented with corn meal at all different levels but no longer use it for Deep Dish. I also noticed you did not specify the type of flour. I am assuming you used all purpose being a standard for Chicago Deep Dish. I also noticed you may be having some problems with panning/ stretching the dough up the sides of the pan. If you let the dough rise to at least 65Degrees or better, panning the dough will be much easier.   Thanks for posing your recipe,  Chiguy
  • #3 by chefjeff on 26 Oct 2005
  • Thanks Chiguy for your response.  Indeed you are correct regarding the flour.  I live in Los Angeles, and the readily available all purpose flour that I use is "Gold Medal". I cook all types of cuisines, and when it comes to yeasted doughs, I've stopped using bread flour.  From this site, I may end up learning that I should go back to higher gluten flours, and perhaps I will.  So far though, a.p. flour has been fine for my taste.
    I admit that I am not a true expert on Chicago style pizza, as this is the only variation I have ever tried.  That being said, the version I posted has always made our tummies happy.
    Should you ever want to share another version that might be great---I'm a listenin'.
    Thanks again for your response.

    Is the pizza called "Lou Malnati (sp?), considered a true Chicago style pizza?  A friend had these pies flown in  to L.A., and we did enjoy them immensely.
  • #4 by chiguy on 26 Oct 2005
  •  HI, Chefjeff
     The answer to your question is yes, Lou's Malanati is one of the best representations of Chicago Deep Dish, it can be a little thinner some other's made here. There are about 6 or 7 popular Deep Dish places in Chicago. Lou's is my favorite, although i have not had a frozen one yet. I would advise you to stay away from Uno's Chicago Bar & Grill, it is a franchisee from the original, they have them out in Cali if you see one just keep driving. Try and keep making them yourself or order Lou's through the mail. I use bakers percentages in my recipes. There is another member BUZZ, who recieves rave reviews for his Deep Dish recipe.  Buzz also measures in volumes. Goodluck, Chiguy
  • #5 by buzz on 26 Oct 2005
  • Chefjeff--

    Gold Medal AP is fine for deep dish--you really don't want a high gluten flour for a biscuit-like pie. I like Ceresota, which has a slightly higher protein content, but not so much as bread flour.

    As for corn meal--personally I've never had a restaurant-made Chicago deep dish that tasted of corn meal (although I'm sure there are those out there)--I think this addition to recipes might have arisen from an attempt to duplicate the golden color of commercial deep dishes (made by food coloring). I love corn bread, etc., but I find that corn meal in pizza interferes too much with the "Italian-ness" of pizza--but that's just me!

    Just to throw in my 2 cents, I'll disagree with Chiguy's rating of Lou's--I think it's awful stuff--really greasy and overhyped. Uno's is about a half step better. But as I've learned from tasting wines, what is poison to one palette is heaven to another, so nobody is wrong and everybody is right! There are people I talk to who swear by Lou's; others will only order from Giordano's; and still others hate both of these and get their pizza from a local joint. All that matters is what appeals to you personally, which is why all this experimentation is so much fun!
  • #6 by dinkubus on 05 Sep 2009
  • If you want to cook in a conventional electric oven, you can put the top rack all the way up, the bottom rack all the way down.  Then put the cast iron pan on the bottom rack and a big cookie sheet on the top rack.  The cookie sheet will shield the pizza from the radiant heat energy coming from the top element.  Also, I like to grease my skillet first with a little shortning.  I use a palm oil based shortning, about 1 tbsp for a 14 inch skillet.
    • dinkubus
  • #7 by BTB on 06 Sep 2009
  • Very nice job, ChefJeff.  Thanks for sharing.  It's great that many pizzamakers have their different ways of making this style pizza and that the results are successful for them. 
    I would probably enjoy your pizza very much (love the thought of the crisp pepperoni), but here's several areas of difference I have:
    I use the traditional style, straight-sided deep dish pans, but many report success with cast iron skillets also.  I've never used a food processor either, except for cracker crust pizzas.  I would tend to think that would result in the dough being overworked, which is generally not desired for Chicago style deep dish biscuit-like dough, but I admit I've never tried it.  I assume you used IDY rather than ADY.  I highly prefer ADY (cause when it foams up so I know its working).  Half a packet would seem high, but maybe not.  My experience has been the opposite regarding bringing the dough to room temperature before cooking, which I highly prefer.  Cold dough doesn't seem to bake up as well as room temperature dough, at least for me.  Most Chicago style deep dish pizzerias do not add corn meal to their recipe.  That has been a common misconception as has often been reported on this website, but some still like it.  See
    While it may not matter much, most or all the great Chicago style deep dish pizzerias do not bake their pizzas up with a fat or large lip or rim to the pizza.  Most have a pinched, crimped or more narrow rim than yours.  That I'm sure is just a matter of personal preference, though.  Many like the larger rim.  I use an electric range and bake the pizza generally on the lowest or next to the lowest rack.  Sometimes late in the cooking cycle I move it to the top rack if I need to get the toppings darkened a little.  With my GE Profile electric oven, my broiler or top elements never come on in the straight oven mode.  We can never hope to duplicate the baking of a pizza in a commercial deck oven, though.
    I have the "convection" oven feature, but do not use it to bake a deep dish pizza.  It does not work.  None of the great Chicago style deep dish pizzerias use an oven with a convection feature that I know of. Such would mostly bake the top of the pizza and would do little to nothing to cook the crust on the bottom of the pan. And lastly, I heat the oven up well to 450 or 475 degrees F before putting in the pizza and can't imagine doing so in a cold oven.  But like everything, it's very interesting to hear of others experiences like your's.  There are many ways to make good pizza (or skin a cat) and who's to say one way is better than another. 
    I agree with Chiguy that Buzz is a great pizzamaker, but I disagree with Buzz regarding the great Lou Malnati's pizza.  Malnati's is in my estimation one of the best examples of Chicago style deep dish pizzas in the world and in the literally "hundreds" of times that I've eaten there, I cannot recall ever having a greasy pizza as Buzz had experienced.  But other great Chicago style deep dish places in the Chicago metro area are Pizano's, Gino's East, the original Uno's and Due's (not the awful Uno's Chicago Bar & Grill as Chiguy mentioned), Burts, Pequod's, etc.
    Check out the pictures of the great Malnati's deep dish pizza that I enjoyed at the original Lou Malnati's pizzeria this summer in the Pizzeria Review section, in case you missed it  (,8921.msg77312.html#msg77312).  See also Lou Malnati's: Home of Flawless Deep Dish at .  Good luck and continue your great pizzamaking efforts.                                                --BTB
  • #8 by Bill/SFNM on 10 Jan 2010
  • Why is this thread suddenly being viewed by scads of guests?
  • #9 by loowaters on 10 Jan 2010
  • 40 of them at 8:25.  Interesting.
  • #10 by greggle on 11 Jan 2010
  • The reason there has been so many page views by guest is a link from Lifehacker.

    I'd post the link but: Sorry, Guests and New Members are not allowed to post messages containing hyperlinks.

    Oh, good recipe BTW, similar to how I make it. Will try to cold oven start.

    • greggle
  • #11 by Bill/SFNM on 11 Jan 2010
  • #12 by nucc on 15 Jan 2010
  • Thanks for the info on using the cast iron skillet. Going to try it out tonight!
    • nucc
  • #13 by DanTheMan on 15 Jan 2010
  • I love cooking pizza on a cast iron skillet :chef: :chef:
  • #14 by aroski on 20 Jan 2010
  • Chefjeff,
    Extreme newbie here, first post. Great recipe just made one of these :pizza: last night. Just a quick note on how I made mine in an electric oven.
    Place the top rack at the very top of the oven. Preheat the oven to 500, when it reached 500, I turned it down to 400 an put the pizza in for 25 minutes. After 25 min, I took the pizza out of the pan and placed it back in the oven on the rack for 5 min.
    Perfect ;D
    Great reviews from the family.
    I did not make my own dough, I used  :o the local supermarkets dough.
    • aroski
  • #15 by Dracuschi on 26 Jul 2010
  • Excellent recipe and information! Came out perfect and it's now my "go to" pizza. Thank you.
  • #16 by ayoob on 16 Oct 2010
  • I've made cast iron pizza four or five times now, and it's come out great every time.  I'm done buying take out pizza, done buying frozen pizza, and done getting pizza delivered.  For less than half the price and no more time than a delivery pizza takes, I've been making the best pizza I've ever had.  Barillia sauce, fresh chopped garlic, home grown rosemary thyme and sweet basil, a splash of red wine, sliced red onion, hot Italian sausage on the grill, it all comes together for some amazing homemade food.

    Malnatti's canned tomatoes indeed.  Fresh ingredients chosen wisely, that's the way to go. 
  • #17 by Dracuschi on 13 Dec 2010
  • Why is this thread suddenly being viewed by scads of guests?

    Because its one of the best recipes I've come across in years
  • #18 by dmcavanagh on 13 Dec 2010
  • I've been using a cast iron griddle pan in place of a pizza stone with good results.
  • #19 by Dracuschi on 03 Mar 2011
  • I have switched the cornmeal with semolina and I think its better..
  • #20 by LD on 03 Mar 2011
  • I agree on the use of semolina.  I use a percentage in each of the pies I now make.  It makes a nice texture addition.  I also have learned that it is much better then AP or corn meal for sliding off the peel.