DD101 Extra: Always Room For Improvement – Deep Dish Dough Update

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There’s always room for improvement! :-)

In Deep Dish 101: Lesson 3,
I gave you a dough recipe with instructions for making deep dish pizza.

Here’s my latest version with minor adjustments.
If you try it, please let me know how it turned out (and take photos).

(click the link below to download the PDF)

Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza – The Real Thing – 201211

(click the link above to download the PDF)


Happy New Year!

rdd-2013-slice
20130114-sauspepp-01

** There is an update to this update called:
DD101: EXTRA – Always Room For Improvement 2 (Electric Pizzaloo), which has a recipe update and some additional info.

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Posted in chicago pizza, chicago style, chicago style deep dish pizza, dd101, deep dish, deep dish 101, deep dish pizza, dough, How to make Chicago deep dish pizza, pizza, pizza dough, real deep dish pizza, recipe

23 comments on “DD101 Extra: Always Room For Improvement – Deep Dish Dough Update
  1. Doug R says:

    Just wanted to let you know that I had great success with your deep dish recipe 12-28-12. I have been attempting to replicate a Malnati type pie for several years and have researched a ton of recipe’s.

    A couple of key things which I believe helped me along
    1) I replaced 20% of APF with Semolina
    2) I used two Pizza stones – 1 on the bottom rack and one positioned on a second rack about 6 inches above the first. This was to create some reflected heat on the top of the pie
    3) 45 second knead
    4) No oil on the side of pan and formed sidewall as thin as possible
    5) Slightly pressed cheese into bottom dough

    Overall – nice recipe and very detailed instructions.

    Thanks for sharing…

    • realdeep realdeep says:

      Glad to hear you had good results! I do something similar with your ‘reflected heat’ setup, but I just use a big sheet of heavy duty aluminum foil for the top rack at the highest level. It not only reflects heat from the bottom, but deflects heat from the top burners to reduce the chance of the top burning before the rest of the pizza has cooked.

  2. Leah G says:

    THank YOU for posting your RDD HOly Grail recipe!! !!!!!!I couldn’t even find success making just regular crusts with generic recipes I found online. After eating Lou Malnati’s in Chicago and trying Angelo’s in Cleveland, I really wanted to make some deep dish. After googling recipes with those names I found your site. AND it was the best pizza I ever made!! I added cooked panko bread crumbs to the bottom, since I really like the way Angelos does that and 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder. Thanks for sharing your deep dish pizza knowledge with us!!!!

  3. Leah G says:

    PS —also, i’m pretty sure this recipe sealed the deal for me getting that ring from my italian boyfriend as he ate in silence between bites of food gushing over how incredible it was ;)– polishing off 75% of a 12” pie

  4. Michael says:

    Just wanted to thank you… I love this recipe!!!. For the most part, I’ve been doing NY style and napoletana pies. The only deep dish I had ever made before was with grocery store “made fresh daily” dough in a cast iron skillet. They were actually pretty good, though apparently FAR from Chicago style! The only Chicago style restaurant pie I had ever had before was from my local UNO’s… in Connecticut (now closed). In other words, I have never had a REAL Chicago pie.

    A week or two ago, I came across realdeepdish.com and decided to try your recipe. Whole different animal! And so quick and easy!! I love the fact that you can decide to have pizza and a couple of hours later, it’s ready to eat!!

    I’ve done two of these so far. The first was baked in my Big Green Egg, the second in my electric oven (center rack on pizza stone). The egged crust was better, but not by much. Both were very flaky and delicious! Perhaps the best tasting pies I’ve ever done! From the photos I’ve seen, your recipe appears to be most like Malnati’s, yes?

    Oh, one other question… have you ever tried putting melted butter in the pan before the dough? I used corn oil in the pan, but butter sounds good, unless it will burn. Or maybe some butter chunks mixed in with the dough like you would with a standard pie crust? And a little less oil to compensate?

    Thanks very much for putting this out there! I would have included a photo, but apparently I cannot.

    • realdeep realdeep says:

      You’re very welcome! I’m so glad my site could help you make better deep dish pizza!
      This is why I created RealDeepDish.com :-)

      If your UNO’s in Connecticut was one of the ‘Chicago Grills’,
      then yes, you had not previously had Chicago Deep Dish.

      Yes, my recipe is probably closer to Malnati’s, but in general,
      my crusts are a bit thinner than, but similar to both Pizzeria Uno (the original) and Malnati’s.

      I just put up a new post about ‘Pizzafying’ your oven.
      It may help you get better results.
      One of the important steps when using a pizza stone is to preheat that stone.
      I recommend at least an hour, but you might get away with 30 minutes.

      I haven’t baked a deep dish pizza in a bbq grill yet. I’d be concerned about burning the bottom.
      What was your Green Egg configuration? Did you use indirect heat?
      Any extra protection, like a sheet pan below your pizza pan?

      Butter has stuff in it that will get brown and eventually burn if cooked too long.
      You will probably be OK using it, but if you can find (or make) clarified butter, you will have less chance of burning.

      As for ‘butter crust’ that Malnati’s offers, they’re brushing the TOP of the dough with melted butter (possibly margarine -TRANS-FATS- Run away!) before they add cheese and toppings.

      You can definitely use melted butter in place of some of the oil in your dough (or you could do the cold butter pie crust thing, but keep in mind that butter also contains water, so it may throw off the recipe if you don’t also compensate for that. Maybe a few tablespoons less of water.

      Well, I’ve written a novel here, haven’t I.
      Maybe I’ll take some of this info and put it in a future post.

      Thanks for visiting the site!

      p.s. – You can’t post photos here (yet) but should be able to post photos on the Real Deep Dish facebook page if you like. https://www.facebook.com/realdeepdish

  5. joser one says:

    man i wanna use your recipes, but i dont own a scale and guess im too dumb to figure out what 0.72 or 0.34 of a teaspoon are.

    • realdeep realdeep says:

      Man, I wanna help, but I would guess you might have problems with fractions too. :-P
      Maybe use a 12″ pan instead of the 14″ or call a friend who has a scale or can handle basic mathematics and estimates.
      Good luck! :-)

  6. Nancy sinkule says:

    Help…
    We just opened a restaurant which had pizza.ovens,etc.
    So, of course we decided to make pizzas. I did not know a good pizza is so hard to make! We finally have a great sauce but we are having problems with our deep dish ,Chicago style pizzas. What can we do to keep the bottom of the pizza from getting overcooked? We have gas powered that cooks around 550. Also your pizza looks great…what kind of cheese do you use and how much?
    is thereafter way to cut the cooking time from 45 minutes. This is tying up the kitchen and we have had walk outs because the pizza takes so long. Any. Help would be so MUCH appreciated.
    Thanks Nancy

    • realdeep realdeep says:

      Hi, Nancy. Thanks for visiting RealDeepDish.com !
      I typically use sliced low moisture part skim mozzarella.
      Sometimes I use a combination of cheeses, including Provolone and Cheddar.
      Many restaurants use low moisture WHOLE MILK mozzarella. I’ll use whole milk mozz when I can find it.
      I am still researching mozzarella brands so I don’t have an official recommendation,
      but the recipe on the site does give some suggestions of the brands I’ve researched and/or used.
      If you can find the 5-lb blocks of ‘Bakers & Chefs’ (aka Stella) Low Moisture Mozzarella, (Sams Clubs carries it sometimes) their Part-Skim is one of the tastiest I’ve tried. I imagine the whole milk version is even better.

      Sorry to hear about the walk-outs. Authentic Deep Dish Pizza takes time to bake.
      That’s why at the original Pizzeria Uno in Chicago, they take your pizza order before you even get a table.
      It’s best to inform your customers that deep dish takes longer to bake than a typical pizza; offer appetizers on your menu so the wait doesn’t seem so long.

      If your bottom is burning before the rest of the pizza is done,
      you probably have to lower your baking temperature and possibly increase baking time so everything gets done at the same time (or you might just be baking your pizzas too long).

      I can’t tell you how long or what temp because I don’t use a commercial oven at home to test-bake pizzas.
      My site is geared toward the home-baker, but you may find people in ‘the biz’ who have a lot of the industry answers you’re looking for at Pizzamaking.com in their forums.

      For what it’s worth, here’s some info that might help:
      In a home oven, I bake a 14″ deep dish at 450-460 degrees F for about 35-40 minutes.
      Smaller pizzas bake a little faster:
      A 12″ takes about 30-35 min.
      A 10″ takes about 25-30 min.

      If your commercial oven needs to be at 550 degrees because of the other pizza styles that you bake,
      you might want to try baking a 14″ for about 20-25 minutes and see if everything cooks through.
      If the crust is ‘on the money’ after 25 minutes, but the rest of the ingredients aren’t (i.e.- cheese and sauce bubbling, sausage cooked to 160-165 for food safety), consider reducing the amount of ingredients you use on your pizzas until they give you the results you’re looking for. Too much sauce? Too much sausage? You’ll have to make some test pizzas.

      If you’d like to troubleshoot some more, consider joining the Chicago Style forum on Pizzamaking.com
      and be prepared to provide details so those guys can help you tweak your deep dish. I throw my 2 cents in from time to time.

  7. Scott says:

    Quick question – I downloaded both documents, the original RDDHolyGrail.pdf and then the RealDeepDish-201211.pdf and they are both exactly the same. Even the byte count and create date/times on both are identical. Can you please check that and confirm which is the latest version.

    I tried the first version before noting the newer one, and I thought it came out a bit crackery. I thought I would try the new version, but its looks the same? Thanks!

    • realdeep realdeep says:

      Hi, Scott.
      The files match because its the latest version that I’ve been happy with, so I updated the main file.
      Yes, my crust is a bit on the thinner side, so it’s possible that crackery was your result.
      How long did you let it rise?

      If you’re looking for the last recipe version before the current one,
      I believe this is the one: http://www.realdeepdish.com/RDDHolyGrail2012.pdf
      but it may be less dough than you want.
      You’ll see the dough weights vary.

      The version before that one is here: http://www.realdeepdish.com/RDDHolyGrail2011.pdf

      If you’re looking to make adjustments at home, try either increasing all ingredients to give yourself more dough to work with (or use the conversion chart to make dough for a larger pie),
      or increase the hydration slightly (which may require you to also add more flour to compensate).

      You might also try playing with the Pizzamaking.com deep dish dough calculator.
      http://pizzamaking.com/dd_calculator.html
      Plug in the bakers percentages, use the numbers from the “pm-dd-dough-calc-TF = 0.14; HFUTS = 0.15in” to start and then increase the TF (thickness factor), try 0.20 instead of 0.14, until you get the amount of dough that works for you.

      I’ll revisit the recipe the next time I make a deep dish and see if a change in the TF works better for the general population.

      Thanks for visiting the site! :-)

      • Scott says:

        Thanks alot. I was on PM.com and was comparing this to another one I saw, but without a fancy gram scale, I don’t really know how to compare. Pretty new at this obviously, your yours was a great first start. I think I will try to bump the volume a bit and see what happens. I noted the other one had 354g for a 9″ vs 241g for yours, so there might be something there.

        I also used a new to me KA stand mixer, and even after 2-3 minutes, the dough had not balled, (lots of little pieces) so I finished by hand. I wonder if I over kneeded it? I did let it rise an hour, punched it down, then gave it another 30 then used it.

        I’ve got a lot of learning before me!

        Thanks again for sharing a great recipe!

  8. Jereme says:

    Couple questions for you if you don’t mind. I just finally got all my needed equipment and will be using your recipe to make my first deep dish this week (finally!). I got one of those new baking steel stones so I’ll let you know how that works out.

    First, have you tried freezing the dough? Thinking it would be nice to be able to make a double batch at once if it freezes ok.

    Second, when draining the tomatoes, do you just let them sit or should I actually push down to force the liquid out?

    Finally, how is the thin crust recipe coming? I’m looking forward to that one maybe even more than this. From a relocated Chicagolandian in Florida, thanks for this site. It’ll be nice to not have to drive all the way to Orlando just to get Giordanos.

    • realdeep realdeep says:

      I have tried freezing the dough, and it freezes fine in a zip-top bag – spray the inside of the bag with cooking spray & squeeze the air out before you seal it.
      The thing is, it takes longer to defrost pizza dough in the fridge
      (don’t leave a frozen brick of dough on the counter)
      than it does to just make fresh deep dish pizza dough.

      You can make deep dish dough in as little as 90 minutes, though I recommend 2-3 hours.
      It takes 3 to 5 hours to defrost frozen pizza dough.

      If you’re making extra dough, it will keep in a ziploc bag in the coldest part of your fridge for up to a week – possibly longer; the ziploc may expand, so just check it every other day to let out the gas if the yeast is active. The aged dough will likely have more flavor as well. Crust texture may vary.

      RE:TOMATOES – You can do either, drain or press, but pressing too hard gets rid of some of the moisture that you want to keep in your tomatoes. If you take out too much water from your tomatoes, your deep dish sauce may end up too dry.
      Start draining the tomatoes around the last hour of your dough rise – they should be ready to go when your dough is. If your pies are still too watery, consider using less sauce (it could also be other ingredients causing the water/liquid).

      I have a thin crust dough recipe that works pretty well, but it’s the technical stuff I am still working out. i.e. – Currently, I mix a double batch of thin crust dough by hand and then put it in the stand mixer with the dough hook for 3-5 minutes. It ends up as not quite a ball, but more of a corkscrew shape, but once you get it off the dough hook, you can make it into a ball pretty easily.
      I’m doing a double batch because the dough hook on my mixer has trouble grabbing a single batch of dough. Also, you have to roll this dough out, and there are other options, like screens and perforated pans. If you think you’ve got enough skills, you can give my working recipe a try:
      http://www.realdeepdish.com/CHICAGO-THIN-CRUST-DOUGH.pdf
      It should work really well with that baking steel.
      For thin crust baking temp, try 500 degrees. About 12-15 minutes for a 14″ pizza. Your oven temp and baking time may vary.

      Speaking of Giordano’s, I suppose you could use a double batch of thin dough to try making a stuffed pizza, but that’s another lesson down the road.
      Good luck!

      • Jereme says:

        Alright, made my first deep dish Thursday night and it turned out pretty well. Crust was a little on the dense/tough side so I may have overworked the dough. Don’t know if it could have made a difference or not, but I had a considerable lapse in time (20 minutes or so) between the yeast dissolving and when I added the flour and oil. I tried to really work the back crust up the side of the pan so it would be nice and high and thin, but it just kept settling back down. Any tips for that?

        I think next time I will also season things a little more aggressively to suit my tastes, but I didn’t want to stray too far from the recipe being my first time. Also I will either put the pepperoni in the middle or else I will skip the parmesan until after cooking. The parmesan cooked on top of the pepperoni got a little burnt tasting.

        Overall though, it was a damn good pie, certainly much better than I could have done without this site. Thanks so much, and I’ll be giving the thin crust a shot eventually. Oh, and yes, the baking steel worked great.

        • realdeep realdeep says:

          I think I’m going to increase the hydration slightly on the main dough recipe. I want the dough to have a better chance at elasticity and it seems like 3 times out of 4 for me, the same thing happens with the dough ending up a little tougher than it should be.
          In my dough-pressing lesson (link below), I was working with a less-than optimal dough, but still managed to get a decent crust.

          http://www.realdeepdish.com/pressing-out-deep-dish-dough/

          I don’t think waiting 20 minutes on the yeast would have made much of a difference, but overkneading might. As I mentioned above, it might be a slight hydration problem. Try adding 1 or 2 extra tablespoons of lukewarm water next time you make the dough.

          As for the the crust edges, make sure that, if you’ve greased your pan, you only grease the bottom and NOT THE SIDES. Depending on the temperature and rising/resting stage of your dough, there could be a bit of spring-back, which is normal.

          You always take a risk when you put ingredients on top of the sauce on a deep dish.
          You can take out a little insurance with some aluminum foil.
          If you notice the top of your crust (or your toppings) are starting to get overdone or charred, cover the pizza with a loose sheet of heavy duty aluminum foil while the pizza finishes baking.
          You can also try “Pizzafying” your oven.

          And finally, consider lowering the temperature of your oven by 10 degrees and/or baking 5 to 10 minutes less.
          Everyone’s oven bakes a little differently and you may be baking at too high a temp or for too long.

          Your pizza is still cooking minutes after you’ve taken it out of the oven, so give it 5 or 10 minutes before cutting into it.

          Keep up the good work! :-)

          • Jereme says:

            I covered with foil about halfway through. I was trying to make sure the pepperoni got crisped, but it ended up browning the parm too much which tends to get a little bitter tasting. I’ll try adding a little extra water to the dough next time. As for the back crust, I may not have been aggressive enough with the pinching/flattening.

            This might sound strange, but what do you think about adding a little beer to the deep dish dough? Something like a pilsner or a golden ale, not a lot, but maybe a splash or two I would think might add a nice flavor.

            Back to the thin crust– cook it on a pan/screen or is it better off directly on the stone? I hope I’m not bothering you with all the questions. It’s just that I finally spent the money to get all the needed equipment and pizza-making is new to me (I’m a pretty solid cook but I don’t do much baking other than biscuits.) It’ll be nice to have access to good pizza again. I love Florida but the pizza situation is pretty rough.

          • realdeep realdeep says:

            The alcohol in beer will kill the yeast (even though the yeast is what made it), so be careful if you add any. A better option would be to put your dough in a zip-top bag & into the fridge after the first rise. Leave it in there for 1 to 3 days. You’ll likely get the fermented flavor you’re looking for.
            For extra flavor, I like to float 1/2 tsp garlic powder (and other herbs/seasonings, like parsley, basil, etc.) on top of the oil for a minute before adding the flour and mixing up the dough. You can also add some dry grated cheese (parmesan/romano) in with the dry ingredients.

            I’m still testing thin crust. It’s a difficult thing to do at home because you have to roll it out and then keep it from sticking to whatever you’re baking on.

            A typical wire mesh pizza screen works well (and leaves a nice pattern on the bottom), but can be difficult to master.
            Make sure to use high heat cooking spray or oil the screen before putting dough on it, and try not to mash the dough into the screen or the crust can get stuck in the screen. If you dock your dough, be careful not to over-perforate the dough, or the sauce can leak through and make the pizza stick to the screen. Put the screen right on top of the preheated stone. I like to remove the pizza from the screen and bake directly on the stone for the last few minutes of baking, but that can sometimes be an acrobatic feat, clamping the screen and using a thin metal peel to move the pizza off screen and onto stone (AKA “decking the pizza”).

            The perforated cutter pan is nice because it’s a bit easier to work with. Also, it’s a thicker piece of metal than the screen, so it holds on to a little more heat. I still recommend cooking spray before you put dough on it, and decking directly on the stone for the last few minutes is still a good idea. Since there is less airflow compared to the screen, there can be moisture build-up (even with the perforated holes) in the center of the pizza that could crisp up a bit more if you deck the pizza.

            You can also bake directly on the stone, which means you build your pizza directly on the peel. The issue here is making sure the pizza glides off of your peel, which is very hard to do without a TON of semolina (or flour or -gasp- cornmeal) to work as ball-bearings between the peel and the bottom of your pizza. In a home kitchen, this can turn into a huge mess. Even if you get your pizza to glide well, the toppings can fly off the pizza while you try to get it onto the stone and then smoke happens and smoke alarms go off, etc. It can be done, but like the screen option, it’s a bit of a challenge.

            So, I guess after that mini-novel, my preference would be perforated cutter pan for Chicago thin crust. It would be the easiest.

            If you check out my Deep Dish equipment page, there is a “Mega Screen”, which is a sturdier version of the typical pizza screens, and looks very similar to a cutter pan. Also, I just added some “Ultra-Perforated” pans at the bottom of the page. For home use, I’d start with a 14″ size (other sizes are also available), and if you don’t already have one, get one or two of those wide-rim serving pans so you have somewhere to offload your pizzas.

            p.s. – it’s very likely a lot of this info and advice will end up in my thin crust article.
            Thanks for asking some good questions. :-D

          • Jereme says:

            I’ve got one of the perforated pans. I’ve seen sites for NY style that suggest covering your peel with parchment, building the pizza on top, and then sliding the whole thing onto the stone. Then after a couple minutes for the crust to set, you slip the parchment out from underneath. This seems like a much better idea than dumping a ton of flour into the bottom of your oven.

            They also suggest moving the stone up towards the top of the oven and cooking the pizza under the broiler after preheating. However, Chicago style is so much heavier and more substantial that I’m not sure that would work so well. It would definitely affect the use of raw vs precooked (or at least par-cooked) sausage though.

            Glad you mentioned that the beer will kill the yeast. That’s why I asked. I don’t know a lot about dough, but I know yeast can be a bit fussy and fragile. That’s why I wondered before if leaving it for so long and the water cooling down could have affected the texture. I’ll try leaving it for a few days next time like you suggest.

            And again, just in case I haven’t mentioned it enough, this site and your time are really appreciated. Should you ever find yourself around Tampa/Clearwater, you’ve got a couple rounds coming on me. The pizza scene may not be much to brag about, but we’ve got some really good seafood and great breweries in the area.

          • realdeep realdeep says:

            Deep Dish Dough Update:
            I had a very successful test of the increased hydration dough.
            It was soft and easy to press out and made an excellent crust.
            Check out the facebook page for more info and some photos. :-)
            http://www.realdeepdish.com/RealDeepDish-201401.pdf

          • Jereme says:

            Ok, made attempt number two on Sunday and it turned out amazingly good. It was the same batch of dough as the first time, but this time it had about a week to defrost and hang out in the fridge. That seems to have made a big difference. The crust held its shape but was nice and tender, and I managed to get the back crust to stay up higher. I had to pinch and work it back up the pan several times but eventually it thinned out and stayed put.

            I added a good sprinkling of dried oregano and basil over the sausage layer. I also hit the tomatoes with a good bit of oregano and basil along with salt and a little sugar. I waited to add the parmesan until the half-way point when I rotated the pizza. I also added the foil shield at that time.

            The finished product was truly better than I could have hoped for from a homemade deep dish. I would gladly pay for this at a restaurant and be eager to order it again. You, sir, are my savior. In cheeses name, amen.

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