Using a deep dish pizza stone
Anybody use one? I'm thinking of buying one, but here's my question: part of what makes the stone such a beautiful cooking tool is the ability to preheat it and then slide your bread/dough/pizza onto it. But if you're making a deep dish pizza, there's really no way to do that, since you have to shape the pizza IN the stone dish. So is there any benefit then to using a deep dish pizza stone if you can't preheat it?
Made a lot of pizza; never heard of a deep dish pizza "stone". Deep dish pizza is, in my experience, prepared in a deep pan. I don't see any advantage to using a stone or clay vessel to make a deep dish pizza because is would take much longer to get it hot enough to be much of a benefit and, as you pointed out, preheating it like a typical pizza stone would be an exercise in futility (and dangerously risky) when preparing the dough for a topping. If you've found an advertisement for a "deep dish pizza stone" I think you've found a marketing gimmick rather than a better mouse trap.
I believe that most of the recipes I've seen for making deep dish in a cast iron skillet say to preheat the skillet...... and be careful during assembly. Maybe the same theory/warnings apply to this device too.
Slightly off topic, but I thought Chef John at foodwishes.com was clever to use a springform pan for easy access to his deep dish....
Deep dish pizza and stuffed pizza are prepared in metal pans. The doughs are different from regular pizza dough -- a lot richer -- so the dough goes in a cold pan. The metal gets hot in a hurry and crisps the dough. A stone would take way too long to heat up. A cast iron skillet would have similar troubles.
Typical deep dish pans (made by Chicago Metallic) are seasoned similar to cast iron, carbon steel, or cast aluminum. The pans at places like Uno's, Due's, Gino's East and Lou Malnati's often have as rich a patina as a well-used cast iron skillet.
The recipe from "The Frugal Gourmet Cooks American" by Jeff Smith is VERY close to Uno's ( http://www.pizzamaking.com/deepdish.php ). Yeah, you have to get in there with your bare hands and squish the tomatoes! I dislike Malnati's "butter" crust -- way too greasy -- but that, along with the solid disk of Italian sausage, is their claim to fame.
After building the pizza in the deep dish, put the dish in the oven on the pre-heated stone for 10-20 minutes, keep checking the bottom of the crust.