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How to make Chicago-style crust

rosep Jan 26, 2011 12:12 PM

I have been trying to perfect a Chicago style stuffed pizza. But I am unsure what it is that makes the crust so buttery and dense yet somehow sweet. It's not a regular pizza dough recipe. I have tried using butter but that does not seem to be the key, either.
Anyone know?

  1. Novelli Jan 26, 2011 12:29 PM


    This website will help you tremendously with your pizza questions. Lots of experiments where users share their recipes, methods, etc. Invaluable resource.

    1. c
      cnobrien Jan 26, 2011 12:31 PM

      There is a recipe for Chicago Pizza in the Jan/Feb 2010 issue of Cook's Illustrated. It uses butter and sugar.

      8 Replies
      1. re: cnobrien
        rosep Jan 26, 2011 12:36 PM

        both of these are great suggestions! thanks! the recipes in the pizzamaking.com link seem to use more oil and a combo of vegetable and olive oil which makes sense. But Cook's Illustrated does a lot of work on testing out things..so i will try to find that recipe, if i can. thanks

        1. re: rosep
          cnobrien Jan 26, 2011 12:39 PM

          I have it if you need it.

          1. re: cnobrien
            rosep Jan 26, 2011 12:41 PM

            that would be so great. i don't have a subscription and it seems their recipes are behind a paywall

            1. re: rosep
              cnobrien Jan 26, 2011 01:12 PM

              Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizza - 2 9" pizzas

              3 1/4 cups unbleached flour
              1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
              1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
              2 teaspoons sugar
              2 1/4 teaspoons instant or rapid-rise yeast
              1 1/4 cups water, room temperature
              3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
              4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
              1 teaspoon plus 4 tablespoons olive oil

              Mix first 5 ingredients in bowl of stand mixer fitted with dough hook on low speed until combined. Add water and melted butter and mix on low for 1-2 minutes, scraping sides and bottom of bowl. Increase speed to medium and knead until dough is glossy and smooth and pulls away from sides of bowl (4-5 mins).

              Coat a large bowl with 1 tsp olive oil and transfer dough to bowl, turning once to oil top. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rise at room temp until nearly doubled in size - 45 to 60 mins.

              Adjust oven rack to lower position and preheat to 425. Turn dough out onto dry surface and roll into a 15x12 inch rectangle. Spread softened butter over surface of dough, leaving 1/2 inch border along edges. Starting at short end, roll dough into a tight cylinder. With seam side down, flatten into a 18x4 inch rectangle. Cut in half crosswise. Fold each half into thirds (like folding a letter). Pinch seams together to form a ball. Return balls to oiled bowl, cover tightly and let rise in the fridge until doubled (40 to 50 mins.)

              Coat 2 9" round cake pans with 2 tbl olive oil each. Transfer 1 dough ball to dry surface and roll into a 13" circle - 1/4 inch thick. Transfer to pan, lightly pressing dough into corners and 1" up sides. Repeat with 2nd dough ball.

              Sprinkle 2 cups mozzarella cheese over surface of dough, then 1 1/4 cups tomato sauce over the cheese, then 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese over sauce. Bake 20 to 30 mins until crust is golden brown. Let rest 10 mins before slicing.

          2. re: rosep
            cnobrien Jan 26, 2011 12:42 PM

            Here is a thread talking about the crust. Some didn't like the CI version.


          3. re: cnobrien
            saintp Jan 26, 2011 12:44 PM

            I've made the CI recipe several times. It doesn't replicate a true Lou Malnati's or Geno's East deep dish pizza, but I think it comes close. The recipe does use butter and also corn meal. It makes two pies, and when we've frozen the second pie and then reheated it later on, it is much better than the freshly made first pie. Maybe the crust dries out from being cooked twice?

            1. re: saintp
              rosep Jan 26, 2011 12:47 PM

              Interesting. Well, I am going to try it out tomorrow. I will let you all know how it goes. I am assuming that the flour doesn't matter. One would not necessarily want to use bread flour since that seems to be better for Neopolitan style

              1. re: saintp
                bdals Aug 13, 2011 06:17 PM

                Just spent a week in Chicago and this is Lou's recipe:

            2. j
              Junoesq Jan 26, 2011 02:41 PM

              FWIW the recipe I have been using for years has a good dose of corn meal and a lot of olive oil in it. From a cookbook I bought at O'Hare.

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