Yes, you can create authentic Chicago-style pizza in your own kitchen.
What Is Deep-Dish Pizza?
Traditional pizza starts with a thin- to medium-thick crust spread in a large flat pan topped with a thin layer of sauce, then a thin layer of meat or vegetable toppings. The final touch is a sprinkling of mozzarella cheese. As the name suggests, deep-dish pizza is a much thicker product -- about 2 inches high. Like regular pizza, it starts with a layer of dough, but that's where the similarities end. On a deep-dish pizza the crust goes on the bottom as well as up the sides. Cheese is the next ingredient. In fact, some people think of deep-dish pizza as an upside-down pizza because the cheese is the first layer on the bottom crust rather than the final layer. The pizza then gets filled with the usual ingredients, including pizza sauce, Italian sausage, and veggies such as green peppers and onions. Like their thinner cousins, deep-dish pizzas are now available in a bounty of variations, including chicken and vegetarian spins. Do make sure you plan for the extended baking time, which is about 40 minutes.
Also known as Chicago-style pizza, the deep-dish pizza was invented at Pizzeria Uno in Chicago in 1943. In the mid-1970s, two Chicago chains, Nancy's Pizza and Giordano's Pizzeria, experimented with deep-dish concoction and created the stuffed pizza. Piled even higher with toppings, the stuffed pizza has an additional layer of dough on top.
Following are the steps to make delicious deep-dish pizza at home.
What Pan to Use
Choose a 10x2-inch heavy round cake pan to make this pizza. A 10-inch springform pan works well, too; when you remove the side of the pan, it's easy to cut and serve the pizza. Generously grease the pan with vegetable oil. Sprinkle the bottom of the pan with cornmeal; set aside.
How to Make a Homemade Deep-Dish Crust
Tip: To tell if the dough is elastic, gently poke it with a finger. If the dough bounces back and the hole (for the most part) fills in, it is ready.
Tip: To see if the dough has doubled in size and is ready to be shaped, press two fingers 1/2 inch into the center. If the indentation remains, the dough is ready to be punched down.
How to Prepare the Saucy Meat Filling
Tip: When adding dried herbs, rub them between your fingers before adding to release the oils and flavors.
Assemble and Bake the Deep-Dish Pizza
Frozen Bread Dough Variation