The only time I've ever eaten authentic Chicago Deep Dish Pizza was at Uno's in Chicago in the summer of 2011 with Jason and our friends, Brent + Jillian. And I loved it. True, it did sit like a brick in our stomaches but it was a flaky, buttery, delicious brick. I'd never thought to make it myself until I got an email from America's Test Kitchen that had the recipe. It's an easy recipe that take relatively little active time, though because of the two 45 minute rise times, it is probably a better recipe for a weekend night. We ate it for dinner and had New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookies for dessert. Yumminess all around.
Deep Dish Pizza Crust [Chicago Style]
slightly adapted from Cook's Illustrated
Makes one 9" pizza crust [serves 2]
In a medium bowl, combine:
1 1/2 cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons yeast
Use a wooden spoon to mix together ingredients.
3/4 teaspoon salt
Use wooden spoon to evenly distribute salt. [Adding in the salt after you've disbursed the yeast amongst the flour keeps the salt from having direct contact with the yeast and killing it.] Make a small well in the center of the dry ingredients.
Pour into the well:
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons warm water
1 1/2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
Again using the wooden spoon, pull the dry ingredients into the wet stirring vigorously. Once a ball of dough forms, invert bowl onto clean countertop. Use hands to knead dough until it is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. [Feel free to use a bread hook and an electric mixer; I just love kneading dough by hand.]
Lightly coat dough with:
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
Place back in bowl and tightly cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled, 45 minutes to an hour.
Remove dough from bowl and place on clean countertop. Preheat oven 425 degrees. Use rolling pin to roll dough into an 8" x 6" rectangle. Use butter knife or spatula to spread 2 tablespoons of very softened, unsalted butter over dough, leaving a 1/2" border. Roll dough into a tight cylinder. Place dough so that the seam side is down and flatten into a 9" x 4" rectangle. Fold the dough like a business letter. Pinch the sides together to form a ball (see picture below).
Place back in bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Place in refrigerator and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.
Roll dough into a 13" circle.
Coat bottom and sides of 9" cake pan with:
2 tablespoons olive oil
Place dough in pan so that dough goes 1" up sides of pan.
Pour into the crust:
2 cups freshly shredded mozzarella cheese (the pre-shredded stuff won't melt well, though I used it anyway because that's what I had on hand.)
1 cup pizza sauce
Bake on middle rack for 25-30 minutes.
Let rest in pan 10 minutes before cutting and serving.