I will always and forever have a soft spot in my place for Chicago pizza and all things Chicago. Even though I only lived there 3.5 years, I will always consider it my second home and I get incredibly homesick from time to time. I long to run along the never-ending lakeshore, hop on the familiar lines of the El, stroll around the busy streets, and eat at my favorite restaurants. There is a feel about Chicago. Or maybe it just reminds me of a younger and more adventurous self.
Anyway...back to pizza. There is a rift among Chicagoans when it comes to one question: what major Chicago pizza place has the best deep dish pizza. My personal favorite is Uno's (and I even worked at Giordanno's for a year). The main five restaurants have some slight differences. One major restaurant makes their pizza with butter, the rest use oil as far as I can tell. One uses cornmeal in their crust while I believe the others just use flour. My personal preference is that authentic Chicago pizza cannot have butter or cornmeal. And the toppings must be stuffed between TWO layers of dough. And the sauce goes on the top, not the bottom (note: this is critical).
Unfortunately, most of the internet world adapts their recipe from Cook's Illustrated which is a total abomination of deep dish pizza. Not only do they use butter AND cornmeal, the also use milk (ugh! pizza dough does NOT have milk!) and make you roll and fold your dough like a cinnamon roll (the HORROR!). I've tried the recipe. It's ok. But it's a lot of work and it doesn't satisfy my craving for real Chicago style pizza.
After trying several recipes, I finally found a recipe that the Chicagoan in me can give two thumbs up. The only problem is that the recipe does not call for two layers of dough. But that is an easy peasy fix! Just double the recipe or divide the dough in half (depending upon the size of your pan). It's not just like Uno's -- I don't think it's ever going to be possible to completely replicate restaurant pizza at home. But I think this is the closest I will ever get. And it's really, really, really yummy.
Here's the link to the recipe if you would like to read the ratings and reviews.
And here are my instructions, including assembly (you gotta do it just right!).
Chicago-style Deep Dish Pizza
Note: If using a large pan, double the dough in order to make a top layer
2 1/4 tsp (or one package) active dry yeast
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1 1/8 cups warm water (110-115 degrees)
3 cups flour
1/2 cup corn oil
1 1/2 tsp salt
Cheese, sauce, and toppings of your choice
1. Combine yeast and sugar in warm water until the yeast dissolves and the mixture foams.
2. Add flour, salt, and corn oil and mix until combines. Knead dough until it forms a bowl. Knead for 2 more minutes until dough becomes elastic. Add a little bit more flour if necessary but the dough should still be sticky. Let rise in warm place for 2 hours.
3. Punch down the dough. If using a small pan, divide dough in half. If using a large pan, you should have doubled the dough if you want to add a top layer.
4. Roll out the dough into two circles. Butter your deep dish pan. Lay one layer of dough in the pan. If the dough hangs over the side, cut off excess dough.
5. Assemble the pizza by adding toppings in this order: cheese, toppings, second layer of dough (press the edges against the first layer), and top with sauce. Bake at 400 for 25-30 minutes.