Deep Dish Pizza

This is for Matthew Johnson at Boars Head Tavern who was desperately looking for a recipe for deep dish pizza. Unfortunately, Friday night has come and gone, so this recipe comes too late for last night.

First off, it’s important to note that making pizza is more of a method than a recipe. Some parts look like a recipe, but mostly it’s HOW you do stuff.


Make a sponge first.

Stir together:
2 c. of warm water
2 T. sugar
2 T. oil
2 T. yeast (remember that 1 packet of yeast = 1 Tablespoon)
2 t. salt
1 t. garlic powder
2 c. bread flour.
Let this sponge sit for about 20 minutes.

After the sponge is good and bubbly, mix in 1 t. oregano, 1 t. basil, and approx. 3 more cups of bread flour. Continue adding flour until until the dough is roughly the texture of your earlobe and pulls away from the side of the bowl as it mixes or kneads. You will need 5-6 cups of flour TOTAL, which includes the two cups already in the sponge; how much flour varies depending on the relative humidity of your kitchen. (Always use a Kitchenaid mixer if you have one.) If you’re kneading by hand, knead for approx. 8 minutes. If you’re kneading in a mixer with a dough hook, knead for about 4 minutes and be careful not to over-knead.

Cover dough with a clean towel and let rise for an hour or until double in size.

Prepare the rest of the pizza ingredients so you’re ready to assemble when the dough is ready.

Sauce: The easiest thing to do is find your favorite marinara/red sauce in a jar at the grocery store and use this. I’ll be posting a recipe for homemade pizza sauce later if you’re a real purist on such things. Use 1/2 to 3/4 c. of sauce per pizza.

Cheese: Buying the 5# bag of grated mozzarella at Sams club or Costco is the easiest. The type of pan you bake your pizza on will determine how much cheese you use. For extra flavor, mix in grated parmesan cheese. Freeze whatever cheese you don’t use.

Toppings: The sky is the limit. We always buy the ten pound bag of pepperoni from Sams club so we ALWAYS have pepperoni in the freezer. Other suggestions for toppings include sausage, hamburger, ham, green peppers, onions, jalapeno peppers, salami, minced garlic, anchovies, etc.

Pans: The heavier the pan, the better, especially when you’re making deep dish pizza. I like my pizza stones best. I use my 13″ pizza stones from Bed, Bath, and Beyond for deep dish pizza OR my 10.5 x 16″ rectangular stone pan from Pampered Chef. If I bake deep dish pizza on a flat stone, I have to be careful not to use too much cheese because it tends to slide off onto the bottom of the oven, making a nasty, burned mess. If I use a pan with sides, I can pile much more cheese on the pizza. If you don’t have a glass or stone pan, you can double your pans to slow down cooking the crust. I’m totally sold on making pizza on stones because it makes it so wonderfully crusty.

I use Pam non-stick spray on the pans and sometimes I also sprinkle a little cornmeal on the stone after I’ve sprayed it.

Assembling the pizza:

Figure out which pan you’re going to use. The dough will make two deep dish pizzas on 13″ pizza stones. It will also make one REALLY deep dish pizza in a rectangular 10″x16″ pan with sides. You can also use glass pie plates and get 4-6 pizzas from the dough.

Spread the dough–stretch it, roll it, pull it, toss it…whatever works best for you.

Spread the sauce around. Then decide exactly what KIND of deep dish pizza you want. You can either layer the ingredients first and then the cheese or you can put the cheese down first and then the rest of the ingredients. If you top it all with the cheese, everything stays much moister.

Let the unbaked assembled pizzas sit on the counter for about 45 minutes to let the dough rise. Then bake them at 350 for however lot it takes to get the crust golden brown. You’ll need to slide a spatula under the crust and either look at it or touch the underside of the crust so that you make sure that it’s fairly crusty. If the underside is still doughy, you need to let it bake a little longer. It’s very easy to make soggy deep dish pizza.

If you leave the pizza on the stones for a few minutes, it stays nice and hot and the crust stays crispy….both desirable things.


5 thoughts on “Deep Dish Pizza

  1. I like Romano, myself–the kind you get in a chunk and grate yourself. It’s got a little bit more kick than Parmesan.

    Also, here’s a variation that has become legendary in some circles:
    BBQ Chicken pizza. I know that BK does it slightly differently than we do, but that’s what great cooking is about, right? It’s a Method, not a recipe to live or die by.

    So you make the dough as described, then spread it in a pan, and spread it with your favorite BBQ sauce (we like Famous Dave’s, which you get in large bottles at Sam’s Club. We’ve also had the most incredible homemade sauce, almost worth its own post, from a guy called Hutch–he hangs out in the Friant Tavern, in the little bitty town near Fresno, CA, at the base of the Friant Dam. It’s the best BBQ sauce you’re ever likely to have, if Hutch is still around.) Anyway, then you put a mix of mozzarella and any or all of the following: provolone, smoky gouda, romano.

    Then you add chunks of chicken breast (which you’ve already sauteed with LOTS of garlic and onions.) Also, some cilantro, and a sprinkling of toasted pignoli (which is Italian for pine-nuts.) Optional additions are artichoke hearts, grilled or marinated red peppers,…..feel free to embroider here.

    This is our traditional dinner for the night in December when our family (LB and Kirk and kids) and our pastor’s family get together at their house for our Annual Christmas Pageant. We have a script, costumes, etc. Last year, there were 6 kids, 4 parents, 2 grandparents, 1 great-grandparent, and a few extra people who got dragged along. Characters include Mary, Joseph, a narrator, shepherds, wisemen, sometimes a baby (sometimes a doll, depending on who is too big or wiggly anymore), miscellaneous sheep, angels, and sheep who think they are angels.

    The traditional dessert is Lisa’s Famous Chocolate Mousse, but that truly is worth its very own post, so I’ll save that for later.

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