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Cast Iron Chicago-style Deep Dish Pizza

Cast Iron Chicago Deep Dish Pizza

Pans needed: 12-inch cast iron skillet.

Dough mix:

Pizza toppings:

Begin by proofing the yeast: In a small bowl or measuring cup, add 1 cup lukewarm water, 1/2 teaspoon yeast, 1 teaspoon sugar. Wait 15 minutes for the yeast to bloom: a foam will begin forming on the surface of the liquid.

Mix together flour, corn meal, salt. Add yeast solution and mix for a few seconds. Add corn oil. Mix on low for only 3 minutes: the shorter mixing time will produce a rougher dough, and a crust with more of a crumbly, biscuit-like texture.

Add the dough to a bowl, cover with a cloth, and let it rise for at least one hour. Chicago pizza houses often rise the dough for six hours; and I've let it rise for twelve hours with good results. After rising, you can either lay it out in the pizza pan; or place the bowl in the refrigerator and let it rise overnight.

Two and a half to three hours before cooking the pizza, coat the surface of a 12-inch cast iron skillet with olive oil. Take the dough out of the refrigerator, lay it out in the pan, and spread it across the bottom of the pan until the surface is covered. Cover the cast iron pan with plastic wrap, and let it wait for two and a half to three hours. This will bring the dough to room temperature and let it rise further.

One hour before cooking the pizza, preheat your oven to 450 degrees F. Drain the tomatoes in a strainer, then mix with oregano, basil, rosemary. Pre-cook the ingredients that need to be prepared in advance, such as sausages or caramelized onions.

Remove the plastic wrap from the cast iron pan, punch down the dough, and shape it roughly into the shape of a deep dish pizza; shape it to the sides of the pan as well as the bottom. Don't add any toppings at this time: when the dough is shaped, place the pan in the pre-heated oven and cook the crust for 10 minutes. Remove the pan and place it on the stovetop – remember, the cast iron pan will be hot! With a wooden spoon or other utensil, press down the risen crust and re-shape it into a deep dish crust. Brush olive oil over the entire upper crust of the pizza, including the sides.

After this, in the style of the Chicago deep dish, lay out the ingredients into the pan in a manner completely reversed from the New York style pizza:

Bake for 20 minutes at 450 degrees F. Remove the pan from the oven and let it rest for 5 minutes, to allow the hot iron to continue cooking the underside of the crust.

Serving Chicago Deep Dish Pizza