Chicago-Style Stuffed Pizza
Recipe by: horseblow.avi Uploaded by Drimble Wedge
A caveat first, I've never been to Chicago, but based on the few Chicago style places that exist out here in CA, this is what I came up with.
This recipe makes two 9" stuffed pizzas. It takes about 3 hours from start to finish.
- 1 big bowl to mix dough in
- 1 large wood cutting board
- 1 knife
- 1 rolling pin
- 2 9" cake baking pans
- 1 pot for cooking sauce, with lid
- 1 2 cup capacity measuring cup
- 4 cups sifted flour
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 packet fast-rising yeast
- 1 1/3 cups warm water (about 110 degrees F)
- 14.5oz can diced tomatoes (or a few fresh diced tomatoes)
- 6oz can tomato paste
- 1 beef bullion cube (ordinarily makes 1 cup broth)
- A few cloves of garlic, minced
- salt to taste
- Italian seasoning (mixed herbs) to taste
- 1 pound mozzarella cheese
- anything else your little heart desires
To start the dough, first get the yeast ready. Fill the measuring cup with 1 1/3 cups of warm water. The water should be about 110 degrees, or a little warmer than body temperature. If you are using regular yeast instead of fast rising yeast, the temp should be around 85 degrees, or slightly less than body temperature. Dump the packet of yeast in the water along with the 1 teaspoon of sugar. The reason for putting the sugar in here is that it helps activate the yeast. Mix until they are dissolved in the water and then set it aside.
Now you first need to measure out the flour. It is important that you sift the flour then measure it out. Sifted flour weighs quite a bit less than flour that has settled, so if you don't sift it you will be using too much flour.
That said, I haven't gotten around to buying a sifter, so I have a lazier way to do it. I basically use the container below for flour and turn it upside down and back a few times. This unpacks the flour pretty well and I measure the flour from there. Even then, I have to be careful when scooping out the flour to not pack it down.
Ok, now add the flour, salt, and olive oil to a bowl and mix them up with your hand.
Now slowly pour in the yeast mixture into the bowl, mixing with your hand along the way.
After pouring in all the yeast mixture, Knead the dough in the bowl with one hand until there is no more loose flour laying in the bowl. It should look like this at this point:
At this point, you are ready to start kneading the dough in earnest. Dump the dough out onto a lightly floured cutting board like so:
Now, with the heel of your palm, firmly push the dough down and away from you. You don't want to absolutely smash it, but give it a good push.
Now fold the dough in half, and rotate it 90 degrees.
Repeat the last two steps. Keep it up for 10 minutes. Only add flour to the board when the dough starts to stick to the board, but you will find that as you continue to knead the dough the dough will become less and less sticky. Also as you get toward the end of the kneading, don't knead the dough quite as hard as when you started.
After 10 minutes are up, lightly coat the dough with olive oil (just put some oil on your hand and rub it all over the dough) and throw it in a clean bowl. It should look like this:
Cover the bowl with a damp, clean dish towel. Set the dough aside to let it rise. For fast rising yeast, it will take about an hour, for regular, about two.
While you wait for the dough to rise, get started on the pizza sauce. Heat up your pot and put some olive oil in there after it's hot. Immediately throw in the minced garlic and a pinch of salt. Please excuse the messy stove, I've been too busy to cook much lately and my roommates haven't been cleaning up after themselves :)
Saute the garlic very lightly. As soon as it starts to change color (a very light yellow), immediately remove the pot from the heat. Open up the can of tomatoes and paste, and put them both in the pot. Fill the paste can with water and add that to the sauce as well. Also add the bullion cube, a little more salt, and some of the italian seasoning here. Don't add too much salt and seasoning yet though, as we are going to reduce the sauce.
Side note, for vegetarians, you can use vegetable bullion, but don't throw it in until the sauce is about 10 minutes from being done. vegetable bullion starts to lose it's flavor if it is cooked for more than 30 minutes.
Go ahead and put the pan back on the heat. Put the lid on (it will be messy without one) and bring the sauce to a boil. After it comes to a boil, set the lid so that it is slightly open and lower the heat to let the sauce simmer.
Let the sauce simmer for about 30 minutes. This will cook the diced tomatoes and also reduce the amount of water. Be sure to stir it every once in a while. At around 25 minutes, take a quick taste check. You can add a little more salt or herbs at this point if you desire.
After 30 minutes, check to see how thick the sauce is. Pizza sauce should be thicker than pasta sauce. If it is still pretty thin, make sure you are giving it enough heat and let it reduce some more. When the sauce is done, just set it aside until you are ready to put it on the pizza.
Use the rest of your free time to grate the cheese and prepare your other toppings. Resist the urge to eat too many of the toppings.
Time to check on the dough. It's been an hour. The dough should be doubled in size at this point, if it isn't, let it rise some more. Let's take a look:
Yup. I'd say that's twice the size.
Before you start rolling the dough, take a second and pre-heat your oven. 375 degrees F. You want a lower temp than for regular pizza because these pizzas are so thick. Too high and you'll end up with a burnt crust but underdone center.
Ok, cut the dough in half and set aside one half. Each half makes one pizza. Take the half you just cut and cut off 1/3 of that half. Set that aside also - it will become the top crust. Now take the piece you have left and roll it into a pizza shape on your floured cutting board. It should be large enough so that the edges reach over the top of your cake pan.
Make sure the bottom of the dough is decently floured so that it doesn't stick to the cake pan (just a couple of sprinkles will do) and place it in one of the cake pans so that the edges stay above the top of the pan.
Time for the toppings. Layer the bottom with some cheese, then put your toppings on top of the cheese. Put a little more cheese on top of the toppings. Don't overdo it, the pizza will never cook if you cram it with too much stuff.
Pepperoni and olives are always a good choice. If you are feeling experimental, spinach and feta cheese go really well with a stuffed pizza. I was just too lazy to go to the store to pick some up. One other note, if you want to put sausage or ground beef in your pizza, you must pre-cook them in a skillet before throwing them in the pizza. Otherwise they probably won't cook all the way through, not to mention they won't be browned at all.
Now take the small 1/3 piece of dough you set aside earlier and roll it out to make the top crust. It should be quite a bit thinner than the base crust. Once it's big enough to cover the pizza, put it over the toppings and roll and pinch the base crust and top crust together, like so:
If you are having trouble getting the two crusts to stick together, wet your finger with some water and run it around the area where the crusts touch. That should do the trick.
We're almost done. Take a fork and poke a bunch of holes in the top of your pizza crust to help prevent air bubbles. Then spoon on a healthy amount of sauce on top of the pizza. You should have some sauce left over after you cover both pizzas.
Throw that puppy in the oven and use the rest of the dough to make a second pizza. Cooking time for a pizza is about 30 minutes.
Check on your pizzas about every 10 minutes to make sure no giant air bubbles have formed in the crust. If one has, just poke it with a fork.
After 30 minutes, your crust should be a nice golden brown. If it is, pull that sucker out and use a fork and potholder to lever it out of the cake pan.
Damn, that looks tasty.