Step by Step: Homemade Chicago Style Pizza
As much as I’d like to, I can’t take credit for the pizza you see above. Even though I’ve lived in Chicago my whole life, watched Lou Malnati’s make authentic Chicago pizza firsthand, and seen many a chef (or Top Chef) make it on TV, I’ve never made Chicago style pizza myself. It’s always been a daunting task, well, until now. This past weekend I watched a friend make an authentic deep dish Chicago style pizza (with whole wheat crust at that!) from scratch and it has never looked so easy.
Here at Chew on That, we think about pizza a lot. Sometimes, we even give away pizza. But there’s a place I know that thinks about pizza maybe even more than this blog and that’s David and Clint’s Chicago apartment. Located in the city, the two of them and I spend a lot of time trying to find the best Chicago pizza. Since David and I grew up in the Chicago suburbs with pizza chains like Giordano’s or Lou Malnati’s, we’re not as familiar with city pizzerias. So when Clint hailed from St. Louis and moved to Chicago with David, the three of us embarked on an unspoken quest to find the tastiest Chicago-style pizza out there.
While notable discoveries have included the likes of Bella’s on Ashland Avenue, the search was still on until last weekend when Clint decided to make his own Chicago style pizza from scratch. Adapting a recipe from many other recipes he found online, he tested his pizza multiple times this past weekend. Lucky for me, I got to witness and taste the final perfected version and now I’m going to share it with all of you.
All you need is a couple hours, a few simple ingredients and you’re on your way to delicious hearty filling pizza (complete recipe below or here). Who doesn’t want a piece of that?
Start with a mixture of yeast, sugar and water. Let it stand for 10 minutes until it bubbles like this:
Now, pour that bubbly mixture into a bowl and add flour. We used whole wheat flour (for reasons listed here) but feel free to use white or all purpose flour if you’re so inclined.
Once the mixture reaches a dough-like consistency, pat it out on a floured cutting board or other surface and knead it to your heart’s content.
After your dough becomes cohesive enough to roll into a bowl, do just that and then drop it into an oven-safe bowl that’s been greased with shortening, like so:
Cover that bowl with a towel and place it in a 170-degree oven for 30 minutes.
Now is the perfect time to make your sauce and prep your pizza ingredients. You can use pre-made pizza sauce, plain old tomato sauce, or you can make something just as easy but much, much tastier such as this:
That’s a mixture of tomato sauce, tomato paste and lots of delicious seasonings like crushed garlic, oregano, basil, parsley flakes, onion flakes, garlic salt and a dash of sriracha sauce! But now it’s already time to pull the crust out of the oven, so let’s do that and flatten it out like so:
Then we’re going to transfer our flattened out dough to our pizza pan, pull it up the sides and trim the edges:
Then, start to layer your slices of cheese in a circular pattern around the pie.
Keep adding your cheese, then add in any desired toppings (we went with mushrooms lightly sauteed in olive oil)…
Now, silly me thought that maybe the sauce would come after the mushrooms. But wouldn’t you know it, survey said more cheese. So after the mushrooms, we filled in any holes with shredded mozzarella then continued adding slices on top of that. When it comes to pizza, I’m a sauce and crust kind of girl, I’m not big on the cheese.But after all, this wasn’t my pizza so who was I to get in the way of their love of cheese?
Finally, it’s time for sauce (my favorite part!)
Now just sit back, relax and let a preheated 425-degree oven do all the work. Give it 30 minutes (maybe give it a check at 25) and then pull it out and smell the deliciousness.
Pull it out of the pizza pan with a fork and spatula and let it cool on a flat surface until you can no longer resist temptation.
And finally, enjoy with red chili pepper flakes, and a cold glass of your favorite beer (in a Cardinals glass if you’re from St. Louis).
Enjoy! I know next time I’m in the city craving Chicago style pizza, I won’t have to go much farther than their apartment.
A St. Louis native living in Chicago tries his hand at Chicago-style pizza with a whole wheat crust! Needless to say, he succeeded!
1 envelope quick-rise yeast
1/2 tsp. sugar
1 C. water
Approx. 1 lb. whole wheat flour (added in small increments until mixture reaches dough-like consistency)
2 6-oz. cans tomato sauce
1 Tbs. oregano
3 Tbs. parsley flakes
1 tsp. dried basil
4 tsp. onion flakes
1 tsp. garlic salt or to taste
1 tsp. sriracha hot sauce or to taste
2 tsp. crushed garlic
2-3 Tbs. tomato paste or enough to thicken
1 lb. mozzarella cheese, sliced
1 pkg. shredded mozzarella cheese
sauteed mushrooms (or toppings of your choice)
To Prepare Crust:
In a small cup or bowl, mix together yeast, sugar and water. Let stand 10 minutes to allow the mixture to react and bubble. Add the yeast mixture to a large mixing bowl. In small increments, add whole wheat flour until the mixture reaches desired dough consistency (should be thick and not too squishy).
Dump dough onto floured surface and knead for 2-3 minutes. Once the texture feels right, roll into a ball. Grease an oven-safe bowl with shortening. Drop ball of dough into greased bowl, making sure the dough gets greased with the shortening as well. Cover the bowl with a towel and place in a 170-degree oven for 30 minutes.
To Prepare Sauce:
To a medium mixing bowl, add tomato sauce, oregano, crushed garlic, parsley flakes, dried basil, onion flakes, garlic salt, and sriracha sauce. Stir and taste. Add tomato paste until it reaches your desired thickness (about 2-3 Tbs. recommended). Mix and set aside.
Saute mushrooms for pizza and set aside. Cut brick of fresh mozzarella cheese into thick slices and set aside. Remove pizza crust from the oven. Grease a 9-inch round pizza pan with cooking spray or butter. Spread crust out over bottom and sides of pizza pan, making sure the crust is thick along the sides.
Place slices of mozzarella cheese at the bottom of the pizza. Layer with sauteed mushrooms (or topping of your choice) and shredded mozzarella cheese. Continue with another layer of sliced mozzarella cheese. Spread pizza sauce to your liking over the top.
Bake at 425 degrees for 30 minutes. Slide the pizza out of the pan onto a cookie sheet with a spatula and let cool.