From America's Test Kitchen Season 11: Deep-Dish Pizza
Bad deep-dish pizzas are doughy and tasteless, while recipes for the good versions are staunchly protected by the people who make them—in Chicago pizzerias. We wanted a recipe for the best pan pizza Chicago has to offer: one that boasts a thick, crisp crust with an airy, flaky interior, and a rich taste that can hold its own under any kind of topping.
The recipes we came across in our research sounded a lot like classic pizza dough, with the exception of cornmeal for added crunch and butter for tenderness and flavor. These crusts weren’t bad, but they weren’t as flaky as a Chicago-made crust. To increase the flakiness, we turned to laminating. This baking term refers to the layering of butter and dough that creates ultra-flaky pastries through a sequence of rolling and folding. A combination of adding melted butter to the dough and spreading the rolled out dough with softened butter, before folding, did the trick. This crust was a huge improvement. Our only additional tweak was adding oil to each pan to crisp the edges.
With our crust all set, we turned to the toppings. Following Chicago tradition, we covered the dough with freshly shredded mozzarella and then topped the cheese with our thick, quick-to-make tomato sauce. The cheese formed a consistent barrier between the crust and our sauce, which prevented our thick, flavorful crust from turning soggy.
Makes two 9-inch pizzas, serving 4 to 6
Place a damp kitchen towel under the mixer and watch it at all times during kneading to prevent it from wobbling off the counter. Handle the dough with slightly oiled hands, or it might stick. The test kitchen prefers Dragone Whole Milk Mozzarella; part-skim mozzarella can also be used, but avoid preshredded cheese, as it does not melt well. Our preferred brands of crushed tomatoes are Tuttorosso and Muir Glen. Grate the onion on the large holes of a box grater.