When you’re making deep dish, the most important thing is the dough; if you don’t have the perfect dough, it’s hardly worth the time to make it. I’ve been disappointed time and time again with dough recipes, even the Cooks Illustrated recipe with the baking potato disappointed me, and I’m rarely disappointed by their recipes – good news though – they’ve totally redeemed (and outdid) themselves with this dough. It is everything you want in deep-dish dough – tender, buttery, flakey, crisp, soft, perfect.
The original recipe calls for two 9-inch cake pans, however I’ve adapted it for one 12″ cast iron skillet since I like the presentation better. I also added sausage, but feel free to add any toppings you want.
Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza with SausageAdapted from Cooks Illustrated Directions for one large or two small pizzas below The crust comes out absolutely perfect; the dough gets it soft springy texture from a thin layer of butter that is laminated in the dough, like puff pastry. I used active dry yeast (in the same amount) and activated it in the water with one of the two teaspoons of sugar. You can use any topping you would like, however we’re partial to hot italian sausage.
Dough3 1/4 cups (16 1/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour 1/2 cup (2 3/4 ounces) yellow cornmeal 1 1/2 teaspoons table salt 2 teaspoons sugar 2 1/4 teaspoons instant or rapid-rise yeast 1 1/4 cups water (10 ounces), room temperature 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus 4 tablespoons, softened 1 teaspoon plus 4 tablespoons olive oil
Sauce2 tablespoons unsalted butter 1/4 cup grated onion, from 1 medium onion (see note) 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano 2 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 teaspoons) 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes (see note) 1/4 teaspoon sugar 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil Salt Fresh ground black pepper
Toppings1 pound mozzarella cheese, shredded (about 4 cups) (see note) 3 links Italian sausage, removed from casings, cooked & broken into bite-size pieces 1/2 ounce grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese (about 1/4 cup)
For the Dough:
Mix flour, cornmeal, salt, sugar, and yeast* in bowl of stand mixer fitted with dough hook on low-speed until incorporated, about 1 minute. Add water and melted butter with mixer on low-speed and mix until fully combined, 1 to 2 minutes; scrape sides and bottom of bowl as needed. Increase speed to medium and knead until dough is glossy and smooth and pulls away from sides of bowl, 4 to 5 minutes. The dough will be soft and tacky.
Using fingers, coat large bowl with 1 teaspoon olive oil, rubbing excess oil from fingers onto blade of rubber spatula. Using oiled spatula, transfer dough to bowl, turning once to coat top of dough; cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let rise at room temperature until nearly doubled in volume, 45 to 60 minutes.
For the Sauce:
While dough rises, heat butter in medium saucepan over medium heat until melted. Add onion, oregano, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid has evaporated and onion is golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in tomatoes and sugar, increase heat to high, and bring to simmer. Lower heat to medium-low and simmer until reduced to 2 1/2 cups, 25 to 30 minutes. Off heat, stir in basil and oil, then season with salt and pepper.
Finish the Dough – 12″ Pizza:
Adjust oven rack to lower position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Using rubber spatula, turn dough out onto dry work surface and roll into 15- by 12-inch rec-tangle. Using offset spatula, spread softened butter over surface of dough, leaving 1/2-inch border along edges. Starting at short end, roll dough into tight cylinder. With seam side down, flatten cylinder into 18- by 4-inch rectangle. Working from both ends, start folding into thirds like business letter with final fold in the center to bring the two halves together (see photo above); pinch seams together to form ball. Return ball to oiled bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let rise in refrigerator until nearly doubled in volume, 40 to 50 minutes.
Assemble 12″ Pizza:
Coat 12-inch cast iron skillet with 4 tablespoons olive oil. Transfer dough ball to dry work surface and roll out into 14.5-inch disk about 1/4 inch thick. Transfer dough to pan by rolling dough loosely around rolling-pin and unrolling into pan. Lightly press dough into pan, working into corners and 1 inch up sides. If dough resists stretching, let it relax 5 minutes before trying again.
Sprinkle mozzarella evenly over surface of dough. Cover cheese with sausage. Spread sauce over cheese and sausage, then sprinkle Parmesan or Pecorino over sauce. Bake until crust is golden brown, 25 to 35 minutes. Remove pizza from oven and let rest 10 minutes. Carefully remove pizza to cutting board with a wide spatula for slicing so the cast iron pan is not damaged; returned sliced pizza back to skillet for serving.
Finish the Dough – 9″ Pizzas:
Adjust oven rack to lower position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Using rubber spatula, turn dough out onto dry work surface and roll into 15- by 12-inch rec-tangle. Using offset spatula, spread softened butter over surface of dough, leaving 1/2-inch border along edges. Starting at short end, roll dough into tight cylinder. With seam side down, flatten cylinder into 18- by 4-inch rectangle. Cut rectangle in half crosswise. Working with 1 half, fold into thirds like business letter; pinch seams together to form ball. Repeat with remaining half. Return balls to oiled bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let rise in refrigerator until nearly doubled in volume, 40 to 50 minutes.
Assemble 9″ Pizzas:
Coat two 9-inch round cake pans with 2 tablespoons olive oil each. Transfer 1 dough ball to dry work surface and roll out into 13-inch disk about 1/4 inch thick. Transfer dough to pan by rolling dough loosely around rolling-pin and unrolling into pan. Lightly press dough into pan, working into corners and 1 inch up sides. If dough resists stretching, let it relax 5 minutes before trying again. Repeat with remaining dough ball.
For each pizza, sprinkle 2 cups mozzarella evenly over surface of dough. Spread 1 1/4 cups tomato sauce over cheese and sprinkle 2 tablespoons Parmesan over sauce. Bake until crust is golden brown, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove pizza from oven and let rest 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
Lisa@Creole Contessa says
Pinning, sharing, making…oh this looks so good!!
Is there anything else I could cook these in if I don’t have a cast iron skillet? Thanks!
Hi Chelsea! There’s an alternative baking method using 9″ cake pans, you’ll just end up with two smaller pizzas.
I have made this pizza in both types of pans….the cast iron is MUCH better!
Wow! I’ve been looking for a good Chicago deep dish recipe as well. Your pizza looks amazing! I plan to try this one out one day very soon…
Ok. I have been craving deep dish pizza for weeks so when I stumbled across your recipe on Pinterest, I knew I had to try this out. I love to bake but I run faar away from any recipe that calls for yeast so this was my first time and I was nervous.
This. Was. De-lish-us! I think I let the sauce simmer too much so it wasn’t as runny as it should have been but my hubby and I didn’t mind at all. We added pepperoni to make it a nice meat lovers party. Thank you!!
Marc Hood says
I made this today, and it was amazing! Super easy to follow, and the pictures were perfect. Thank you for another awesome recipe!
So glad you guys enjoyed it!!
H Stone says
Please for the nonUSA people could you list the imperial measurements in metric in brackets beside that ingredient or measure as we dont use your antiquated system: to whit 12″ becomes(30cm), 425 faren. becomes (220 centigrade) Otherwise thanks for the recipe.
Thank you so much for your great photos. I had read the recipe elsewhere, but your photos cleared up a couple of questions. Valentine’s dinner for a pizza lovin’ guy is ready to go.
Glad the photos helped! We make homemade pizza for Valentine’s day all the time too 🙂
As much as I like this recipe, what does the asterisk next to the yeast mean? Does it denote that I’m supposed to activate the yeast first?
See the head note. I usually use active dry.
Mary Hess says
At any point can I freeze the dough and finish the pizza at another time?
Hi Mary! I haven’t tried, but I would think you could go all the way through “Finish the Dough”, and freeze once it is fully risen. When ready to bake, you would need to thaw in the fridge overnight before continuing with the recipe.
Has anyone tried freezing the dough before, and could help Mary?