Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza

Pizza Dough:
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 TBSP corn meal (Optional)
¾ cup hot water from tap (100+ degrees)
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 ½ tsp Rapid Rise Instant Yeast
(spray water bottle)

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Mix good with a large baking spatula. As you mix and roll the dough ball in the bowl lightly spray with the spray water bottle to make sure all the dried flour is absorbed by water. When done, cover the ball of flour in the bowl with plastic wrap and leave on the counter at least 3 hours. The idea is to create a moist atmosphere where the yeast can work through the dough. When ready to knead the dough, place the dough on a large floured board. Flour the top of the dough ball and knead into a smooth, firm ball. Add flour so the ball become less sticky.

Note: I stated corn meal is optional. I like the Bobby Flay recipe that only calls for flour. But, some dough enthusiast like to add corn meal and consider that the original version. I’m sure back in the day folks only had flour and oil. Keep it simple – back in the day simple…When ready to roll, flour a board and roll the dough to the size that will fit your pan.

Iron Skillet:
1 TBSP olive oil
I will use my grandma’s 100 year old iron skillet. Some like to use glassware. Oil the pan.
Note: The idea with this deep dish pizza is to make a focaccia bread with a bunch of pizza toppings versus the typical thin crust pizza. Look at this like an artisan bread pizza.

Toppings:
• Pizza cheese (minimum mozzarella)
• ( diced tomatoes – optional)
• Jar of tomato sauce, I used Ragu Old World Style tomato sauce
• 1 stick sweet Italian sausage from the deli, skinned, cut small, rolled into balls and half cooked in a non-stick fry pan w/olive oil, the remainder will cook in the oven
• Sliced pepperoni, I used pre-sliced for pizza
• ¼ green bell pepper, cut thin on a cutting mandolin setting 2
• ¼ red bell pepper, cut thin on a cutting mandolin setting 2
• ¼ yellow bell pepper, cut thin on a cutting mandolin setting 2
• ½ small onion, cut thin on a cutting mandolin setting 2
• 5 small white mushrooms, cut thin on a cutting mandolin setting 2
• Pre-sliced black olives

Place dough in skillet, add the toppings and bake 35 minutes in a 450° oven. Serve


Focaccia Bread

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(click on pic to enlarge)

This is one of our favorite snacks. Usually this bread is seasoned with olive oil and salt, but it also has Italian herbs added. Generally, it is eaten by dipping the bread in a bowl with a mixture olive oil and Balsamic vinegar.

1 1/2 cups bread flour
3/4 cups hot water from the tap
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. yeast

Mix all ingredients in a bowl with a baking spatula. Cover and set aside for 2 hours to let the dough rise.

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2 TBSP Italian herbs
1-2 TBSP olive oil
Sea salt

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Assist the dough on a floured board and knead for several minutes. In a 9” round non-stick baking pan pour one TBSP of olive oil. Place bread dough in the baking pan and stretch to the sides. Turn over bread dough making sure both side are covered with oil. Sprinkle on the herbs and sea salt. With a spoon press the herbs and salt into the dough.

Bake 30 minutes in 425⁰ oven. Remove and serve.

Dip bread in a mix of olive oil and Balsamic vinegar.

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Artisan Bread

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(click on pic to enlarge)

I know many people, well, actually, not many, I really know a few people, well actually, I know fewer than that…maybe it would be safe to say, “I don’t know anyone who bakes their own bread.”

I’m guessing, the reason is it seems like a real pain.  It isn’t.  I have been baking my own bread for a very long time now – years.  Not sure how many years, but years.

I bake a loaf of bread each weekend and use it throughout the week.  I’ve got it down to about 10 minutes of actually doing stuff.  The bread does the rest of the work.  I do look forward to that bread smell.

I use it for panini sandwiches,  french toast, Focaccia bread and the outer layer bread crumbs when frying up a batch of schnitzel.

Ingredients:

3 cups bread flour
1 1/2 cups hot water from the tap
1 tsp. Rapidrise bread machine yeast
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt

Utensils:

1 large bowl (Plastic is easiest to clean)
1 baking spatula
1 spray water bottle
1 large pot with a lid

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In the large bowl dump all ingredients.

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Mix with spatula and paddle the flour around for about 4 to 5 minutes.  The flour will soak up the water so I use the spray water bottle to moisten it a little until it looks like this.

 

100_5120I cover the dough with a cloth and place it in the oven to let it rise.  Obviously you do not want the oven on.  The oven is a great place to protect the dough from things falling into it. I leave it in the oven for about 2 hours.

100_5122After 2 hours it should look like so.

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I use the spatula to assist the dough onto a floured kneading board.

100_5124I sprinkle flour on the dough and knead for about 3 to 4 minutes.  The reason I knead it at all is to squeeze out as many air bubbles as I can.  Doing this makes a better sandwich bread.  But, I have made no knead bread before.   I form the dough into a ball and place it in the big pot and cover it.  Then I heat the oven to 425 ⁰F (218 ⁰C).

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I bake the bread for 30 minutes.  Then I remove the lid and bake it another 15 minutes to brown the crust. It should look like this.

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Then I wrap it in a towel and let it cool.  This is a very important step b/c it allows the bread to cool and the crust to soften a little.

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That’s it.

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Can it be that easy?

(Someone say yes).