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Making good deep dish pizza

Updated on August 4, 2015
Chicago deep dish pizza
Chicago deep dish pizza


I started making Chicago style deep dish pizza in the late fall of 1967, at a place called the Inferno Pizzeria in Evanston Illinois. At the time there were only two other pizzerias, in the Chicago area that made deep dish pizza. The owner had paid off a cook from pizzeria Uno, to get their recipe for the pizza.

By the time I started working for them, they were selling a lot of pizzas over at Northwestern University, especially on Sundays, when the dining halls were closed. Years later someone asked me how a deep dish pizza is made, and how it is different from a regular pizza. We will now examine how deep dish pizza is made.

making deep dish pizza

Making deep dish pizza

The first difference is with the pizza dough and is in the type of flour you use. When you make regular style pizza dough, you use high gluten flour. When you make deep dish pizza dough you use bread flour. Second you put in more water, more yeast and twice as much oil. You should also add some cornmeal, to be authentic. After you mix the dough, you let it rise, scale it into dough balls, put into pans and let it rise some more. This relaxes the dough and makes it easy to pat out by hand.

When you get an order, you use your hands to pat out the dough in the pan. You then cover it with a layer of sliced cheese, put your ingredients on the pizza, and then cover that with a layer of pizza sauce . You then sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top of the finished pizza, and bake it in the oven. After baking the pizza for about twenty minutes, you take the pizza out of the pan with a pan grabber and a spatula. You cut it and place the pizza on plates, then serve it to the table. After you have done that a hundred times in a night, you can say you know how to make deep dish pizza.

Other differences between deep dish pizza and ordinary pizza, you use a full cream mozzarella cheese on deep dish pizza and a part skim mozzarella cheese on ordinary pizza. The sausage for a tradional deep dish pizza has no spices added to it. And of course the biggest difference, is that you put the pizza sauce on the top of the pizza. It also takes twice as long to cook a deep dish pizza. This in an oven that is set to be 50 degrees hotter, than for regular pizza. In the next section, we will look at ways we changed the pizza, to make it more acceptable.

Making the Inferno pizza more acceptable

When I first started working at the Inferno pizzeria in 1967 we made deep dish pizza in the prescribed manner. The pizza in that form had a small cult following at the time. Customers that were used to eating at Pizzeria Uno liked pizza made that way. However pizza eaters in general, didn't like pizza that way. They liked sausage with some spices in it and cheese on top of the pizza. We will now look at some changes we made, that made the pizza more popular, at the restaurant.

The first thing we did was switch the type of sausage, that we put on the pizza. The second thing was that we put cheese both on the dough and on top of the ingredients. We used sliced cheese on top of the dough, then the sauce, the ingredients, and finally a light layer of ground cheese on top. This made the pizza much more acceptable to the ordinary customers. We doubled our business, in about six months, after we made these changes.


The authentic Chicago style deep dish pizza, is made the way I first described. There is an audience for it, especially around the Chicago area. There are a good amount of pizzerias, around Chicago that now do it that way. However over sixty percent of people, around the country, like regular style pizza. The rest are split between pan pizza and stuffed Pizza. The main reason that a majority of people don't like deep dish pizza, is because of the sauce on top. After cooking, it doesn't have an appealing look to it. This is why we made the changes we did at the Inferno pizzeria. It made the pizza much more acceptable to the average customer. However I hope this helps the average pizza customer, to understand what a Chicago style deep dish pizza is.


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      Nate 2 years ago

      Skip the cornmeal. That is a myth.


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