Deep Dishing

It's a rarity when I'll see a recipe on a blog and promptly make it that day. Usually, I'll see something complicated on a day I have to work late, or something simple on a day I feel like challenging myself. So, I bookmark and pin things to remember, and then come back to them on an appropriate day.

Yesterday I was doing some morning blog-reading and saw a recipe that I just couldn't ignore. My friend Biz posted the procedure and recipe for a traditional Chicago-style deep-dish pizza. I did a double take because I knew that Biz is quite the pizza connoisseur and I've never been steered wrong by one of her pizza recipes. For her to post a pizza recipe meant one of two things: It either completely rocked or it was an epic fail.

I've been in major pizza withdrawal since starting South Beach Diet, and have been conniving a way to make something pizza-like without eating a ton of carbs. And then I remembered a couple of things: a) carbs are not evil, but my body doesn't like the simple ones; b) In phase 2, whole grains are reintroduced; c) I make a fabulous pizza dough.

I took Biz's suggestion and ran with it. I made her deep-dish pizza recipe, substituting whole wheat flour for the white, cutting the butter and oil in half, and used part-skim mozzarella cheese.

One thing to know about whole wheat pizza dough is that it doesn't look much different baked and unbaked.




…and baked

It's an understatement to say that this pizza was delicious. It may verge on inappropriate if I truly get into how delicious it was, so I'll spare you the description and just show you lovely photos.


After slicing and serving this up, I admired my handiwork. It looked remarkably like all the deep-dish pizzas I've enjoyed throughout my lifetime, the sauce looked right, the cheese looked right…




And as I said, it was delicious. Beyond delicious. Perhaps its because this is the most bread-like product I've eaten in over a month (and helped me to lose 10.4 lbs to date!!!) but the crust flipping rocked. I'm sure it had something to do with the butter in it as well…

The recipe below comes directly from Biz's site; my alterations are in red. You can probably bet money on the fact that I'll be making these again, probably in smaller form. Rather than making two nine-inch pizzas, I made one very large 16-inch pizza.

Makes two 9-inch pizzas, serving 4 to 6 (or 1 16" pizza)


  • 3 1/4 cups (16 1/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour (I used whole wheat)
  • 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 (I used 2 Tbsp melted and 3 Tbsp. softened)
  • 1 teaspoon plus 4 tablespoons olive oil (I omitted this and used cooking spray)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (I used 1 tablespoon)
  • 1/4 cup grated onion , from 1 medium onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Table salt
  • 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
  • Ground black pepper
  • 1 pound mozzarella cheese , shredded (about 4 cups) (we used sliced part-skim mozzarella, six slices covered the bottom of our pizza)
  • 8 ounces baby spinach, rinsed and dried
  • 1/2 ounce grated Parmesan cheese (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1. 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 and mix on low speed until fully combined, 1 to 2 minutes, scraping sides and bottom of bowl occasionally. Increase speed to medium and knead until dough is glossy and smooth and pulls away from sides of bowl, 4 to 5 minutes. (Dough will only pull away from sides while mixer is on. When mixer is off, dough will fall back to sides.)
  • 2. 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 oil top; cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let rise at room temperature until nearly doubled in volume, 45 to 60 minutes.
  • 3. 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.
  • 4. TO LAMINATE THE DOUGH: 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.
  • 5. 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.
  • 6. 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.

Please try this recipe. I know it has a bit more fat than the average pizza dough recipe, but it is worth every bite. It made two hearty dinners for both Adam and I, and could very easily be divided into smaller servings.

At the risk of being redundant, I leave you today with my very favorite pizza photo I think I've ever taken. That says a lot because I've made and eaten a TON of pizza!




This entry was posted in Baking, Italian, pizza, vegetarian and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Deep Dishing

  1. Biz says:

    Gah! Okay, first of all, your pictures are way better than mine – I am sure you’ll sell people on your photography and not mine.

    And I hope people try this too – it will change the way they have pizza at home – Tony and I both thought it was better than the deep dish we ordered from Rosati’s a few weeks ago.

    The crust is the key though – and next time I am adding spinach to mine! Great job Mara – glad you liked it!
    Biz´s last blog post ..Football Food and Kabobs

  2. Hi Mara,

    This looks so good! I just moved to LA from a suburb of Chicago, and I miss Lou Malnati’s SOOOOO Much. It’s my FAVORITE food. This recipe looks great, and I love the healthy substitutions you made!

  3. Oh, my goodness. Can I have a party with you and Biz so we can make deep dish pizzas, and make them vegan? We totally need to do so.
    Melissa @ TryingToHeal´s last blog post ..Comment on Weekend Recipes by RunToTheFinish

  4. Rhonda says:

    It’s been over 3 years since I moved from Illinois and that long since I’ve had a real deep dish pie. This looks like the real deal to me, I may have to break down and make my own.

  5. Biz says:

    Hey Mara – I only used half my dough and the rest was in the fridge. When my daughter came home from work she made a thin crust with the dough and it was super good! Just thought I would let you know.

    I hope people make this – its so fricken good!
    Biz´s last blog post ..Italian Sausage Soup with Cheese Tortellini

  6. Kelly says:

    Wow this recipe looks fantastic and your pictures are perfect! Love your blog, so glad to be a new follower! xoxo

  7. I saw Biz’s post too and was blown away. Now that you’ve made it and loved it I’ve got to surprise J with it.
    Dinner at Christina’s´s last blog post ..Lemon Bars

  8. This looks amazing and I actually got stuff to make pizza this week. I love that part of the process here is laminating the dough. I do something similar with my biscuits and the dough gets those wonderful flaky layers. I guess that is what is meant by laminating, right? Deep dish pizza always looks amazing and your pictures are mouthwatering. I have never tried before, so I might have to follow this recipe…I will have to consult with my hubby about whole wheat vs regular:-)…I would definitely try your WW version.

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