Back to Pizza School - Chicago-Style Pizza 101 - An Intro to Deep Dish
This time around we're going to step out of our kitchens to look at a type of pizza we don't mess with here at Streets of New York – it's just not our style! The feud between New York style and Chicago style pizza has been a long one, and while it's clear what side of the battlefield we're on – there's still a lot to enjoy about Chicago style pizza. Heck, it is still pizza after all!
Chicago Style Pizza
When people think Chicago-style pizza, they're thinking deep-dish, but it's not the only style local to the Windy City. Let's dig deep and talk about a couple of different styles of pizzas that make up this tradition. We're talking about deep dish, stuffed, and thin-crust pizza.
Like most other food traditions there's few hard, documented truths when it comes to the origins of foods. Some say the deep dish was invented at Pizzeria Uno in 1943. Others say Rosati's Authentic Chicago Pizza has had it on the menu since 1926. Whatever the truth is, deep dish came about in the early 20th century in Chicago and became a local mainstay ever since!
Deep-dish pizza is defined by its deep crust, creating a thick pizza that really puts the pie in pizza pie! They are baked in a round, steel pan or an iron skillet rather than a traditional pizza pan. The pan is oiled to make for easy removal and for a nice crisp effect on the crust. While the pizza itself is quite thick, the crust is usually of a thin to medium thickness.
The dough itself may be made of a few new ingredients as well. In addition to the standard flour, cornmeal or semolina (or even just food coloring) is added to give the crust a distinct yellowish color. With the crust forming a big dish (hence the name) you can then fill the pizza with layers of toppings. This of course will require a longer baking time which can mess with how the toppings cook. The cheese for instance might burn
The thick layer of toppings used in deep-dish pizza requires a longer baking time (typically 30-45 minutes), which could burn cheese or other toppings if they were used as the top layer of the pizza. Because of this, toppings are usually assembled in reverse order. The crust is covered with cheese, then meats like pepperoni or sausage, then the veggies, and sauce on top. Extra parmesan might be sprinkled on top, might not that's upt to taste!
Stuffed pizza is a new take on the deep dish craze! Deeper than a deep dish and with a top layer of tough, the stuffed pizza is almost like one giant pizza sized calzone - sort of. You start with a deep dish pizza as usual. Then an additional layer of dough is pressed on top, sealing the sides. Afterwards tomato sauce may be spread on top of this layer, but not always! The pizza is then baked and you have a stuffed pizza!
Thin Crust Pizza
Now we know what you're thinking, everyone has thin crust! And while that's absolutely true, there's a style of thin crust found throughout the Midwest that is worth mentioning. Specifically the approach here is to have a thin, firm crust with a noticeable crunch. It's then typically cut into squares instead of slices. This is called "party cut" or "tavern-style".
Now, pizza's pizza no matter how you slice it. While here at Streets of New York we rep the New York-style pie as best, if you prefer Chicago style, we can't argue it has its own charms to be sure! But have you had a real New York slice? Why don't you come into your local neighborhood Streets location and grab a slice and a beer and see how it suits you!