Thursday, October 4, 2012

Deep dish in the style of

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The most useful pizzamaking lesson you'll ever learn.

Since Ed Heller's deep dish dough formula is a little different than mine, and since he clearly knows his stuff when it comes to deep dish, I decided to give his formula a try yesterday. Unlike every other deep dish pizza I've made so far, I baked this one the same day I made the dough, after giving the dough a 6-hour room-temperature rise.

Showing the gooey cheese oozing off a slice of the recently-cut pizza.

Here's the dough formula I used:

100% KAAP flour
50% Water
0.85% ADY
0.7% Salt
12.5% Pure olive oil
12.5% Corn oil

And here's a recipe to make 30 oz of dough:

16.99 oz KAAP flour
8.5 oz Water
1.44 tsp ADY
0.69 tsp Salt
2.12 oz Pure olive oil
2.12 oz Corn oil

(I have not included step-by-step instructions in this post because I've already written essentially the same instructions in my original deep dish post. If anyone would like me to add step-by-step instructions, please say something in a comment.)

I mixed the dough in a KitchenAid mixer for about three minutes, which is a minute or two longer than I usually mix this kind of dough. The following pic shows the dough immediately after mixing.

30 oz of dough, just after mixing. I mixed this batch a little longer than I usually mix
deep dish dough. Still, I only mixed for about 3 minutes.

Two-thirds of the dough batch (20 oz), just after mixing. Ready to be refrigerated.

The other one-third of the dough batch (10 oz for a 10" pan), just after mixing. I
covered it with a plastic lid and let the dough rise in the pan.

After rising at room temperature for about 5-1/2 hours.

The first part of forming the dough skin: Pat the dough with your fingertips
and hands until the dough is flat and fills the bottom of the pan.

Then crimp the edges of the dough so it reaches about 1-1/4" up the side of the pan.
I probably didn't pull it quite that high, but that's OK with a cheese pizza.

This is about 8.5 oz of mozzarella. Not the greatest example of how it should
look (because I sliced the cheese by hand, with a knife, as opposed to a slicer).

Stanislaus Saporito Filetto di Pomodoro (tomato strips).
If you can find a place that sells this by the can, buy it.
You can get a very similar product here.

Stanislaus Full-Red Extra Heavy Tomato Puree. I used this
to thicken the sauce a little (because there is a lot of water in
the tomato strips). It worked very well.

About 11 oz of tomatoes/sauce on the 10" dough skin. Might be a little more than
necessary, but it worked just fine.

Sprinkled some parmesan over the tomatoes, with a very small hint of oregano, too.

Showing the oven/stone setup I typically use for deep dish.

Just out of the oven after a 22-minute bake at 450 degrees.

Just out of the pan. If you open this pic in a new tab, you should be able to zoom in
and see the texture of the side of the crust. This is not the texture I hoped for.

With one slice gone.


Due to the large quantity of oil in this dough, the texture of my first pizza was too Pizza Hutty to me. I didn't care for this quality, and my memory of eating at Malnati's says their pizza doesn't have this quality. (If you didn't already know this, Pizza Hut's pan pizza is nothing like Chicago deep dish.)

Although I didn't like this crust as much as my normal deep dish crusts, my mom raved about the crust on this one, even though I didn't tell her it was any different than the other ones I've made lately. This shows that different people have different tastes, and sometimes what you like isn't what everyone else might like. Still, Mom has never eaten at Malnati's, and I have. To me, this pizza was less like Malnati's than the pizzas I've made with my own Malnati's clone dough. In fact, after making this one yesterday, I think my normal dough has too much oil in it as well.

It may be my own fault that this pizza came out sorta resembling Pizza Hut because I allowed the dough to rise in the pan, thus keeping me from handling the dough as much as I would've if I had allowed it to rise in a different container. Plus 6 hours was probably an excessively long rise, which may have played a role. I don't think my handling technique made the dough turn out this way, but it might have. Also, the fact that I used the dough the same day I made it may have contributed to the Pizza Hutty texture.

The great thing is that I get to make another pizza with the same dough (which has been refrigerated) later today, as well as another one tomorrow. I will recap those pizzas below, so check back sometime over the next few days.

Update (10/5/12): The crust of the second pizza made from this dough was not good. It seemed pretty good by the looks at first, but it just wasn't. It wasn't horrible, though, either. It just seems to me that it had way too much oil. I mean, the dough "bled" oil in the bag, even though it didn't feel oily immediately after I mixed the dough. My previous deep dish doughs have bled in the bag, too, but not nearly this much.

The way I see it, flour simply can't hold the amount of oil I put in this batch of dough. By the time I bake a pizza made of this dough, the dough contains a lot less oil than it contained when I mixed it. Yet even after bleeding all that oil, the dough still has too much oil, which makes the crust taste and feel nasty to me. So why put that much oil in the dough? And since my previous doughs (with 20% oil, rather than 25%) also bled oil, why use even 20% oil? I can't come up with a good answer for that, so I'm going to use less oil.

I won't be using the last piece of dough from the realdeepdish batch because it seemed overfermented yesterday, which means it should be even more overfermented today. Also, I just don't like that dough. (Ed, if you see this: Nothing personal, but I think your dough has too much oil.)

My latest batch of dough only uses 16% corn oil and 0% olive oil (rather than 12.5% corn oil and 12.5% olive oil). I changed the oil content so drastically for two reasons:
  1. 25% just seems like way too much oil to me, so I might as well make a drastic change (instead of a small one) to make sure I can clearly see how the change affects the end product.
  2. I don't really see the point in using two different kinds of oil. Using two different kinds of oil may help give the crust a hint of a particular flavor, but I doubt that it makes any kind of noticeable difference. To me using two different kinds of oil is just a way to unnecessarily complicate things. It adds a lot of extra work for no good reason. And one of my guiding pizzamaking principles is to keep everything as simple as possible, without complicating things. So why use two different kinds of oil?
Great food is not complicated. Great food is simple. And if you're trying to sell food, complicated food only takes longer to prepare, thus keeping customers waiting and the cooks frustrated; thus requiring extra labor to try to meet the demand. This leads to a snowball effect, which keeps everyone waiting for things that shouldn't require a wait. That pisses off customers, makes knowledgeable cooks find jobs elsewhere, and leaves that void filled by cooks who have no idea what they're doing, which creates a need for even more labor, which costs money. Eventually there is no customer demand because people don't want to buy bad food that takes too long to prepare. Ultimately, complicated food makes restaurants go out of business.

So don't complicate things at home, because the restaurants and pizzerias you want to copy don't complicate things. How do I know your favorite restaurants don't complicate things? Because they're still in business.

Simplicity = Good.

Update (10/6/12): The dough formula I used for the most recent batch of dough is as follows:

100% Meijer AP flour
52% Water
0.6% ADY
0.7% Salt
16% Corn oil

This dough is good (even using generic flour), but it needs a little work. It hasn't bled oil like the formula did, which is good. However, it is more elastic than it should be. Considering these things, I'm going to increase the oil percentage to 20% for the next batch, while leaving the hydration (water) percentage at 52%.

As I mentioned earlier, I suspect 20% oil is the upper limit of how much oil should be used in this kind of dough. So if this dough oozes oil, I'll know the oil percentage should be less than 20% (but more than 16%).

Honestly, the formula just above is very good already. It's just not perfect. Mainly it's just too elastic. And I can always tell by watching videos of Marc Malnati that Malnati's dough is not remotely elastic.

Update (10/8/12): I was wrong, sorta. Using 20% oil does not lead to dough that bleeds oil. (Or at least the dough I made yesterday, with 20% oil, has not bled oil.) Also, dough made with 52% hydration + 20% oil is not quite as soft and extensible as the dough Marc Malnati uses.

I wasn't all wrong, though.

Having just eaten a pizza made from this dough, here are my observations: Even though the dough did not bleed oil, I didn't like this dough as much as the previous batch of dough. Similar to pizzas made from the dough (with 25% oil), this crust had plastic-y qualities. That is, instead of being soft and biscuity, it ended up crunchy and tough. The previous batch of dough didn't do that.

The only difference between the last two batches is that this batch has 4% more oil. What that tells me is this: Instead of increasing the oil to make the dough softer and more extensible, I probably should have increased the hydration. So right now I'm leaning toward increasing the hydration of the next batch to at least 56%, while decreasing the oil percentage back down to 16%. (It'll be a few more days before I try it, though, because I still have enough dough to make two more pizzas.)

Also, I think I've been using considerably too much cheese.

Update (10/9/12): Forget almost everything I said in yesterday's update. I must have been high or something.

I just finished eating a pizza with a crust made from the same batch of dough as yesterday's dough, and it did not exhibit the characteristics that grossed me out yesterday. I can't explain it. I guess maybe overbaking caused the characteristics I didn't like yesterday (because it was definitely a little overbaked). Or maybe overmixing the dough created those characteristics. Anyway, not only have I decided not to decrease the oil percentage in my next batch of dough, but I have in fact decided to increase the oil percentage by 2%. Also, I'm gonna mix this batch by hand.

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  1. No offense taken, Ryan. I'm glad there's more than one person out there testing out pizza formulations.
    I'm always tweaking my recipe for deep dish dough, and I have considered reducing the amount of oil by about 25%. By the way, I usually just use one type of oil as well (corn oil is my favorite), and people can use whatever oil combination they want. It looks like your latest percentages aren't that far off from mine. My goal was to come up with a set of baker's percentages that would translate well to standard measurements for the home user, so a little intended inaccuracy may have set the oil percentage a little too high in order to conform to cup measurements (also helps the center crust to cook through). My dough seems to work best with a very short mix/knead-time and a 1 to 2 hour rise and immediate use.
    p.s. - Them's some good lookin' pizzas!


    1. I should probably change my wording in certain parts of this post because I think it sounds like I'm trying to diminish some of your methods, even though I never intended to make it sound that way. I made a couple poor procedural decisions when I made the pizzas, like mixing for too long and resting at room temperature for too long. That was my own fault. I'm pretty sure the pizzas would have turned out a little better if I had made better decisions in those areas. (But what would Mom have thought?)

      I know what you're saying about trying to make your formula easy to translate into volumetric measurements. That's a tough decision because giving only the best instructions almost certainly translates to less exposure.

      Like you, I want to be able to help the people who refuse to get a scale or spend half an hour learning about bakers' percentages, but I feel pretty strongly that I wouldn't be doing them any favors by reinforcing their flawed belief that "one cup" of flour even exists. I have weighed one level cup of flour enough times to know that there is no such thing as one cup of flour. I can totally understand why you include both volumetric and weight measurements in your instructions, though, because most people will never take the time to do it any other way than how Mommy taught them.

      But if someone comes here wanting to know how to do it the hard way, or the way that consistently leads to poor results, I'm just not gonna let it happen. They can go to Food Network's web site (or just about any other food-related web site) to unnecessarily spend a whole bunch of time learning how to make bad pizza the hard way, with hopelessly inconsistent results. I'd prefer to try to nudge them toward the light, rather than keeping them in the dark.

      One last thing: I've been making some really amazing deep dish pizzas lately, and I've come up with a dough formula that works great for either same-day dough, 24-hour dough, or 48-hour dough. (Haven't tried 72 hours yet.) I've been drafting a best-yet post and trying to get some good pics. Hopefully I'll be ready to publish that post soon.

      P.S. - Thanks for the P.S. Yours look good, too. With the two of us dishing out some good pizza info, in addition to and the few other good sources of pizza instruction, maybe reliable pizzamaking information will slowly begin to overtake the tomes of horrible information available via the internet, Food Network, and cookbooks. (Baby steps.)

  2. I've been attempting to make a Lou Malnati's deep dish for years now. I'm sure I've spent at least 100 hours on the internet trying to figure out the formula. None have been right until I found Ryan's recipe. Ryan you nailed it. Thank you for the effort and getting to the truth of it all. And yes, NO freaking cornmeal in deep dish.