One of the first things we got excited over after getting a cast iron skillet was deep dish pizza. So this is my first attempt at it. It’s laced with tomato sauce, cheese, deli meats, and yes, some vegetables too – spinach and sliced tomato.
So first the dough. I’ve read about basic bread doughs everywhere that can be substituted as a pizza dough, but I wanted something that tasted more like pizza dough and less like another bread base. I was especially keen on finding out how to create a tasty pizza crust after a late-night visit to a pizza joint reminded Ben of why he ceased going there (“the dough tastes like cardboard,” along with “the pepperoni is under-cooked”).
So I did a little research (mostly through visiting pizzamaking.com) and found that semolina flour makes a great addition to homemade pizza dough. Semolina helps to create that chewy texture we associate with pizza, although too much creates an overly dense dough. As a rule, you should use at most, a quarter of your total flour content in semolina.
So that’s exactly what I did. I based my pizza dough and instructions off of Devon Mercer’s ‘Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza‘. I followed Devon’s dough instructions almost exactly, albeit swapping out the cornmeal for semolina, and the canola oil for olive oil. Hints of olive oil really do come through, so unless you’re not a fan of olive oil, make the swap, you won’t regret it.
Here’s the recipe for the dough, toppings used as follows:
-3.5 cups all purpose flour
-1/2 cup semolina
– 1/2 cups warm water
– 1/2 cup olive oil
– 1/2 tsp sugar
– 1/2 tsp salt
– 2.25 tsp instant yeast
– pasta sauce (I used a mix of tomato and cheese I had left from a previous meal)
– 3 tbsp tomato sauce
– thin slices of summer sausage (I used enough to cover the base)
– 1.5 cups spinach
– 1/2 cup medium cheddar, grated (you can use the same cheese, I just happened to be running out of cheddar so I used a second variety)
– 1/2 cup hard cheddar, grated
– 4 slices salami
– half a Roma tomato (or any tomato, as long as it’s small and firm), sliced
– 2 tsp oregano
1. First, take the water and proof the instant yeast (I know it’s instant, but proofing it makes dough go ‘poof’ more. You probably can skip this step and mix it in directly with the flour since pizza dough is supposed to lie somewhat flat. I proofed it anyway, since it is habit). Let it sit until it froths (about 10min).
2. Then whisk the flour, semolina, salt, and sugar in a bowl. Mix in the yeast. You may need to switch to a wooden spatula and put down the whisk at this point.
3. When the dough is relatively intact, add the olive oil slowly, and continue mixing until well blended. Knead for about 4-7 minutes.
4. When the dough takes on a ball shape (as opposed to a sticky mass falling apart), cover it with cling film or a towel and let it rest. Devon’s recipe says that you can put it in the fridge to retard (slow down) the proofing stage overnight. However, if you intend to bake it up for dinner the same day, carry on reading.
5. After at least an hour (or more, depending on whether the dough has doubled in size by then), preheat the oven to 450F. Though the recipe calls for you to wait at least 30minutes after it’s been heated up, I think that you should be fine with a cast iron skillet, as heat is distributed evenly.
6. Oil a baking pan (or cast iron skillet) with oil.
7. In the original recipe, you turn your dough upside down into the pan, press it down, and pull the sides up. I did just this, but next time I’ll be dividing the dough into quarters. There’s more than enough dough and I ended up cutting some of it off and freezing it (the final result was something closer along the lines of a pizza pie, but it was delicious nonetheless).
8. After you’ve trimmed the edges of your dough, paint a thin layer of the tomato-cheese sauce along the base. Leave it thin, so it doesn’t soak through the dough as you continue layering your pizza with toppings.
9. Place slices of summer sausage all along the base until the dough is completely covered.
10. Add the rest of the tomato-cheese sauce on top of the meat. It’s important to layer the meat first before the majority of the sauce to keep your dough from getting soggy.
11. Add all the spinach, then drizzle your tomato sauce. Sprinkle 2/3 cups of cheese.
12. Place the four slices of salami in a thin layer on top. Add the rest of the cheese.
13. Bake for 20 minutes.
14. Remove from the oven and add the layers of tomatoes on top. Spread the rest of the cheese over top, and sprinkle the oregano, and pepper over it.
15. Broil on low for 3-5 minutes.
16. Remove from heat, allow to cool slightly and serve!