Previously I posted a recipe for a traditional pizza with a whole-grain crust. Today’s recipe is a deep-dish pizza in a cast-iron fry pan, although you could use a standard pie pan if you want. I was inspired to create this pizza after we got some great local shiitake mushrooms and some wonderful tomatoes for slicing along with really good raw milk cheddar. The dough produces a consistence much more like bread than the previous recipe that I posted, thanks to more gluten and a little oil.
Begin by making the dough, so it can rise while you prep everything else.
- 1 tablespoon yeast (less, like a teaspoon, if you have all day for the dough to rise–if you want pizza in an hour or two, use the full amount)
- ½ cup warm water
- 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons whole-wheat flour
- 2 tablespoons wheat gluten
- pinch of sugar
- pinch of salt and/or Cavender’s Greek Seasoning
- optional: dried oregano, thyme, and rosemary
- 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon olive oil
Dissolve the yeast in the warm water, at about bath-water temperature. If it feels like good bath-water to you, the yeast will like the temperature too. Let the yeast hang out in their bath for a few minutes and then add the remaining ingredients. You can make this dough in no time if you use a food processor, but your hands will work fine too. In a food processor, you know you’re done when the dough forms into a ball. Do not over-process! Now put the dough in a well-oiled bowl more than twice as big as the dough ball, cover lightly, and set aside until the dough is almost doubled.
- Canadian bacon (we used nitrite-free turkey bacon), cut into quarters
- thickly sliced shiitake mushrooms, 1-2 cups
- thinly sliced tomatoes, at least 2 tomatoes–you could also use one can of good tomatoes, drained, whole so you can slice them yourself, otherwise the chunkier the better
- mozzarella and sharp cheddar cheese, about 2-3 ounces, shredded
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Clean and slice the shiitake mushrooms. In a 10-inch cast iron skillet on the stove top, lightly brown the mushrooms in a little olive oil to release some of the mushrooms’ liquid. Now remove the mushrooms, add a little more oil, and lay the tomato slices out evenly across the skillet. Bake the tomatoes for 15-20 minutes to get them to release their liquid. Turn off the oven if you want. Now remove the skillet from the oven, set aside the tomatoes (drink any juice they leave!), re-oil the skillet, and let it cool for a few minutes.
Meanwhile, flatten out the dough ball on a lightly floured surface, until the dough is about ten or eleven inches around. Let the dough rest and rise a bit more while the cast iron skillet cools so that you can comfortably touch it. Now gently fold the dough in half and transfer it to the skillet and spread it to within a half inch or so from the edge. Preheat the oven to 450 degree F now while the dough rises in the skillet. Once the dough is puffy again, put the skillet in the oven and let the dough bake by itself for about 15 minutes on the upper oven rack.
Take out the skillet and add the toppings, starting with the meat, then a tiny bit of cheese, then the mushrooms, then most of the cheese, then the tomatoes, then the rest of the cheese and Italian herbs (oregano, rosemary, thyme, basil). Increase the oven temperature to 500 degrees F and bake the pizza for about 15 minutes on the top rack again, until the top is browned. Check for overly juicy tomatoes periodically. Should the tomatoes still be producing juice, you can lift the edge of the pizza to let the tomato juice drain underneath. It will start to bake off as soon as the juice hits the hot skillet, and it’ll give your crust a nice flavor too. Let the pizza cool for a few minutes to help the cheese set up, and then cut the pizzainto wedges using a bread knife or pizza wheel–or both, as we did, using a wheel for the middle and the bread knife for the edges. Eat and enjoy!
Of course, you can choose any toppings that you want, but we think heartier toppings work best with such a thick crust. Some of the Chicago pizzerias where deep dish originated use a whole disk of cooked sausage as the base of toppings. You can even get seafood in a garlicky white sauce with few or no tomatoes.
Do you make deep-dish pizza at home? What are your favorite toppings?
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