Sausage and Giardiniera Chicago Thin Pizza Progress - February 2023

Thanks to John Carruthers at Nachos and Lager (and Crust Fund Pizza), I've made some progress on my thin crust Tavern pizza the past few weeks.  I call it "Chicago Thin", but it seems that "Chicago Tavern-Cut" has been the most widely-adopted in the pizza-making regions online.  I've been playing around with this on-and-off for about a year.  That includes cold curing.  And room-temperature curing.  The post that featured John and his recipe on Wordloaf was really good as it provided me with a few tweaks and some additional details.  It was also scaled down for two dough balls.

I've settled into making a batch of dough for 2 14"(ish) tavern pizzas that first ferments in bulk in the fridge, then the day prior to baking, I ball and stick back in the fridge.  The morning of my bake: I roll out and cure the dough in between pieces of parchment paper.   They dried out and started to get a little-bit brittle along the edges this time, but I'm not certain if that will happen regularly.  

This, below, is my latest:  well-drained giardiniera and some fennel-less Italian Sausage from Spring Valley, Illinois.  I used crushed tomato base, 112 grams of whole milk low-moisture mozzarella and 44 grams of an extra sharp white cheddar.   (BTW...draining the oil is also a tip from the very same guy:  John.)

This is the most giardiniera that I've used on a single pizza - and that's thanks to John's recipe (which calls for a half of a jar per pie!) and I think it worked well.  

The color on top isn't quite what I'm looking for, but that could be the sausage or the cheese combo.  Or...the bake.  The color of this bar pie is MUCH MORE what I'm looking for when it comes to the more-orange(ish) top.   The sausage is what I had on hand (in the freezer), so maybe I'll look to trying the bulk sausage (with fennel) that I can get locally and see if that changes things, too.   This Sausage bar pie has the look that I'm after in terms of cheese melt and coloring and the darker sausage is the color that we're most used to pizza-wise around here. 

I was happy with this - the bottom was cracker-like and had those little blister marks.  But, what I miss in doing this style is frico.  I've worked on Bar Pizza for a couple of years now and what I think I'm REALLY chasing is something that sits at the intersection of Chicago Thin - with the blistery, crackery bottom with a pan-fried frico edge that you get when you use a pan.  I tried something a year ago, but it seems like it might be time to revisit now.

I think I could try rolling out rounds, using the pan to cut the shape and then cure the skins.  Right before dressing, drop that skin into the bar pie pans that I have on hand.  Try to build up a little frico and get the pie *mostly* baked.  Then, de-pan it, toss it on the steel (or...as they say in the pizza biz "deck it") for a few minutes to get that bottom well-done.  Best of both worlds?  

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