Showing posts with the label chicago pizza

More Chicago Cured Tavern Pizza In Home Oven Progress - January 2024

The last time I did a check-in on my Chicago tavern pizza progress using a dough curing process that John from Crust Fund released out into the pizza-normie world was back in March of 2023 when I shared a photo showing the undercarriage microblisters .  I moved away from this style during the warmer months, but with the cold here, I've gone back inside our home oven. Below are a couple of shots from recent bakes.  I've been getting better with keeping the skins round and I've adopted the application of blobs of fresh mozz on a plain cheese pizza (mostly for the looks).  Pre-heated our Baking Steel at full-blast in our oven (somewhere close to 550 degrees) and these baked at between 8 and 10 minutes.   Bottoms were perfect.  And tops were dressed appropriately - something I don't do very often.  (I typically go overboard on cheese.)

Chicago Thin Progress - Bottom Blisters - March 2023

The online pizza world is afire with Chicago Tavern pizza these days.  It seems to have culminated this past week when internet sensation (and...someone who can go by just one name) Kenji published his months-long research project into *real* Chicago pizza .  I've been working on what I call "Chicago Thin" for the better part of 10 years.  On-and-off.   It wasn't Kenji's piece that moved me, but the guy he referenced in the story - John from Crust Fund - is who has been my northstar on this Chicago Thin journey.  I wrote about my latest attempt here in early February .   Both Kenji and John use a method called 'curing' - where they roll out the dough into 'skins' and let it age.  Sometimes in the fridge, sometimes not.  What's the goal with curing?  A dry, blistered bottom.   I had a little bit of a 'blistering' breakthrough recently.  See below for a photo showing these little blister bubbles that I've been chasing for a while.  Th

Pequod's Clone - Pizza Making Progress - September 2022

If you ask ten people who lived on the northside of Chicago what their favorite pizza from that time in their life was, I'd bet that 8 of them will tell you one place:  Pequod's .  It is a place that serves a distinct version of Chicago Deep Dish that features what they call a "caramelized crust".  What it really is a well-done whole milk mozzarella edge.  Not quite a frico , but more an 'edge'.    Is it my favorite?  No.  But, I'm a thin-crust-always-kinda-guy.  We've been to Pequod's.  Both the city location, but also the original up in Morton Grove.  Here's my post from a visit there in 2015 .  And here is our first visit to the suburban location (the original started here by Burt Katz) in 2011 .  Also note...we did eventually make it to Burt's Place before Burt Katz passed away .   But, back to Pequod's and why I bring it up.  One of our neighbor's requested a Pequod's-style pizza recently.  I haven't made deep dish pizz

Pizza-Making Tip: Drain Your Giardiniera - January 2022

I have just recently (in the past three-or-so months) started to utilize hot giardiniera on my bar pies.  Here's a photo of my "Nice Cups" pepperoni pizza that is half-topped with olive-free hot giardiniera .  A funny thing has happened with my ability to handle hot/spicy foods recently - my tolerance has dropped significantly.  But, in an interesting coincidence, Nat's tolerance has only grown.  So, I've gone from "extra hot peppers" at Potbelly's to "light hot peppers".  With that going on, I mostly make my giardiniera pizzas for a crowd and not ones that we eat at home by ourselves, but I still want to take the time to get my utilization dialed in.  Here, below, is a photo of the latest tip that I picked up:  draining the giardiniera in a colander to remove the excess oil.   I mean...the idea is simple and logical.  In order to control the top-oil level, the right thing to do is to remove as much of the giardiniera oil as possible.  But,

Chicago Thin From Bar Pie Chassis - January 2022

For the better part of 2021, I have been making (exclusively) Bar Pies at home to the exclusion of just about any other type of pizza.  I've made the occasional Detroit-style, but for the most part, it has been 12" round Bar Pies for 10+ months .  However, Bar Pies have a specific provenance - that of the east coast.  New Jersey.  Massachusetts.  Those places make "Bar Pie".  What do we make in Chicago?  Something called Tavern pizza.  Or Tavern-style pizza.  Or, just Chicago Thin Crust.   Bar Pie isn't too far from Chicago Thin, but it is a bit different.  So, I've decided that 2022 is going to be my Chicago Thin/Bar Pie hybrid year.  My maiden voyage down this path was this past weekend when I took a Chicago Thin recipe that I found on YouTube , modified it to be a little bit *more* like my base Bar Pie formulation in some ways, dropped the hydration down a bit and then, finally did a couple of downsizing from a 14" formulation to a 12"-based cha

Aurelio's Pizza Pre-Panning Their Dough - Pizzamaking 2021

Back in  this post from October of 2015 , at the very end, I mention that in a video , the franchisee of the Aurelio's in Geneva "points out that they roll/sheet their skins out ahead of time and let them kind of dry out. They don't want the top 'sticky'. Not 'doughy'."  I thought that was interesting.  They pan their doughs ahead of time.  That kinda makes sense in terms of a production environment, right?  But, I wasn't sure if that was just unique to the Geneva franchise.   Welp, over on their Instagram handle , the folks at Aurelio's pizza confirm for me - as fact - this pre-panning of the dough that I've been thinking about for years.   View this post on Instagram A post shared by Aurelio's Pizza (@aureliospizza) I've been making Bar Pizzas the past few weekends and this is something I'm going to incorporate into my tests to see what impact it has on the finished product.  Also, note...they use cutt

Quarantine Pizza Making - Quasi-Chicago Thin

One of the things that I've been doing in quarantine is honing a new pizza dough recipe - something that is close to a Chicago Thin.  I first posted about a Chicago thin formulation four years ago in February of 2016 , but I haven't really been happy with it over the years.  I've settled into a dough formulation that I'm starting to hone in on that makes a 12" pie. The resulting dough is sexy.  Like it is soft and supple.  It includes butter AND oil, which I think is part of the reasoning for how the dough feels.  I also don't use any pan lube in this recipe, which is a first for me. You can see the finished product above - featuring a mozz/cheddar blend and these thick-cut Old World Roundy's pepperoni via Mariano's via Instacart.  I just kind of wandered into them and now love them. Below, you can see the upskirt.  Or...undercarriage if you will. I've been baking the pies at between 400 and 450 degrees with the 'convection' *o

Pizza Nerdery: Diastatic Malt Powder for Color and Oven Spring

Via Adam Kuban on his Instagram handle (story) For years, I've been poking around this thread (and the various sub-threads ) on that focus on Chicago-style thin crust (aka Tavern pizza) and in various places, posters have occasionally mentioned using diastatic malt powder - or sometimes non-diastatic - in their dough formulations.  And while I've been intrigued, I've never gone out and procured the stuff, let alone find out where I could buy it locally.  But then, this happened over the weekend on Instagram.  Slice (RIP) Head Honcho and "pizza influencer" Adam Kuban posted this upskirt and description in his recent stories .  I screenshot it above.  ( You can follow Adam here on Instagram .  Or you can learn more about his pop-up Margot's Pizza here .) He called out that he added diastatic malt powder for oven spring and color.  Color, people?!?!  That's one of the things that I've been working on over the years is a consisten

Chellino Scamorza Cheese @ Nature's Best Market in Westmont

Back in 2011, I posted about Chellino Scamorza Cheese on the blog and said - at the time - that it was the *BEST* cheese to shred and dress on your pizzas.  I mentioned that I had been using it for a few years and that it isn't cheap.  Today?  Still the best pizza cheese.  And, frankly the ONLY cheese that I'll use to dress my pies .  Over the years, I've mentioned this variety of Scamorza Cheese on the blog.  Here's a post about a pizza place that opened in Naperville that uses the stuff .   And then in 2012, I posted about a visit to this Italian Deli in Westmont called Amici Italian Deli .  (Kinda funny...but we live like 2 minutes away from this place now.  Too bad it closed!?!  I would have been all over it.) This stuff from Chellino - out of Joliet - is different than most Scamorzas in that it isn't smoked and is much more like a part-skim mozzarella that you can take a box grater to the ball.  And it is a surprise when we find it in stores.  Since we mo

What do YOU do with Cutter Pans and Pizza Skin Transportation?

Here's a situation that I'm faced with at least a few times a year:  Make the dough for thin pizzas at home.  Do a cold rise overnight, take them out in the am and spread the skins on the pans.  Then, later in the day... pack up my gear, get in the car and head to someone's house (my Mom's, Nat's Mom's, etc).  Where we dress and bake and serve the pies. With Detroit-style pizzas, that's a breeze.  There are a bunch of vendors who sell plastic lids that snap on to the blue steel pans that I use.  But, what about round cutter pans?  The ones I use are from Lloyd's Pans and have a 63-degree angle with just a shallow lip.  I press the dough into one of these and when it rises, it comes up to almost meet the edge of the dough.   At home, that's fine.  But what about transporting?  These things aren't the easiest to handle and there isn't a lid that I have on hand that works.  I've been recently using these black plastic dimpled serving t