Who would have thought potatoes were the secret ingredient of excellent deep dish pizza? The reason? The high starch profile jump-starts fermentation, therein creating a complex profile of flavors, and even leaves a little sugar in excess to sweeten the deep dish crust; also, the potato starches interfere with the gluten bonding among the flour molecules so the dough stays a little looser and more moist. If none of what I just said made any sense, just do it anyway because it tastes awesome. Mash a potato to the Contours song that discusses proper mashing methods among other things, and add potato your pizza dough. SOOO good.
Deep Dish Pizza
adapted from Baking Illustrated
Makes two 9-inch Pizzas (Serves about 6)
1 medium russet potato (peeled, boiled, and grated, should yield about 1 ½ cups mashed potato)
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) instant or rapid-rise yeast
1 cup warm water
6 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup marinara sauce
2 tablespoons freshly chopped basil
1-2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
First, make the dough. Combine the flour, salt, yeast, and potato in a large bowl. Add the water and oil and mix with a wooden spoon for a minute or two until fully combined. Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead until the dough is glossy and smooth.
Rinse and clean the bowl, and coat it with a teaspoon of olive oil. Place the kneaded dough in the bowl, turning the dough to get its surface coated with oil. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature the dough has nearly doubled in size, about an hour.
Once the dough has risen, punch it down, turn the dough onto a dry work surface, and pat into a 12 inch round. Coat a 10 or 14 inch cast-iron skillet with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Transfer dough to the skillet; press the dough into the pan, working it into the corners and about 1-inch up the sides (you may have to fold over the sides to make it all fit within 1-inch up the sides). If dough resists stretching, let it relax for a few minutes before proceeding. Cover and preheat oven to 500 degrees. Uncover and prick the dough with a fork, reduce the oven heat to 425 degrees and bake on a baking stone for 10-15 minutes.
Remove and spread marinara sauce and shredded mozzarella evenly over the surface of each pizza, and return to the oven to bake for another 20 to 30 minutes, or until the cheese is golden brown. Let rest 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
Easily 5 stars, and Carol and Bruce, I’d have to say this could compete with your Lou Malnati’s in Chicago. I’ll make it for you next time we visit (hopefully in May!) and you can decide.