Perfect Pizza - Chicago Thin Style
This "Perfect Pizza" recipe was the result of years of trial and error to
duplicate the taste, texture, and appearance of the pizza we loved in Chicago and could not purchase more than 3000 miles away in San Francisco. Below are links to the various components. The tips listed below may help you create your version of the perfect pizza too. Enjoy!
The Cheese & Toppings
In order to duplicate a pizzeria pizza you need a screaming hot pizza oven. Don't worry you can convert your oven with a quick trip to the home improvement center. Purchasing a box of unglazed terracotta floor tiles and a tile cutter will cost less than a single trip to your favorite pizzeria. Just cut them to fit your oven racks. Rince the dust off with water. DO NOT use soap EVER to clean your tiles.
The addition of olive oil, other oils, or shortening make the crust softer
and chewier. It also makes it a little more resistant to rolling as thin as we like. Obviously the thinner the crust the lower the calories
Proofing the dough changes the flavor and the texture, making the final result more bread-like than Chicago style pizza. Additionally, it requires more advance planning than just preheating the oven.
We've also tried variations of high and low gluten flours, flour enhancers, etc, All resulted in crusts that were too chewy, too tough, too fragile, or too cracker like for our liking.
We preferred the milder flavor of honey to sugar.
Using all water creates a crust that is too bland and using all milk makes it too strong.
We tried all types of salts. Using Hawaiian sea salt was the final key to perfecting the crust. It works so well with the honey and milk/water mixture. The crust is dramatically different if you use plain sea salt or table salt.
Tomato sauce and puree are too thin. Paste is too thick and loses flavor when thinned down with water. A paste and sauce mixture works best to get the perfect consistency without having to reduce the sauce by precooking.
Two light shakes of cayenne adds a slight zing without over being too spicy.
Sweet red wine balanced the acidity without making the sauce sweet.
Don't use too much cheese. The perfect pizza is a balance between the crust, sauce, and cheese. Too much cheese and you throw of the
Spraying the baking stone with water right before placing the pizza on the stone will make a slightly softer crust.
You can bake it in a more traditional manner and it will be quite tasty but it will lack the pizzeria quality.
Homemade pizza is tastier, less costly, and healthier than pizza from any other source.
Making pizza should be a family affair. Assign people different components to prep the oven, dough, sauce, and ingredients. Then everyone can assemble their own pizzas..