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Giordano's Famous Deep Dish Stuffed Crust Pizza

Giordano’s Famous Stuffed Deep Dish Pizza

· The deep secrets to cloning one of Chicago's best pies ·

November 1, 2019 13 Comments

No discussion of iconic Chicago foods would be complete without talking about deep dish pizza and quibbling over who makes it best. Is it Pizzeria Uno, the originator of deep dish pizza? Or maybe it's Geno's East, with their signature cornmeal crust? Or perhaps it's Giordano's, and their double-decker stuffed deep dish? Each pizza is unique in its own way and all of them have a devoted fanbase, but with extra cheese, an additional layer of dough—and some aggressive franchising—many are now calling Giordano's Famous Stuffed Deep Dish Pizza the best Chicago deep dish in America.

Deep dish pizza is traditional flat pizza’s heftier cousin. The crucial elements are still there—crust, sauce, cheese, toppings—but there’s more of it, and the ingredients are stacked in a different order in a deep pan, and baked for a long time, like a pie.

Chicago-style deep dish pizza had already been popular for 31 years when Giordano’s arrived in town in 1974. Italian immigrants Efren and Joseph Boglio adapted their mother’s Italian Easter Pie and created a deep dish pizza with lots of melted mozzarella baked between two layers of flakey dough. Through decades of hard work, the brothers made Mama Giordano’s secret recipe a Chicago favorite, and Giordano’s restaurants multiplied to over 70 stores in Illinois and around the U.S.

With so many fans of the pizza, I knew it was crucial to get two specific things very right in this famous pizza knock-off: the dough and the sauce. Proper construction of the deep dish is also an important step, but without top-notch good dough and sauce, the rest of it wouldn’t matter.

To make a home version you’ll need to plan ahead a little bit, because this dough needs to hang out in your fridge for a while to get right.

Let’s start there. With the dough.

Giordano's Famous Stuffed Deep Dish Pizza copycat recipe by Todd Wilbur

The dough is tricky because it’s not traditional pizza dough. It’s flakier, like pie crust, which means we’ll need a good amount of fat in the mix.

I played with the proportions for 28 batches before finally landing on the best ratio of flour-to-water-to-yeast-to-fat.

You make it by dissolving the sugar and yeast in the water, and that goes into the flour with margarine and oil and salt. Easy so far, right?

Giordano's Famous Stuffed Deep Dish Pizza copycat recipe by Todd Wilbur

Form the dough into a ball, then cover it with plastic wrap and get it into your refrigerator for 1 to 2 days. Wait, what?

Why can’t we just cover the dough and place it in a warm spot in the kitchen for about an hour like most of the other pizza dough recipes?

Sure, we could do that, but we’d get a different type of pizza crust—one that’s chewier and yeastier. And we don’t want that here.

By allowing the dough to rise slowly in the refrigerator we’ll slow down fermentation to get a mellower, more tender deep dish pizza crust. Just like the crust of the real thing.

Ideally, you want the dough to proof (rise) covered in your refrigerator for at least 24 hours and no more than 48 hours.

I promise it’ll be worth the wait.

Giordano's Famous Stuffed Deep Dish Pizza copycat recipe by Todd Wilbur

You’ll have plenty of time to make the sauce. Make it at some point while you’re waiting for your dough to rise, and then you can chill it until you need it.

Keep in mind that the sauce will only be as good as the canned tomatoes you choose, so be sure to get a quality product. San Marzano-style tomatoes work great here.

Add the whole can, heat up the tomatoes until they’re soft, then crush the attitude out of ’em with a potato masher. (San Marzano tomatoes are notoriously cocky.)

That feels good. Better than a stress ball.

Giordano's Famous Stuffed Deep Dish Pizza copycat recipe by Todd Wilbur

When your tomatoes are nicely crushed, add the diced tomato, oil, garlic powder, dry basil, salt, and black pepper. Cook that for 10 minutes, then add the fresh basil.

You may have noticed that the only herb in this sauce is basil which comes in two forms: dry and fresh. The combination adds more complexity since dry and fresh basil taste slightly different, and have different functions. The fresh basil adds color to the sauce along with a light basil flavor, while the dried herb contributes a more intense basil taste.

When the sauce is cool, chill it alongside the dough in your fridge until pizza time.

Giordano's Famous Stuffed Deep Dish Pizza copycat recipe by Todd Wilbur

A couple of hours before it’s time to make pizza, take the dough out of the refrigerator so that it can warm up closer to room temperature.

Before you begin to build the pizza, place a pizza stone in your oven and preheat it to 425 degrees F.

Why a pizza stone? The direct heat from the hot stone will help brown the crust on the bottom of the pizza, giving it a crispier texture. If you’ve got a pizza stone, definitely use it here.

If you don’t have one, don’t worry about it. You’ll still get great deep dish pizza.

And you won’t have to think about where to store a big, heavy pizza stone. So there’s that.

Giordano's Famous Stuffed Deep Dish Pizza copycat recipe by Todd Wilbur

Our dough is no longer cold. So let’s roll it out.

First, use a knife or a scraper to slice off one-third of the dough and set that chunk aside.

We’ll start with the big portion of dough.

Giordano's Famous Stuffed Deep Dish Pizza copycat recipe by Todd Wilbur

Roll the dough out on a floured surface, making a circle that is 16 inches across.

That looks good.

Giordano's Famous Stuffed Deep Dish Pizza copycat recipe by Todd Wilbur

Now you need to get the dough into a 10-inch deep dish pan.

Before you add the dough, rub the pan with a coating of soft margarine. This will keep the pizza from sticking while adding flavor and a tender crunch to the outside of the crust.

Next, fold your dough circle in half, lift it into the pan, then unfold it.

Giordano's Famous Stuffed Deep Dish Pizza copycat recipe by Todd Wilbur

Once your dough is in place you can add toppings, which in this pizza, don’t go on top.

Unlike traditional pizza, the toppings in a deep dish are baked into the middle of the pizza, underneath the cheese and sauce.

To keep it simple, I’ll just use pepperoni in this pizza.

Giordano's Famous Stuffed Deep Dish Pizza copycat recipe by Todd Wilbur

But you can add whatever you like.

Here are some of the most popular toppings.

Add a single layer of whatever you fancy, then it’s cheese time.

Giordano's Famous Stuffed Deep Dish Pizza copycat recipe by Todd Wilbur

Giordano’s pizza is packed with a lot of cheese. It’s 100% mozzarella that’s made in Wisconsin, and it’s really good cheese.

Because the cheese is such a big star in this pizza, don’t skimp. Get the best mozzarella you can find and don’t get it pre-shredded.

Pre-shredded cheese is dusted with cornstarch so that the shreds don’t stick together in the bag. That might make the cheese look better and sell better, but it also keeps pre-shredded cheese from melting as smoothly as freshly shredded block cheese.

Get a block of the best mozzarella you can find and shred it yourself. Then make sure the cheese comes to room temperature before you load it into the pizza, or it may not get as warm and gooey as you want it.

Giordano's Famous Stuffed Deep Dish Pizza copycat recipe by Todd Wilbur

Roll the leftover dough into a 12-inch circle and place it over the cheese.

Giordano's Famous Stuffed Deep Dish Pizza copycat recipe by Todd Wilbur

Pinch the dough together all the way around, then trim the top, flush with the top of the pan.

Giordano's Famous Stuffed Deep Dish Pizza copycat recipe by Todd Wilbur

Without any way for the air to escape, the dough will bubble and the sauce will slide around on top.

We can fix that by cutting a few ventilation holes into the dough with a sharp knife.

Giordano's Famous Stuffed Deep Dish Pizza copycat recipe by Todd Wilbur

Now you can spoon some sauce over the dough. Just add enough so that you can’t see the dough.

It will take about half of the sauce to cover the pizza.

Which means you’ll have enough left over to make another one.

And you’ll probably be much better at it the second time around.

Giordano's Famous Stuffed Deep Dish Pizza copycat recipe by Todd Wilbur

You have just one pie in the oven, so it’s not likely you’ll forget what’s inside of it.

But at Giordano’s all the pizzas look the same, and with a lot of them in the oven at once, it gets very confusing.

And that’s why they add one piece of each of the fillings to the top of the pizza. Everybody always knows which pizza is which.

Giordano's Famous Stuffed Deep Dish Pizza copycat recipe by Todd Wilbur

Finally, it’s time to bake the pizza.

Place the pan on the pizza stone in the hot oven for 40 minutes or until the top of the sauce begins to brown in spots.

Giordano's Famous Stuffed Deep Dish Pizza copycat recipe by Todd Wilbur

Finish off your pizza with a sprinkling of a grated Parmesan and Romano blend.

Let the pizza cool for 5 minutes, then slip a large spatula under the pizza as you tip the pan to remove the pizza.

Once the pizza is out of the pan, use a large sharp knife to slice across it three times, making six slices.

You are now a Chicago deep dish pizza master. Humbly accept your praise, and dig in.

Todd Wilbur, The Food Hacker

Want more? Check out my hacks for Pizzeria Uno’s Deep Dish Pizza, and Pizza Hut’s Pan Pizza.

Plus, I’ve created recipes for over 1,100 other iconic foods at TopSecretRecipes.com. See if I cloned your favorites here.

Make restaurant-style dishes at home

Get more Top Secret Recipes from Todd Wilbur at https://topsecretrecipes.comGet more Top Secret Recipes

 

Giordano’s Famous Stuffed Deep Dish Pizza

Chicago-style deep dish pizza had already been popular for 31 years when Giordano’s arrived in town in 1974. Italian immigrants Efren and Joseph Boglio adapted their mother’s Italian Easter Pie and created a deep dish pizza with lots of melted mozzarella baked between two layers of flakey dough. Through decades of hard work, the brothers made Mama Giordano’s secret recipe a Chicago favorite, and Giordano’s restaurants multiplied to over 70 stores in Illinois and around the U.S. To make a home version you'll need to plan ahead a little bit. The dough must rise for 1 to 2 days in your refrigerator to make the best clone of the tender, flakey crust.
Prep Time25 mins
Cook Time1 d 50 mins
Total Time1 d 1 hr 15 mins
Author: Todd Wilbur

Ingredients

Crust

  • ¾ cup water (room temperature)
  • 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 16 ounces (3 cups) all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 6 tablespoons margarine, softened

Sauce

  • 28- ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
  • ½ cup crushed tomatoes in puree
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dry basil
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil

Pizza

  • 24 ounces (about 6 cups) freshly shredded mozzarella cheese (room temperature)
  • 1 tablespoon margarine, softened (for greasing the pan)
  • 1 tablespoon grated Romano cheese
  • 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese

Toppings (optional)

  • Italian sausage, cooked
  • Pepperoni
  • Onions
  • Mushrooms
  • Green peppers

You will also need

  • A pizza stone
  • A 10-inch deep dish pizza pan

Instructions

  • Make the dough for the pizza one to two days before you plan to build the pizza. You can make the dough in a standing mixer or stir it by hand. Start by dissolving the yeast and sugar in the water in a small bowl.
  • Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl. Add the oil, margarine and yeast solution, then mix well until the dough forms a ball. Don’t knead the dough too much. Place the dough into a covered container and store it in your refrigerator for 1 to 2 days.
  • Make the sauce by dumping the canned tomatoes into a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat until simmering for 5 minutes, then use a potato masher to smash the tomatoes into smaller bits. The sauce should still be a little chunky. Add the remaining sauce ingredients, except the basil, and cook for 10 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the fresh basil and cook for another 5 minutes. Cover and cool. You can make this sauce when you make the dough and keep it stored in your refrigerator until pizza time.
  • A couple hours before you plan to make the pizza, take the dough out of the refrigerator and let it warm up to room temperature. When you are ready to make the pizza, place a pizza stone into your oven and preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  • Slice off one-third of the dough and set it aside, then roll the larger portion of dough into a circle that is 16 inches across. Place this dough into a 10-inch deep dish pizza pan or cake pan with a 2-inch high edge that has been rubbed with 1 tablespoon of softened margarine. Arrange a single layer of each of the fillings you choose onto the dough. Fill the dough with the cheese and use your hands to make it even all the way around.
  • Roll the smaller portion of dough out to a 12-inch circle. The dough should be thinner than the bottom dough. Place this dough onto the pizza and press it down onto the cheese in the corner all the way around. Press the edges of the two doughs together then use a knife to trim the dough even with the top of the pan. Slice a few holes in the center of the dough so that it doesn’t puff up as it bakes.
  • Use a spoon to spread about 1¼ cups of the sauce over the dough. Spread the sauce to the edge of the dough. At the restaurant, to indicate what’s inside the pizza, they’ll add one piece of each of the fillings onto the top of the pizza, in the middle. That’s handy when lots of pizzas are in the oven and they all look the same.
  • Bake the pizza for 35 to 40 minutes until it begins to brown on top. Spin the pizza around about halfway through the baking so that it browns evenly.
  • Combine the Romano and Parmesan cheeses in a small bowl. When you take the pizza out of the oven sprinkle it with the cheese blend.
  • Run a flexible spatula around the edge of the pizza to make sure it’s loose, then get the spatula under the pizza while holding the pan (using a mitt) with the other hand and scoop the pizza out onto a pizza pan or cutting board for slicing. Slice the pizza 3 times through the middle with a large sharp knife, making 6 slices.

Notes

What other famous foods can be made at home? I've created recipes for over 1,100 iconic foods. Visit TopSecretRecipes.com to see if I've hacked your favorites.

 

13 Comments

  1. Reply

    Loo Waters

    November 14, 2019

    I haven’t made this yet but just converted to baker’s formula and that’s an uber rich dough. 34% by baker’s percentages. More fat than what Malnati’s is (~23%) by a wide margin, and Malnati’s is about as rich as it gets (Home Run Inn not withstanding). Giordano’s is always lighter than Lou’s.

    I’ll try this out but that seems really heavy.

    • Reply

      Todd Wilbur

      November 14, 2019

      Try it and let us know what you think.

  2. Reply

    Nicole Hovorka

    November 11, 2019

    I made this last weekend, it looked great after baking but would not come out of the pan so it turned in to a small disaster. I did NOT have a pizza stone, I think that would have helped. I will try it again. It sure was a fun first try!!!

    • Reply

      Todd Wilbur

      November 11, 2019

      Put lots of margarine or shortening in that pan for an easier release. It’s true that the pizza stone creates a bottom crust that may help it release better. Also, don’t take it out of the pan right away. Give it a good 10 minutes to firm up.

  3. Reply

    Diane

    November 7, 2019

    Todd, can I substitute butter for margarine? I never have margarine in the house!

    • Reply

      Todd Wilbur

      November 7, 2019

      I get that. I used margarine here because I wanted fat without water, plus the butter flavor. You can sub with butter, but the crust may be a bit tougher. Shortening also works, but it brings no flavor with it to the party.

      • Reply

        Diane

        November 7, 2019

        Okay — I will pickup some margarine. Do you have a brand you recommend since it’s something I never normally buy.

        • Reply

          Todd Wilbur

          November 7, 2019

          I like sticks over tubs, but either will work. Any brand will do.

          • Reply

            Diane

            November 8, 2019

            Thanks Todd. Hopefully early next week I can make it. Taking a pierogi making class on Sunday!

  4. Reply

    Patricia

    November 6, 2019

    Would this work in a spring form pan. Seems like it could be easier to remove and serve

    • Reply

      Todd Wilbur

      November 6, 2019

      I think that’s a great idea! Make sure you have a 10-inch pan. And please let us all know how it worked.

    • Reply

      Todd Wilbur

      November 6, 2019

      But, I just realized the bottom is slightly raised in a springform so it won’t touch the pizza stone and get real crispy.

  5. Reply

    McKenna

    November 3, 2019

    Oh….mah….goodness!! Am I dreaming?! You’re amazing ⭐️ Thanks for sharing!!

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