Deep Dish Sourdough Cast Iron Pizza

by From Scratch Farmstead
best deep dish cast iron pizza

If you are looking to incorporate sourdough into your world or want to expand your sourdough repertoire, this deep dish sourdough cast iron pizza is our favorite!

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Sourdough Deep Dish Pizza Crust

Our Deep-Dish Pizza Story

We both grew up in the Chicago area and Chicago style pizza is deep dish pizza. Every birthday or special occasion I always requested this deep-dish delicacy. To me, pizza wasn’t really pizza unless it was piled high with all the cheese, sauce, and meat you could imagine. However, growing up, the thought of crafting our own deep-dish pizza seemed downright impossible.

Fast forward to five or six years ago and we decided to begin incorporating sourdough into our family’s routine. It started pretty basic, loaves of bread, and basic pan pizza.

sourdough starter and freshly ground wheat

But overtime as we got more comfortable with the process of feeding our starter and working dough into different delicious concoctions, we thought, “Why are we not making a deep-dish pizza?”

After a little experimentation, we landed on this amazing deep dish sourdough pizza made in a cast iron pan. We haven’t looked back and this delicious sourdough cast iron pizza shows up on our table every Saturday night.

The History of Deep-Dish Cast-Iron Pizza – Chicago Style

Many Italians immigrated to Chicago in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in search of factory jobs. They brought with them their love for pizza. Ike Sewell and Ric Riccardo were two of these Italian men who decided to begin experimenting to create something unique that blended their Italian heritage and their new American traditions. Riccardo and Sewell opened their first pizza shop, Pizzeria Uno, making pizzas that more closely resembled a cake than the traditional Neapolitan pizza.

cast iron deep dish pizza

The key difference in their pizza was making it in a deep pan so that it could have a tall crust, leaving room for loads of toppings. Because of the density of the pizza, it needed to be cooked longer. But, in order to keep the cheese from burning, they put the cheese on the bottom, added meat and veggies, and finished it off with a layer of tomato sauce, giving rise to this Chicago tradition.

Why Make Sourdough Pizza?

There are many reasons to opt for traditionally prepared sourdough as opposed to the more modern quick yeasts and refined flours.

1. Easier to Digest. Sourdough is made through a slow fermentation process which breaks down many of the plant compounds that are difficult for the body to digest and increases the bioavailability of vitamins and minerals.

2. Blood Sugar Balance. Because of the fermentation process and high fiber content in sourdough, the body responds differently to it then with modern, commercially made bread products. There has been found to be less of a spike in blood sugar with sourdough allowing the body’s blood sugar levels to more easily stay balanced.

measuring ingredients for deep dish pizza

3. More nutritious. The long fermentation in sourdough causes it to breakdown phytic acid, a naturally occurring compound in grains that is difficult to digest and makes it difficult for the body to absorb nutrients. Because sourdough breaks down the phytic acid, it causes an increase in bioavailable vitamins and minerals making it more nutritious and health promoting.

How We Do Deep Dish Sourdough Cast Iron Pizza

We typically batch cook all of our sourdough once a month. Because of this, we cook all of our sourdough pizza crusts for the whole month at one time. So, the recipe below is for 4 crusts but could easily be halved or quartered for 2 or 1 crust respectively. 

four pizza crust dough balls

Our favorite combination of deep-dish sourdough cast iron pizza is to put a layer of pesto on the bottom, followed by a blend of cheddar and mozzarella, a layer of crumbled sausage, and then topped with spoonful’s of tomato sauce.

How to Freeze Pizza Crusts

Because we make four sourdough cast iron pizza crusts at a time, we typically use one right away and then freeze the other three for later use. Simply divide the dough into 4 evenly sized balls, coat them in a light layer of olive oil, and place in a quart sized zip lock bag. Place the bags in the freezer for up to a few months (ours never last that long!). 

freezing deep dish pizza dough

When you want to use, take the zip lock bag out of the freezer and place it into the fridge. Let it thaw in the fridge for a day or two. The day you are serving take the dough out of the fridge and place in a bowl on the counter for 3-4 hours before forming into your crust and cooking.

Type of Flour

We buy our flour from a local organic mill that we love – Janie’s Mill. Our preference is to use a 50/50 blend of einkorn flour and glenn wheat (a hard spring wheat). However, you could use whatever whole wheat or all-purpose flour that you prefer.

grinding wheat to make pizza

Deep Dish Sourdough Cast Iron Pizza

Equipment: 12” Cast Iron Pan

Yield: 4 Crusts

Ingredients: 

– 12 cups flour
– 4 cups sourdough starter
– 2 cups water
– ½ cup olive oil
– 2 tbsp honey
– 2 tsp salt
  2-3 tbsp of lard or other heat stable cooking fat

Directions:

  1. Add lard to 12” cast iron pan and place in oven to preheat at 450 degrees.
  2. Start with 8 cups of flour in large mixing bowl. Add starter, water, olive oil, honey, and salt. Stir together.
  3. Once stirred, continue to mix in ½-1 cup of flour at a time. Stop once the dough is moist but not too tacky to handle.
  4. Place dough on a floured surface and knead 3-5 minutes until a smooth ball is formed. 
  5. Cut large dough ball into 4 equal sections. Knead each piece of dough a couple more minutes until smooth dough balls are formed.
  6. Lightly coat each ball in olive oil.* If freezing dough, add dough ball to quart size Ziploc bag and place in freezer at this time.
  7. For fresh eating, remove preheated cast iron pan from oven. Spread cooking fat around in pan until bottom and sides are coated.
  8. Place ball of dough in pan. Spread dough by hand working it down and outward. Make sure dough is spread evenly along the bottom with extra dough around the edge. Form crust roughly 1” up the side of the pan.
  9. Use a fork to poke holes in dough every inch across bottom of pan. Prebake for 4 ½ minutes.
  10. Top pizza and bake at 450 deg. for 15-20 minutes. 

*We usually bake the pizza crust immediately after making, but you can proof the dough in a covered bowl for 6-8 hours or until doubled for added fermentation.

Enjoy!

So, the real question is – what are your favorite toppings? And do you go with Chicago style, or do you have your own deep dish tradition? 

Our family’s weekly tradition is to make deep dish pizza accompanied by homemade ice cream, and this homemade ice cream alongside this deep dish cast iron pizza is a match made in heaven.

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best deep dish cast iron pizza

Deep Dish Sourdough Cast Iron Pizza

Yield: 4 Crusts
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

If you are looking to incorporate sourdough into your world or want to expand your sourdough repertoire, this sourdough cast iron pizza is our favorite!

Ingredients

  • 12 cups flour

  • 4 cups sourdough starter

  • 2 cups water

  • ½ cup olive oil

  • 2 tbsp honey

  • 2 tsp salt

  • 2-3 tbsp of lard or other heat stable cooking fat

Instructions

    1. Add lard to 12” cast iron pan and place in oven to preheat to 450 degrees.
    2. Start with 8 cups of flour in large mixing bowl. Add starter, water, olive oil, honey, and salt. Stir together.
    3. Once stirred, continue to mix in ½-1 cup of flour at a time. Stop once the dough is moist but not too tacky to handle.
    4. Place dough on a floured surface and kneed 3-5 minutes until a smooth ball is formed.
    5. Cut large dough ball into 4 equal sections. Kneed each piece of dough a couple more minutes until smooth dough balls are formed.
    6. Lightly coat each ball in olive oil.* If freezing dough, add dough ball to quart size Ziploc bag and place in freezer at this time.
    7. For fresh eating, remove preheated cast iron pan from oven. Spread cooking fat around in pan until bottom and sides are coated.
    8. Place ball of dough in pan. Spread dough by hand working it down and outward. Make sure dough is spread evenly along the bottom with extra dough around the edge. Form crust roughly 1” up the side of the pan.
      Use a fork to poke holes in dough every inch across bottom of pan. Prebake for 4 ½ minutes.
    9. Top pizza and bake at 450 deg. for 15-20 minutes.

    *We usually bake the pizza crust immediately after making, but you can proof the dough in a covered bowl for 6-8 hours or until doubled for added fermentation.

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2 comments

jen June 4, 2022 - 8:27 am

i am about to try this! No rising at all?

Reply
From Scratch Farmstead June 4, 2022 - 10:00 am

Awesome! We hope you love it! We’ve often just eaten it fresh right after making and it has a great taste and texture. You can let it rise also which will allow it to ferment more and give it a more sour taste. But I wouldn’t say that even with it rising that it is the type of recipe that doubles in size or anything like that. It will only have a slight rise. Enjoy!

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