The Chicago-Style, Gino’s East, deep-dish cornmeal crust conundrum has finally been solved for good. I’ve been vexed by the toughness of the crust the last few times I’ve made it, and I know that in pie-type crusts, water is the source of that toughness. The crust recipe as it’s stood these last several months contains a whole lot of water, much more than it really needs, yet I’ve been reluctant to take it out. Why? Because I’m using a solid fat (shortening). In order to get the dough pliable enough to work, I need to add a lot of water to begin with. An extra ounce here or there won’t make a big difference, I’ve reasoned, since it’s going to be plenty toughened already.
But if I use a liquid fat (i.e. vegetable oil), the whole scope of the problem changes. Now the oil can lubricate the dough as well as provide richness. I can cut the water down by half at the very least! And in fact I just did it. I made up a sample dough and baked it off over my lunch break (God bless the home office). It came out tender as can be. Goodness me I’m excited. Yes, more tweaking will be needed these next few weeks, but I’m really breathing down Gino’s neck now!
PS – The new recipe is now up under the State of the Pizza link on the right.