Whats The Difference Between Chicago Style Pizza And Regular Pizza?

Pizza is one of the most popular and beloved dishes worldwide. But did you know that there are different types of pizza, and they all have their unique characteristics? One of them is the Chicago-style pizza, which is famous for its deep-dish crust and generous toppings. In this article, we will explore the history and differences between Chicago-style pizza and regular pizza.

Chicago-style pizza has a distinct appearance, with its thick and crispy crust that rises high on the edges, creating a bowl-like shape. The toppings are arranged in reverse order, with cheese on the bottom, followed by meat, vegetables, and then topped with tomato sauce. This pizza is often served in a deep-dish pizza pan and is baked for a more extended period than regular pizza, resulting in a crispy crust and gooey toppings.

Key Takeaway
Chicago-style pizza is typically deeper and has a thick crust that is similar to a pie crust. It is then topped with sauce, cheese, and toppings in reverse order, with the cheese on the bottom and the sauce on top. Regular pizza, on the other hand, has a thinner crust and is usually hand-tossed or rolled out. The toppings are typically placed on top of the sauce and cheese, which sits on top of the crust. Both styles have a loyal following, but Chicago-style pizza is known for its heft and heartiness, while regular pizza is more of a traditional and versatile option.

Origins and history of Chicago style pizza

Chicago style pizza is a popular deep dish pizza style that originated in Chicago in the 1940s. The pizza’s origins can be traced back to the city’s Italian immigrant community. Ike Sewell, a Chicago businessman, and his partner Ric Riccardo opened the first pizzeria, Pizzeria Uno, in 1943. They wanted to create a pizza that was different from what was popular at the time. They devised a dish that was deeper and larger, with a buttery crust that could hold more toppings.

The dish’s popularity grew in the following years, with other pizzerias in Chicago creating their versions of the dish. Today, Chicago style pizza is a world-renowned dish that many people consider to be a staple of the city’s cuisine. It is often served in a pie-like form that has a high crust and is filled with layers of cheese, sauce, and toppings. The dish’s unique style and deliciousness have made it a favorite among many pizza lovers.

The distinct features of Chicago style pizza

Chicago style pizza stands apart from regular pizza in various ways. Firstly, the most distinctive element of Chicago style pizza is its deep-dish crust. The crust is made of various layers of dough and is deep enough to hold in a significant amount of sauce, cheese, and toppings. The crust is so thick that it resembles a pie crust rather than a traditional pizza crust. It is usually crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. The crust is cooked first for a few minutes before the toppings and sauce are added, which helps to prevent it from becoming soggy.

Apart from the crust, another unique feature of Chicago style pizza is that the cheese is placed underneath the sauce, and the toppings are added on top. This prevents the cheese from burning and ensures that it melts perfectly and blends with the other ingredients. Chicago style pizza toppings usually include sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms, onions, green peppers, and Italian beef. Overall, Chicago style pizza differs from regular pizza in its thick crust, layered toppings, and unique blend of flavors.

How Chicago style pizza is made

Chicago style pizza is known for its deep-dish crust that is crispy and buttery on the outside, yet soft and chewy on the inside. Typically, the crust in a Chicago style pizza is around 2-3 inches thick and is filled with layers of cheese, toppings, and sauce. The pizza is then baked for an extended period, usually between 30-45 minutes, to allow the ingredients to meld together and the crust to cook thoroughly.

Unlike traditional pizza, which usually has thin crust and is cooked quickly at a high temperature, Chicago style pizza has a unique preparation process. The dough for Chicago style pizza is usually made with a higher gluten content, which enables the dough to support the weight of the ingredients and maintain its structure during baking. The sauce is also placed on top of the toppings, instead of underneath, which helps prevent the crust from becoming soggy. Overall, the process of making Chicago style pizza is much more involved than that of a regular pizza, which results in a delicious, hearty, and satisfying meal.

Key ingredients and toppings in Chicago style pizza

Chicago-style pizza is distinct from regular pizza not only in terms of its thickness but also in its ingredients and toppings. One of the main differences is that the Chicago-style pizza is typically deeper with a maximum depth of around 3-inches, making it more substantial than a regular pizza. To support this depth, the crust of Chicago-style pizza is made from a combination of wheat flour, cornmeal, and semolina to give it its characteristic chewy texture.

Aside from the distinct crust, Chicago-style pizza also has specific toppings that make it unique. One of the most traditional ingredients of the Chicago-style pizza is the tomato sauce, which is usually made from San Marzano tomatoes that are known for their sweetness and low acidity. Another crucial ingredient in Chicago-style pizza is mozzarella cheese, which helps keep the sauce and toppings in place due to its stretchy texture. Additionally, unlike regular pizza, Chicago-style pizza tends to have its toppings placed under the sauce, which gives it a deep-dish appearance. The toppings themselves can vary, but they typically include Italian sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms, onions, peppers, and black olives. These toppings are layered over the cheese, creating a pizza that’s loaded with flavor and texture.

The crust debate: Chicago style vs regular pizza

When it comes to pizzas, the crust is one of the most important elements. The crust is what holds the toppings and cheese together. In Chicago style pizza, the crust is deep-dish and can be up to 3 inches thick. The dough is piled high with ingredients like cheese, sauce, and meats, and then baked in a deep pan. The result is a hearty, filling crust that can be crispy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside.

On the other hand, regular pizza crusts are thinner and lighter in texture. The crust can be crispy or chewy depending on the method used to make it. The dough is typically stretched out on a flat surface and then topped with the desired ingredients. Regular pizza crusts are usually crispier than Chicago style crusts but offer more of a subtle taste that allows the toppings to shine. Ultimately, the type of crust you choose will depend on your preferences.

Regional differences in pizza preferences

Regional differences in pizza preferences are prominent across the United States. In areas like New York and New Jersey, thin crust pizzas are the most preferred style. These pizzas are typically cooked in a wood-fired oven and are topped with a tomato-based sauce, mozzarella cheese, and various toppings. On the other hand, Chicago-style pizza is a deep-dish pizza with a thick crust, which is more popular in the Midwest. This pizza is rectangular in shape and has a layer of cheese on the bottom, followed by toppings and sauce.

Other regional differences in pizza preferences include the use of different toppings and sauces. For instance, in California, pizzas are typically topped with fresh vegetables and fruits, while in the south, the use of BBQ sauce as a pizza sauce is not uncommon. Furthermore, in the Northeast, pizzas are often sold as individual slices, while in the Midwest, they are typically sold as whole pies. These regional differences in pizza preferences reflect the diverse tastes and culinary traditions that exist across the country.

The future of pizza in America: where do Chicago style and regular pizza fit in?

The future of pizza in America is bright, with both Chicago style and regular pizza remaining popular choices for consumers. However, the pizza industry is also seeing an increase in demand for healthier options, as more people become health conscious and aim to eat better.

This has led to the rise of alternative crusts, like cauliflower or gluten-free options, as well as the incorporation of more vegetables and lean proteins onto pizza toppings. As a result, both Chicago style and regular pizza may need to adapt to these trends to remain competitive in the market. Nonetheless, with their unique flavors and loyal fan-bases, it is unlikely that either style of pizza will completely disappear anytime soon.

The Conclusion

Chicago style pizza is a delicious variation of the traditional pizza that boasts a thicker crust, more cheese, and a deeper dish. It typically takes longer to prepare and cook, but the end result is worth the wait for those who appreciate a hearty, filling pizza that is a meal in itself. While regular pizza is available all over the world and has many variations, Chicago style pizza remains a unique and iconic dish of the Windy City.

If you are a pizza lover, trying out different styles of pizza can be a fun culinary adventure. The differences between Chicago style pizza and regular pizza are significant, and each has its own set of loyal fans. Regardless of your preference, it is clear that the world of pizza is a delicious and diverse one that offers something for everyone. Whether you prefer thin crust, deep dish, or something in between, pizza is a comfort food that has stood the test of time and will continue to be a beloved staple for generations to come.

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