Difficulty: Medium - experience needed
1 Cup warm water
1 Package yeast
3/4 Cup cornmeal (see instructions)
1 Teaspoon salt
1 Teaspoon sugar
1/4 Cup olive oil
2 Tablespoons melted butter
2-1/2 to 3 cups Gold Medal flour
Makes enough dough for a 12" round deep dish pizza pan.
1/2 recipe is the perfect amount for a 9" round cake pan.
Preparing the cornmeal : One secret to making Gino's East pizza is getting the cornmeal ground up fine enough so hat you don't have a grainy texture to the crust. To do this, take 3/4 cup Quaker Oats corn meal and grind it up in a coffee grinder. You have to grind it as fine as is humanly possible. Then take the ground corn meal and sift it into your mixer bowl.
Getting the cornmeal into solution and proofing the yeast: Another secret to Gino's East pizza is to get the cornmeal dissolved as well as possible (to prevent the grainy crust.) To do this, put the warm water in the mixing bowl with the corn meal, and add the yeast, salt, sugar, olive oil, and melted butter. Using the whisk attachment (if you have a KitchenAid mixer), stir the mixture for 10 minutes.
Making the dough ball:
Add one cup of flour to the mixer and use the dough hook to mix it up well. Add the remaining flour 1/4 cup at a time until you can handle and kneed the dough without it sticking to your hands. You may not need the whole 3 cups of flour, or you may need more. You will have to use your judgment. Just remember not to let the dough get too hard, or to have it too soft (will stick you your fingers).
Next take the dough out of the KitchenAid mixer and kneed it by hand on a countertop. If you have made the dough right you will not have to put any flour down, or you will only need a minimal amount. Kneed the dough for 3 to 5 minutes. Again this is a judgment call.
Letting the dough rise : Oil the inside of your mixer bowl. Place the dough ball in the bowl and cover the bowl with a sheet of plastic wrap. Put the bowl in the oven. Here is another secret ñ take a skillet and boil some water in it. Put the pan of boiling water on the bottom shelf of the oven and the mixer bowl on the top. The dough will rise much faster in the warm humid air. Let the dough rise until doubled in size. This might take anywhere from 1/2 to 1 1/2 hours.
Forming your crust:
After the dough has risen, punch down the dough into a ball. Place the ball of dough on the counter and flatten it with your hand. Then use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a uniform circle 1/4 inch thick. Take your dough and carefully place it into the pan. Form the crust by pinching the dough 1 1/2 inch up the side of the pan. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and let the dough rise 1/2 hour or until your oven is preheated to 475ºF. As an aside, Gino's probably puts either butter or olive oil in the bottom of the pan before it puts the dough in.
Gino's East uses a 12" wide by 2" deep circular pan with straight up and down sides to bake their medium pizzas. A nice substitute is a cake pan
with straight sides. This recipe makes enough dough for a 12" pizza. A half recipe will make the perfect amount of dough for a 9" cake pan.
Topping your pizza:
After you let the crust rise 1/2 hour in the pan, melt some butter and use a basting brush to coat the crust surface with melted butter. The first thing you will put into the pan will be the cheese. Place an even layer of cheese 1/2 to 3/4 inches deep in the pan. The next thing you will put into the pan will be the meat. Layer the meat spaced evenly over the top of the cheese. Next spread a layer of tomato sauce on top of the meat. Don't put too much sauce on or you will end up with a soggy pizza.
The last thing is to sprinkle parmesan cheese over the top of the sauce.
Next you add salt. Start with a tablespoon and taste it. Keep adding salt and tasting until it is to your liking. Gino's sauce is nice and salty. The only other thing you might want to add would be a tiny amount of basil.
Baking the pizza:
Your oven must be at 475ºF exactly before you put the pizza in. Bake the pizza at 475 for 15 minutes. Lower the temperature to 400ºF and bake the pizza an additional 10 to 25 minutes until the crust is golden brown, and areas of browned cheese start to poke up through the sauce. Let the pizza cool 5 minutes and then serve.