The crust was worth the skepticism. It was SO good! Spongy, thick, and with a wonderful flavor, thanks to the potato. I didn't poke mine well enough and had a mountainous rising dough after the initial bake, but in the end it wasn't a big deal. I used some of Linda's Sauce that I had stashed in the freezer, and a combination of cheeses tailored to my husband's tastes.
Deep Dish Pizza
Dough source: Baking Illustrated, directions adapted slightly
~1 medium russet potato, about 9 ounces, peeled and quartered
~3 1/2 cups all purpose flour (17 1/2 ounces)
~1 1/2 tsp instant yeast
~1 3/4 tsp salt
~1 cup warm water (about 110 degrees)
~4 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for coating the bowl
~1/2 cup sauce
~1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
~1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese
~1/3 cup grated/crumbled mexican cheese
1. Bring 1 quart water and the potato to a boil. Cook until tender. Drain and cool until it can comfortably be handled. Press through the fine disk on a potato ricer, or grate through the large holes on a box grater. Or, if it crumbles in your hand when you try to do this, as it did for me, take out a fork, smash it to bits, and call it a day. Measure 1 1/3 cups lightly packed potato and
2. Adjust one oven rack to the highest position and the other to the lowest. Heat the oven to 200 degrees. Once it reaches 200, maintain the heat for 10 minutes and then turn off the heat.
3. Combine flour, yeast, and salt in a food processor or stand mixer. With the motor running (low for the mixer), add water and process until until dough comes together in a shaggy ball. Add the potato and process for several seconds, then add 2 T. of the oil and process several more seconds, until the dough is smooth and slightly sticky. Transfer to a lightly oiled medium bowl, turn to coat with oil, and cover with plastic wrap. Place in the warmed oven until the dough is soft and spongy and about doubled in size, about 30-35 minutes.
4. Oil the bottom of a 10-inch deep-dish pizza pan with remaining 2 Tbsp of oil. Yes, it seems like a lot of oil, but the oil is what browns the crust while it's baking in the oven. Remove the dough and gently punch down on a clean, dry work surface. Divide in two, and pat one of the halves into a 9-inch round and transfer to the pan. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rest about 10 minutes, until it no longer resists shaping. Repeat with the other half, or wrap it well with plastic wrap and freeze in a freezer bag.
5. Place a pizza stone or rimless baking sheet in the oven on the lowest rack (do not use an insulated cookie sheet) and preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Uncover the dough and pull it into the edges and up the sides of the pan to form a 1-inch lip. Cover again, and let rise in a warm, draft-free spot for about 30 minutes, until about doubled. Uncover and pierce generously with a fork. (Yes, do this. Then do it some more.)
6. Reduce the oven temperature to 425 degrees and place the pan on the heated stone or baking sheet until the crust is dry and lightly browned, about 5 to 10 minutes.
7. Add sauce and cheese to baked crust and return to the oven for 10-15 minutes. Move the pizza to the top rack and bake until the cheese is golden brown in spots, about 5 minutes longer. Mine was already browned and good to go after 13 minutes on the bottom rack. Using a spatula, carefully lift the crust out of the pan to check the crust for done-ness. You are looking for a few brown spots on the bottom. Let it sit about 5 minutes before cutting, unless you enjoy the pizza sauce massacre on your cutting board.