Come on down to Recipe Town: Healthy Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizza?!

Okay, all right, I wouldn’t say “healthy” exactly; more like healthier. Much healthier than your garden lot Chicago style, in fact. This baby’s got the Omega 3s you’re not going to find in any other pizza, and the Omega 3 balance is almost on-par with the Omega 6s. The only cautions I have here are the glycemic load values and the calories. So long as you can cut it into six and have only one slice (Good luck with that), you should be cruisin’ golden. Now, without further ado-doo:

 

Ingredients
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (I used King Arthur)
½ cup whole ground flaxseed meal (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
2 teaspoons yeast, active dry or instant is fine
7½ tablespoons ORGANIC canola oil
1 cup purified (reverse osmosis) water
Salt

You also need a 9″ deep dish pan; I just used my 9″ springboard pan. It’s great, because at the end you can loosen the sides and remove the pizza easily for cutting.

 

Instructions

 

Now, this is gonna be as much a pizza-making tutorial as it is a recipe. That means I hope to imbue with some tips to make a nice pizza of any style, as well as this great recipe! There are a lot of DOs and DON’Ts to making a good pizza; I’m not here to act like some Italian authority, but these tips’ll do you well for making a good pie, and they’re far-removed from the dumb double-rise (which is more bread-oriented) punch-down recipes you’ll see littering the ‘net and beyond. Let’s get our paws dirty!

 

1. Mix all the dry ingredients (including yeast) in a large bowl. I recommend that you use golden flaxseed meal, which Bob’s Red Mill also makes, as it has a lighter taste. You can also put up to 2/3 a cup of the golden guys with no noticable difference and for a better 3/6 ratio; just make sure to only put a little over 1 and 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, in that case. Anyway, make sure that you mix these dry stuffs enough so the flaxseed is sufficiently scattered. As for the yeast, I know a lot of pizza recipes will say “put it in a bowl of water and “activate” it with a teaspoonful of sugar. DURF!” but disregard that nonsense. The yeast will feed on the flour just fine and without the added sugars, trust me.

Here's an easy way to make sure the flour ratio's right; put in the half cup o' flax, then fill to 2 with white flour. Then do another half cup of whitey.

 

2. Pour in water and canola oil (I know, I gave canola oil a bad rap on my post on dietary fats, but after a bit of reading I feel fine with recommending an organic variety; the omega 3 to 6 ratio just makes it worth it). Stir the mixture for a few seconds, just enough to get a semi-cohesive mixture. It can still have a few crumbles in it; just don’t stir it for more than 10 seconds.

3. NOW WE WAIT; this is kind of a lost art in modern pizza making. The “sit session,” as I call it, actually does give the pizza’s flavor a character I can’t describe but love a lot. Anyway, let this crumbly half-together doughball sit for about 20 minutes.

20 minutes of this.

 

4. This is where you’re gonna get those hands doity. Take any utensils out of the dough, and start kneading it to get out the dry clumps and form it into a more homogenous mass.  Even pick it up out of the bowl and move from hand to hand while forming.

Skeletor-style hands not necessary for optimum dough.

  DO THIS FOR NO MORE THAN 2 MINUTES. Any further and the gluten will get tough, which can have lots of undesirable effects in the final product (toughness, gumminess, et cetera). If you get to just under two minutes and the dough is still sticky that’s perfectly okay and, in fact, expected. Worry not about it, stick the pizza back in the bowl, and cover with plastic to send to the fridge.

Ready for refrigeration. Wrap it tight!

5. Proofing time (the amount of time you let the dough rise) in the fridge is completely up to you. I’d caution against anything less than 6 hours, especially if using active dry yeast (I actually used Fleishman’s pizza yeast as it was all I had on hand; not the greatest choice for a cold proof but eh!). The one I made here, pizza yeast and all, was cold-proofed overnight (approx. 17 hours from placement in fridge). Generally, the longer it cold proofs (with a max up to 4 or 5 days), the better it’ll be. But yeah, I was hungry so overnight was good enough fo’ me (and plus, keeping it in there after using instant pizza yeast would result in a balloon after 4-5 days).

OOPS, WRONG YEAST. You don't want your dough looking like this after-proof, generally, but it's okay. Just use regular active dry or instant yeast (unlike me) and you'll be fine.

6. When you’re ready to bake, turn the oven to 450. If the dough has risen hard, like mine did with the wrong yeast, leave it in there while your oven heats and you make toppings. If it is still rather compact, go ahead and pull it out of the fridge to heat up a bit while your oven heats and you prep whatever toppings you wanna use. You may also want to lightly grease the deep pan, in case the dough is sticky. Don’t forget the sides of the pan!

Shaping…

7.Once the oven is heated, pick up the dough from the bowl as gently as possible and place it in the center of the deep pan. No punching down or any of that dumb mess, necessary! The only punch-down type step is here, where you’ll be stretching the dough (as shown) to fit the pan. Try to keep everything even so there are no thin spots in the crust. Since this is Chicago-style, you’re going to make an indention for the crust, creating a kind of “bowl” by having the crust climb up the sides. The side crust doesn’t need to be too thick, as it will expand during baking. After you get it fully stretched and shaped, cover with a paper towel or something and let sit for 15 minutes before topping. This lets the gluten relax a bit. Salt, as desired, before placing toppings.

Shaping some more…

Shaping the crust.

…and voila! Cover and let sit for 15 minutes to let the gluten relax before topping.

 

8. For my part in this, you’re finished! I’ll leave toppings up to you, reminding you only of two things: 1) Try to pick ingredients that are good on a scale of omega 3s to 6s and nutritionally diverse; you can refer to this post for more information, there; and 2) Since this is Chicago-style, you first put on the cheese, then the toppings, then the sauce. As we’re working with low temperatures (at least in the world of pizza) that commercial home ovens limit us to, it doesn’t really matter; but if you want true Chicago-style, that is how the toppings are ordered. On a related note, if you have an oven that can hit 800-900 degrees, that would be preferable for this. Just make sure to do it in that order only, else the cheese will burn, and to pull the pizza out after about 2-4 minutes. For the rest of us at 450 degrees: Put the pizza in there for an hour, and cut into six slices with a serrated knife after pulling from the oven and cooling for about 5 minutes. Again, if you have a springform pan with pull-off outer rim, this makes that last step much easier.

 

MY finished, delicious product. Hope yours looks (and tastes) as good!

 
Anyway, my estimation of Omega 6:3 value in the crust is about 1.3:1, so not bad when you consider most pizzas you’re looking at 20 or 30 to 1. Just watch the calories! Ah, forget it. Eat like Al Capone!