100% Whole Wheat Pizza

Pizza is one of those compromise foods we make as a family. I’m pretty picky about it. I like it in Rome and Florence and liked it from the now-defunct Fremont Trattoria. I enjoy Serious Pie but it’s just not the same. Other than that you can pretty much keep your pizza.

But since my family loves pizza I’ve been working on it for years. I want a crust that uses 100% whole wheat flour but doesn’t overpower the toppings (which should be minimal.) I want the crust to be crunchy on the bottom but still have some toothiness and chew. I want it thin but with pockets. I want the toppings to change frequently since I don’t like to eat the same thing more than a few times a year. I’m not easy to please.

I think I’ve probably tried every pizza dough recipe I’ve come across and then some. We’ve had blind pizza tastings and sighted pizza tastings and conducted panels of friends to make notes on them all. We’re crazy like that. But you may not be so I’m going to spare you your own blind tastings and just give you my recipe.

It’s not at all authentic because it’s whole wheat and contains oil but I feel like it’s pretty darn good. Not blessed by the Pope kind of good but still I bet the best whole wheat pizza dough you’ll ever have kind of good. It’s essentially the same recipe as the Neo Neapolitan Pizza Dough from American Pie: My Search for the Perfect Pizzaadapted for an overnight soak with acidic medium, 100% whole wheat and some tricks to get you nice bubbles in a regular home oven. Here Willipa Hills Little Boy Blue is graced by onions caramelized with Rockridge Orchard Balsamic Vinegar. Local Black Walnuts on top would be divine.

4 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon yeast
1 3/4 cups water with 3 tablespoons of whey from yogurt or raw milk making up the total liquid
2-3 tablespoons olive oil (not necessary but this helps tenderize the dough so it’s soft inside yet crunchy on the bottom)

Combine flour, salt and yeast in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the water and the olive oil and mix using the dough hook until the dough comes together (about 3 minutes). Switch the mixer off and let the dough rest for 10 minutes. Turn on the mixer and knead it for another minute or two. By this time the whole wheat flour will have absorbed the moisture and you can tell if it needs more flour or water. The dough should be fairly wet and sticky, a little tricky to work with but this is necessary to get the final texture the way you want it.

At this point you can either leave the dough in the mixing bowl covered with a plate overnight to soak the grain and make it more digestible as well as develop the flavor or you can divide and refrigerate or freeze the dough for future pizzas. I usually make this the night before so the grain has time to soak and the flavor develops.

Divide the dough into 4 pieces, rubbing each one with olive to keep them from drying out. Place each in a ziplock or small plastic container to refrigerate or freeze. Be sure and remove your dough several hours before using it so it comes to room temperature, otherwise it will be difficult to work with.

About 30 minutes before making pizza preheat your oven and pizza stone as hot as it will go. We bake ours on 550 but if you have a wood fired oven in the backyard, 800 is ideal.

If you are using white flour it does make a difference whether you stretch or roll but we’ve found with whole wheat it really doesn’t matter. What does matter is that you get your dough as thin as possible by hook or crook. We sprinkle our pizza peal with semolina to keep the dough from sticking and then roll it out as thinly as possible with one of these.

You could certainly use a regular rolling pin but the short sides on this and the handle let you get inside pans for things like tarts and gives you some nice leverage. During the heat of pizza making my kitchen counters are often piled high with all sorts of things easy to knock over so it’s nice having such a small implement to work with. Plus the kids love using it with playdough.

My ideal pizza dough has a crispy bottom and just a bit of soft inside, ideally with nice bubbles. You don’t want bubbles so large that you end up with pita bread so the secret that lets you achieve bubbles using 100% whole wheat dough is to gently dock your crust and pre-bake it naked. I use one of these for docking pizza dough and crackers.

Once your dough is sufficiently rolled and docked you deftly shake it off the pizza peal with a flick of the wrist and onto the pre-heated pizza stone. Pre-bake the dough for 3 minutes, remove it from the oven and poke any bubbles that approach pita bread size with a fork, then add toppings.

We use cheesy white sauce, red sauce, plain olive oil, taco sauce or barbecue sauce to match our toppings du jour. Hold off on any fresh toppings that will singe in the oven such as basil or other leafs, fresh herbs or fresh tomatoes. Bake the pizza for another 3 minutes until the cheese is bubbly and the bottom is darkened and crunchy. Remove the pizza then top with the fresh ingredients and let the pizza site for 5 minutes to meld the flavors and set up before slicing.

Here leftover taco filling and queso fresco meet home canned jalapenos.

Crack open a bottle of local red wine and make a fresh garden salad while you wait. Now that’s the kind of pizza meal I can sink my teeth into.

Makes 4 small pizzas.

25 Responses to 100% Whole Wheat Pizza

  1. Mmmm, I’ll have to try this. I love, love, love pizza and have been looking for a new dough recipe. Yum!

  2. Oh my your pizza looks so delicious! I can’t wait to give your dough a try. I wonder if it would work with sprouted wheat that I grind into a flour myself?

  3. I love homemade pizza. If it’s not made at least once a week here, everyone gets a little antsy (I try and keep the peace!)
    These look great. I love the sound of the queso fresco and jalopenos one.

  4. That looks great! We used to make homemade pizza all the time but haven’t for awhile. I’ll have to give this a try. Thanks!

  5. We like to do homemade pizza but it is usually a rare treat. I have some dough I previously made that is in the freezer waiting for me to pull it out and whip up a tasty pizza. Maybe that should be on the menu this week!?

    Your recipe looks like a winner. I am snagging it and copying it into my recipe file for future use.

  6. Meg – pizza is still not one of my favorite things unless it’s something like a caramelized onion gorgonzola fig combo.
    Cynthia it would work but wouldn’t be as light I’m sure, just like sprouted wheat tortillas aren’t either. But it would be really good for you!
    CityHippyFarmGirl I’d love to hear of any new combos you make!
    Sandy it’s one of my quick dinners, mainly becuase I put my husband in charge. ;p
    KFG I hope you like it!

  7. I know some people don’t like 100% whole wheat pizza doughs. I’ve found that if you use organic white whole wheat (King Arthur makes one), it makes a difference. Somehow it’s a bit more tender and light.

  8. Hi Stephanie, that is what we are using, white hard wheat berries that I grind myself. But yes you can get it from King Arthur Flour as well. It does make a big difference if you use white winter wheat versus red winter wheat (typically used in making bread.)

    I use white winter wheat for pizza dough, pretzels, etc, red winter wheat with spelt or rye for bread, soft wheat berries for scones and cookies and spelt and oats for pancakes and waffles. It’s really nice being able to vary our grains and I think you get more interesting and superiour flavors for it.

  9. Your pizza looks AMAZING and I’m with you on the types you like. One of my favorites is blue cheese, onion slices, apple, and walnuts. Next summer we’re building a wood-fire oven in the backyard. Can’t wait!

  10. Thanks Brittney – that pizza sounds right up my alley! I covet the pear harvest for my stinky blue cheeses…have fun with the Everett coop tour!

  11. Hi Annette, I’ve been meaning to ask you – does your flour grinder permit you to regrind? I am interested in getting one but undecided, since we don’t eat a lot of bread anyway. But I would like to be able to remove some of the bran. Any thoughts? The pizza looks grand! Especially the blue cheese, caramelized onion and walnut!

  12. I’m starting this dough recipe today. I recently made the whole wheat recipe pizza from Peter Reinharts whole grain bread book using red wheat flour. It was surprisingly good for whole wheat dough, but not good enough that I made it the following time, even on my stone the crust wouldn’t get crunchy. My new favorite flatbread has thinly sliced leftover steak, edamame and kimchee, then at the end I add scallions, cilantro and drizzle a reduced soy sauce and toasted sesame oil glaze. Almost as good without the steak. Have to say I haven’t bought bread at the store in a few months- just been making your sandwich bread recipe weekly!

  13. Holy cow that looks good! I will have to try it. As I am new to the whole soaking thing… can you give me a little more details on how to do that? I really want to make this for my family! Yum!!!

  14. Hi Barbara – from what I understand you need to use a sieve to sift the bran and germ out. The smaller the hole the more refined your flour is. It does allow me to re-grind, you simply pour the flour back in the top and get a sequentially finer grind each time you do it but the finer the grind the harder it would be to get out the bran and germ so I would start with a course grind, sift out large bits and then re-grind what is left. That is so much work though that I have started just buying a box of cake flour for birthday cakes and we eat whole wheat for everything else (or I occasionally add part AP flour to the recipe)
    Emily that pizza combination sounds great! I love kimchee and make okonomiyaki all the time topped with kimchee but my husband doesn’t like it. I hope you like this pizza recipe! It’s a variation of his all white flour recipe, I’m not a fan of his whole wheat pizza dough recipe either. I find a lot of his breads are too dry and tough for me so I doctor them up.
    Robin, you simply combine the flour and dairy in a bowl the night before, cover with a plate and then leave it on the counter till morning. It couldn’t be easier! You can also combine them in your bread machine, making a pile of the other ingredients on the top (yeast on top so it doesn’t start acting too quickly) then set the timer. In the morning you wake up to fresh bread. It’s perfect for someone who works.

  15. Wow those pizzas look amazing! If I were to do a fruit pizza, say the blue cheese & onion with apples, would I saute the apples beforehand or put them of raw?

  16. Hi Mama2Joel! I just thinly slice the pears or apples and put them on when it just comes out so they get warmed but don’t cook.

  17. At one stage we were having pizza weekly and like you I always liked it to rest overnight to develop flavour but I also liked to save a piece each time to add to the next weeks dough for even more flavour.

  18. Trace that is such a great idea! And oh my gosh I am smitten with your buttons. I had no idea it was possible to hand make them. They are complete works of art. If I ever start sewing again I will be heading to your etsy shop. I’d love you to consider a guest post on making buttons of hand dying using natural ingredients! The colors are amazing.

  19. Have recently found my new favourite pizza topping, and maaaybe you might like it? A spinach pinenut concoction, posted on my blog if you are interested….Still need to try the jalapeno one though!

  20. cityhippyfarmgirl that sounds divine. I wish I could figure out how to get local pine nuts! We have pine trees all over, it seems like we should not need to import the from China.

  21. I’m using your pizza recipe tonight! :-)

  22. Sandy I hope you like it! It’s not white flour but it’s still pretty good.

  23. Pingback: October Unprocessed | Sustainable Eats

  24. I’ve read a few things about not soaking grain doughs in metal bowls. Do you know if this is something to avoid? I ask, because my mixing bowl is stainless steel.

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