This here is my basic whole wheat pizza dough. This recipe is beginner friendly and makes good pizza crust with a variety of whole wheat flours, be it fine ground white whole wheat flour or more coarse ground flour.
Pizza is a good thing and whole wheat pizza is even better! But it can as easily go wrong leaving you with a very unappetizing brittle or gooey crust. Whole wheat flour behaves differently compared to white flour and understanding this is our best bet against mishaps.
Here are two things to keep in mind
- Whole wheat flour tends to absorb more moisture compared to the same amount of all purpose or bread flour.
- Whole wheat flour has more bran, bran tends to cut gluten strands leaving the bread denser. Using a more finely ground flour helps reduce the damage to the gluten structure.
In this recipe, I use whole wheat flour and all purpose flour with the ratio being 2 parts whole wheat flour to 1 part bread flour. The bread/all purpose flour is there as an added insurance. This ratio of 2:1 tends to give consistent results, whether you choose bread flour, all purpose flour, 00 flour or 0 flour.
A look at what goes into the dough
Other than the flour mix, you need 5 ingredients for the basic whole wheat dough –
Honey – Honey is used to activate the yeast. I prefer to use honey with whole wheat flour as the nutty flavors of the flour and complex flavors of honey go hand in hand. That said sugar is an excellent substitute.
Water – Use pure water without additives. If your tap water is heavily chlorinated boil it and let it cool. Whole wheat flour can absorb quite a bit more water than plain flour. 100g of ww flour could easily absorb 70g of water without being sticky. In bread speak, it will be called 70% hydration. If you are familiar with handling wet dough feel free to add more water and increase the hydration to 80%.
Yeast – Yeast is the magic maker here. The measurements in the recipe are written for active dry yeast.
Salt – Salt is an essential component in breads. It is there for taste as well as to control the yeast activity and strengthen gluten. For every 100g of flour 2 g of salt is generally used. The salt used in the recipe is fine sea salt. If substituting use the equivalent weight of the type of salt you prefer.
Oil – You can make this recipe without oil. But the flavors of extra virgin olive oil is great in the recipe. It makes the dough tender as well. Brush the pizza base lightly with oil before piling on the toppings. This is helpful in preventing the moisture from the toppings from seeping into the crust.
How to make the dough right
Now that we have an understanding of the ingredients let’s look at the process of making the dough.
Activate the yeast
Activating the yeast before adding to the flour ensures that the yeast is of good quality and will yield the results you want.
Make the dough
Mix the flours and salt together and start kneading by adding the activated yeast solution followed by water. If you are not weighing the ingredients add as much water as needed to make all the flour moist and come together as a ball. It might feel a bit sticky at first, but as you continue kneading the stickiness gives away to a smooth dough. I prefer to add oil once all the flour is gathered together. When kneading by hands it helps with getting rid of the sticky dough on fingers. I also use it as a guide to see when to stop kneading. Once all the oil has been kneaded in the dough become supple and is ready to rest and rise.
Let it rise
Oil a large bowl and roll the dough ball in the bowl to coat all sides of the dough with oil. Place the ball of dough in the bowl and cover with a moist kitchen towel or a lid. Let it rise until doubled. This takes about 1 hour at warm temperature (around 75°- 80 °F or 25°C). You can refrigerate the covered dough for up to 8 to 12 hours at this point, by which time it would have slowly risen to double volume in the fridge. If you want to keep the dough in the fridge longer reduce the yeast to half or quarter of the amount called for in the recipe. In any case bring the refrigerated dough to room temperature before working with it further.
Punch down the dough and knead a few times. Place it on a floured surface and divide into 2 or more portions. Let it rest lightly covered for a few minutes.
Flatten each portion into circle of desired size. I make two 12 inch pizza crusts with these. But depending on your crust preference you could make more or smaller ones. Brush the flattened crusts with oil and let rest for a 10 minutes. Add you toppings and bake.
It takes only 10 to 15 minutes to get cook the pizza. A hot oven is key to getting the pizza right. Try to heat the oven as high as possible. If you have a pizza stone pre heat it in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes and slide the pizza directly on top of it.
My current favorite is a 14 inch cast iron pan. Often times I heat the pan directly on the grill as my grill when covered can maintain higher temperatures than my oven. The hot base helps the crust to stay crisp and not get soggy (hence my love for the grill top method). In any case the idea is to cook the pizza in a hot environment, the hotter the better.
This dough can be frozen after the first rise. Portion and freeze the dough balls individually. Coat each ball lightly with oil and place in freezer bags with as much air squeezed out as possible. They say it can be stored for upto 3 months. When I make these I double the batch the extra dough gets used within a week or two.
Using frozen dough takes some planning. Transfer the dough to the fridge and let it thaw for 12 hours before using. The dough can stay in the fridge for a few more hours after it has thawed completely. I have tried thawing the frozen dough it by leaving it at on the counter top room temperature and it is not a method I would recommend.
An easy to make whole wheat pizza dough recipe.
- 1 C Bread Flour / All Purpose Flour 120g
- 2 C WW Flour 240g
- 1 Tsp Fine Sea Salt 7g
- 1 pkt Active Dry Yeast 1 3/4 Tsp or 7g
- 1 1/4 C Water 300g (use as needed)
- 2 Tsp Honey 15g
- 2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil 20g
Heat the water till lukewarm (110°F) or just warm to touch . Mix honey with 1/4 C (50g) water and sprinkle the yeast on top. Set aside for the yeast to activate and the solution to become frothy .
Mix the flours and salt in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the center and add the yeast mixture. Slowly pour up to 3/4 of the total water, while mixing the dough. If any dry flour remains add the rest of the water and mix with hands until a shaggy dough is formed.
Pour the oil over the dough and knead gently for 5 to 7 minutes until all the oil is absorbed and a smooth and pliable dough has formed.
Lightly oil a large bowl. Place the dough ball in it. Turn the dough a few times so that all sides of the dough is lightly coated with oil. Cover the bowl with a moist kitchen towel or plastic wrap (lid). Place the bowl in a warm area and let the dough rise until doubled in size. (See Note). It takes about 1 hour.
Alternately the bowl can be stored in the fridge for upto 12 hrs.
Punch down the risen dough and divide into 2 equal portions. Roll out each portion into desired shape and thickness. Lightly brush with oil and let it rest for 10 to 20 minutes. Add desired toppings and bake in a hot oven. and proceed with your recipe.
If not using immediately portion the dough into desired sizes. Form each into a ball and lightly coat with oil. Place in freezer bags and remove as much air as possible and seal. Freeze upto 3 months.
When ready to use the frozen dough thaw in the fridge overnight before shaping .
- 75° to 80° F or around 25°C is considered warm condition for the dough to rise. At this temperatures it takes about 1 hour for the dough to double in bulk. At lower temperatures the dough rises slowly.
- This recipe is written to be made by hand. If using a mixer or bread machine measure the ingredients by weight and use almost all the measured water. When kneading in a mixer do not knead the dough for more than 3 minutes. Let the dough rest for 15 to 20 minutes in the middle of kneading, as soon as all the moisture is absorbed.
What else can I use this dough for
This indeed is a multipurpose dough. This dough can be made into the kids favorite cheese pizza, or calzone, or steamed buns or even into stovetop flat breads. Use this dough to make flatbreads similar to Aloo Kulcha or the Easy flat bread .
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Find more at the Bread recipe collection