Ever wondered why restaurant whole wheat pizza always tastes better? And why the at-home whole wheat pizza comes out of the oven hard and brittle, stony enough to break off a front tooth? Well, last night I finally figured it out. And let me say, the answer is not more olive oil in the dough. No. It’s the combination of two things…a little bit of white all-purpose flour mixed into the whole wheat flour and more water than you would think makes sense. You would have thought I’d have figured this out by now. I’ve only been making pizza at home for years now but I confess. Every time I made whole wheat pizza using only whole wheat flour it came out hard as a flat brick. I strove for a crisp crust with a chewy center while maintaining a relatively healthful dinner. These pizzas were made palatable with generous toppings of turkey pepperoni, arugula or spinach and the great compromise of 2% reduced fat mozzarella. Finally I just stopped preparing pizza altogether. Months and months went by without it being served at our house. But last night I had a hankering for it and, by gosh, I was going to get it right. It had been such a long time since I had mixed up the dough that I couldn’t remember the recipe I had cobbled together and, boy, was THAT liberating. I felt such freedom not having any rules or even any do’s or don’ts to follow. I had escaped the confines of the culinary box I’d been living in!
I began in the afternoon with a free-flow of ideas and hunches rattling around my brain. Two thoughts remained front and center. 1. White flour is produces a soft and tender product. 2. Enough water will produce a sticky, floppy dough that won’t dry out. After a few tries I believe I nailed it. And the beauty of this dough is it’s so wet and unmanageable it can be mixed in a bowl with a spoon thus eliminating any kneading and messing up of your counter tops. Life’s small blessings. In any case, I sure hope you try this recipe out. Look at it this way, whole wheat flour, turkey pepperoni and greens make for a more healthful pizza which means you can eat it more often!
Whole Wheat Pizza Dough
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 package or 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1 1/4 cup warm water, tap is fine, no more than 115°
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 tablespoon honey or agave
- 1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour, plus additional to flour baking sheet etc.
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 hour prior to baking, pre-heat oven to 500°.
- In a large bowl mix all-purpose flour, yeast and warm water. A wooden spoon works best. You’ll a few have some lumps of flour but they’ll work their way out when you mix in the whole wheat flour.
- Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil and honey/agave to the mixture and combine well.
- Add 1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour and salt and mix well until all the lumps are gone.
- Cover with plastic wrap, place in a warm corner and allow to rise for 45-60 minutes or until double in size. Now is a good time to pre-heat your oven.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl and gather the dough into a ball while still in the bowl. If you don’t have a bench scraper you can cut in half the plastic top of an oatmeal can then cut off the rim or use a butter knife that’s been covered with a bit of olive oil.
- Cut the dough in half and using the bench scraper or butter knife, push the sides of each ball of dough into rounds. To keep the dough from sticking, dust the rounds and bowl with some whole wheat flour using as little as possible. The wetter the dough, the more chewy the pizza.
- Dust your hands and a baking sheet or pizza paddle with a good handful of cornmeal and quickly transfer one dough round to the center of the baking sheet.
- Gently pat out the round, moving the round on the cornmeal to avoid it sticking to the baking sheet, until you have an 11″ to 12″ pizza. If you prefer a thicker crust make the pizza smaller.
- Top the pizza with the sauce of your choice then add your toppings.
- Bake 15-20 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.
- Allow to cool 4-5 minutes before slicing.
- Serve immediately.