This really is the BEST real-food pizza dough recipe.
Made with ingredients you can feel good about serving your family, this Homemade Whole-Wheat Pizza Crust makes the PERFECT base for all your favorite pizza toppings.
Why you’ll love this recipe:
- It uses real-food ingredients, rather than bleached, highly refined flour and sugar.
- It’s a great way to get your family to try new toppings and flavor combos.
- It saves money. No more expensive pizzas, plus a delivery fee.
- It allows you to keep the cheesy calories to a minimum.
- You can customize it the way YOUR family likes.
Why does this recipe use WHITE whole-wheat flour?
Most pizza dough recipes call for bread flour because it results in a crispy, airy pizzeria-style pizza crust. But bread flour is highly refined, depleted in nutrients, and contains harmful additives.
If you’ve spent time perusing FULLforLife, then you know the recipes you’ll find here use real-food, minimally processed ingredients whenever possible. Because bread flour doesn’t fall into the realm of real food, this recipe uses white whole-wheat flour, which does. By using white whole-wheat flour, you’ll achieve that tasty, light, crispy crust, while still receiving all the nutritional benefits whole-grain flour has to offer.
Why not whole-wheat flour? Because crust made with white whole-wheat flour doesn’t have the bitter tannins of regular whole-wheat flour, it yields a lighter, fluffier dough with a mild natural sweetness. This means you still get all the benefits of 100% whole-grain flour, without the bitterness.
What if my yeast doesn’t get foamy?
If your yeast doesn’t foam after being mixed with warm water and sugar (step 1), it may not be fresh enough. Make sure to check the expiration date.
The temperature of your water can also affect the yeast. If the water is too cool, the dough will take an extremely long time to rise. If the water is too hot, it will kill your yeast. Keep your water below 110 degrees.
How long should I knead my dough?
It’s important to knead your dough thoroughly. Keep in mind that thoroughly doesn’t necessarily mean kneading for a long time. The point is to strengthen the gluten so it’s smooth and holds its shape. To test it, give the dough a quick poke. If the indentation quickly fills in, it’s ready!
Stand mixer with a bread attachment: Knead the dough for 5-8 minutes.
By hand: Knead the dough for 8-10 minutes.
How long should the dough rise?
Rising time can range anywhere from 45-90 minutes, depending on how warm your house is. The warmer the area, the faster the dough will rise. The key is to allow it to rise until it’s doubled in size.
For faster proofing
To speed up the rising process, turn your oven on warm for a few minutes while you’re prepping your dough. Keep the temperature under 150 degrees, so your rising dough doesn’t begin to cook. If the oven gets too hot, leave the door open for a little while so it cools. Now, fill a shallow, oven-safe pan with boiling water and place it on the bottom of the oven (this is optional, but the humidity helps the proofing process).
Place your prepared dough in a greased, oven-safe bowl. Loosely cover it, set it on the shelf above the water and close the oven door. The warmth from the oven and the humidity of the water will create a warm, humid environment for the dough to rise in, speeding up the process.
Can my dough rise in the refrigerator?
It most certainly can. In fact, allowing your dough to proof in the fridge for 24-48 hours can actually increase its flavor profile and yield a better interior structure. But don’t let it proof for longer than 48 hours or the yeast will start to eat the sugar in the dough and convert it into alcohol, which adversely affects the flavor and texture.
How to proof pizza dough in the fridge: After kneading, store the prepared dough in a greased bowl. Cover it and place it in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours. Allow dough to come to room temperature before shaping it.
How do I shape my dough?
The first step to shaping your dough is allowing it to come to room temperature so the protein (gluten) in your dough loosens up and is easier to shape. Otherwise, your dough will stretch and snap back like a rubber band, often tearing. If your dough has been in the fridge, allow it to come to room temperature on the countertop for 30 minutes. You can do this by putting the dough ball in an oiled mixing bowl or on a clean, oiled surface.
Once your dough is room temperature, wipe clean and prep your workspace with olive oil so the dough doesn’t stick to the counter. We like to use our hands to shape the dough, rather than a rolling pin, but either will work.
Rub your hands with a small amount of olive oil. Before stretching your dough, place it on the oiled countertop and use the palm of your hand to press and flatten the dough into a disk. Use your three middle fingers to press the dough out from the center.
Now, pick the dough up and stretch the dough with both of your hands, rotating the dough and using gravity to help pull and stretch it. Lastly, lay the dough on top of your balled fists, allowing the rest of the dough top to hang down. The weight of the dough will cause it to naturally stretch a bit on its own. Use your fists to gently rotate and finish stretching the dough.
How should I layer my ingredients?
Layering your ingredients properly can make or break your pizza. For example, if you top your cheesy pizza with fresh basil, the basil will wilt and burn. If you layer the basil UNDER the cheese, you’ll have pizza perfection. Think about your toppings. Will they shrivel and char if they’re exposed to direct heat? Generally speaking, leafy greens should go UNDER the cheese (basil, spinach, arugula). Most other toppings can go under the cheese or on top (although we typically add cheese last to hold down the fort).
How hot should the oven be?
Generally, the hotter the oven, the better your pizza will turn out! Professional pizza ovens cook at temperatures exceeding 800 degrees. Because the oven you have at home doesn’t get that hot, shoot for 450 to 500 degrees. If you have an extremely thick crust pizza, reduce the temperature to 400 degrees so the crust has time to bake through without burning the toppings.
Do I have to use a pizza stone?
A pizza stone isn’t necessary for making an amazing homemade pizza, although it certainly helps. If you have a pizza stone, place it on the lower rack of the oven while it’s preheating so the stone heats up while the oven heats. If you don’t have a stone, you can cook your pizza in a large cast-iron skillet or on the back of a baking sheet. If pizza night becomes a staple theme in your home, a pizza stone is worth investing in.
Can I make my dough ahead and freeze it?
You sure can, just allow the dough to fully rise (it should double in size) before you freeze it. Divide it into portions and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw the dough overnight in the fridge, then allow it to come to room temperature before using it.
Make it a family affair.
A homemade pizza party is a perfect way to please various palates because each person can make their own pizza, or a portion of a pizza, that reflects their personal preferences. It’s a great way to get your family to try new combos, making it a deliciously EASY and HEALTHIER WIN!
The best pizza toppings
- Spinach or arugula
- Chopped broccolini
- Thinly sliced eggplant
- Our favorite, a combo of two or three cheeses
- Ground beef
- Pulled pork
- Thinly sliced apple
This really is the BEST real-food pizza dough recipe. Made with ingredients you can feel good about serving your family, this Homemade Whole-Wheat Pizza Crust makes the PERFECT base for all your favorite pizza toppings.
Preparing the dough:
- Sprinkle yeast and 1 tablespoon of sugar into warm water. Give it one big stir, then set aside for 5-7 minutes so the mixture can foam up while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
- Using a stand mixer, combine the flour, salt, remaining tablespoon of sugar, and EVOO. Pour in the yeast mixture and mix for several minutes until the dough forms a ball, about 5-8 minutes.
- If the dough sticks to the sides of the bowl, add one tablespoon of flour at a time until it’s easier to work with and no longer sticky (avoid adding too much or your dough will become too dense).
- Place the dough ball in a large greased bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a tea towel. Set aside and let the dough rise until it doubles in size, about 60-90 minutes. You can also place the dough in the fridge at this point to allow it to rise (24-48 hours in advance). If you have time, allow the dough to rise at room temperature for a few minutes to kickstart the process.
- If you’re baking your pizza immediately after the dough has risen, wash, chop and prepare the toppings while your dough is rising.
To assemble and bake:
- If you pre-made and refrigerated your dough, allow it to come to room temperature so the protein (gluten) in your dough loosens up and is easier to shape.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Brush a small amount of EVOO on your pizza pan. Using your hands, slowly stretch the dough on or into the pan.
- Evenly spread sauce, cheese, and toppings on the crust. Bake until golden brown and cheese is bubbling, about 20-22 minutes. If some spots are browning faster than others, use an oven mitt and turn the pizza. Allow pizza to cool slightly for 2-3 minutes so the filling sets before slicing.
- Alternately, this dough can be cooked on a pizza stone or inverted baking pan on the grill.
Although we’ve never tried it, many people use their food processors to knead their dough.
If using watery toppings on your pizza, such as tomatoes, bake the crust for 10 minutes (without any filling). Remove from the oven and evenly spread sauce, cheese, and toppings on the crust. Bake until golden brown.
Keywords: Homemade Pizza Dough, Whole Wheat Pizza Dough