Weeknight Homemade Whole Wheat Pizza Crust
At the end of an epic, 3-hour Target shopping marathon, I found myself exhausted, hungry, and in a dangerous, dangerous place: the frozen pizza aisle. The plastic-wrapped Tombstone Deluxe was calling to me sweetly—until I remembered a formidable, stabilizing force in my life: Weeknight Whole Wheat Pizza Crust.
All that stands between you and the best, easiest homemade pizza crust of your life is 40 minutes and a few ingredients you probably have in your pantry right now. This whole wheat pizza crust recipe requires only 10 minutes knead (100% of which can be done by mixer), 30 minutes to rise, and 5 seconds to devour .
Homemade pizza is one of our most frequent weeknight dinners, and this is my go-to recipe. It yields enough dough for two large pizzas and can be kept in the fridge for up to three days. With only one quick batch of this whole wheat pizza crust, I have enough homemade dough for two generous dinners, with leftovers to spare for lunch the next day.
A few years ago, I became obsessed with making wood oven-style pizza at home, which eventually lead me to this recipe. Although I still love it and think it makes a fabulous pizza, the yield is smaller (Ben and I can polish off a pizza and a half in one night), and the dough needs to rest for a minimum of 24 hours. It’s wonderful crust, but sometimes a hungry girl needs pizza NOW. I went on a quest for a homemade whole wheat pizza crust recipe that was attainable on a weeknight, when my stomach was growling before I’d even begun to cook.
My mission lead me to today’s pizza crust recipe, a modified version of the dough Ina Garten uses for 99% of her pizzas. Like the rest of Ina’s recipes, it is straightforward to prepare with excellent results. (Dear Ina, if you are reading this, I love you and will fly to the Hamptons immediately to be your personal assistant. ~xo, Erin)
A forever fan of fiber and whole grains, I wanted my perfect weeknight pizza crust to be whole wheat. I played around with various ratios of white to whole wheat flour, different types of whole wheat flour (regular whole wheat, white whole wheat, and whole wheat pastry), and I experimented with few different dough enhancers too.
Dozens of pizzas (and pizza-induced food comas) later, I can say with absolute certainty that today’s whole wheat pizza crust recipe is my favorite: half all-purpose flour, half white whole wheat flour. It’s really that simple. Regular whole wheat flour can be used in place of the white whole wheat, but the crust will be a little firmer and the nutty flavor of the whole wheat more pronounced. Also, a dough enhancer called vital wheat gluten is nice and will make the pizza crust softer, but it is not necessary. (If you want a little of the science behind vital wheat gluten, I talk about it towards the bottom of this post.)
Prepare to shame all frozen pizza, crust from a can, and anyone who ever lead you to believe that homemade pizza dough is too difficult for the average person to make at home. This whole wheat pizza crust recipe is healthy, easy, and yours for turning any old weeknight into fabulous homemade pizza night. In the words of my sister, for whom I made homemade pizza using this recipe: “WHOA. This crust is blowing my mind.”
Frozen pizza aisle, tempt away. We’re ready.
Weeknight Homemade Whole Wheat Pizza Crust
- 1 1/4 cups warm water - (100 to 110 degrees F)
- 2 envelopes active dry yeast - (about 4 1/2 teaspoons)
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 cups white whole wheat flour
- 2 cups all purpose flour - (plus extra for kneading)
- 3 tablespoons vital wheat gluten - (optional—will yield a fluffier dough)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- Place the water, yeast, olive oil, and honey in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook. (If the bowl is cold, start with warmer water so it remains at least 100 degrees F when you add the yeast.) Add the 2 cups white whole wheat flour, 1 cup of the all-purpose flour, the vital wheat gluten (if using), and the salt. Mix on medium-low speed. (If you do not have a stand mixer, complete this step in a regular mixing bowl and use a wooden spoon to combine the ingredients.)
- As you mix, slowly add the remaining 1 cup all purpose flour, adding just enough to make a soft dough. Mix the dough on medium-low speed (or knead by hand on a well-floured board) for 8-10 minutes, until smooth and elastic, sprinkling it with flour as needed to keep it from sticking to the bowl. Spray a large, clean mixing bowl with cooking spray, then place the dough in the bowl and turn it once to coat. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow it to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
- Divide the dough into 2 equal parts, rolling each 1 into a smooth ball. If you are only making 1 pizza, wrap the second dough tightly in plastic and refrigerate for up to three days or freeze for up to one month.
- To bake the dough into a pizza: Place a rack in the upper third of your oven and preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or dust the baking sheet with cornmeal. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface, then roll it gently into a 11x14-inch rectangle, working from the center. If the dough springs back, allow it to rest a few minutes, then continue. Transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet, then top with desired pizza toppings, being careful not to add too many, or the crust will not crisp in the center. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until the crust is golden and lightly crisp.
Recipe adapted from Ina Garten
Pizzas worth their weight in dough:
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