Perfect Whole Wheat Pizza Crust

by Mara @ What's For Dinner? on April 14, 2011

in Baking, pizza, vegetables

Since the response was so HUGE for my perfect whole wheat pizza dough, I figured I’d go above and beyond my normal “couple of pictures and a recipe” post, and just for you, because I’m nice like that, I decided to do a photo tutorial.

You’ll thank me in a little while! For those of you who want to jump ahead and just get the recipe, scroll down and it’ll be there, I promise.

So, start out with 1 cup of warm water in the bowl of your stand mixer, or a large mixing bowl if you’re doing this by hand. The water shouldn’t be warmer than 110 degrees Fahrenheit or else your yeast will die. The water should feel slightly warm to the touch.

Then, sprinkle one (1) Tablespoon of active dry yeast on top of the water. If you’re using packets instead of bulk yeast, use two packets.

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Then, add one (1) Tablespoon of white table sugar or honey. I prefer white sugar.

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Allow this mixture to “bloom” and get foamy for about 10 minutes. It will start smelling pretty bread-y.

Here’s the key ingredient: Vital wheat gluten. I spent a lot of time playing around with different mixtures of white and wheat flour to try and get that stretchy, soft, chewy pizza crust. Many recipes call for equal parts white and wheat flour. This, to me, defeats the purpose of having whole wheat pizza! So, on a whim, I added a touch of vital wheat gluten (which looks like this at the store, by the way)

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Vital wheat gluten adds back to the whole wheat flour the necessary (vital as it may be) gluten to create the long strands of gluten in the dough, which in turn creates chewiness in the final product and staying power for those delicious bubbles in the crust. And, the best part, is that the vital wheat gluten flour can do this in a very small amount rather than replacing half the whole wheat flour with white.

Add 1/4 cup vital wheat gluten to the bowl with the yeast, sugar, and water.

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Mix the yeast/water/sugar/flour mixture until nearly smooth.

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Add whole wheat flour (I like King Arthur Flour brand or Bob’s Red Mill. They actually taste like wheat.) 1/4 cup at a time, taking care to completely mix in each addition. The mixing and kneading develops gluten strands which we want here.

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After the last addition of flour (3-4 cups total) add in one (1) tablespoon olive oil

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And about 1 teaspoon of salt. This might be a little more.

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Knead the dough for about 10 minutes in a stand mixer, or until it’s smooth, soft, and still a little sticky (TWSS?) Place the dough in a well-oiled bowl.

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Cover the bowl with a towel or loosely with plastic wrap, and allow to rise in a warm place for about 45 minutes.

While it rises, pre-heat your oven to 500* F. Yes, 500, preferably with a pizza stone. Then, prepare the toppings you’ll be enjoying on your crust. Tonight at our house, we had salad pizzas, so many veggies needed chopping!

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Let’s check that dough now, shall we?

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Carefully punch down the dough (you might want to lightly oil your hands for this) and divide it into two equal parts for dinner-sized pizzas. Stretch the dough on a cornmeal-covered board to the desired size, top with your desired toppings, then transfer it to the pre-heated pizza stone. I just used a small drizzle of olive oil and a bit of low fat mozzarella cheese.

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See those gorgeous bubbles and the huge pouf of the dough? Thats what a good pizza crust does! Bake it 8-10 minutes or until it reaches your desired doneness. For our salad pizzas, I didn’t want them too browned, but regular pizzas I cook longer.

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Puffy, chewy, hearty and perfect! Then, since we were having salad pizzas, I got to topping! First, I breaded a 2 ounce round of goat cheese and briefly sauteed it.

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I made some savory roasted pecans as well. A mixture of butter (about 1 tsp), soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, and oregano went onto some pecans, and then into that 500* oven.

And a dressing! I made dressing!

  • 1/4 c. soy sauce
  • 1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. mayo
  • 1 tbsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil

Put all the ingredients into a covered jar and shake shake shake!

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Ok, back to the salad. Remember those onions up there? I caramelized them.

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And I cooked and crumbled some bacon. And then, the beautiful salad pizza was born…

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And another angle:

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And in action (thanks to hand model Adam)

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All together now:

Perfect Whole Wheat Pizza Crust

Tried and True!

Servings: 2 dinner-sized pizzas

Ingredients

  • 1 cup warm water (about 110*)
  • 1 Tbsp. active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup vital wheat gluten
  • 3-4 cup whole wheat flour, divided
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp kosher salt

Directions

Start out with 1 cup of warm water in the bowl of your stand mixer, or a large mixing bowl if you're doing this by hand. The water shouldn't be warmer than 110 degrees Fahrenheit or else your yeast will die. The water should feel slightly warm to the touch. Sprinkle active dry yeast on top of the water. If you're using packets instead of bulk yeast, use two packets. Then, add white table sugar or honey. I prefer white sugar. Allow this mixture to "bloom" and get foamy for about 10 minutes. It will start smelling pretty bread-y. Add the vital wheat gluten to the bowl with the yeast, sugar, and water. Mix the yeast/water/sugar/flour mixture until nearly smooth. Add whole wheat flour (I like King Arthur Flour brand or Bob's Red Mill. They actually taste like wheat.) 1/4 cup at a time, taking care to completely mix in each addition. The mixing and kneading develops gluten strands which we want here. After the last addition of flour (1 cup total) add in the olive oil and salt. Transfer the dough to a well-oiled bowl and cover, allowing to rise about 45 minutes. Split into two pieces, and stretch onto a cornmeal-covered board. Top as desired and bake at 500*F until done, about 10 minutes.


**Online Flea Market Information**

To help me fundraise for the PanCan Chicago Purple Strides event benefitting pancreatic cancer research, I’ll be hosting an online “flea market” next Thursday, April 21! This will work much like the ever-popular blogger bake sales hosted by Meghann and Tina, and very similar to Gina’s recent Luon for a Cause auction.

Bloggers and readers alike will donate baked goods, crafts, services, or whatever else you can think of. You can then all bid on the item(s) you’d like, and I’ll keep a bids page updated during the day.

So, are you interested? Do you have something to donate? If so, please send an email to fleamarket@imadedinner.net containing the following:

  • Your name
  • Your blog (if you have one)
  • Item or service being donated
  • Where you’ll ship, or for services, where you’re located
  • A photo of the item
  • A brief description

All bids on 4/21 will start at $10.

Thank you in advance for your donations and support of this cause! Much love to you all!

xoxo

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{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

Mary (What's Cookin' with Mary) April 14, 2011 at 8:58 PM

I am pretty darn excited to try out this recipe Mara!! …and I think I’m going to need to invest in some Bob’s bc I know what you mean about it ‘actually tasting like wheat’. Just curious… what brand of yeast did you use ?
Mary (What’s Cookin’ with Mary)´s last blog post ..How to Chop a Mango

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Mara @ What's For Dinner? April 14, 2011 at 9:14 PM

I use Red Star generally, and keep it in the fridge. Fleischmann’s makes yeast too, but I can never find it, so it’s kind of a yeast monopoly situation over here :)

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Christina April 14, 2011 at 9:57 PM

Sending you an email with some vintage bakeware dishes and baked goods to donate!! XOXO
Christina´s last blog post ..Banana Walnut Muffins

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Mara @ What's For Dinner? April 14, 2011 at 10:07 PM

<3 you!!!

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J3nn (Jenn's Menu and Lifestyle Blog) April 14, 2011 at 10:06 PM

This is a magnificent post! That crust looks amazing, and I LOVE the idea of a pizza salad! Brilliant! I must try soon!
J3nn (Jenn’s Menu and Lifestyle Blog)´s last blog post ..His &amp Hers Pizza Pockets

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Rhonda April 15, 2011 at 2:15 AM

I’m sold…love the salad on top. You can have your pizza and salad too, brilliant!
Rhonda´s last blog post ..BBQ Bacon Stuffed Meatloaf

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Lauren April 15, 2011 at 5:53 AM

Oh My Goodness! This looks amazing!!!! You are amazing! :)
Lauren´s last blog post ..The Secret To Healthy Eating

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Roz April 15, 2011 at 3:48 PM

This looks like an incredible meal. I’ll say it again, Adam is a LUCKY man!! OK…thinking cap on, I’ll send you an email over the weekend with a donation. Hmm…… Have a good Friday Mara!
Roz´s last blog post ..Happy “International Moment of Laughter Day”!

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Christin@purplebirdblog April 17, 2011 at 7:47 AM

That goat cheese is something from my dreams, I’m sure of it.
Christin@purplebirdblog´s last blog post ..Ups and Downs

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laura April 18, 2011 at 4:38 PM

hey try SAF instant yeast–no proofing needed, no nothing it rises EVERY time plus you can get a huge bag enough to make 96 loaves of bread and it costs 5 dollars! I love it and I bake all our bread for our family with it.

I’d like to donate two vintage egg cups, I’ll send you photos soon :)

K?
laura´s last blog post ..The Penny Worthy Project and a GIVEAWAY

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shelley May 10, 2012 at 5:53 PM

be sure to add the 1 Tbl of honey/sugar to the ingredient list :)

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Mara @ What's For Dinner? May 10, 2012 at 6:02 PM

Thanks! I always forget little things!

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shelley May 10, 2012 at 6:41 PM

uh… the salt is way off as well, i’m assuming it it 1 tsp and not 1 tbl. i think i may have just ruined my recipe!! ugh!!

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Mara @ What's For Dinner? May 10, 2012 at 9:03 PM

Yes, 1 teaspoon as it says in the step by step. My apologies, and I hope your dough came out ok!

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Aric February 20, 2013 at 1:09 PM

I had a weird issue where I followed your directions (1 cup of water 1 cup of whole wheat flour 1/4 cup of vital wheat gluten) of course with yeast salt and sugar but it ended up like whole wheat soup. Have you considered doing this recipe by weight rather than normal measuring cups?

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Mara @ What's For Dinner? February 20, 2013 at 1:15 PM

Hi Aric,
I have definitely considered doing the recipe by weight, and may do so at some point, but at this point I think standard measurements are more accessible for the average home cook.
As for your problem, that was completely my recipe’s fault! I had a plug-in that I deactivated then re-activated, and all the numbers defaulted to “1″. There should be 3-4 cups of flour in total. My apologies!

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Aric February 20, 2013 at 1:29 PM

hahaha that explains it I was thinking to myself (how in the world did she get this to work) now I know. Thanks for the quick reply and for fixing the issue. Also you might want to change the directions at the picture recipe too since right below it says “After the last addition of flour (1 cup total) add in one (1) tablespoon olive oil” should be 3-4 cups total.

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Mara @ What's For Dinner? February 20, 2013 at 2:12 PM

Thanks for catching that one… I don’t know what I was thinking there!

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Joanna October 31, 2013 at 3:34 PM

I was so excited to try this and I followed the recipe to a T but when I got to 1.5 cups flour of the 1/4 cups, the dough was so thick there is no way I would get to 3-4 cups of flour without it being brick hard, I am an avid baker so this has me confused, going to attempt to add more water and salvage this for a dinner tonight, hope it works, let me know what I may have done wrong because 1 cup water to 3-4 cups of flour just didn’t work for me.

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Mara @ What's For Dinner? October 31, 2013 at 4:04 PM

Hi Joanna,
I apologize that the recipe didn’t work for you! Sometimes, the flours have a very different reaction in the water, and some absorb more than others. The flour I use doesn’t absorb much water at all, hence the only 1 cup of water and 2 Tbsp. oil. But, sometimes I do have to add extra water and it works just fine, just add slowly because the texture changes quickly with the vital wheat gluten!

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Joanna October 31, 2013 at 8:08 PM

I actually used the brand of flour you recommended, King Arthur, it ended up taking almost 2 cups of water to 3 cups of flour, just under 2 cups water. I actually made two batches to try mixing each 1/4 cup addition more to see if that helped but it didn’t make a difference, it was full thickness at 1.5 cups flour both times. Is it 2 tbsp oil, not 1? Above says 1 tbsp which is what I used. After adding the almost 2 cups water, 1/4 cup vital wheat gluten, and 3 cups flour, it turned out just fine :)

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Ashley M. [at] (never)homemaker February 11, 2014 at 4:41 PM

I had the same exact issue with this recipe. Hmm. Same King Arthur flour too — but only 2 cups would go in without turning it into a brick. Letting it rise now, so I guess we’ll see what happens.

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Mara @ What's For Dinner? February 11, 2014 at 7:29 PM

I hope it worked! It’s a very stiff dough until it rises…

Cake February 22, 2014 at 6:09 PM

Just had the same issue as well, also using KA flour and a kitchen aid. I got three cups in, but it was very crumbly so I added a bit of water. It’s rising now and looks good. I wish I had goat cheese to try that breaded cheese thing!

The thing about pizza dough is it’s very forgiving because kneading is a good thing.

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