100% Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

Well, the time has finally come for me to share the pizza dough recipe that I have been blogging about since April!!  After much practice and many pitfalls, I have finally gotten good enough at this that I can easily whip it up at any time and feel very comfortable sharing with you all what I have learned – hopefully that will mean your learning curve will be much faster than mine!  As a little background, this recipe is designed to rise slowly in your refrigerator overnight.  The advantage here is that the active prep time is minimal and you don’t have to be watching the dough at all, but it does require a bit of advance planning.  On the plus side, the dough can easily sit in your fridge for several days or the freezer for weeks (months?), so it’s easy to make some dough if you might want it that week, and you can always throw it in the freezer for another time if you change your mind!

Also, notice that the recipe includes White Whole Wheat Flour – read here for a little background on what this is if you haven’t heard of it before.  It is really amazing stuff – all the nutrients of whole wheat flour, but with a much softer texture, closer to an all-purpose flour.  I have seen both organic and non-organic at Whole Foods, non-organic at Trader Joe’s, and various versions in some other select health food stores.  The most common brand is King Arthur Flour.  It is by no means the cheapest flour, but still less expensive than buying pizza and way more healthy!

I’m including two methods for dough preparation below – the bread machine and a stand mixer.  If you have been following this story, you may recall that I also tried to make the dough in a food processor, but this was a bit of a disaster, so I wouldn’t recommend that method!  My preference is definitely the bread machine version – it’s easy as can be to add the ingredients, the machine doesn’t budge while kneading, and the clean-up couldn’t be easier.  However, I understand that many of you may not want to invest the money or space for one of your own (although I highly recommend you reconsider if you have the means!!), and you can definitely make this dough in a stand mixer as well.

Now the only problem is that my little munchkin DOESN’T LIKE PIZZA!!  She likes coffee, goat cheese, and tuna fish, but will not eat pizza.  I don’t get it, but in the mean time instead of pizza being a weekly staple in our house as I’d hoped, it’s become more of a twice a month treat for hubby and me when we are eating together after the little one goes to sleep.  But if you have a house full of pizza eaters, this is a great way to have a wholesome, delicious, and easy meal any time you’re in the mood!

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100% Whole Wheat Pizza Dough
adapted from 101 Cookbooks

1 3/4 cups cold water
1/4 cup olive oil
4 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon instant yeast*

Bread Machine Method

Place all ingredients in your bread machine according to the prescribed order for your brand (mine requires adding liquids first, followed by dry ingredients, with yeast going in last).  Create a custom cycle or manually set machine to knead only for 10 minutes – you do not need the preheating or rise time included in most pre-set “dough” cycles.

Continue with “In both cases…” directions below.

Stand Mixer Method

Stir together the flour, salt, and instant yeast in the bowl of an electric stand mixer. By hand, stir in the oil and the cold water until the flour is all absorbed.  Place in machine with the dough hook and mix on medium speed for 5 to 7 minutes, or as long as it takes to create a smooth, sticky dough.  Add a touch of water or flour to reach the desired effect. The finished dough will be springy, elastic, and sticky.  If it is so sticky that you wouldn’t be able to handle it easily, add more flour.  On the flip side, a dough that tears easily is too dry and/or needs additional kneading time.

In both cases…

Remove dough to a smooth surface (lightly floured or drizzled with olive oil if the dough seems sticky).  Pat the dough into a symmetrical shape and cut into 4 equal pieces using a pastry scraper or large knife.  Drizzle the top with a little more olive oil, form each quarter into a ball, and drop them into individual sandwich sized storage bags.

Place all 4 dough balls in the refrigerator at least overnight, or up to a few days until ready to use.  We generally cook two the next day, and at that point put the other 2 in the freezer for future use – this way the rising is already done when you are ready to use the dough and all you need to do is defrost.

Read on for instructions on how to cook pizzas in your oven or on your grill!

Makes four 9-ounce pizza crusts, and each pizza is enough for 1-2 people – when eating this for a normal weeknight dinner, we can easily split a pizza if we make a big salad to go along with it, but when serving to company we have averaged almost a whole pizza per person!

*You should be able to substitute 1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast for the instant; just warm 1/4 cup of the water to dissolve yeast according to package instructions before using.

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