The Best Whole Wheat Pizza – Ever!

Finally and at long last, I sit down to post my pizza dough recipe. I found this in Peter Reinhart’s “Whole Grain Breads” which I got through inter-library loan. This book was heavy on the science of bread making – I was amazed at how complicated bread making can be, if you want it to be. I would recommend the book only if you’re totally into understand the why and the wherefore of yeasted breads and are on a sincere quest to improve your whole wheat breads. For me, the book provided a way to combine my desire to pre-soak my bread doughs, and get a superior result with my pizza dough. His research into ancient and new practices of break making has lead him to create these recipes that help develop maximum flavor and gluten action. And that’s why this makes such good pizza dough. I’m gonna try to simplify the directions for you, but you are going to see why I procrastinated so long to write this up, ’cause, to quote the Count in the movie, “The Count of Monte Cristo” –

“It’s complicated.”

Whole Wheat Pizza Crust
my additions/changes/two cents in italics

Start one day in advance

The Soaker
Mix together in a bowl for about 1 minute, until all of the flour is hydrated and dough forms a ball:
1 3/4 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 plus 2 Tbsp. water (I replace some water with 1 Tbsp. whey)

Cover loosely with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature for 12 – 24 hours. (If it will be more than 24 hours, place soaker in fridge, it will be good for up to 3 days. Remove it 2 hours before mixing the final dough to take off the chill.)mixing the biga

The Biga
Mix together in the same manner:
1 3/4 c. whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp. instant yeast
3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. filtered or spring water at room temperature (again, I add whey here)

Using hands, knead dough in bowl for 2 min. The dough should feel very tacky. Let dough rest 5 min., then knead it again with wet hands for 1 min. The dough will become smoother but still be tacky. (I don’t always mix it that long…:))

Cover dough tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to 3 days.

About 2 hours before mixing the final dough, remove the biga from the fridge to take off the chill. It will have risen slightly but need not have risen significantly in order to use it in the final dough.

Final Dough

Using a metal pastry scraper, chop the soaker and the biga into 12 smaller pieces each (sprinkle some of the extra flour over the pre-doughs to keep the pieces from sticking back to each other).

In your mixer, put the combined the pre-dough pieces with:

7 Tbsp. Whole Wheat Flour
5/8 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. instant yeast
1 Tbsp. honey (or sugar)
2 Tbsp. Olive oil

(now, here the book goes on for 3 paragraphs on how to knead the dough, both by hand or mixer. I don’t have time to type it all out for you! If you want to know his exact methods, you’ll have to get the book. I’ll tell you what I do.) I put the dough in my bread machine (it’s the only form of a mixer that I have) and let it knead the dough for a 10 min. cycle. Then you’re supposed to let it rest for 5 min., then knead the dough again for a minute, and then give it the ‘window pane test’ – that is, you hold a piece of dough up to the light and see if it is resilient enough for you to pull it apart until you see light through it. So, try it, and if it doesn’t stretch well enough, knead it some more. Be careful not to add to much flour, as he says the dough should feel “soft, supple, and very tacky, verging on sticky.”

Similar to the window pane test – I call this the elephant trunk test – look how stretchy this dough is! ๐Ÿ™‚

Divide dough in 5 (4) pieces and form each piece into a tight ball. Place the balls on a greased pan, rolling the dough in the oil to coat. Cover loosely with plastic wrap.

Preheat your oven as hot as it will go (450), and place your baking stone in the oven to preheat. Let the dough rise for 1 hour while you pizza stone gets thoroughly preheated. If you don’t have a baking stone, use the underside of a sheet pan, or simply place the shaped dough on a sheet pan, assemble the pizza, and bake it on the sheet pan.

Shaping the Dough

Press the dough ball with your finger tips into a flat disk. Use floured hands and knuckles to gently stretch dough into a wider disk. Work from the edges only, not from the center of the dough. Let the dough rest when it becomes to elastic, then continue stretching to make a 9 – 12 in. disk. Place the shaped dough on the bottom of a well floured sheet pan. Add sauce, cheese, and other toppings. Slide the pizza onto a preheated baking stone or the back or a preheated sheet pan.

This is the fun part – if you have tried making whole wheat pizza crust in the past, and have been disappointing ’cause it’s so tough and hard to get thin – you’re gonna be surprised! This dough is supple and elastic, and you can actually get it to do whatever you want it to do without a rolling pin or huge muscles! You will feel very authentic as you shape the dough in the air, just as you have seen done in Italian pizza shops!


Place the pizza in the oven and close the door. Wait 2 minutes, then take a peak. If it needs to be rotated 180 degrees for even baking, do so. The pizza should take 5 – 8 minutes to bake. (mine takes 10-12). If the top gets done before the bottom, move the stone to a lower shelf before the next round. If the bottom crisps before the cheese caramelizes, raise the stone fore subsequent batches.

Remove the pizza from the oven and transfer to a cutting board. Wait 3 – 5 min. before slicing and serving, to allow the cheese to set slightly.

The author recommends for the sauce “use your favorite recipe or brand (the thinner the better since it thickens as it bakes).”

My favorite toppings are pepperoni, pineapple, sauteed onions, garlic, and pepper, bacon, or ham. I use mozzarella, with a generous sprinkling of Parmesan right before putting it in the oven.

The crust on this pizza is really quite perfect – crusty on the outside, chewy and soft (not tough) on the inside. Exactly what I was looking for. And the flavor is great – forget cardboard pizza!

I make pizza each Friday, which means I need to go start my dough right after I finish this post! I hope you enjoy your pizza as much as I do mine! Let me know if you try this recipe, and how it worked for you! I will also try to answer any questions you may have.

16 responses to “The Best Whole Wheat Pizza – Ever!”

  1. Ashley Avatar

    Looks great! But I’m confused as to why you only soaked part of the flour and not all of it? Won’t the unsoaked flour still have a lot of phytates?

    1. Trina Avatar

      Yes, Ashley, there will still be some phytates, but this process reduces the amount of phytates on the whole that I feed my family.

  2. Britt Avatar

    Hi Trina,
    What type of whole wheat flour do you use for the pizza dough? Fresh ground? White whole wheat/hard red/pastry? With all of my baking experimentation lately, I’ve accumulated several types. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Trina Avatar

      I usually use a hard white, Britt. I keep hard and soft white wheat and use that for all of my baking.

  3. Haley Avatar

    Hi Trina,
    I found your yogurt recipe on Passionate Homemaking, and it’s working away on the counter as I type! So excited to see how it turned out!
    About the Pizza Dough, I was wondering if you’ve frozen your extra dough with any success? I’ve made a few different versions of whole wheat dough, but I’ve not tried soaking it first. I’m looking forward to giving this a try. Thanks so much!

    1. Trina Avatar

      Haley – yes, I do freeze the pizza dough – just made a double batch yesterday and threw half of it in the freezer! I roll the ball in flour before dumping it in a plastic bag. This tends to help the dough come out of the bag easier when I thaw it. ๐Ÿ™‚ Enjoy your yogurt!!!

  4. Trina Avatar

    Hi, Katie!
    The book was VERY technical – everything you ever wanted to know about the history and science of break making. I haven't bought it because, frankly, it was too much information and a bit over my head. ๐Ÿ™‚ He does not soak in order to deactivate enzyme prohibitors, but many of his recipes are conducive to a soaked bread.
    I really only tried the pizza recipe – and though I feel confident his other recipes are equally good, I found a sandwich bread somewhere else that works for me (it's in my book, Real {Fast} Food) and I haven't had the time to experiment more.

  5. Katie Avatar

    Do you like the book enough to buy it? I've had it in my Amazon Cart for over a year now but haven't made the leap to buy it. Saddly I don't live near any English speaker library. ๐Ÿ™ Oh other question, does he soak or sour any of his other breads? Thanks!

  6. Karen Avatar

    That pizza looks so delish ! I'll just come out alone…. lol Wow it's like a work of art it's such a long process! Sounds worth the effort really.

  7. Traci Avatar

    I was ALMOST serious. We were thinking of coming out so Mike could drum for a bit with the boys but it seems that we're going to be working on a roof instead.

  8. Kinsleys5 Avatar

    You have the exact same bread machine as me! Guess now I have no excuse for not making all this good stuff eh? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  9. Rachel Avatar

    I'm thinking like Traci. Lol. You can just send some dough home with Jake. Lol.

  10. mira Avatar

    yum. You're right, the loooong soak and not as much flour as one would expect are key ingredients to a spectacular WW pizza crust. My mom has a recipe for dough conditioner that I really want to try, but for now this new set of directions is on my to-do list for sure!

  11. Trina Avatar

    Wonderful, Rachel!

    Traci – seriously???? We'd love to see you!

  12. Traci Avatar

    we'll be over around 5 for pizza tomorrow night k? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  13. wesleysrachel Avatar

    Thank you SO much, Trina!! I've already started my soaker and can't wait until it's finished tomorrow! ๐Ÿ™‚

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