As the “Stealthy Healthy” blogger, I like to consider myself a master of deception. Translation: I trick my friends into believing that my recipes—like this pizza dough—require hours of effort, instead of minutes. I also like to trick my husband into eating vegetables, but that’s a story for another post. For today, let’s talk pizza dough.
Every now and then, I become fixated a specific dish, and I cannot stop myself from tinkering with the recipe until it fulfills my every wish as to what the resulting meal should be. My ideal pizza dough needed to be easy to make, do well when prepped in advance, and contain healthy ingredients.
My ideal pizza (because isn’t fabulous pizza the entire point of making homemade pizza dough?) needed to be delightful to bite with a little of the classic pizzeria stretch. Sogginess would not be tolerated. I wanted the crust to brown, but remain soft. Whole wheat flour was desirable for fiber, as long as I couldn’t taste it in the final flavor or texture. Yep. I’m picky about my pizza dough.
After much trial and error (and more than one consecutive pizza night at home), I am thrilled to report that this pizza dough meets my every requirement. For a visual, here is our perfect dough in action on (or rather under) my Ricotta Pizza with Peaches.
Easy-peasy: You need only 15 minutes and your food processor, and 10 of those minutes are the dough hanging out, while you call your sister, sort your laundry, or catch the end of The Real Housewives.
Make ahead magic: Make this pizza dough 1-to-3 days in advance, then let it chill in your refrigerator. The slow rising develops additional flavor, and the payoff is well worth your patience and advance planning.
Whole wheat flour is in the mix: A 50/50 blend of whole wheat pastry flour and all purpose flour, plus a few tablespoons of vital wheat gluten flour (a high-protein flour that compensates for the stretch that the whole wheat flour takes away), proved to be the magic mix that adds extra fiber to the dough, without affecting its taste or texture. If you don’t have (or don’t want to purchase) vital wheat gluten flour (it’s available in most grocery stores), see the recipe notes below.
It makes dreamy pizza: When cooked at a high temperature close to the top of the oven, the resulting pizzas were soft, perfectly browned, and showcased the pizza toppings.
With this pizza dough recipe, you will be pulling pies from the oven that even the Mayor of Naples would approve. The only downside to this recipe is that once you start to make your own pizza dough, you will never find satisfaction in frozen pizzas again. Consider yourself pleasantly spoiled for life.
Speaking of spoiling yourself, try this pizza dough recipe with David's smoky BBQ Chicken Pizza Recipe. Grilled and gorgeous!
- 1/3 cup warm water, 110-120°f
- 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 3 tablespoons vital wheat gluten
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 1 cup ice water
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- pizza sauce and toppings of choice
In a small bowl or the measuring cup, combine the warm water and yeast. Let sit 3 minutes. (If properly activated, the yeast will foam. If yeast does not foam, either the water temperature is off, or your yeast may have expired, and you will need to begin again.)
In the bowl of a food processor, place the all purpose flour, whole wheat pastry flour, vital wheat gluten, and sugar. Pulse a few times to combine. Pour in the warm water-yeast mixture.
With the food processor running, slowly pour in the ice water, processing just until the ingredients are combined and no dry flour remains, 10 seconds. Let sit 10 minutes.
Add the oil and salt to the dough (note: Salt is a yeast inhibitor and should not be added before this point). Process the dough until it becomes a smooth, shiny ball that clears the sides of the bowl, about 1 minute. Lift dough out of the food processor, form it into a tight ball with your hands, then place it in a large, lightly oiled bowl. Turn the dough so that the oil coats all sides (this will keep a crust from forming on its exterior.) Cover tightly with plastic wrap, then place in the refrigerator overnight, or up to 3 days.
1 hour before baking: Place oven rack in 2nd highest position (about 4-5 inches from the top of the oven.) Preheat your oven to 500°F. If you are using a pizza stone, preheat this as well. If not using a pizza stone, lightly grease a large baking sheet and set aside.
Remove dough from refrigerator and divide in half. Form each half into a tight ball, then place at least 4 inches apart on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Cover loosely with oiled plastic wrap and let rise for 1 hour. (If you are only making one pizza, tightly wrap the second ball of dough in plastic and freeze. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator the day before you plan to use, then proceed with this step.)
After dough has rested 1 hour, place the first ball of dough on well-floured surface and roll it into a 12-inch circle. If the dough shrinks back, let it relax for a moment, then proceed with rolling.
If using a pizza stone: Dust a pizza peel with cornmeal or flour. (If you do not have a pizza peel, the back of a parchment paper-lined or cornmeal-dusted baking sheet works well in its place. If not using a pizza stone, skip this step.)
Transfer your rolled dough to the prepared pizza peel (if using a stone) or to the prepared baking sheet (if not using a stone). Stretch the dough a little as you move it so that it expands to a 13-inch diameter. Add your sauce and toppings, following the guidelines in the notes section below. If using a pizza stone, remove stone from oven, dust with cornmeal or flour and slide the unbaked pizza from the peel to the stone.
Bake pizza for 10-12 minutes, until the crust is lightly blistered and the toppings are hot and bubbly. Remove from oven, let rest on stone (or baking sheet) for 2 minutes, then transfer to a cutting board to slice. Serve immediately.
- Vital Wheat Gluten: Vital Wheat Gluten Flour is a high-protein flour that adds chewiness and tenderness to breads made with whole wheat flour. If vital wheat gluten is omitted from the recipe, the resulting dough will still work well, but will be more dense. Another option is to omit the vital wheat gluten and replace the whole wheat flour with the same amount of all purpose flour, though you will lose the health-benefit provided by the whole wheat flour.
- Sauce and Topping Quantities: An overload of sauce or toppings will cause your pizza to be soggy. Generally, stick to about 1/2 cup of sauce, 6 ounces of hearty vegetables (such as onions and peppers), and 4 ounces of protein (such as pepperoni or sausage.) Crunchy vegetables should be lightly sautéed and meats should be precooked, prior to being placed on the pizza.