Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

Pizza has been a passion of mine for 4-5 years now. You will never make a great pizza without first creating a great dough. Get that right, and the rest is easy. I started making my dough from white flour, but eventually yearned for something healthier, so I started my quest to make a great whole wheat dough. After a few missteps along the way, I think I’ve gotten it down. Here’s the fruit of my labors…

Serves: 3 medium pies

Ingredients:
4 cups whole wheat flour (I like King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour)
1/4 cup vital wheat gluten
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups distilled or filtered water
1 tbs honey
1 cup sourdough yeast culture (50/50 flour/water ratio)

Directions:
I find using a mixer is much easier than kneading by hand, but any mixing method will work eventually.

Now, let’s talk about the sourdough yeast culture. It is not necessary for your dough, but if you choose to take the time and care to develop and care for your culture, you will find it adds a wonderful flavor. For more about sourdough yeast culture, go to www.sourdo.com. If you do not use a yeast culture, add 2 tsp (1 package) of dry active yeast, an additional 1/2 cup of flour and 1/2 cup of water. You will want to activate the dry yeast in this instance by adding it to the lukewarm (not greater than 105 degrees) water and letting it sit for 10 minutes.

Whisk together the flour, wheat gluten, and salt. In a mixer bowl, combine the water, honey, and yeast culture (if you’re using it). Add 3/4 of the dry mixture to the wet and mix on a low speed for 1-2 minutes. It should look something like this:

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Cover with a towel and let sit for 20 minutes. This is a very important step called autolyse. It allows the flour to properly absorb the water and will make for a smoother, springier dough.

Now, using your dough hook, starting mixing at a low speed.

After about 5-6 minutes, increase the speed. After another 5 minutes, start adding more of the dry mixture. Keep adding slowly and increasing the speed. Once the dough starts pulling off the side of the bowl, you can stop adding flour. You will want the dough as wet as possible and still be able to work with it. In all, I mix/knead my dough for about 25 minutes. Here’s what the mixing should look like when you’re finished…

In the end, it should look something like this:

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Pull out the dough hook, cover with a towel, and let the dough rest for 15-20 minutes. Now you can transfer the dough to a board dusted with flour and separate out your individual doughs. I usually separate them out into 3 ~400g portions.

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Hand knead each dough piece into a ball and store in a lightly oiled tupperware.

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You will want to refrigerate the dough for at least 1 and up to 4 days. The dough will slowly rise and the yeast will add more flavor the longer you allow it to do so. Before using, take the dough out at least one hour beforehand to warm up before kneading.