The Best Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

Making your own whole wheat pizza dough from scratch is easier than you think! A mix of flours, olive oil, and a touch of maple will give you the perfect crispy, tender, and flavorful crust that works with just about any pizza recipe.

You would never know this pizza dough was whole wheat! That’s partly because I cheated. I used half whole wheat flour. Does that make this half wheat pizza dough?

No, it doesn’t. The “whole” in whole wheat refers to the use of the whole grain in the flour, as opposed to flour in which part of the grain has been removed, as is the case with white or all-purpose flour.

In addition to whole wheat pastry flour, I used bread flour in my whole wheat pizza dough — that’s the non-whole wheat half. Let’s talk about why I chose each of these flours.

Whole Wheat Pastry Flour

Whole wheat pastry flour is my go-to flour when I’m looking to use a whole grain and add micronutrients and fiber to a recipe, with minimal impact on the texture.

Whole wheat pastry flour use the entire grain, just like regular old whole wheat flour, but it’s made from grains at a different stage of growth. Whole wheat pastry flour grains are younger and more tender than the hard winter wheat used to make regular whole wheat flour.

The result? A fine grain flour that gives you more tender, less gritty baked goods.

Bread Flour

Bread flour is not a whole grain flour. What sets bread flour apart from all-purpose flour is its higher protein content. The extra protein is what gives your bread (or in this case, pizza crust) its texture and chewy quality.

Finding a nice balance between these two flours gives you a pizza crust with just the right amount of texture, minimal graininess, and a nice bit of crunch.

Can I Substitute Other Types of Flour?

A Ball of Whole Wheat Pizza Dough with Measuring Cup and Tea Towel in the Background

Yes, you can! Just about any variety of wheat flour will give you a decent pizza dough. It just might not be the best whole wheat pizza dough. Here are a few flour variations and what to expect.

100% Bread Flour. This will give you a classic pizza parlor pizza crust that’s quite chewy. It’ll be delicious! The downside is that it won’t contain any whole grains.

100% Whole Wheat Pastry Flour. This will give you a very tender, delicate crust. Whole wheat pastry flour is low in protein, so your crust won’t have a lot of chewiness to it.

All Purpose Flour. You can make a crust out of 100% all-purpose flour, or swap out one of the and soft.

Whole Wheat Flour. Again, you can use all or part whole wheat flour in your crust. The more you use, the grainier your crust will be. Whole wheat flour will add some chewiness. The dough should be pretty sturdy and easy to work with and you may find that you don’t need to add quite as much flour while kneading. I usually find whole wheat 100% flour crusts to be lacking a tad in the crispness department.

How to Make Pizza Crust

Mix

Start by heating up some water. Ideally, you want it heated to 110°F, and you’ll want to check this temperature with a cooking thermometer. If you don’t have one, just heat the water and test it with your finger — it should feel hot, but not enough to burn you.

When in doubt, go cooler. Cooler water means your dough will take longer to rise, but water that’s too hot could kill it!

Whisk a packet of yeast and a teaspoon of sugar into your water.

Wondering if you can skip the sugar? Nope! The sugar is in there to feed the yeast. Feeding your yeast gets it active, so it produces lots of carbon dioxide to make your crust rise. Let the yeast mixture sit for a few minutes — it should get foamy and start to smell yeasty. Now whisk some olive oil, maple syrup, and salt.

Collage Showing Steps 1 and 2 for Making Whole Wheat Pizza Dough: Whisk Yeast and Sugar into Water, then Add Olive Oil, Salt and Maple Syrup

Now it’s time to make the dough. Stir your flours together in a large bowl, then pour in your yeast mixture. Stir the mixture until it starts to ball up and form a dough.

Sprinkle some flour on the counter and knead the dough for about 5 minutes. By the time you’re done it should be relatively smooth and stretchy.

Collage Showing Steps 3-6 for Making Whole Wheat Pizza Dough: Mix Flours, Add Liquid Ingredients, Stir to Form Dough, and Knead the Dough

Proof

Oil a large bowl (to prevent sticking) and place your dough into the bowl. Cover it with a damp cloth and place it in a warm spot to rise until it’s about doubled in size. This can take anywhere from one to three hours, depending on the temperature.

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough in a Glass Bowl Before and After Rising

I like to turn my oven on to the lowest temperature, then let it cool down a bit and place my dough in there to rise. Make sure the oven isn’t too hot though! Normal cooking temperatures will kill the yeast.

How to Use Homemade Pizza Dough

Once your dough has risen, it’s ready to use, or freeze for later.

To freeze your dough, place it in a lightly oiled sealed container or bag. It’ll be good for about three months.

To make pizza with your dough, first divide it in two. Each half will make one medium-sized (12 to 14 inch) pizza. Roll it into a large circle, brush it with olive oil and bake it on a baking sheet or pizza stone. I usually bake mine at 450°F for about 15 minutes, but if you’re using a pizza recipe, follow the instructions provided.

Two Slices of Margherita Pizza on a Plate with Water Glass

FAQ & Whole Wheat Pizza Crust Tips

  • Can this dough be made gluten-free? I’m afraid I have no idea, as I have very little experience with gluten-free yeast breads.
  • Can I substitute another type of flour for the bread flour our whole wheat pastry flour? Yup! Just about any variety of wheat flour will work. I’ve provided some details on what kind of results you can expect in the post above.
  • Need some vegan pizza recipes to make with your new dough? Try my Greek Pizza, Mexican Pizza or Barbecue Cauliflower & Chickpea Pizza.
  • Can this dough be made using a stand mixer? Absolutely! Just use the dough hook attachment.
  • Help! My dough isn’t rising! This could be due to a few things:
    • First, did your yeast get frothy during step 1? If not, it’s probably dead. Start over with new yeast.
    • Second, check to make sure you didn’t leave out the sugar. Your yeast needs sugar to feed on so it can produce carbon dioxide.
    • Finally, did you place your dough in a warm location? While it will rise in a cool spot, it will take much longer.

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough on a Floured Surface with Measuring Cup

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The Best Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

Making your own whole wheat pizza dough from scratch is easier than you think! A mix of flours, olive oil, and a touch of maple will give you the perfect crispy, tender, and flavorful crust that works with just about any pizza recipe.

  • 1 1/2 cups water, (heated to about 110°F)
  • 1 (1/4 ounce) packet active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon organic granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 cups bread flour, (plus more as needed)
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour, (plus more as needed)
  1. Place the water in a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, and whisk in the yeast and sugar. Let the mixture sit for about 5 minutes, until it becomes frothy and smells yeasty.

  2. Stir the olive oil, maple syrup, and salt into the yeast mixture.

  3. Stir 1 1/2 cups of bread flour and 1 1/2 cups of whole wheat pastry flour together in a large mixing bowl.

  4. Pour the yeast mixture into the flour mixture and stir to form a soft dough.

  5. Transfer the dough to a well-floured work surface.

  6. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes, until it’s smooth and elastic, working up to an additional cup of flour into it as you knead*.

  7. Rub the inside of a large mixing bowl with olive oil and place the dough into the bowl. Cover it with a damp tea towel.

  8. Place the bowl in a warm location in your kitchen and allow it to rise until doubled in size. This usually takes between 1 and 2 hours depending on the temperature.

  9. Cut the dough in half. Each half can be used to make one medium pizza crust.

*You can add either type of flour while kneading. I usually end up working about 1/2 cup in.

This recipe makes about 2 pounds of pizza dough.

 

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