Mention a recipe that requires a rolling pin and I’ll probably respond with a few blinks. Tell me I have to let dough rise for an hour and I’ll probably say, “Nope, not happening.” I recently won a gorgeous new Kitchen-Aid Mixer, but it’s been hanging out next to my dirty socks in my closet ever since I made a disappointing batch of soft pretzels. I have no patience for fussy baked goods (I always mess them up). Also, I’m lazy.
In my defense, I’d say that my laziness contributes to this blog’s appeal. I gravitate toward simple methods and will search to the ends of the internet to find an easier way that doesn’t sacrifice flavor. Trust me when I say I searched to the ends of the internet to find a simple, foolproof, quick whole wheat pizza dough recipe. I went through a couple of bags of flour in the process. Things got messy.
First, Jim Lahey’s no-knead dough failed me at least three times. I think it was because I was making it with whole wheat pastry flour. (Lesson learned: whole wheat pastry flour and yeast don’t get along.) I also tried Cook’s Country’s skillet dough, which turns out to be fried flatbread. No thanks. Finally, I turned to one of my favorite bloggers and sweetest friends, Melissa of The Fauxmartha. She posted an adaptation of Cook’s Country’s quick grilled pizza dough.
My version is a combination of the two. It’s made with 100% whole wheat flour and is mixed together in the food processor. It requires just a few kneads and a few rolls with a rolling pin, but the effort is minimal. Dinner is ready.
This dough produces a crust of medium thickness that is crisp across the bottom and a little chewy in the middle. It has a lovely, yeasty flavor with just a hint of whole wheat. I’ll admit that this pizza dough doesn’t have the elusive, stretchy, chewy, sourdough texture that I crave in authentic brick oven pizza, but I don’t think we’ll ever achieve that with a quick, homemade whole wheat dough. On the upside, I’ve found a little trick that adds a ton of gourmet, brick oven flavor: smoked salt! You can mimic the aroma of lightly charred brick-oven pizza at home with a light sprinkle of the stuff.
Smoked salt is just what it sounds like—salt that has been smoked. It’s the pièce de résistance for this basic homemade pizza and a delicious addition to a vegetarian pantry. If you’ve ever added chipotle to chili or smoked paprika to roasted potatoes, you’ve gotten a taste of what smoky flavor can add to a dish. Keep in mind that smoked salt is a finishing salt. Just sprinkle it lightly on a finished dish for flavor instead of using it as your principle seasoning.
I’m partial to Artisan Salt Company’s fine grain alderwood smoked salt. It smells like a campfire and imparts a lightly smoky, almost bacon or barbecue-like flavor to anything it touches. So far, I’ve enjoyed it on avocado toast, pasta, fried eggs and smashed potatoes. Amazing on all accounts. I can’t wait to finish a bowl of hearty lentil soup with smoked salt this winter.
If you’re intrigued by flavored sea salts, check out SaltWorks’ other offerings, too. They sent me a bunch to play with: black Hawaiian sea salt, truffle salt, shimmering fine-grain pink Himalayan salt and more. Find them at Saltworks.us (free shipping!), or look for them in your local grocery and gourmet stores.
- 1 cup water, heated to 110 degrees (very warm, almost too hot for comfort)
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 envelope (2¼ teaspoons) rapid-rise or instant yeast
- 2¾ white whole wheat flour (or regular whole wheat flour)
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 32-ounce can whole tomatoes, drained and crushed by hand OR about ⅔ cup pizza sauce of choice
- 2 cups shredded low-moisture part-skim mozzarella cheese
- additional toppings of choice**
- Smoked sea salt
- Torn fresh basil
- Preheat oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit with a rack in the upper position.
- Whisk water, sugar, oil and yeast in a liquid measuring cup or small bowl. Allow yeast to proof for 5 minutes. It should puff up some by then.
- Pulse flour, Parmesan, and salt in food processor until combined. While running the food processor, slowly pour in the water mixture and process until a shaggy ball forms, about 1 minute.
- Dump the dough onto a floured work surface and quickly knead dough a few times until it comes together. Halve the dough.
- On a floured surface, use a rolling pin to roll dough into two 11-inch rounds. Transfer dough to a baking pan (my baking pan is non-stick, but if yours isn’t, you might want to lightly grease it with cooking spray).
- Brush the outer 1-inch of the dough with a light coating of olive oil. Add drained, crushed tomatoes (crush the tomatoes over the sink to get out as much liquid as possible) or pizza sauce of your choice. Sprinkle with cheese and vegetables.
- Bake on the top rack until the crust and cheese are lightly golden, rotating halfway, about 10 minutes for cheese pizza and 12 minutes for pizza with additional toppings. Sprinkle with smoked sea salt and/or fresh basil and serve.
- Adapted from The Fauxmartha’s no-rise pizza crust and Cook’s Country’s quick grilled pizza dough.
- Yields two medium pizzas.
- *Please use tomatoes that come in a BPA-free can (Muir Glen) or tetra pack (San Marzano). BPA is bad stuff.
- **To make a ball pepper pizza as shown here, you’ll need one medium bell pepper per pizza (I used ½ red and ½ orange). Slice the pepper into long, then strips. Sauté the pepper in a teaspoon or two of olive oil over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until the peppers are wilting and lightly charred. Transfer to a plate lined with a folded paper towel until you’re ready to top the pizza. Proceed as directed.
- This crust turns out especially great if you bake it on a hot pizza stone instead of a baking sheet.
Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by SaltWorks®, America’s Sea Salt Company®. Thank you for supporting the sponsors who allow me to serve up more recipes. Opinions are my own, always.