A tasty whole-grain pizza crust: roasted potatoes optional!

whole grain pizza crust

Now I ask you, does this look like a pizza that would elicit doubt? Not just doubt, but apprehension.

To say nothing of puzzlement.

Yea, even a touch of “Ewwwww.”

That’s just how my Web teammates greeted this pizza when I brought it, hot from the oven, into our office for a birthday lunch a few weeks ago.

“What IS that on top? That’s not potatoes, is it?”

“Yes,” I replied, “Those are most certainly potatoes, and they are indeed on top of this pizza. Along with chopped scallions and melted chunks of Asiago cheese. Ya got a problem with that?”

Eyebrows arched. Mouths downturned. I could read it all on their faces.

“We’ve been looking forward to pizza and she made it with POTATOES? Isn’t that kinda weird, like, carbs on carbs?”

Sigh. Webbies, where’s your sense of adventure? (Wo)man does not live by pepperoni and mozzarella alone.

“C’mon, guys. Just try it. Forget what it sounds like; concentrate on the taste.”

And, since there was nothing else for lunch besides salad and chips and Diet Pepsi – they did.

I tell you, it was like a revival meeting – they suddenly saw the light.

“Hey – this is GOOD. Like, REALLY good. Potatoes on pizza – who knew?!”

I knew. I bent my head to cover a self-satisfied smirk. There’s absolutely nothing not to like about hot, buttery roasted potatoes. And onions. And melting cheese. Especially when it’s all on top of a crisp-chewy, whole wheat crust absolutely packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants – and flavor.

Speaking of antioxidants, researchers at the University of Maryland published a study several years ago showing that pizza crust made with whole wheat flour, when allowed to rise overnight and bake in a very hot oven for a relatively long time, is better for your health than a standard pizza crust.

Why? Antioxidants, the nutritional substance in certain foods (including whole wheat flour), counteract the harmful effects of oxidation on your system. Research shows antioxidants may help prevent diseases such as heart disease, Alzheimer’s, stroke, and cancer, among others.

So, we already know whole wheat flour is more nutritious than “white” flour; why not up the ante even more, and take full advantage of its health attributes?

Besides, this whole wheat pizza crust is just plain tasty.

Here’s my top choice when I reach for whole wheat flour: our organic white whole wheat.

Organic, because it seems to rise better in yeast breads (maybe the yeast responds to the way the wheat was grown?)

White wheat, rather than traditional red wheat, because I prefer the milder flavor and lighter color.

Let’s get started.

Here’s a scheduling tip: Since this dough has to chill overnight, make it at 8 p.m., and refrigerate until 4 p.m. the next day. Shape, let rise for 2 hours, and bake at 6 p.m. – just in time for dinner.

Place the following in a mixing bowl:

3 cups King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour or King Arthur 100% Organic White Whole Wheat Flour*
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons lukewarm orange juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup lukewarm water

*Can you use traditional red wheat flour in this recipe? Absolutely; your crust will be darker, and more assertively flavored due to red wheat’s stronger taste.

Oh, and by the way, what’s with the orange juice? No, it doesn’t make your pizza taste like oranges; but it does mitigate the somewhat tannic flavor whole wheat can sometimes have. Substitute water if desired.

Combine all of the ingredients, and allow to rest, covered, for 30 minutes; this gives the whole wheat flour a chance to absorb the liquid.

Mix and knead to make a smooth, fairly soft dough; it probably won’t be sticky enough to cling to the sides of the bowl, but if it is, no worries – the overnight chill will take care of any stickiness.

Transfer the dough to a bowl or 8-cup measure, cover it, and let it rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Refrigerate overnight, or for about 18 hours; a bit longer is fine.

Feel free to use any of your favorite toppings on this crust – especially if you’re of the “ewww, potatoes on pizza” school of gourmanderie.

But if you’re willing to give potato pizza a try, prepare the potatoes while the dough is chilling, or anytime before it’s ready to be topped. I love tiny new red potatoes; I found 1 3/4 pounds, about 35 small potatoes, is perfect for this pizza – and won’t drain your wallet too heavily.

Wash the potatoes, and put them in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 10 to 12 minutes, covered, until they’re soft but not collapsing; “al dente,” as it were.

Toss the potatoes with a bit of olive oil, and sprinkle heavily with salt.

Or not; your choice. I happen to like salty potatoes.

Set them aside until you’re ready to top the pizza.

Remove the dough from the fridge. For 100% whole wheat dough, that’s a nice rise, isn’t it?

Pat the dough into a lightly greased half-sheet pan (18″ x 13″) that’s been drizzled with olive oil. This will make a medium-crust, Sicilian-style pizza, one that’s thick enough to undergo the long bake at a high temperature necessary to optimize its antioxidants.

The dough will probably fight back as you try to pat it to the edges of the pan. Don’t engage in the battle; discretion is the better part of valor. Walk away for 10 to 15 minutes, then come back and pat some more.

This short rest gives the gluten a chance to relax; you’ll be amazed how cooperative the dough has become! If necessary, give it another rest before patting just about to the pan’s edges – as pictured above.

Clean 2 bunches of scallions, and chop in 1″ to 2″ pieces, both white and green parts. Spread them over the crust.

Cut 6 ounces of Asiago or Parmesan (or Romano, or your favorite sharp cheese) into chunks. Spread them over the crust.

Finally, halve the cooked potatoes, and spread them over the crust, cut side down.

Cover the pizza, and let it rise for about 2 hours, or until it’s very puffy. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 450°F.

Researchers managed to increase antioxidants to their highest level by baking pizza crust at 500°F. However, since some readers have ovens that won’t heat that hot; and since baking at 500°F can be a little tricky (the time difference between perfect and burned becomes very short), we’ve chosen a slightly more moderate baking temperature: 450°F.

Bake the pizza on the bottom shelf of the oven for 8 minutes, then transfer it to a shelf in the upper third of the oven. Bake for an additional 6 to 8 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the crust browned.

Like this. Perfect!

Remove the pizza from the oven, let it rest for about 5 minutes (for the cheese to settle), and serve it right away.

Here’s one more look at not only the potatoes, cheese, and scallions; but that nicely risen, tasty, nutritious 100% whole wheat crust.

As I said, if potatoes don’t float your boat, substitute your favorite toppings. If you’re going with shredded cheese, I’d suggest baking the pizza on the bottom rack of the oven without its cheese; then adding the cheese just before transferring to the top rack. This will keep the cheese from burning and/or becoming rubbery and overcooked.

Read, bake, and review (please) our recipe for A Tasty Whole-Grain Pizza Crust.

Print just the recipe.

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel was born in Wisconsin, grew up in New England, and graduated from Brown University. She was a journalist in Massachusetts and Maine before joining the King Arthur Flour Company in 1990, where she's been ever since. Author or co-author of three King Arthur ...

comments

  1. juthurst

    Yes. Just say YES to whole wheat pizza!!!
    I’ve been making my own for a while, thanks for providing the measurements to those of us who don’t measure all the time and can never tell others exactly how to make things… ;)
    I’ll just refer them to you… again! :)

    Not sure ’bout those potatoes, but maybe with sharp cheddar and some crumbled bacon… and caramelized onions, perhaps a drizzle of Honey mustard BBQ sauce…

    thanks!

    Reply
  2. redshan68

    Potatoes on pizza does seem odd at first blush, but I became a true believer after a trip to Sicily. Very thinly sliced potatoes, whisper thin crescents of red onion, rosemary, all overlaying an olive oil and garlic annointed crust. Perfetto! I will definitely be trying this whole wheat crust AND the lovely little new potatoes!

    Reply
  3. JScakes

    How does the half sheet pan measurements compare to a round pizza pan measurements? Is this equivalent to a 14 inch pie? (So I know how big to roll my dough). Thanks!

    That would be “pizza pie are squared” – 14″ pan is about 153 square inches, half sheet pan is 234 square inches, so sounds like the half sheet pan is about half again as big as the 14″ pan. Your dough would just be thicker in the 14″ pan – all good. PJH

    Reply
  4. eleyana

    YUM! More years ago than I care to count, I ordered the chicken, rosemary and potato pizza at California Pizza Kitchen and it was absolutely divine. I know I’ll like this one too.

    Eleyana, that sounds inspiring – love rosemary with potatoes, and the chicken is an added bonus. Thanks for sharing – PJH

    Reply
  5. "A Place to Reside"

    Thanks! I was truly just thinking this weekend that I needed to find a whole grain pizza crust recipe. What impeccable timing! :-) And potatoes on pizza is surprisingly good. I have a recipe for one with mashed potatoes, bacon, onion and red pepper. It knocks my socks off every time!

    Ah, mashed potatoes – never thought of that. Sounds like a “loaded” baked potato atop a pizza crust – I could go there! PJH

    Reply
  6. Amy1234

    I’ve never kneaded by hand– I always use the Zo. Would this recipe work if I mixed the dough ingredients, let it sit for 30 minutes per the recipe, put it in the Zo on “dough” cycle, then moved it to the fridge when the dough cycle was over?

    Absolutely fine, Amy- PJH

    Reply
  7. GoodFoodStories

    I’ve done a pizza with potatoes, dijon aioli, kielbasi, and sauerkraut from the Todd English Figs cookbook (perfect for a western Pennsylvanian palate!) but LOVE the scallions pairing too. And I’ll definitely be putting that OJ tip into action.

    Now THAT sounds like a hearty pizza! There’s more than one way to top a crust, eh? :) PJH

    Reply
  8. davidssa

    It looks from the picture like there’s no stone in your oven… Is that true? If so, why not? I need mine to even out my rather erratic oven temp. Is that ok? And should I bake right on top like I usually do, or is the pan a good idea here?

    I think I’ll try this crust with some manchego cheese (the favorite of one of my little ones). How sweet is the crust? Are we more in the honey-wheat vein or the oat-y wheat vein? And I don’t happen to care for white whole wheat much, so I’ll probably use the darker stuff (though I do have some white to use up, so maybe). Any adjustment to the liquid, or is that part the same? Thanks!!

    David, bake your pizza as you usually do; we do have a stone full time in one of our ovens, but it wasn’t the one I was using that day. And I didn’t find the crust sweet at all; the honey is indiscernible. Follow the recipe as written, no need to adjust the liquid – unless you’re talking about converting another recipe to whole wheat, in which case try increasing the liquid by a tablespoon, more if it seems necessary. Good luck! PJH

    Reply
  9. smilemore

    PJ, you never fail to dazzle me with your creativity! I have actually spent the last two months in Sicily, and I have one more month here before I return to the states. I will need to visit our local pizzeria and try and find something similar. Or I might just have to wait until I get home to create my own. Thanks for the culinary inspiration!

    Lucky you, being in Sicily! I’ve always longed to see olive trees and enjoy the food there. I’m not thinking potatoes are a huge element in Italian cooking, but maybe you can show them what an American-style pizza involves, eh? :) PJH

    Reply
  10. "elianna m"

    Wow! Definitely something I’ll be trying. My only question would be how to EAT the pizza! But usually the “messier” ones are the best, anyways. :)

    This is actually quite self-contained, Elianna. The potatoes stick on pretty well, and the cheese is embedded and helps hold the scallions in place, too. it might be more a knife-and-fork pizza than most, but definitely not gooey/messy… Enjoy! PJH

    Reply
  11. AnneInWA

    I saw this and had to make it! I had some left over garlic roasted potatoes from dinner the night before and used those. I also added some applewood smoked bacon and carmalized onions. I also added some parm cheese in addition to the asiago, and it was a wonderful pairing. My family went nuts over this! It was a good thing I made two of these! Thanks again PJ for yet another wonderful recipe!

    Oh, yum… Wish I’d been at YOUR house last night, Anne! Thanks for sharing – PJH

    Reply
  12. Caroline

    Potatoes on pizza are nothing new– they do it a lot in Italy– but I think they look more appetizing/less alarming if they’re in thin slices.

    Reply
  13. HMB

    I LOVE the flavor and texture of a whole wheat pizza crust. I made a “clean out the fridge” pizza this weekend with a mix of all kinds of bits and pieces of cheese, meats, veggies that accumulated over the week. I mix my pizza dough in the food processor, and my “secret ingredient” to my crust is rosemary. It gets nicely chopped into tiny bits as I whirl it with the flour and salt before I add the other ingredients. Rosemary adds a wonderful flavor and an even better aroma.

    Reply
  14. TracyT

    I am one of those “webbies” that PJ mentioned. One who leaned to the teammate next to me and whispered “Is that potatoes?” I’ve had a lot of pizza in my time. With PJ’s Pizza Thursdays to help pull us through the rush of holiday time at KAF and as the mom of 5 sons. BUT, truly, this is the best. pizza. ever.

    Reply
  15. simpkinsv

    My half-sheet pan is flat, not rippled like the one you used. Will that make my crust soggy, or does it matter at all? This looks awesome, and I can’t wait to try it. Thanks!
    Using a flat sheet pan should be no problem at all. ~Amy

    Reply
  16. fussybritches19

    Carbs on carbs? Oh yeah, I’ll take some of that action. ;-) Of course, my favorite pizza is still Italian sausage-style seitan (real thing works, too, but I’m a vegetarian), roasted red peppers, a little moz, blobs of goat cheese all drizzled with pesto after it comes out. Worth. The. Calories. (But yeah, I do have to add a mile to my run the next day.)

    My hubby just said he wanted to try doing a whole wheat pizza crust instead of his regular white crust. Any modifications to the temp or time for baking if we place the dough directly on a pizza stone?
    Just go ahead and bake as normal on your stone- Enjoy!! ~Amy

    Reply
  17. tiney723

    I got sold on potatoes on pizza when I made a pizza recipe from Cooking Light that contained potatoes, caramelized onions, goat cheese, and herbs. It is out of this world!

    Reply
  18. susanom

    I noticed you didn’t put any sauce on this pizza. If I want to change up the toppings and add sauce, is there any change in the baking time or temp?
    No changes, no limits. Sauce away and have fun! ~Amy

    Reply
  19. lighterandlocal

    I love the idea of potatoes on this pizza. Kind of live a “potato skin pizza” of sorts. Thanks for passing along the crust recipe. I’ve been looking for a great whole grain one… and this looks perfect!

    Reply
  20. Margy

    Our local pizzeria make a steak and potato pizza with onions and chedder. Like cheesesteak on a pizza crust!

    Great idea, Margy! I can think of all kinds of sub sandwiches I’d like on pizza crust – like eggplant Parmesan. Next time I make pizza… :) PJH

    Reply
  21. Aaron Frank

    Hi,

    I can’t get my family to eat 100% whole wheat crust unfortunately. I’ve tried and even with your white whole wheat they will eat it but only grudgingly (it’s still pizza after all). I use about half whole wheat and half cake flour and they love that.

    Do you know if a longer rise makes a difference? I typically leave mine in the refridgerator for three to five days.

    Also what about temps higher than 500? I usually go for about 12 minutes at about 600.

    Thanks,

    Aaron

    Aaron, not sure the effect on the antioxidants over 600°F – the study didn’t detail that. However, it did say a longer bake at a higher temperature was beneficial. Maybe 500°F for longer would be better? Don’t know for sure. And if 50% whole wheat works for your family, stick with it – it’s better than 0% whole wheat, right? Longer rise – does it make a difference in… what? Antioxidant level? Don’t know. Flavor? Yes, it gives the crust a tangier (sourdough-y) taste, with a bit of alcohol flavor. Did I answer your question? If not – write back! PJH

    Reply
  22. wyndbourn

    Lovely! Since I cannot have tomatoes in any form, I am always on the lookout for a pizza without red sauce, this will be a weekend treat for sure!

    Reply
  23. "Cathy R"

    Looks like a fabulous pizza and I love baking with 100% whole wheat. Do you have recommendations for high altitude use of whole wheat? I’ve not had much success with 100% and have had to cut my recipes with white flour to get any kind of rise.

    I can’t wait to try potato scallion pizza, though. YUM!

    Cathy, the fact that you’re baking at high altitude doesn’t have much to do, if anything, with white vs. whole wheat flours. They act differently no matter what altitude you’re at. In general, you need to increase the liquid a bit with whole wheat; and yes, bread will rise more slowly and usually not as high, due to the bran particles in the whole wheat interfering with gluten development. You might try reading our baking at altitude tips, for just general high altitude baking info. As for the whole wheat, just keep experimenting with different recipes and different percentages of ww; eventually you’ll find that “sweet spot” you can embrace. PJH

    Reply
  24. bina

    I have been making Jim Lahey’s Potato Pizza for years. For his recipe the potatoes are sliced thinly and salted for a little while and then placed on the crust with shallots and baked until crust and potatoes are golden. There is no cheese in his recipe which is great for vegans. Anyway, potatoes and pizza are part of my kitchen already and this looks quite yummy too. Thanks for the great post and wonderful photos.–Ilene

    Ilene, that sounds good, too – crunchy-crispy-salty, with shallots. I’ll have to try it – thanks for sharing. PJH

    Reply
  25. debdevo

    hi – I have a question about one comment in your instructions: ‘Cover the pizza, and let it rise for about 2 hours’. What are you covering with? plastic wrap? towel? something else? I usually let my dough rise naked-ly and then top, but I like your idea better…just need to know what to cover with. thanks for all of the GREAT ideas and tastes!

    Deb, I’ve saved some big plastic deli covers – you know, like that come on top of a cold cut platter. I have a rectangular one, and a round one, and use them to cover pizzas and rolls, anything that’s relatively short in height, even after a complete rise… PJH

    Reply
  26. Tonia

    I LOVE potatoes on pizza, or potatoes w/pasta or (this from Dominos pizza) pasta & potatos on pizza HA!! I say you can never have too many carbs ;-D

    PS: Is there a difference between scallions and green onions?!? Or is it just one of those fancy foodie things? Or does it depend on what part of the country you’re from – like soda or pop or soda pop?!??? Just wondering. . .

    Tonia, some people call chives green onions, and chives are different than scallions; but yes, if what you call green onions look like the picture in the blog, then they’re the same thing. Never heard of pasta on pizza, though – that’s a truly novel approach to carb loading! :) PJH

    Reply
  27. jsgmitchell

    Here in Idaho one of our local pizzarias makes a fantastic baked potato pizza that is to die for. They use wafer thin slices of russet potatoes, crumbled bacon, cheddar cheese, green onions, and a creamy, garlicy white sauce. Divine. :o)

    Reply
  28. Sue from Pleasanton, CA

    Years ago a friend who’d lived in Hawaii for a couple of years came back with a hankering for Chinese pizza–that is leftover Chinese on top of a pizza crust. It’s truly divine. Have to admit that I only used things like Beef and Broccoli, or other meat heavy leftovers. With mozzarella, of course. Until my food allergies got in the way, this was reason to order extra Chinese takeout.

    Reply
  29. ksfoodie

    Made this pizza last night for some friends that I am attempting to push outside the box food wise. They loved it! I used fresh thinly sliced red onions instead of the green onions. I also added pesto to half the pizza, awesome! I love pesto and potatoes together. Then I also went completely over the top and cracked an egg over the pizza and baked. It was so tasty. Kinda breakfast pizza like.

    Reply
  30. smilemore

    PJ, I did it! I had a Sicilian style pizza similar to your version this week at a local Sicilian’s house! It was so much better than the local pizzerias! They made a very simple dough with water, semolina flour, and olive oil (of course, they pick their own olives and press them). On top, they sprinkled fresh rosemary leaves, diced tomato, asiago or romano cheese (not sure), and sea salt. It was a thicker crust than I have had here before, but it was divine!

    My husband, one year old daughter and I also ventured out to a tiny little town called Frigintini to go to a local olive oil press to get the best olive oil I have ever had! We saw beautiful olive groves, but the olive oil and Sicilian hospitality by the 80 year old couple was the highlight! The olive groves look similar to Texas hill country. Beautiful and rugged!

    I can almost smell the heat and see the beautiful countryside. Thanks for your “on the scene” report… PJH

    Reply
  31. Diane Pierce

    The roasted potato pizza was GREAT! I had to use a purchased crust because we were on vacation when I made it. We had a kitchen, but not a lot of other utensils so I took the easy way out. Topped the pizza exactly as suggested and we loved it. Thanks King Arthur for your amazing recipe.

    And thanks for reporting your success here, Diane. Hope your vacation was lots of fun! PJH

    Reply
  32. spookys6

    Cannot wait to try crust. I’ve been using a similar topping for awhile. YUM!!!! Roast the potatoes, boil the potatoes- still yummers! Any cheese works well.
    Thanks for putting it in writing. You rock!
    I find that par baking my crust for less than 7 minutes is frequently wise. Hate soggy pizza. Sometimes I use a pan- sheet or pizza, but often parchment on the baking stone. A two-sided dough roller makes the job a heckuva lot easier. And your pizza dough seasoning- never without it.

    Reply
  33. wendyb964

    This reminds me of my fav pizza at a chain: rosemary chicken pizza. Fairly thin crust, shredded chicken, mandolin-sliced red potato slices, rosemary (fresh, the more the better for me!), drizzled in whatever flavor EVOO you wish and choose your cheese, asiago and a bit of something that melts. If it hadn’t been so highly recommended I’d never have tried it. Never made pizza dough from scratch, but after reading your thin crust post today (totally inspiring) believe I will. Another non-traditional fav: pesto, spinach, and gorgonzola cheese with wafer-thin tomato slices. Thanks to KAF and the confidence you and the community give me as far as tips and encouragement.

    Wendy, I’m totally drooling! That sounds SO good. And I’m really glad we’ve inspired you to try your own crust – once you start, you won’t be able to stop, homemade crust is that good. Enjoy! PJH

    Reply
  34. debbey

    like soft crust pizza like chicago pizza have ,eager to make but want to know what type of crust will it have?
    thanks.
    I do not think this crust will meet your needs, Debbey. We do have another recipe and blog you should take a look at called, Chicago Stuffed Pizza. Take a look! Elisabeth

    Reply
  35. ourrobotlife

    I’m a little sad that I made pizza for dinner tonight. We might have to double up on pizza night this week just so I can try out this recipe. I’ve been trying out different whole wheat pizza recipes, but the ones that I’ve found that are 100% whole wheat tend to have added wheat gluten. :-(
    I don’t think anyone has asked this yet, but is the 2hr rise absolutely necessary? If so, can I let it rise unshaped (just balled), stretch it, and then top with sauce, etc?
    Also, can I substitute a different juice for orange? Pineapple juice maybe?

    Yes, the final 2 hour rise is there for texture of the final crust. If you shorten this, the crust will be dense and chewy. Orange Juice is the only fruit juice that helps neutralize the intensity of the red wheat. You may replace the juice with an equal amount of water, the crust will be a bit more robustly “wheaty”. Frank @ KAF.

    Reply
  36. rochelle_keefer

    I was looking for a wheat pizza crust and as always, KA has the recipe I’m looking for! I’m definitely going to try this pizza, but I was wondering… I used to buy frozen whole wheat pizza crust from a local shop. If I wanted to make this crust and freeze it so I have it on hand whenever I want, should it rise a little first and a little after it thaws? Just one rise after it thaws? Thanks for these blog entries- reading these has become my new hobby!

    Rochelle, I’d actually par-bake it, then freeze; it’ll be SO much more stable. Bake your risen crust until it’s set, but not at all brown. Cool completely, wrap airtight, and freeze. Enjoy! PJH

    Reply
  37. alicia dolan

    I haven’t tried this recipe yet, as I have a couple of questions…I am curious as to why the toppings (minus cheese) are added before the final rise of the crust, and is the shift from the bottom to the middle of the oven halfway through baking to do with maximizing antioxidants, or is it necessary for other reasons?
    Thanks,
    Alicia

    Allowing the crust to proof with the ingredients on top gives them a better chance of finding a niche in the crust–such large pieces would otherwise fall off if added at the end of the proofing (and also diminish the amount the dough rose by pressing it back down, deflating it). Baking it lower in the oven would allow the crust to brown better–as for the effect on the antioxidants, I cannot be sure! I wish I could! Best, Kim@KAF

    Reply
  38. Melissa

    I would like to make this as a 12″ to 14″ round, but do not simply want a thicker crust (would actually prefer it on the thinner side). Should/can I half the recipe? I am not sure how decreasing the flour and other ingredient measurements affects the yeast measurement. Suggestions?

    You can generally cut a yeast dough in half without an issue! Yeast doughs actually have problems when they are increased as the amount of yeast would not need to be multiplied in all cases.-Jon

    Reply

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