Recipe summary

Hands-on time:
20 mins. to 30 mins.
Baking time:
14 mins. to 16 mins.
Total time:
19 hrs 4 mins. to 1 days 1 hrs 56 mins.
Yield:
16 slices
Overnight
Several years ago, researchers at the University of Maryland published a study 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. We already know whole wheat flour is more nutritious than "white" flour; so why not up the ante even more, and take full advantage of its health attributes?

Aside from being a healthier pizza crust, this whole wheat version is just plain tasty. We like to top it with roasted new potatoes, fresh scallions, and nuggets of Asiago or Parmesan cheese, for an incredibly tasty treat.
Volume Ounces Grams

  • 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

Directions

  1. 1) Combine all of the ingredients, and allow to rest for 30 minutes; this gives the whole wheat flour a chance to absorb the liquid.
  2. 2) Mix and knead — by hand, mixer, or bread machine — to make a smooth, soft dough.
  3. 3) Transfer the dough to a bowl, cover it, and let it rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. Refrigerate overnight, or for about 18 hours; a bit longer is fine. Handy schedule: Make pizza dough 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.
  4. 4) Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Pat it into a lightly greased half-sheet pan (18" x 13") that's been drizzled with olive oil. This will make a thick-crust, Sicilian-style pizza, one that's thick enough to undergo the long bake at a high temperature necessary to optimize its antioxidants.
  5. 5) Brush the dough with sauce, if desired; and top with your favorite cooked toppings: cooked vegetables, and/or cooked or smoked meats. Don't add the cheese yet. 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 450F.
  6. 6) Bake the pizza on the bottom shelf of the oven for 8 minutes, then remove it from the oven and top with cheese, if desired.
  7. 7) Replace the pizza on 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.
  8. 8) Remove the pizza from the oven, let rest for about 5 minutes (for the cheese to settle), and serve right away. If not serving right away, transfer the pizza to racks to cool, so the bottoms stay crisp.
  9. Yield: about 16 slices.

Tips from our bakers

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