Pizza Party!

Yes, you heard me right. But this isn’t the typical pizza party you’re thinking of with a delivery man knocking on your door and the post-pizza guilt after you’ve had one-too-many slices. Instead, imagine homemade 100% whole-wheat dough divided into individual portions, a simple sauce, and a toppings bar with something for every palate.

We hosted a “make-your-own” pizza party at my house recently and, needless to say, it was a big hit. We provided the dough, sauce, and mozzarella, along with our own personal toppings and our guests contributed any topping they liked. Whether you’re hosting a party like ours or just making this as a fun family dinner, you won’t be disappointed with the results.

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

makes 5 personal pizzas

from Whole Grain Breads by Peter Reinhart

This process involves a delayed fermentation method that takes place over two days. You will start with two doughs, the “soaker” and the “biga.” Later, these will be combined to make the final dough.

Soaker Ingredients

1 3/4 cups or 227 grams whole wheat flour

1/2 teaspoon or 4 grams salt

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons or 198 grams water

Soaker Directions

1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl by hand until a ball of dough forms and no dry spots remain, about 1 minute.

2. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature for 12-24 hrs or refrigerate for up to 3 days (remove 2 hours before final mixing).

Biga Ingredients

1 3/4 cups or 227 grams whole wheat flour

1/4 teaspoon or 1 gram instant yeast

3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons or 198 grams water at room temperature (70 °F)

Biga Directions

1. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl by hand until a ball forms. With wet hands, knead the dough in the bowl for 2 minutes, ensuring there are no dry spots and ingredients are mixed well. The dough should feel very tacky. Allow the dough to rest for 5 minutes, then knead with wet hands for an additional 1 minute. The dough will be smooth but still tacky.

2. Transfer dough to a clean bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 8 hrs-3days.

3. Remove from refrigerator about 2 hours before mixing final dough.

Final Dough Ingredients

Soaker

Biga

7 tablespoons or 56.5 grams whole wheat flour

5/8 teaspoon or 5 grams salt

1 1/2 teaspoons or 5 grams instant yeast

2 1/4 teaspoons or 14 grams honey

3 tablespoons olive oil

Final Dough Directions

1. On a lightly floured surface, use a metal pastry scraper to chop the “soaker” and “biga” into 12 pieces each (sprinkle flour over the pre-doughs to prevent the pieces from sticking back together).

2. Using a stand mixer*, put the dough pieces in the bowl with the flour, salt, yeast, honey, and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Mix with the paddle attachment on low-speed for 1 minute, or until the ingredients come together into a ball. Switch to the dough hook and mix on medium low-speed for 2 minutes, scraping down the sides as needed, until the dough is completely mixed. Add flour or water as needed until the dough is soft and slightly sticky.

*I prefer the stand mixer, but you can use your hands as well. Simply knead the dough with wet hands for 2 minutes, until all ingredients are evenly distributed.

3. Roll the dough on a lightly floured surface to coat., then knead by hand for 3-4 minutes, until the dough is soft and very tacky, verging on sticky. Form the dough into a ball and let it rest for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, line a sheet pan with parchment paper or silicon mat, then oil it with the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil.

4. Knead the dough for 1 minute to develop the gluten. It should be soft, supple, and very tacky, verging on sticky. Divide the dough into 5 equal pieces. Form each piece into a tight ball by flattening into a square, pulling the corners together, and pinching the seams closed (this side is the bottom). Roll the balls in the oil to coat the entire surface of each, then cover the pan loosely with plastic wrap. Allow to rise for 1 hour.

5. Preheat the oven to the highest temperature. If cooking on a pizza stone, allow it to preheat in oven for 1 hour while

Ready to go in the oven!

the dough is rising. Otherwise, cook the pizzas on the underside of a sheet pan. Shape the pizza dough into your desired shape and then top with sauce and your favorite toppings. For the sauce recipe we used, click here.

6. Slide the topped pizzas onto the stone or baking sheet. Bake for 5-8 minutes.

7. Remove pizza from oven and transfer to cutting board. Allow pizza to rest for 3-5 minutes before slicing. However, if you’re like us, you just might not be able to wait that long.

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