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Low sodium whole wheat pizza dough

This is a whole wheat version of my no-knead overnight pizza dough. The process is the same—a slow overnight rise with no kneading, just a little folding before you shape and top your pie. There's still less than 1 mg of sodium per pizza. The only difference is that it uses whole wheat flour and more water. I tried a few different ratios of whole wheat and decided that I like them all so I'm including recipes for each depending on how whole wheat-y you want your pizza. The more bread flour (and less whole wheat flour), the more chewy and crispy your pizza will be. But even at 100% whole wheat, these pizzas are still light and airy. My favorite is 50% whole wheat—nutty and wheat-y, but still a little chewy and crispy.

Servings: Makes 4 ten-inch round pizzas, or 2 half sheet rectangular pizzas.

Sodium: Less than 3 mg for the entire recipe.

Time: About 1 hour active, 12-18 hours inactive.

For 25% whole wheat pizza: 375 g bread flour (about 3 cups)

113 g whole wheat flour (about 1 cup)

330 g water (about 1 1/3 cups plus 1 tablespoon)

For 50% whole wheat pizza (this one is my favorite):

250 g bread flour (about 2 cups)

226 g whole wheat flour (about 2 cups)

362 g water (about 1 1/2 cups)

For 75% whole wheat pizza:

125 g bread flour (about 1 cup)

339 g whole wheat flour (about 3 cups)

380 g water (about 1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon)

For 100% whole wheat pizza:

452 g whole wheat flour (about 4 cups)

395 g water (about 1 2/3 cups)

For all the pizzas:

1/2 tsp garlic powder 1/2 tsp onion powder 1/4 tsp instant yeast

2 tablespoons olive oil 2 tablespoons honey

1) Mix the dough and give it a long rest: In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients and stir to blend, then add the wet ingredients and using a wooden spoon, mix thoroughly. Each of these whole wheat doughs is wetter than an all bread flour dough. You really need that extra water or you end up with a really dry crust.

Cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel. Let the dough rest for 12-18 hours at room temperature until it has doubled. The 25% whole wheat dough is more or less like the regular pizza dough. As you increase the amount of whole wheat flour, and decrease the amount of bread flour, the dough becomes significantly wetter (because we're adding more water).

2) Shape the dough into balls: Turn the dough out on a floured work surface and divide into 2 (to make two half-sheet pan pizzas) or 4 (to make 4 round pizzas, about 10 inches in diameter). The dough will be VERY sticky, so dust the surface with just enough flour (I use bread flour) so you can handle it, and use a bench scraper to help you with this step. Shape each piece into a large round by pulling the top of the dough towards the center, then pulling the left, right, and bottom towards the center one side at a time. The 75% and 100% doughs are really slack, so don't worry about getting a nice round ball here, the point is just to pull each end into the center so you have a more or less even ball of dough that you can then divide into 2 or 4 smaller rounds.

Here's a picture of the various doughs right after they're turned out.

Now divide the dough into 2 or 4 pieces, and shape those into small rounds. Cover the rounds with a dry kitchen towel so they don't dry out, and let them rest seam side down for 30 minutes. See tips below for freezing the dough if you don't want to bake it all.

This is a video from my bread flour pizza dough recipe that shows you how to fold and shape the dough at this point. Keep in mind the whole wheat doughs are a lot more slack. The trick is to handle them gently and dust the surface with flour so that it doesn't stick so easily.

3) Turn on the oven: While your dough is resting, preheat oven to 475°F.

4) Stretch and shape the dough: Lightly oil a parchment-lined sheet pan and lightly oil your hands. If you're making 25% or 50% dough, it's still possible to stretch the dough over your knuckles. The easier method for any of the doughs is to oil your hands, place the ball of dough on the parchment-lined and oiled sheet pan and press the dough out with your hands. For the 75% and 100% whole wheat doughs this was the only way I could shape the pizza because the dough is simply too slack to handle otherwise. If your hands stick to the dough, oil them a little more. Press gently starting from the middle and moving outward and try not to press the edges down so that you get a nice crust.

If the dough shrinks back as you try to stretch it, let it rest for 10 minutes and try again. Add your favorite low sodium toppings and bake for about 8-12 minutes. Our favorite low sodium cheeses are Swiss, fresh mozzarella, and ricotta and some of our favorite low sodium toppings are caramelized onions, fresh garlic, mushrooms, bell peppers, and kale.

Whether you're using just 25% or 100% whole wheat dough, you'll end up with a light and airy pizza. But more whole wheat flour means you'll have a pizza that's a bit less chewy and crispy.


-Use a scale to measure the ingredients whenever possible, especially flour. If you don't have a scale, King Arthur Baking has this great video on how to measure flour accurately.

-Measure out the olive oil before the honey. That way your tablespoon will be oiled and the honey will slide off easily.

-Get the uncooked pizzas in the oven as soon as they're ready, don't stretch and top and let them sit around waiting to go into the oven.

-If topping with vegetables that have a lot of water in them (like zucchini or mushrooms), slice them very thin. Or better yet, slice the veggies and put them in the microwave for a minute or two to dry them out before adding them to your pizza.

-You can freeze all or part of the dough for another day. After shaping the dough (step 2) wrap it in generously oiled plastic wrap and then put in a ziplock bag and freeze. To use, defrost overnight in the refrigerator in the plastic wrap and ziplock bag. Once you're ready to use it, lightly flour your work surface, take the dough out of the plastic wrap and shape it again into a ball. Let it rest at least 30 minutes (up to an hour) and then proceed with stretching, topping and baking. The dough should be soft and easy to handle. If it's hard to stretch or cold to the touch, let it rest a bit longer.

-Par-bake the dough by baking it for about 3-4 minutes, until the dough is just cooked but not browned. Refrigerate par-baked crusts for 3-4 days, or freeze for up to a month. When you're ready to use the par-baked crust, simply top and bake straight out of the fridge or freeze. For a refrigerated crust, it will take anywhere from 10-13 minutes, for a frozen crust add about 2-3 minutes to the baking time. The baking time will depend on how cold and frozen your crust is, your selection of toppings, and personal preference so keep checking.

-The easiest way to clean dough off your bowls and spoons is to let them dry out for a few hours and scrape off the dry dough before you wash so you don't have as much of the soggy dough at the bottom of your sink.

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