Basic Whole Grain Pizza Dough

This dough can also be used to make ciabatta or buns. It uses the poolish method and requires more water that conventional all-purpose flour.  To see master baker Craig Ponsford demonstrate his techniques for making this dough, see our video of Craig making ciabatta.

It takes a little planning ahead, but the tender whole-wheat tastiness at the end is well worth it! The envelope folding can be built around other kitchen tasks, like making pizza sauce or catching up on Downton Abbey. This dough also keeps well when stored in a tightly sealed container in the fridge, so you can make a big batch on the weekend and have ready-to-bake pizza dough for the rest of the week.

Whole Grain Pizza Dough
This version for home bakers makes 30 ounces of dough (or 852 grams) or enough for three 10-ounce (284 grams) pizzas. The technique below is slightly adapted to be easier on the home bakers, and produces a dough that is a bit firmer and easier to work with, but just as delicious. To see Craig’s original recipe, click here.


pinch of instant yeast (about ¼ teaspoon)
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons lukewarm-to-hot water (75-130 degrees F)
1 cup + 2 tablespoons Community Grains Hard Red Winter Wheat

Other Ingredients:

½ teaspoon instant yeast
2 ¼ cups Community Grains Hard Red Winter Wheat flour
1 tablespoon pumpernickel flour
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 cup + 3 tablespoons water


The Day Before:

To make the poolish: Check water temperature with thermometer (check the recommended temperature for activation on your yeast packaging – over 130F runs the risk of killing the yeast). Pour water into a bowl. Add in 1 cup + 2 tbsp flour and pinch of yeast. Mix with your hand, working out any clumps with your fingers.  Set aside at room temperature for 12 hours or overnight.

On Baking Day:

Measure out 2 ¼ cups flour, 1/2 tsp instant yeast, sea salt, and pumpernickel into a bowl. Set aside.

After poolish has rested for 12 hours or overnight, scrape poolish into bowl of  stand mixer.  Pour 1 cup + 3 tbsp water into the bowl the poolish was in and mix to include any residual poolish left in the bowl.

Pour into mixer bowl.

Add dry ingredients.  Mix on low using dough hook attachment for about a minute.  Then stop the machine and with a rubber spatula or dough scraper, scrape well along the sides and bottom of bowl.  Then mix on low for 3 minutes.  Increase to medium speed and mix for 3 minutes.

Scoop dough into a sprayed or lightly oiled rectangular or square container. Now do an envelope fold: fold bottom third of the dough up, then the top third down, then the left and right, like an envelope. Then turn the dough over so the folds are underneath by putting your hands under the whole dough and flipping. Let rest, covered with a lid or plastic wrap, for 1 hour at room temperature.

Do another set of envelope folds every 15 minutes for 3 hours. Divide into 3 pieces for 3 pizza crusts, or leave whole for 1 loaf of ciabatta. Boule your dough by shaping it into a sealed ball, then chill in fridge for 1 hour.

For ciabatta, bake for 15-20 minutes at 400 degrees F on a baking stone, until crust is brown and crispy.

For pizza, gently stretch sides and edges of dough into a 10″ circle. Top with your preferred sauce, cheese, and veggies, then bake 10 – 15 minutes, until cheese is melted and crust is browned.

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