Protein Packed Pizza Dough

The recipe for this pizza dough is fat-free, simple, filled with protein, and doesn’t require years of kitchen mastery. Often recipes for “make at home” pizza crusts fall flat, pun intended, and the end results are a dough that’s too wet and sticky, can’t hold up to toppings, and a dull flavor. This recipe was designed to bring restaurant quality pizza crust to your oven and be simple.

Topped with Violife non-dairy cheese

This recipe is a bit different than the one I’ve been using for years, but, it’s quickly become a favorite. I designed it using what I’ve learned from my years of baking obsession. I painstakingly poured through data logs on hydration and created comparison charts and delved into baker’s percentages in order to determine the appropriate amount of water to flour ratio. My goal was to create a recipe that will give consistent results and be just the right balance of crispy crust, pillowy outer edge, and complex flavor. However, there is a secret ingredient that makes all the difference…tofu.

So why tofu? Silken style soft tofu is approximately 86% water with the rest being protein. Using tofu in place of water gives your crust added protein which creates a chewier crust that is restaurant style without having to use special flour or add-ins. It will also make your dough making more consistent. As a bonus, tofu adds a complete protein to each slice while keeping things simple.

This recipe makes enough for two 14″-16″ pizza crusts. Sliced 8 ways each that’s a total of 16 filling slices at only 67 calories per slice (not including toppings) and 2.6 grams of protein per slice of crust!

You can skip to the recipe using the Jump button below or read on to learn more about where this recipe came from, why it works, and a little bit about types of flours.


WW 2 Ingredient Dough

Over the past few months I’ve gotten a lot of followers from the Weight Watchers community thanks to my friend Biz over at MyBizzyKitchen. One recipe that people love is the WW “Two Ingredient Dough.” However, many have found the dough can be too sticky, lacking in flavor, or inconsistent in results. Because that recipe is one half greek yogurt, I’ve had a lot of requests to create a dairy free version. I love a good challenge and a reason to nerd out over food science, so I first broke down how the WW dough works and why. The 2ID (two ingredient dough) recipe is 1 cup of self-rising flour mixed with one 1 cup greek yogurt. The end result is a dough that is low in smart points, because there is no fat and the yogurt creates volume that is typically just more flour. Seems simple right? There are two areas that create inconsistency: the type of flour and the brand of greek yogurt.


Why the Brand of Yogurt Matters

Often recipe creators have contracts or deals with brands for promotional reasons. Generally you can swap brands of ingredients without any problems. In the case of the WW dough the brand in the recipe truly does matter. The original recipe calls for Fage 0% Greek Yogurt. The hydration, or water content, of that yogurt is roughly 75%. Comparatively, Chobani Non-Fat Yogurt is roughly 81% water content. The difference seems small, it’s roughly two tablespoons of extra water, but the effect is a dough that is wetter than if you used Fage. Other brands of greek yogurt use add-ins like starches, sugar, or gums to create thickness, and those also can affect your dough. So if you’ve tried making the WW “Two Ingredient Dough” and it’s been too wet, try using Fage which the original recipe calls for or remove 2 tablespoons of yogurt from the cup.

Fage makes their 0% fat yogurt by straining low fat milk multiple times to remove as much water as possible. The left over product is the milk protein and roughly 75% water. Other brands don’t strain their yogurt as many times which produces a yogurt that has a higher water content. Some leave their greek yogurt to be thinner than Fage while others use incorporate thickening agents: sugar to replace the fat, gelatin, starches, and/or gums.

Why the Flour Matters

Self-rising flour is an all-purpose flour that has salt and a leavener mixed in. You can make your own by whisking together 1 cup of all-purpose flour, 1.5 tsp of baking powder, and 1/4 tsp salt. Brands like Pillsbury also add in Calcium Sulfate which acts as a stabilizer for your baked goods. Fun fact, Calcium Sulfate is also used to make plaster of Paris and stucco. All of these add-ins make the “protein by volume” much lower than other flours. Most all purpose flour is 11% protein whereas self-rising flour is generally only 8% protein. Why does protein matter? The protein in wheat flour is gluten, and gluten is what holds your crust together and makes it chewy. The more protein in the flour, the better gluten creation you’ll have.

Self-rising flour is typically used for cake making and generally is bleached to give your cake the whitest possible appearance and improve the flour’s ability to rise with higher levels of added sugar. Bleached flour is processed using benzoyl peroxide, the same chemical for acne treatment, and bromate, only used in the United States except California, which is a dough conditioner but labeled as a carcinogen. King Arthur Flour is a great option for unbleached and unbromated flour. The bleaching and treating process changes the overall structure of the flour which affects its ability to act like unbleached flour. If you want the best possible pizza crust you want to use the right ingredients.

In summary: there are a few issues that arise when using self-rising flour. The low protein content makes it difficult to mimic that restaurant style pizza crust. It’s designed for baking cookies and cakes which avoid gluten creation. The baked dough using self-rising flour could end up too soft, crumbly, or cakey. The other problem is that if your self-rising flour is older the pre-mixed in baking powder could be ineffective. To counter act these problems, simply mix your own using the recipe above.

There is also a right way to measure flour. If you have a kitchen scale it’s easy. One cup of flour should be 125 grams. Don’t have a scale? Check out Taste of Home’s video on how you should be measuring!

Why Add Yeast

My buddy Biz wanted to make her pizza crust even better so she turned to her bread making skills and added yeast to her recipe, lowered the greek yogurt amount, and added water to make up the hydration difference. The addition of yeast and added rising and resting time for the dough makes the pizza crust crispier, more flavorful, and better suited to hold toppings.

Yeast is a living organism that feeds on the natural sugars in wheat based flours. When it metabolizes those sugars it converts them to alcohol and carbon dioxide. The CO2 gives your bread rise and the alcohol gives your crust that distinctive “bread” flavor and smell. You can see the difference too. Bread that is yeasted and given proper time to rise will have small blisters on the outside and the brown and caramel color will be uneven. Fast food pizza restaurants fake the flavor of artisan pizza crusts by adding in a lot of sugar, salt, oil, and artificial flavorings.

But, which type of yeast should use? There are two main categories of yeast: Active Dry and Instant. Without getting too technical here, use Instant. I’ll explain way more about yeast in another post, but for now know that instant yeast will give you consistent results. Active Dry needs to be conditioned first by soaking it in warm water. Mixing dry AD yeast into your flour mix isn’t enough to activate it. So, if you’ve tried making a pizza crust using Active Dry and your dough never rose, well, now you know.

Can you skip the yeast in the recipe?

If you want to avoid waiting for dough to rise, you can skip the addition of the yeast. Your dough will be bland and not as crust-like, but you can skip it without sacrificing much of the overall structure of your crust. You don’t need to change any of the other ingredients if you omit the yeast.

For my recipe I added baking powder to give your dough more chance at consistency and a spongier crust. I also added in a little apple cider vinegar to mimic the sourness of a long rise dough. You can omit the vinegar, but I’ve found that the crust does taste surprisingly like a sourdough with the added vinegar.


So, without further ado…here’s the recipe

Before baking look

Protein Packed Pizza Dough

The ingredients for this recipe are simple: flour, tofu, yeast. The result though is a tangy dough reminiscent of a painstakingly made sourdough, but without the time or the fuss of a complex recipe.
Cook Time – 15 mins
Servings – 2 pizza crusts

Ingredients

  • 2 ¼ cups all purpose flour
  • 12 ounces soft tofu, (full box of Mori Nu silken style)
  • 1 ½ tsp instant yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar

Instructions

  • Puree tofu in a blender or food processor along with the apple cider vinegar until the mixture is smooth. You could also use a hand mixer for this process.
  • Whisk together the dry ingredients.
  • Depending on the size and power of your food processor or blender you can add the dry mixture into the pureed tofu and pulse to combine. However, the dough gets very elastic and could cause damage to your food processor or blender. Instead, transfer ingredients to a stand mixture or mix by hand until your dough looks smooth and is only slightly tacky to the touch. Knead by hand for a minute to get your dough smooth.
  • Place dough in a lightly oiled glass or plastic bowl to rise and rest, covered, for at least 30-60 minutes. Giving your dough time to rise will give your baked pizza crust more flavor and texture, because the yeast will have had time to work. You can place your dough, in the oiled and covered bowl, in the refrigerator overnight for an easy meal prep and best flavor profile.
  • After your dough has risen, doubled in size, preheat oven to 450 F. If you refrigerated your dough overnight take your cold dough out and let it warm for an hour before proceeding.
  • Divide your dough in half. Place one half back into bowl to be used later or to refrigerate for another meal.
  • On a lightly floured surface flatten your dough as much as it will allow. Let it rest while you prepare the other ingredients. 5-10 minutes of rest will allow the gluten to relax, and it'll be easier to stretch it into your final pizza shape.
  • After all your ingredients are ready and your flattened dough ball has rested, gently stretch the dough to your desired thickness. Keep in mind your dough will rise, puff up, as it bakes due to the yeast and baking powder.
  • Place your shaped dough on a parchment lined baking sheet. Top with your favorite sauce, cheeses, and toppings. Bake at 450 F for 15-20 minutes. Broiling your pizza for the last minute will give it a pizza shop char!

The Nutrition Facts

The following information is based on one pizza crust, without any additional toppings. The above recipe makes two crusts and are large enough to be cut into eight standard sized slices.

Single crust made with my recipe

Each slice is 68 calories, 0.6 grams of fat, 145 mg of sodium, 12.6 carbs, and 2.7 grams of protein. (1.5 SP for my WW followers)


Single crust made with WW recipe

This is the 1:1 recipe

Each slice is 66 calories, 0 grams of fat, 193 mg of sodium, 12.4 carbs, 4.3 grams of protein. (1.4 SP for my WW followers)

Using a brand other than Fage will change the protein, sodium, and sugar.


Just look at that beautiful crust!

If you make this recipe make sure to comment below and tag me in any pictures you post on social media! I love to give shout outs, and I enjoy feedback. If you make this and something seems off or doesn’t work let me know and I can help you troubleshoot.

You can reach me using the social media links below.


A Better Bagel Recipe

Similar ingredients as the pizza dough recipe, but using a carefully calculated ratio of water to flour to make a better bagel than simply 1:1.


Want me to make other favorite recipes dairy or egg free? Want me to calculate the WW 2ID recipe so you can get better results with other brands of greek yogurt or to make different types of breads? Send me an email or contact me on Instagram. I love to help you get fired up for kitchen time.

4 thoughts on “Protein Packed Pizza Dough

  1. I will be trying this dough for sure! The information and explanations you have given are awesome!!
    Dottieaz

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