Take the instant yeast, sugar and water in a mixing bowl or in the stand mixer bowl. Mix thoroughly.
Add in the whole wheat flour, salt, olive oil and lemon juice.
Attach the bowl to a stand mixer with the hook attachment. On a medium-high speed knead the dough. If kneading with hands, then mix everything very well and then knead for atleast 8 to 10 minutes.
The dough should be smooth, pliable and soft. If the dough looks dry, add some water while kneading. If the dough looks sticky, sprinkle some flour. Depending on the quality of flour, you may add add less or more water.
Spread some water all over the dough.
Cover with a lid or a kitchen towel and allow to leaven for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until the dough increases in volume and doubles up.
Knead the dough lightly again and then you can directly make pizzas from these. Or you can keep them covered in a tight box or pan. Spread some olive oil all over the dough before placing them in the box.
Preheat the oven to its highest possible temperature for 15 to 20 minutes. My oven has 250 degrees Celsius (475 degrees Fahrenheit) as the highest temperature.
Grease a 9-inch pan or tray with some extra virgin olive oil. Sprinkle some flour all over. You can even use cornmeal or semolina for sprinkling.
Take a medium to large ball and sprinkle some flour on the dough.
Roll to a thin pizza having 0.3 to 0.5 cm thickness.
Carefully lift and place the pizza in the greased baking pan or tray.
Spread a thin layer of pizza sauce or passata.
Add some grated vegetarian parmesan cheese. If you do not have parmesan cheese, then skip this step.
Now top with mozzarella cheese or pizza cheese.
Keep the pizza pan on the lower rack near the bottom heating element. This helps the pizza to get a nice crisp and crusty base. Only use the bottom heating element in the oven. Also keep your oven’s highest temp. My oven has 250 degrees celsius (475 degrees Fahrenheit) as the highest.
Bake the pizza for 10 to 15 minutes until the base gets golden and the cheese also melts.
Top with some torn fresh basil leaves.
You can also add dried oregano or red chili flakes if you want. Drizzle some extra virgin olive on the margherita pizza before serving.
Cut with a pizza cutter or knife and serve margherita pizza.
How to use dry active yeast or fresh yeast?
Proof dry active yeast or fresh yeast in 1 cup warm water and ½ teaspoon sugar solution for 10 to 15 minutes or until the mixture froths and bubbles. Mix with rest of the ingredients and knead.
Use good quality dry active yeast and do make sure that the water is neither on the cooler side or hot. It should be lukewarm.
The time taken to leaven will depend on the temperature conditions in your city. So you can keep the dough for 2 to 3 hours or more if required.
Preheat your pizza stone in the oven for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Assemble pizza on a flour dusted pizza peel. Dusting pizza peel with flour helps the pizza to slide easily from the peel to the baking stone. Slide the pizza carefully on the baking stone. Bake pizza for 8 to 10 minutes or until the edges are golden and the cheese has melted.
Make ahead and storage
You can make the sauce and dough well in advance before you plan to assemble and bake. Both the pizza dough and my homemade pizza sauce (recipe linked above in the ingredients list) will keep well in the fridge for a few days or can be frozen for up to 3 months.Though, feel free to make to use store bought dough and jarred sauce.This recipe makes for 6 or 7 thin crust pizzas that are about 9 inches in diameter each - roughly the size of a small-to-medium personal pizza.
Hard pizza crust: Use a good brand of active dry yeast. The yeast has to get activated which helps in leavening of the dough. The yeast does not get activated when the water is hot or cold and the pizza crust will become hard.
Flour: All-purpose flour and bread flour work wonderfully in this recipe. Make sure to use the unbleached and preferably organic versions of these flours.
Toppings: A classic Margherita pizza does not have any vegetable toppings. Sliced tomatoes are included in some variations. If you prefer you can add some vegetable toppings like - onions, sautéed or roasted mushrooms, bell pepper, sautéed spinach, steamed or canned corn kernels.
Fat: Olive oil is the best choice. Any neutral oil can be replaced with olive oil. Butter also makes for a good substitute.
Chewy cheese: Baking pizza for a longer time will result in the cheese getting chewy.