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Oct 27, 2008 12:15 PM

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough recipe?

At home my chef-husband and I make pizza frequently, but we'd like to try a whole grain dough. Please share your recipe if you have a good one.

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  1. Since you make pizza often, I'm assuming you have a recipe you like. Try using your own recipe with 1/2 white flour and 1/2 whole wheat flour. King Arthur Flour makes a whole wheat flour that looks like white flour and doesn't have the heaviness of whole wheat flour.

    I use whole wheat pastry flour in pizza dough because of it's lightness. Unfortunately, I can't find the recipe I usually use :(

    5 Replies
    1. re: cheesecake17

      I'm a fairly experienced baker, but I've never been able to make a bread I like that was 100 % or even 80% whole grain. The pizza dough recipe I use is Alice Waters, and I have creeped up the amount of whole wheat over the years. I just wondered if there's a trick to working with a majority-whole grain dough that I've never mastered. Less kneading? More liquid?

      1. re: pickypicky

        An all whole wheat dough just tastes.. strange. I've made all whole wheat pizza dough before and it tasted tough, gummy, and chewy all at the same time. It probably doesn't have to do with kneading - that time I made it I followed the recipe and barely kneaded. And more liquid.. wouldn't that make it mushy and sticky?

        1. re: pickypicky

          The bran in whole wheat flour absorbs significantly more water than the same flour minus the bran. So you must increase the liquid. Try sifting out much of the bran--what is called bolting it--to get a flour that still has the germ content but less bran or what they call a "high extraction" flour. It will actually be more nutritious with less bran, since too much fiber causes the bread to move through the digestive tract so fast that not all the nutrients are absorbed. Beyond that, a great many variables in taste enter in. Freshly milled flour has a distinctive taste that stored wheat flour (with an oxidized germ) does not have. The King Arthur whole grain book recommends adding a small amount of orange juice to the dough to offset the bitter taste of oxidized germ oils. A cook friend makes a nice "whole wheat" crust that incorporates white flour, whole wheat flour, and a small amount of corn meal and olive oil. But I don't have her proportions. So I don't suppose this post is much help beyond saying bolt the flour.

            1. re: cheesecake17

              Bolting flour means simply to sift it with a fine sieve to remove as much of the bran as you like. The high extraction flour praised by many French bakers is about 80% extraction, which means about 20% of the total weight is removed when the flour is sifted. The bran can be saved, if you like, and added to bran muffins or even to things like soups. I use a fine nylon barrel sieve--what's the French word for it, tamis sieve?--but a fine strainer will work well.

      2. Try replacing part of the flour in your favorite recipe with both whole wheat and semolina flour. For example, in a recipe calling for 4 cups of flour, use 2 white, 1 semolina and 1 whole wheat. I like the flavor and texture that the semolina flour adds.

        1. Father Kitchen, wonderful post. Thank you for explaining. And yes, I'll try again with just upping the proportions. I thought I might hit an aging hippie with some tried and true back in the day all whole wheat pizza dough recipe, but there is probably a reason why I can't find a good one! (I like the semolina idea. . .)

          4 Replies
          1. re: pickypicky

            I've written to see if I can get my friend's whole wheat pizza recipe. No reply so far, but I'll post it if it comes. Peter Reinhart has a good whole wheat pizza crust in his book Whole Grain Bread. But the recipe is too complicated to reduce to a thumbnail version. It uses both a soaker and a biga as well as a sweetener.
            I have a perverse theory about pizza crust. Originally, pizza was nothing more than leftover loaf dough baked quickly as a flat bread--sort of like licking the last cake batter out of a bowl. So most any bread could, in theory, be used for pizza.
            To tell the truth, I make pizza from time to time just winging it. After all, most pizza doughs are lean doughs that are little more than flour, salt, water and yeast. Olive oil makes some sense, if you like what it does to bread, and I do.
            A bit of crunch? Semolina or corn meal will add that. You don't want too strong a flour, unless you like a really chewy crust. I've baked bread with some millet added, and I love what it does to the crumb and suspect it would be good in pizza.
            I also want some good sugar development in the dough so that the crust colors well and develops the flavor of Maillard bodies. So I like to autolyse the dough and add a tablespoon or two of rye flour to the crust. If it is a yeasted dough, I'd give it a long rise in the fridge or take the no-knead approach with just a smidgen of yeast and an overnight rise. Sourdough works well, too, at room temperature with only a tablespoon or so of starter to a crust.
            I'm not very fond of most 100% whole wheat bread. I find the flavor of rancid wheat germ oil over powering. But when I mill the wheat and bolt it, I have something completely different. And again, we can tame some of the tanin flavor of commercial whole wheat flour by using wheat milled from the low-tanin "white" varieties.
            As for aging hippy sources, I pulled up the Tassajara Bread Book and, to my surprise, I don't see a pizza recipe there. There's no index, so I may have missed it. But there is a focaccio (sic) recipe, and focaccia is basically a pizza without the savory topping. Brown uses a sponge method, but the basic proportions from the total mix are 2 cups lukewarm water and 1/4 cup of olive oil (= 2 tablespoons) to 4 cups of whole wheat flour and 2 cups of unbleached white flour and 2 teaspoons of salt. If he measures by scoop and scrape, that would give an approximate hydration rate of 60% (18 ounces total of liquids), which would make a stiff dough. And the salt content would be rather low. I'd weigh the flour--10 ounces of white and 20 ounces of whole wheat and increase the water to 19 or even 20 ounces plus the olive oil. And I'd probably add 3 tablespoons of rye flour. Mix the flour, oil, and water. Let stand 20 minutes to an hour. Then I'd add 3 level teaspoons of salt and then yeast. (I tend to be conservative on yeast and give it extra time--I'd use no more than 2 teaspoons, but you could go up to about 4 teaspoons of instant or active dry yeast. For a long rise, you could use as little as 1/4 teaspoon.) Knead. (Easiest way is 45 seconds in a food processor fitted with a steel blade.) If you have autolysed the dough--let it rest for an hour before kneading it--the flour will have hydrated. So you get a better idea of how much water it really need. If the bran has absorbed a lot of water, the dough may not come together. So add a bit more a tablespoonful at a time. You don't want a firm dough. Medium soft to soft is fine. And even supersoft, while hard to handle, makes good pizza. (Jim Lahey has a pizza crust recipe that is superhydrated and makes a batter-like dough.) So don't fret about having too much water. Just make sure you have enough.
            I don't know if my thoughts are much help. But if I didn't have a reliable recipe, that would be my approach. Good luck.

            1. re: Father Kitchen

              I've made Peter's whole wheat version about 30 times now, and it just keeps getting better in most everyone's opinion. I have even made it for fans of greek style dough, and while it isn't their first choice, they enjoy the texture and change. I agree that his recipe is quite intense, something you can't rush; with a bit of whole wheat practice it turns out great!

              1. re: raidar

                Thanks to you both. I will see if I can get Reinhart's book from the library. I had the Tassajara book many years ago but it didn't make it through my west coast move. . .

                1. re: raidar

                  hi and thank you for your comments on pizza dough. Could you explain your comment about fans of greek style dough - what type of dough would that be?? I am a 60 yr old Greek American man with some experience in the kitchen and never heard that expession before and would like to learn what it means. Thanks in advance. Manolid1

            2. I just got two Peter Reinhart books from the library. They're exactly what I needed! Thanks CHounders for once again pulling through. Will post when I make the pizza dough. . .

              2 Replies
              1. re: pickypicky

                Looking forward to reading about, and maybe seeing some results! Good luck

                1. re: pickypicky

                  Sooooo, how did the pizza turn out and if good, share the recipe ;) I've had some difficulties with ww pizza dough, and am still experimenting. I just made a batch of Wolfgang Puck's recipe 100% whole wheat for pizzas this evening. We'll see if the father of gourmet pizza is up to it.

                2. The secret to making a good Whole Wheat Pizza Crust is to roll it very thin and get the crust very crisp.

                  I make a 100% whole wheat pizza dough using a stand mixer. The recipe is simple: 2 tsps of yeast (or 1 pkg), 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 warm cup water, 2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour, added in that order. mix for 2-3 minutes, then pour enough olive oil to coat all sides of the dough. Let rise for 1 hour.

                  This will make 3 to 4 16 inch pizzas, and the dough freezes perfectly. Just thaw for about an hour before using.

                  I've read on here that people think whole wheat crust is too doughy. Mine isn't doughy because I roll it paper thin the way our family likes it, then pre-bake it for about 8 minutes at 400 degrees so it will be crispy. Slip the crust off of the pizza pan onto a flat cookie sheet (no sides). Put the toppings on it and then slide it into the oven with a little jerk to slip it off of the cookie sheet so that it bakes directly on the oven rack. Now it will really be crispy and almost have a nutlike flavor. Bake it at 400 degrees for approximately 10 minutes or until the cheese is browning nicely.

                  My healthy whole wheat veggie pizza has any or all of the following toppings (besides tomato sauce base and cheese topping): asparagus, slices of tomato, fresh basil, artichoke hearts, zucchini, onion, green pepper, spinach., I like to use a combination of Italian cheeses, mozzarella, provolone, parmesan, asiago..