I thought I was done messing around with pizza dough recipes. It took me a long time to settle on a recipe I love, and I've remained faithful to Peter Reinhart's Napoletana Pizza Dough from The Bread Baker's Apprentice for years now. It yields a beautiful crust that bridges the perfect thin-crust balance of structure, flavor, texture, and crunch.
We used to make pizzas at home once a week. I'd make a batch of dough on the weekend and the dough balls were fine lounging in the refrigerator for days until we wanted to throw one in the oven for a quick lunch or dinner. But pizza-making took a bit of a back seat around here after Wayne bought me a big tabletop crepe maker (the world of crepes is very exciting!).
If I flip back through my idea notebook, I can see it has been months since I jotted down a message to myself to try Peter's cold-fermented, overnight-pizza dough using white whole wheat flour (a whole grain flour) in place of refined, all-purpose flour. For those of you who are regular readers of the site, you realize that I never got around to it - but I think all the excitement yesterday about the guy who reverse-engineered Patsy's famous pizza knocked me back into pizza-making mode. This guy (his name is Jeff) clipped the lock off his oven using garden sheers so he could run the oven in oven-cleaning mode and therefore bake off pizzas in 800+ degree heat. Hardcore. I'm not that hardcore, I wish I could say I was.
White Whole Wheat Pizza Dough (with herbs).
I though it would be nice to have a whole wheat pizza dough that wasn't bready, chewy, soft, and unstructured. The good news is that I got very close. The only real changes I made to Peter's original master formula was to swap in King Arthur's White Whole Wheat Flour. I also thought a few tablespoons of chopped thyme and rosemary would add flavor and fragrance.
So what happened? These changes yielded a heavier dough - delicious and rustic-looking, but definitely more wheaty in character than a refined white flour. The dough was a soft buff color - if you can imagine what a dough made from half APF and half whole wheat might create, you can imagine the realm these pizzas fell into.
I topped the herb infused pizza rounds with colorful, sauteed potato slices, gruyere cheese, and more herbs. They were finished with a dusting of Parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil. Other toppings that would play off this crust include: sauteed mushrooms, pesto, rich melty cheeses, caramelized onions, goat cheese and chives....
Topped with Potatoes, Cheese + Herbs
Be sure to pull this dough out nice and thin. Extra thin. You won't be sorry.
White Whole Wheat Pizza Dough Recipe
This is a very adapted version of Peter Reinhart's dough using white whole wheat flour. There are a few corners that I'm in the habit of cutting with this dough, all reflected in the following recipe instructions.
4 1/2 cups King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon instant yeast
1/4 cup olive oil
1 3/4 cups water, ice cold
a few tablespoons chopped herbs (optional)
Semolina flour or cornmeal for dusting
Stir together the flour, salt, and instant yeast in the bowl of an electric mixer. By hand stir in the oil and the cold water until the flour is all absorbed. Add the herbs. Switch to the dough hook and mix on medium speed for 5 to 7 minutes, or as long as it takes to create a smooth, sticky dough. The dough should clear the sides of the bowl but stick to the bottom of the bowl (to me it looks like a tornado). Add a touch of water or flour to reach the desired effect. The finished dough will be springy, elastic, and sticky, not just tacky.
Transfer the dough to a floured countertop. Cut the dough into 6 equal pieces and mold each into a ball. Rub each ball with olive oil and slip into plastic sandwich bags. Refrigerator overnight.
When you are ready to make pizza (anytime in the next few days), remove the desired number of dough balls from the refrigerator at least 1 hour before making the pizza. Keep them covered so they don't dry out.
At the same time place a baking stone on a rack in the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees (you can go hotter, but I like the results I get at 450). If you do not have a baking stone, you can use the back of a sheet pan, but do not preheat the pan.
Generously dust a peel or the back of a sheet pan with semolina flour or cornmeal and get ready to shape your pizza dough. Uncover or unwrap the dough balls and dust them with flour. Working one at a time, gently press a dough round into a disk wide enough that you can bring it up onto your knuckles to thin out - you should be able to pull each round out to 12-inches or so. If the dough is being fussy and keeps springing back, let it rest for another 15-20 minutes. Place the pulled-out dough on the prepared sheet pan, and jerk the pan to make sure the dough will move around on the cornmeal ball-bearings (you don't want it to stick to the pan).
Add your toppings (less is more!) and slide the topped pizza onto the baking stone. Bake until the crust is crisp and nicely colored. Remove from the oven. I always finish with more freshly grate parmesan and a small drizzle of good quality extra-virgin olive oil.
Makes six 6-ounce pizza crusts.