Still desperately seeking the perfect whole wheat pizza crust recipe and technique.

I have some beautiful Community Grains 100% hard red winter wheat whole grain flour and made Craig Ponsford's ciabatta/pizza dough recipe for Pizza Night last night. Beloved was not besotted with his version, sausage and pepperoni excepted. I was quite happy with the flavor of the crust for my broccoli rabe/goat cheese version, but miss the oomph (sorry, serious bakers--I'm sure there's a better term) of the AP flour version. Choosing to eat whole grain when I do eat wheat, but starting to believe that many Italians can't be wrong with their Caputo #00 white flour. Does the perfect marriage of whole grain whole wheat and AP flour exist? Is a slack, rested whole wheat dough destined to become an earnest, if somewhat lackluster, "heath" crust? Good taste, but hard to get past the cowpie appearance? Antonia James, I know you're out there... >;)

  • Posted by: marynn
  • June 22, 2014


Mary D. June 23, 2014
Oh, and it had an overnight poolish, too.
marynn June 24, 2014
Mary, this was very helpful. And yes, Ponsford's dough is quite gloppy. I think this trick may lie in the overnight poolish. My attempt involved a preferment only. Thank you so much.
Mary D. June 23, 2014
I worked in the pastry department at Oliveto for a time. We had two pizza doughs - a stiff, white dough that we mixed, put into a bucket, and chilled until the kitchen was ready to divide it, and our whole wheat pizza dough, using Community Grains (I think it was the hard red wheat we used). This one was a more involved process, and I understood that Craig Ponsford had helped to develop it. I don't know the recipe you're referring to, but this dough was quite wet. Maybe 80-90 percent hydration? And we mixed it, put it in a bucket, and folded it every half hour over a few hours, then it was divided and chilled. I think it worked best for the pizza guys after being chilled for a day like that. People really liked it, though I don't know enough about pizza to say if it was what you're looking for.
aobenour June 22, 2014
America's Test Kitchen has a great recipe for whole wheat crust - with various topping options as well. I tested it while it was in development and thought it was wonderful.
marynn June 22, 2014
aebenour--I'm all yours. I will research this, as well. With thanks.
davidpdx June 22, 2014
I have been playing with pizza dough for the past few weeks. I had good success, both for texture and flavor, using Nancy Silverton's dough recipe from her Mozza cookbook, but substituting 20 to 30 percent whole wheat flour and using the WW share in the sponge. Her basic recipe is reproduced in Serious Eats:
marynn June 22, 2014
This idea rocks as I did this today for baguette! I will research and give it a go because if Nancy Silverton doesn't know how to make make dough with dough, who does?
aussiefoodie June 22, 2014
I find that sometimes whole wheat doesn't give as good crunch as white flours. I substitute part of the flour for wholewheat, make sure it's salted appropriately and cook the pizza on a tray with holes in it which helps to get the base nice and crispy.
marynn June 22, 2014
aussiefoodie, I agree bottom heat really helps. I have ditched my trusty pizza stone for a 1/2" thick Baking Steel which gets almost as hot as your Western Desert.
Meaghan F. June 22, 2014
I too have looked for the "perfect" whole wheat pizza crust and have been disappointed thus far. That said, I often substitute 1/3 of the regular flour for whole wheat flour in a given recipe with great results... I'm particularly fond of Mark Bittman's pizza dough recipe.
marynn June 22, 2014
I'll give it a look. You are right; he pretty much nails getting the most minimally processed ingredients into the mix.
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