Monday, January 22, 2007

Whole Wheat Pizza Crust

Last night was Kids' Pick and they picked pizza. What toppings did they pick? Pepperoni? Sausage? Extra cheese? Nope. The youngest picked a caramelized onion pizza and the oldest requested a pizza topped with pesto, roasted red peppers, and fresh mozzarella. Yep, that's my boys!

I did put my own twist on the meal by trying out a new pizza crust from King Arthur Whole Grain Baking. You may well get sick of hearing me mention this book because I have only BEGUN to try the many, many recipes that catch my eye!

This crust uses 100% white whole wheat flour, something I've never tried in pizza crust before. It was good, but the crust was a bit too soft and bready for me - I prefer a crisper, chewier crust. Still, it complemented the toppings we were using pretty well and had a nice flavor. I would not agree as the KA book claims, however, that you'd never guess it was made with whole wheat flour. For me, the whole wheat was quite prominent. Not necessarily in a bad way, but it was quite obvious that this was not a white flour crust.

I have to admit to messing up this recipe somewhat. My first error was to put the entire amount of flour into the first step when the recipe calls for just 2 of the 3 3/4 cups. My next error, or possible error, was using water that was most definitely several steps beyond "cool", it was downright cold. This probably factored into the fact that my dough rose quite slowly and I don't know that it quite doubled in size after 2 hours, but it was close. I don't know if any of these things would drastically effect the texture, but I'd like to follow the directions more exactly before making a final judgement on this crust.

Caramelized Onion PizzaCarmelized Onion Pizza with Fontina/Asiago Cheese
On the plus side, this crust was very nice to work with. It was a bit sticky during the kneading process, but my new silicone baking mat worked like a charm - I'm sure that it would have stuck like crazy to my old baking mat!

Pesto PizzaPizza with pesto, roasted red peppers and fresh mozzarella.

Pizza making tip: I've been using parchment paper with my pizza crusts for quite a while now and was pleased to find this suggestion offered in the KA baking book. Maybe I'm on the right track after all! I pull off a large piece of parchment paper and spray it lightly with cooking spray. The oil makes it much easier for me to shape the crust because the dough moves easily over the slick parchment -without oil, the dough resists a bit. Once you shape your dough, it's then very easy to slide the parchment onto your pizza stone. You leave the parchment paper in place and use it to slide the pizza off the stone and out of the oven. One reason I really like this method is that I have no need to use cornmeal to keep the crust from sticking and I despise cornmeal on the bottom of my pizza (or bagels) and will do anything to avoid it!

Another reason my crust may not have turned out the way I'd like is that they recommend what looks like pre-baking the crust for 10 minutes at 375ยบ. I really don't like pre-baking the crusts - the toppings tend to slide off so easily. However, prebaking would probably give me that crisper crust I was hoping for, so I'll give it a go next time.

I'll post if I make this again and achieve different or better results. I think at least one more attempt is in order before I decide if this recipe is a keeper or not.


  1. Anonymous10:22 PM

    What wonderful results! It looks like you cook a mean pizza - Yum!

  2. Thanks. :) I have to cook a mean pizza now, no delivery out where we live. ;-)