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reinhart's 100% whole wheat pizza - sourdough starter variation - question

mariajef's picture

reinhart's 100% whole wheat pizza - sourdough starter variation - question

i've made the 100% whole wheat pizza in reinhart's whole grains book before, with nice results.  this time around, as per his variation in the recipe, i'm going to be substituting a whole wheat starter for the biga.  however, on page 269, he has cultured yeast added to the final dough.  i'm going to skip this (so i can have a totally sourdough rise), and expect that the rising will be slowed, which is fine by me.

i'm wondering if anyone's made the 100% whole wheat pizza with starter only, and what the taste and crust profile was like.




milwaukeecooking's picture

I love sour dough and the patience required for it is pays off in the end.  I have made a whole wheat sour dough pizza crust before and it just wasn't worth it.  It would be different if your crust was an inch high and your toppings were bland.  But with a pizza it is a combination of flavors and one shouldn't stick out more than another.  I don't want a crust that stands out too much because then I forget about my great cheese or toppings. 

Making a sourdough crust for pizza is more for the accomplishment than for the added taste.  I know Reinhart has a lot of those recipes in there just to show you that you can do it.  He says in his brioche recipe that yes it is whole wheat but do you really want a whole wheat brioche?  Same goes for a pizza crust.  You are already making a whole wheat crust which has a distinct flavor.  Do you really need the sourdough taste to it?  The crust is like a base-note in perfume.  Without a good base-note you won't have a good perfume.  However, you don't want to have a base-note that completely overpowers your top-notes.  I hope this makes sense.  I'm not saying that you shouldn't make a sourdough whole wheat crust, because it is a good experiement.

charbono's picture

I make an 80% whole wheat pizza using the Reinhart epoxy method. It’s also 100% sourdough. After the final dough assembly, I let it ferment for about 8 hours, with 3 sets of stretch-and-folds. Compared to the same pizza with baker’s yeast, the crust veneer seems thinner and crisper; and the pizza seems chewier overall. The dough is more extensible. The taste has a little more tang. Some of the effect is probably just from the extra room-temp rise time. I have no plans to go back to the baker’s yeast. The crust is almost everything in pizza to me.

It’s interesting that Reinhart devotes so much space in Whole Grain Breads to sourdough, but none of the recipes is 100% sourdough.

milwaukeecooking's picture

I agree that it seems odd that Reinhart doesn't have 100% sourdough.  It makes sense he devotes a lot of page space to sourdough because out of all the doughs it is the most fickle and complex.  There is so much that can go wrong with a sourdough and a lot of that depends on your starter. 

I also love pizza crust but I like my cheese and toppings too.  I don't want to have a crust that takes over.  I would rather just make a sourdough loaf and eat that.  It seems like a waste to make a good sourdough and then load it with other things that take away from its glory.

maryserv's picture


I'm wondering what you ended up doing??  Today I needed to use some discards that have been in the fridge and I decided to make a pizza(s) for dinner tonight.  With my very wet sourdough and whole wheat flour.  When I make pizza I do it for the crust and make sure to treat it like a grilled pizza.  If you haven't made it, this is what I did based loosely on this recipe

Pulled out my starter, measured out the amount I'm rising for English muffins tomorrow morning and then guessimated the balance of the starter.  Instead of feeding the starter, I started much earlier and put half of the flour in, mixed it and let if autolyse.  I did some other stuff I needed to do, and it was over 30 minutes.  I've had to cover and keep in in the oven with the light on due to our strangely cold weather here.  After the time passed, I checked it and added another 1/4 of the flour, mixed it and let it rest again.  Finally, I checked and added some olive oil and a little less than the balance of the flour, as it was a good consistancy.  I left it in the bowl, put a cake plate cover over (my version of a proofing box) and left the house for a while. 


I did NOT add salt, as I'm sure my little yeaties were on their dying breath before I gave them some flour - until after I came home and saw that the dough almost doubled.  I then guesstimated the salt, did some folds to fold it in, rested it about 10 min, folded more and put down.  When I was ready, just rolled it out.  I only very lightly floured the board, and used a wood pin for a bit, then kinda streatched and turned the dough while holding it up (like a steering wheel I guess).  It was nicely extensible and made a little crust for my son and a larger one for us.  I par-baked it on a "holey" pizza pan w/ a parchment under it (don't have a new stone yet), brushed with olive oil, topped them then popped them back in. 


I must say while eating it, I was reveling in the oooohhhs and ahhhhs.  The outside was cracker-crispy, the inside was chewy-puffy (with the big bubbles that I like so much).  These were AP flour starter discards, so it had some of the benefit of the AP flour.  The slight sweetness of the whole wheat came through; I only topped it with a quick tomato-paste, garlic, oregano sauce; mozzerella and the last of my sad little indoor basil.  I did have to add a bit of salt as we didn't put any parmesan cheese. 


Sorry to wax on about it so long! It was really good, really easy and I used up my extra discards!  So, not PR's recipe, but definately sourdough whole wheat - no added yeast.