Another great baking day. The crust was crunchy, crisp, and super flavorful. Too many good bakes in a row, I am due for a disaster :-)
We were having a friend over and decided we wanted to make pizza. We are making pizza at least twice a month now, but usually we throw the pizza together at the last minute, which enables a tasty pizza but just not as good as one where the dough is started the day before.
But, this time, I had enough fore warning and I had a guest to cater to, so I got to put in the extra effort. I really wanted to use commercial flour, but unfortunately, all we had were unground white and red hard wheat berries. Which I knew were not ideal for making pizza dough. However, my wife loves anytime I can make whole wheat work and I enjoy the challenge.
I went on the hunt for an (a) overnight, (b) 100% whole wheat, (c) high hydration, and (d) sourdough pizza dough recipe. I couldn't find any recipes that had all 4 desired traits, so I ended up combing 2 recipes and 1 youtube video into my own recipe.
My biggest concerns for this bake were:
- The whole wheat dough breaking down during the night in the fridge.
- Getting the timing wrong with regards to warming up the dough early enough to get a good rise by bake time
- Getting the hydration wrong, I didn't want dense and chewy dough
I had no issues with the dough, except for the hydration. I should have increased it even more. I chose 80% hydration based on this video:
But, Mr. Iacopelli was using refined and fine flour. So, I realized pretty early on that I should have chosen a hydration between 90% and 110% for my freshly milled hard white wheat. I was able to improve the situation substantially by adding water while working the dough during bulk ferment, but I probably only upped the hydration to 85%. In the end, the crust was fantastic, but shaping the pies was difficult and I think the crust could have been much more supple and easier to shape had I had a higher hydration.
The other two recipes I consulted in coming up with my recipe were:
- 6% starter (50:50 hard red wheat:water) (100g)
- Hard White Wheat (I chose white because it has a milder flavor than red) (1500g)
- 80% Water (1200g)
- 2% salt (30g)
- 2% oil (30g)
- 2% molasses (any sugar would suffice) (30g)
- 5% Ooopsie Water (trying to correct for less than ideal hydration level) (75g)
- 9p night before: By hand, mix all ingredients except for the oopsie water into a shaggy mess. The goal here is to get the flour to absorb the water for 15 minutes before spending too much time trying to build any gluten.
- 9:15p: Knead dough by hand for about 5 minutes, basically to get the ingredients to be evenly distributed and start some gluten developing. I really didn't work the dough very hard, just folded it over about 10 to 20 times until the the dark molasses spots in the dough disappeared. In hindsight, I should have mixed the salt, water, and molasses together first, before added it to the rest of the ingredients. No negative side effects to the end product, it only meant I had to work a bit harder to evenly distribute everything.
- 9:20p: When done kneading, transfer to a clean container, cover and throw in fridge.
- 9a next morning: Pull dough out of fridge and set on counter to slowly warm up and let the sourdough start to do its job. At this point, the top of the dough was kind of dried out from being in the fridge. The top of my plastic container wasn't tightly sealed enough. I added about 10g of oopsie water at this point and worked it into the dough. Did about 5 folds.
- 10a: Added another 20g of water, folded about 10 more times to work the water in. Dough was still cold at this point and the sourdough hadn't really done anything.
- 11a: Added another 20g of water, folded about 10 more times. Dough was almost room temp, no signs of sourdough activity yet.
- 12a: Added rest of oopsie water (25g), folded about 10 more time. Dough might have been showing signs of life, but nothing terribly noticable.
- 4p: Dough had more than doubled and looked good. Using a scale, I divided the dough into 9 equally weighted pieces. Did my best to preshape into a ball, but the dough was a bit hard to work with because of the low hydration, so I did my best. Let the preshaped balls rest or 15 minutes.
- 4:15p: Put preshaped balls on to pizza peal sized sheets of parchment paper. Tried to shape the dough into pizza pies. The gluten was strong with this dough, the dough kept trying to go back to its original form. I overworked the first pie by forcing it into shape... I was too firm with my insistent pushing a prodding. That pie didn't come out as beautifully as the other. For the rest, I decided to shape the dough in two steps. The end result needed to be a pie with a 14" diameter, so for the first step I gently worked the dough into a 9" diameter pie, then let it rest for 10 minutes. In the second step, after the gluten had relaxed, I worked the dough the rest of the way to 14". This worked well.
- 4:30p: gently worked dough a second time to get it to 14". (If anyone other than me actually reads this, when I write gently worked dough, I mean, gently pull and push the dough in your hands, never nearing the point of tearing the dough or squishing the life out of it, and absolutely never use a rolling pin. If you overwork the dough, you will squish out all of the air bubbles and won't get a nice airy crust.)
- 4:30p: Preheat oven to convection 550dF. The hotter the better, 500dF is as high as my oven goes.
- 5:00p: One at a time cook pies on pizza stone. 4 minutes, then rotate 180 degrees and cook another 3 minutes.
- Pizza sauce: Crushed tomatoes (uncooked) mixed with olive oil, dried oregano, dried basil, fresh minced garlic, and salt
- Ground pork mixed with dried oregano, thyme, basil, and salt
- pickled jalapenos
- mozzarella cheese
- Take it easy on the cheese and sauce, too much and it will make the dough soggy.