Whole Wheat/Grain crust . . . asking advice

I am looking at Tom Lehmann’s whole wheat dough recipe. It looks pretty straight forward, but I want to know if there are any “secrets” to successful whole wheat dough . . . I’ve not made one before. I imagine the absorption will be “on the fly” within a couple percentages based on the actual flour. I know it will have a denser, chewier baked texture.

My customer called asking if we would consider making a dough for her to buy from us instead of going to Trader Joe’s to get it. I said I’d try to make a good one for her. She is doing a fast of no processed foods (or as limited as possible). So, no whole grains, no sugar, and no commercial cheeses. I am going to give a go at the whole wheat to see how it works out.

I want to know if there are pitfalls or super secrets to outrageous success the 1st time turn on that mixer :slight_smile: If it turns out successful, then I can market it for the bigger group, maybe as a special to start with.


I make a whole wheat blend here - that’s all I offer. I thought it was bit heavy based on 25% whole wheat, so I knocked it down to 20%. Everything else stays the same. It has more flavor. You may want to sweeten with honey, I have used and like Weeks Works raw honey from Ball Ground GA. In my dough I use Organic Agave Nectar, but just a bit. The wheat dough browns better. The bran, however, acts like tiny razor blades in the dough so it doesn’t stretch as well as without - I have noticed - especially on day three.

Since it isn’t going to stretch as easily, should I bump my water up a bit?

I am planning on honey. That said, the agave nectar is an intriguing idea; does it bring any flavor to the party? I like a good dark wildflower honey in general.

It does the trick for me, and it cost much less. I use light but you may want to use the dark.

Bump up the water? I haven’t, but Knocking it back to 20% helped.

Johnny Boy, you have been most generous with your time answering me. Thank you. Bumping back the whole wheat and adding processed flour is not an option. As stated, the client is doing this specifically to eliminate processed food products in her diet. 20% is better than nothing, but she asked for 100% whole grain, so I gotta work it out or pass on the project. and let her spend her $$$ at Trader Joe’s instead :frowning:

I would go to Trader Joes and buy this dough and test it. I would think that if it were 100% Whole Wheat it would taste like sawdust and probably break your teeth.

Since I have only been open for 4 weeks now, One day I ran out of dough between lunch and dinner on a saturday. In a scramble I went to Publix and T-Joes to buy dough. The both were not very good but the T-Joes was Way Worse - Very Gassy. It was discount Pizza Night.

I make a small batch of 100% whole wheat dough using Bob’s Red Mill Organic or King Arthur Whole Wheat flour. I’ve made a whole 5lb bag which makes fifteen to eighteen dough balls for 9-11" pizzas (I prefer around 9oz doughs for 10" crusts).

Here is my recipe based on one pound of flour which will make a test batch of three 9.3oz balls:

100% Flour (16oz)
70% liquid (11.2oz water only)
1.5oz sugar
1.5tsp salt
2.5tsp IDY
3tsp Honey (I omit this when baking for a vegan clientele)
4tsp Vital Wheat Gluten (technically, this would be a portion of the flour % but I just add it :))

I typically vigorously mix the water, salt and sugar (and honey) until all the salt and sugar grains are dissolved then add the IDY and lightly stir to just wet the yeast then let sit for 15-20 minutes to hydrate the yeast and “foam up” (for lack of proper terminology LOL). Mix the VWG and whole wheat flour then add the liquid, mix, knead 5-8min and ball.

Do this small hand kneaded batch with 2 rises (one in whole batch ball form and the 2nd rise after dividing into your individual portion balls) with the 2nd rise being a cold rise at least overnight in the refrigerator. If youre set on using a mixer (large or small), just watch the speed… keep it fairly slow for 5-8 min. It’ll feel like a gritty version of your regular dough but much more dense.

You CAN do the 2nd rise on the counter at room temp for at least an hour if you want to try to bake it immediately but I prefer the cold 2nd rise overnight and then just bringing the cold doughs out about an hour before baking to acclimate to room temp before opening them… make sure you leave a thicker cornice when opening too (i.e., dont open the whole dough the same thinckness).

I made a simple white (garlic, olive oil, basil, oregano, mozz, ricotta, salt, pepper) and it was amazing! Also made it with my standard tomato sauce and mozz with fresh basil, olive oil and salt… like a whole wheat Margherita… Lovely! I use it regularly now as my 100% whole wheat crust… no blend (excluding the VWG which is a derivative of wheat anyway :)).

It is more dense and chewy but with the VWG, it surely makes it more elastic, airy and more flakey… Try it out!

Here’s a couple pics of the 1st one I made. They’ve gotten better since :slight_smile: