Whole-Wheat Crusts

Written for Bellissimo Foods by Tom Lehmann

Question:  We’re attempting to develop a garden fresh, vegetarian pizza made on whole-wheat crust.  Our problem is that the crust just doesn’t taste as good as we would like it to.  What can be done to improve the overall quality of our crust?

Answer:  This is a common problem with whole-wheat crusts.  I would suggest that you begin by adding some butter or margarine to the formulation.  About 1/2 to 3/4 of the total fat in the formula should be replaced with butter or margarine.  This will give the crust a richer flavor, with a dairy note.  You might also try replacing a small portion (3%) of the sugar with honey.  The type of honey to use should be very dark colored honey, with a strong flavor.  Besides being the most flavorful of all the honeys, this will also be the least expensive to use.  The honey will provide a pleasant background flavor that will improve the overall flavor profile, while at the same time fitting nicely into your garden fresh, vegetarian, healthy-eating concept.

On a final note, be sure that you are adding sufficient water to your formula to fully hydrate the whole-wheat flour.  Nothing will destroy the quality and flavor of a whole-wheat crust faster than insufficient absorption.  I’ve generally found that whole-wheat pizza doughs require about 65% water based about the total flour content.  At the absorption level, the dough might seem a little sticky when first mixed, but it should appear much drier, and easier to handle, by the time you are ready to begin forming the dough.

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