Whole Wheat Pizza: All fired up!

DSC02033

In any weather, I’m always eager to light a fire and bake some pizza!

Are you with me? No wood-burning oven in your yard? No worries!

_DSC0006

Our Baking Education Center has tips and tricks for perfect pizza that go beyond fancy ovens.

Let’s take a look at a recent class, baking in a brick wood-fired oven with Richard Miscovich. Richard, an instructor at Johnson and Wales, led 12 students in the 2-day class, with pizza baked on Friday night, and hearth breads the next day.

DSC02034

OK, I admit it’s mostly the intense heat of the wood-burning oven that gives this particular pizza its allure.

But let’s take it from the top (or bottom) – let’s talk dough.

DSC02006

Here we have balls of dough resting – white on top, whole wheat on the bottom.

Resting is a very important step in the pizza-crust process, and often overlooked in our haste to get dinner on the table. But much of a crust’s flavor comes from its long fermentation during the dough stage.

Additionally, the bran in whole wheat flour softens over time, giving the dough better strength; so resting is even more important with whole-grain doughs than it is with those made from all-purpose flour.

After the dough has fermented several hours, the class divides and pre-shapes it into balls. And they rest yet again, in a large tub sprayed with pan spray.

DSC02014

Now, after the gluten has relaxed, we can easily stretch a thin crust without it tearing or springing back.

Students find it easy to shape a round crust when they start with a round piece of dough. Toss the dough up in the air if you like, but we prefer pressing it out on a lightly floured surface. Or place the dough over floured knuckles, and gently stretch.

DSC02020

If round doesn’t happen, rectangular pizza is very tasty, too!

Potatoes on pizza – didn’t I read about that somewhere? Look back at PJ’s potato pizza post for a great whole-wheat pizza crust recipe.

The whole-wheat pizza dough recipe used in Richard’s class is more similar to that used in our Thai chicken pizza. Make the whole-wheat crust as directed, and top as you wish.

DSC02015

Into the fire they go! The potato pizza is in the blind spot, but you get the idea – the oven is VERY hot.

DSC02069_edited-1

Here’s a full-length shot of the oven our students use in the classroom. Behind the beautiful stone facade is fire brick and insulation. The heat is intense!

To get a brick-oven effect in your home oven, bake directly on a thoroughly preheated pizza stone. Set your oven to its maximum temperature (usually 500°F or 550°F). And give the stone a chance to become saturated with heat (at least 20 to 30 minutes), so it radiates when the pizza is loaded.

DSC02024

At high temperatures, the bake is quick.

Go light on toppings, to avoid soggy crusts and undercooked toppings. Remember, this crust is so flavorful it doesn’t need fancy adornments.

The pizzas above were baked in our new, indoor wood-burning oven.

DSC02041

But, if you took a class in our Baking Education Center more that a year ago, you might remember this oven, which used to be inside a classroom. The oven didn’t move, just the building surrounding it. When our old facility was dismantled, the oven was preserved. The oven (still) sits between Route 5 and our new bakery, school, and store.

DSC02026

Now when you visit us, you may catch a glimpse of me baking in a wood-burning oven either indoors, or out.

Want to learn more? Read about our classes here.

DSC02019

Happy pizza baking! Chime in and share your favorite pizza tips in the comments below.

 

Amber Eisler
About

Amber Eisler was born and raised in Washington, DC. She is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, and started her time at King Arthur Flour in the production bakery. Amber now works full-time in the Baking Education Center, and enjoys sharing her passion ...

comments

  1. kgmom

    I purchased a Primo Grill a couple years ago, hoping to use it for bread and pizza as well as the more traditional fare. I have had great success making pizza.

    I have not done much bread. I would love to hear about anyone’s adventures baking bread on a ceramic grill. Thanks!

    Me too, I am not sure I have ever seen much grilled bread beyond flat bread.-Jon

    Reply
  2. Teresa F.

    Fantastic! I’ve been thinking about a WWW pizza. Now I have one to try. I don’t have a nice wood burning oven, so the grill will have to do. Looking forward to trying the recipes!!

    Please let us know how it works out for you!-Jon

    Reply
  3. Cassie W.

    Try making it in one of your cast iron Dutch Ovens,, put your coals on the ground or on an old metal barrel lid, about 7 to 10 on the bottom and put in your pizza (use a peice of parchment on bottom or grease your pot very well) and slap the lid on and put about 14 to 16 coals on top, check at 15 minutes, if not done then just rotate your lid a quarter turn and check in 10 to 15 minutes. Viola! Great pizza and use that old Dutch Oven.
    If you do not have a footed Dutch Oven, don’t worry, just place your flat bottom on a couple of bricks and the coals under your pot. Enjoy!
    Don’t have a flat lid for your Dutch Oven?? Don’t worry, use an OLD cookie sheet or get another metal drum lid and use it to place your coals on!
    A footed dutch oven is next on my husband’s list! I would have never thought to bake a pizza in there. That could be another meal option when we go camping in August. Thanks Cassie! Elisabeth

    Reply
  4. Dot V

    Hi we live in New Jersey, with much nagging my husband built me a wood oven. This was the best thing, we invite friends every sunday and make pizza creations. Everybody has what they want on the pizza. 2 to 3 minutes. We have pork roll and a little BQ sauce with cheese……ummmmmmm!
    Oh, you lucky gal! Have a great time with the oven. :) ~ MJ

    Reply
  5. Tia Douglass

    Richard, I hope you remember me. I met you when you made that great pizza with preserved lemons for our group. I just this week made another batch of those Moroccan preserved lemons! Love them! Anyway, just this year bought a cast iron pizza oven but haven’t made pizza in it yet because I just can’t seem to master the craft of building a hot, hot smoldering fire with no flames. How do you prepare the fire?

    Greetings Tia: You need to build the fire up with lots of smaller pieces of wood to build up coals. The smaller pieces of wood give off more heat which the cast iron will then absorb. But getting a lot of coals is key also. I hope this helps.

    PS. I like to maintain some flames for top heat on the pizza! -Michelle@KAF, Baking Education Center Instructor

    Reply
  6. Sharon Weaver

    Last night I made a yummy pizza with King Arthur’s “White whole wheat” flour. I also put freshly picked oregano and basil along with Parmesan cheese. My family thinks the crust is the best part of the pizza. Sometimes I use a large cast iron skillet to bake the pizza.

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel

      Sharon, thanks for sharing your positive feedback about our flour. I use white whole wheat quite a lot – I’m so glad your family enjoyed it in the [pizza. Nothing like adding a bit of fiber along with the yummy toppings, right? Your pizza sounds wonderful… PJH

Post a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *