Posted: 2012 May 21 (Mon) 15:22 UTC
What would happen if I used whole wheat pastry flour for my pizza crust?
Friday morning, I put together the starter for the pizza crust I was going to bake that evening. By that I mean that I put water, yeast, and a little flour in a bowl to do its magic during the day. When I'm ready, I put the rest of the ingredients in and let it rise some more. So in the morning, I thought I'd see what pastry flour does. I wanted to try a lighter crust since I've been down the hard-as-a-rock crust road many times already. This was the initial mix:
In a large bowl, covered with plastic wrap and a towel. In the afternoon, I added the following:
This I kneaded for a bit and then recovered. It rose for the usual 2 hours or so. I spread it out on a cookie sheet sprinkled with cornmeal and baked it for 5 minutes at 400°F. Took it out, added toppings, and baked for another 30 minutes or so at 375°F.
The crust was nice and soft and reminded me of a biscuit. I think this will be an interesting recipe to work on. I'll probably lower the pastry flour a touch: 30% pastry flour seems to be too high. (That is, 3/4 c. of 2 1/2 c. of the dry ingredients was pastry flour.)
I need to make a correction here for previous posts when I refer to gluten content of flour. First off, I read that whole wheat pastry flour really is a whole grain, but it's white wheat instead of the usual red wheat. Despite its being a whole grain, it has the texture of refined red wheat. It's also got a lower gluten content, which is why I was using it on Friday.
Now for my correction: whole wheat flour has a higher gluten content than bread or all-purpose flour. I got it wrong for a long time and mentionned things like that in older posts. Why not just use whole wheat for everything if it has so much gluten? It's a trade off between being chewy and being tender.
So that's what I'll be balancing with this recipe: how much pastry flour should I use? I'm not sure. I might replace the bread flour with whole wheat flour and be ok. That way, the recipe will be completely whole grain, which I like.