I am reasonably sure I’ll never find “the dough” for me. Of course, I used to say that about soul mates until The Bride came along, so I’ve learned never to say never, at least with much conviction. Hence, “reasonably sure” sounds more accurate.
More than once we’ve eaten our Friday night “make in” Pizza and The Bride’s spoken with a bite still in her mouth, her hand at her chin to catch stray cheese and her mouth in a bit of an Ah shape to guard against the heat all while saying, “This is Effin good.”
“Really?” I ask.
She’d swallow and say, “Yeah, this is the best you’ve made. Don’t change a thing.”
Then I go and change it. So instead of asking her now if she likes it, I say, “But is it as good as Tony’s?”
It never is. It’s almost an unfair question because I’m not sure anyone will ever be as good as Tony’s. Case in point:
This thing is SOO MUCH better than it looks. And when you write a beautiful, definitive, perhaps THE ONLY pizza cookbook a person needs like this:
…you got it going on. So it’s no shame not to be better than @tonyspizza415, and it gives me license to keep experimenting with doughs in search of ms. right.
All of which leads me to … my sourdough wheat pizza crust. In it, I used many of the tricks I have tried other times, including:
- working some seminola into the dough for that complex texture and durability it provides,
- using an egg (which I normally only use in pasta dough) because I’m told it adds a bit of bite to the crust along with some lightness to counteract the heaviness of the wheat,
- a sourdough starter I made from 50 percent whole white wheat and 50 percent bread flour,
- and my usual dashes of salt garlic and olive oil.
- After about five minutes of kneading the grittier dough started to mesh with the lighter ingredients to become a sturdy, yet silky ball in my hands. I felt a great deal of promise lay in the bowl as I oiled it and set it for a good few hours of rise.
Note: I normally don’t do a lot of kneading or excessive rising for my pizza doughs. The simplicity of it is part of the beauty. Pizza doughs are easy to make decent, yet crucially delicate and complex to get that perfect snap and al dente mix that makes a crust like Tony’s so… Tonyish. This one, because of the wheat and because of the egg I decided to both knead more and let more time to rise, yet another experiment.
Finally, I did add a teaspoon of yeast, which I really don’t think is necessary. The sourdough starter has plenty enough activity after nine days of feeding, stirring and living, but with the density of the wheat and the texture of seminola, I wanted some backup.
And the results?
The crust was a nice blend of rustic texture from the seminola and wheat but delicacy that made it better than a slice of cardboard. The sourdough gave it a complex flavor I really love. The lift was good too. One complaint was it was a tad crumbly. In short…
I love it, but …
it’s still not Tony’s.
Sourdough Wheat Pizza Crust
- 1 1/2 cup white wheat sourdough starter (here’s a good recipe, by Nourished Kitchen… mostly I stress a high quality starter and a good doughs to feed it. I got mine from Italy).
- 1 cup bread flour
- 1/2 cup white wheat, 1/2 cup seminola from Butte Creek Mill.
- 1 tbl olive oil
- 1 tbl honey
- 1 egg
- splashes of salt, crushed garlic or dry
- 1/4 cup luke warm water with 1 tsp of yeast
- Mix yeast and water and let stand.
- Sift doughs together and make a well. In the well crack the egg and pour in olive oil, garlic and salt. Stir with a fork outward until mostly blended.
- Add in sourdough starter and water and begin mixing with your hands. Add white wheat flour as needed until it’s not sticky.
- Knead for five minutes.
- Place in oiled bowl and cover for three hours. Punch down once or twice as needed.
- Roll out the crust into your best pizza shape and let stand for a few minutes (or more) covered with a towel (this really helps the slide-ability of the dough. If you want a crisp, extra thin crust skip this step because it does rise a bit).
- Sauce, cheese, toppings and slide into a 500-degree oven for 9-11 minutes.
- Top with dried red peppers, parmesan cheese. Let stand for five minutes, slice and serve.