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The first step in my pizza dough adventure was to find a recipe. I wanted my crust to be 100% whole wheat, which is apparently a tall order. Almost every whole wheat recipe I found had a combination of whole wheat and refined white flour, until I found one on 101 Cookbooks that uses white whole wheat flour.
Before you stop me and say that white whole wheat is a contradiction, let me share what I’ve learned: most traditional flour is made from hard red winter wheat. Producing all-purpose flour requires stripping away the nutritious bran and germ to leave only the endosperm, which is then ground up. This produces a much lighter and softer flour than the whole-wheat flour produced from the whole grain. But there is another kind of wheat – soft white wheat, or albino wheat, which is lighter in color and has a texture and taste closer to refined white flour. This flour has virtually the same nutritional benefits as the hard red variety, allowing it to be used in its whole grain form without compromising the texture to the same degree as regular whole wheat flour. Sounds pretty amazing, right?
So, despite the fact that my small apartment-sized pantry now houses all-purpose flour, stone-ground whole wheat flour, whole wheat pastry flour, whole wheat bread flour, cornmeal, and coconut flour, I decided I had to add white whole wheat flour to the collection. This was not as easy as it sounded – I had to look in about 6 grocery and health food stores before I finally found it!
The other ingredient I needed to find was yeast. Not having any experience with yeast, I bought the first one I found, which was active dry yeast. Upon rereading the recipe at home I realized that it actually called for instant yeast. I had no idea if these were interchangable or completely different, so I did a bit of reading. Apparently the instant variety is more potent, so you can add it directly to dry ingredients rather than activating it first in water. But you can substitute one for the other, adjusting the recipe to use about 20% more active dry yeast and activating it first using some of the liquid in the recipe. Next time I will try to find instant yeast since it seems like it would be much easier to skip the activation step!
I was now set to give it a try, as the other ingredients – salt, olive oil, and cornmeal – were all in my pantry. More to come on how it went in the next installment!