Sprouted Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

I've been asked for this recipe many times even though only a few of you actually have the sprouted wheat flour but, in the hopes that you will soon acquire some, here's what to do with it when you get it: make a killer pizza dough.  As I mentioned in earlier posts, this flour is so remarkable that you don't need a preferment, nor oil, nor sweetener, nada -- just flour, water, salt, and yeast. Furthermore, you don't have to make it the day before, as I advise with regular pizza doughs, because the sprouted wheat has already created its own enzymatic changes before it even gets to the flour stage. However, it is okay to hold the dough in the fridge for up to three days if you prefer. You will get a little more acidity by doing so, which is a good thing. Either way, you will never taste another 100% whole grain dough like it, and if you don't tell folks that it's 100% whole wheat and then ask them what they think, they will probably guess that it has only a small amount of whole wheat in it. Yet you will know that, not only are they getting the benefits of 100% whole grain, but it is even more digestible than regular whole wheat and more of the nutritional benefits of the grain are available to the digestive system (the jury is still out as to how much of those benefits survive the baking process so I won't make any specific claims, but the digestibility factor is immediately apparent).

To get this flour, find the Peter's Blog dated June 7th and

 contact Lindley Mills. You can also write to our friends Peggy and Jeff Sutton at To Your Health, at: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it (Tel. number (334) 584-7078), where you can buy not only sprouted whole wheat flour but also sprouted flour made from many other grains including corn, black beans, lentils, and quinoa. I'm telling you, sprouted grain flour is the next frontier-- and you heard it here first. Please write to us here in the comments section and let us know how your doughs are working for you.

Here's a recipe for the pizza dough. Don't worry about the high hydration (92% of the total flour weight); this flour absorbs way more water than regular flour.

Sprouted Whole Wheat Flour Pizza Dough
(makes five 8 oz. dough balls)

20 oz. (567 grams) sprouted whole wheat flour (approx. 4 1/2 cups)

0.4 oz (11 g) salt (any kind--about 1 1/2 teaspoons fine ground salt, or 2 1/4 teaspoons kosher or coarse sea salt)

0.11 oz (3 g  or 1 teaspoon) instant yeast; or, 0.14 oz / 4 g active dry yeast  (or 1 1/4 teaspoons) dissolved in 2 oz / 56 g of warm water--take the water from the total water weight)

18.5 oz (522 g) water, room temperature (if using active dry yeast, remember to deduct 2 oz of this water and use it to activate the yeast)

(Note: you can replace up to 3 ounces (85 g) of this flour with sprouted flour from other grains and it will still be a 100% whole grain dough. If you try to replace more than that amount -- that is more than 15% of the total flour-- the dough will be too fragile to shape easily. You should also reduce the total water to 18 oz. / 510 g. if making this substitution)

If using an electric mixer, use the paddle attachment (not the dough hook); otherwise, mix by hand in a bowl with a big spoon. Combine all the ingredients and mix for about two minutes on slow speed, or until all the flour is hydrated and you have wet, sticky mass of shaggy dough. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes, then resume mixing, on medium speed, for 2 additional minutes (or by hand, use a spoon or dip your hands in water and use wet hands to mix the dough in the bowl). The dough will firm up somewhat and become smooth, but it will still be very sticky.
Make an oily circle on the work counter (olive oil is suggested) and transfer the dough to the oiled spot. Rub some oil on your hands and then stretch and fold the dough from all four sides, flip the dough over, cover it with the bowl, and let it rest on the oiled spot. Repeat this stretch and fold (s&f) every 5 minutes until you have performed 4 s&f's. Each time you do these folds (sometimes called "intermittent mixing" or, simply, "folding") the dough will get a little stronger and less sticky, but will still be very soft and somewhat sticky at the end.
After all the s&f's, return the dough to an oiled bowl, cover the bowl (not the dough) with plastic wrap and let the dough rise for 90 minutes at room temperature (if not planning to use the dough on the same day, place the bowl in the refrigerator after 30 minutes until the day you plan to use it--for up to 3 days).

After 90 minutes of proofing/fermenting, divide the dough into 8 oz dough balls (or whatever size you want -- use a small amount of oil on your hands to form the dough balls). Place them on a lightly oiled sheet pan, or, if you have one, on a pan that has been covered by a silicon baking pad (Silpat is one brand) and lightly oil that. Mist the doughs with pan spray, or lightly brush them with olive oil, and cover them loosely with plastic wrap (or use a dough box if you have one). These doughs will be ready to use in one hour. If you need more time than that, refrigerate the dough until one hour before you need them and then let them sit at room temperature (they will good for about 2 to 2 1/2 hours at room temperature before they over-proof, depending on how cold they are).

Note: If using cold, undivided dough that has been held in the refrigerator overnight in the bowl, divide it into balls 1 1/2 hours before you plan to make the pizzas and follow the same procedure as above.

Bake the pizzas as you would using your regular doughs (and use a hot hot oven!), topped with your favorite ingredients. Use flour on your hands when stretching the balls into pizza crusts -- they will sticky but will stretch fairly easily. Use whatever dough forming technique you are comfortable with and use enough flour under the peel to allow you to easily slide the pizzas into the oven.

Final Note: We will be making some instructional videos this summer on how to mix and handle wet pizza dough, both this type and regular, and hope to post them as soon as we can, but it will probably not be until the fall (it takes time to get the footage edited properly). In the meantime, refer to our stretch & fold post in the Instructionals section and also to the YouTube video on stretch and fold that I made a few years ago (you can find it YouTube under Peter Reinhart Stretch and Fold.



#1 Teresa Greenway 2011-06-18 08:47
This flour sounds intriguing and the pizza dough is a must try - thanks Peter.

#2 Doug Essinger-Hilema 2011-06-21 03:17
Peter (or anyone else):

Have you tried this formula with sprouted spelt and/or sprouted rye flours?
#3 dMax 2011-06-22 04:23
Peter, thanks for posting! I'll try this and report the results when I get back from vacation.
#4 dMax 2011-06-24 13:36
Peter, what's the target size for these dough balls? 12"?
#5 Peter Reinhart 2011-06-26 11:56
To answer the questions: the dough size is best at about 8 or 9 oz as the dough is pretty slack and hard to control at larger sizes--at least until you practice with it a few times. Yes, spelt and other sprouted flours also are great, but I prefer to use no more than 15% of them in the total flour weight (though ssprouted spelt can be a 100% replacement for whole wheat since it has gluten of its own, the dough may be fragile and you will probably want to cut back on the hydration by about 5%-10%). But all the sprouted grains taste fantastic and each adds its own unique flavor and nutritional quality. Please let us know when you make these and what you think of them so we can get a thread going.
#6 dMax 2011-06-26 19:08
Sorry, I meant to ask about the final size of the pizza, not the dough ball. How many inches across should I aim for with 8oz of dough? I'll press it out with oil on the bottom and flour on my fingers with no thought of lifting - I can be a klutz with 61% NY dough!
#7 Peter Reinhart 2011-06-29 06:21
Typically, 8 oz. of dough will make a 9" or 10" diameter pizza. With Italian flour you can even get up to 11" across. 9 oz. of dough should get you an extra inch or so diameter, depending on how thick or thin you like your pizzas.
#8 Doug Essinger-Hilema 2011-06-29 06:37
OK. I am going to give sprouted spelt flour a try, particularly since a friend of mine can eat bread made from sprouted spelt. Now to find a source for it.
#9 Peter Reinhart 2011-06-30 09:41
The info for how to get the flour is in one of the Peter's Blog entries. Both Lindley Mills and To Your Health are willing to send it to you mail order. Let us know how your products turn out, Doug, and anyone else who tries it. Have fun!!!
#10 dMax 2011-07-02 19:57
The results were great! After mixing it was a mess. In fact, the first of 4 stretch and folds would be better described as glop and flop. After the 4th round it was sitting up and holding its shape quite well. It proofed for 90 minutes at room temp, then I scaled and made 5 dough balls in individual plastic containers. The work surface and my hands were lightly oiled but I was amazed at how easy it was to handle. It didn't form a super tight ball like NY dough but I don't think that mattered.

It sat in the fridge for about 2 hours then I reballed and put out 2 balls under plastic wrap and left 3 in their containers, turned upside down on parchment. (I couldn't tell a difference in the results.) They sat out for about an hour. As usual, I made the dough on parchment so I didn't need to worry about the bottom but the top required almost no bench flour to press out. I was shocked that it wasn't a bit sticky.

(my post was too long - see part 2)

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