Author Topic: whole wheat pizza dough with a soaker  (Read 2483 times)

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Offline lumpynose

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whole wheat pizza dough with a soaker
« on: October 08, 2011, 05:38:29 PM »
Have you read Peter Reinhart's Whole grain breads; new techniques, extraordinary flavor?  All of the recipes in the book use a soaker and a preferment/biga or sourdough starter.  The soaker is typically 50% of the flour and 50% of the water and a small amount of salt, well mixed and then left at room temperature overnight or up to 24 hours; refrigerated if longer than 24 hours.  The biga is the other 50% flour and 50% water, 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast, well mixed and then put in the fridge at least 8 hours and up to 3 days.  For the final dough you combine the soaker and biga, 7 or so tablespoons of whole wheat flour, a wee bit more salt, 1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast, a little sugar, mix well, knead a bit, then let rise for an hour or so.

It's a very interesting book and fun to read.

He has a whole wheat pizza dough in it; the final percentages are

whole wheat flour: 100%
salt: 1.8%
instant yeast: 1.2%
water: 78%
honey/sugar: 2.8%
olive oil: 5.6%

I thought I'd mention it as additional food for thought in your whole wheat pizza dough quests.


Offline lumpynose

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Re: whole wheat pizza dough with a soaker
« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2011, 05:45:39 PM »
Duh, I hadn't seen charbo's posts where he's using a soaker.

Anyhow, the book is interesting to read and explains all of the details about why a soaker is useful.

Offline barryvabeach

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Re: whole wheat pizza dough with a soaker
« Reply #2 on: October 13, 2011, 08:40:47 PM »
I have read it, but in some of his more recent books, he has gotten away from the soaker and biga, and moved towards making everything the day before and using a refrigerated bulk fermentation.   Read  Artisan Breads Every Day, and you may decide you like that technique better, it is much easier, IMHO.

Offline lumpynose

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Re: whole wheat pizza dough with a soaker
« Reply #3 on: October 14, 2011, 03:34:41 PM »
Interesting; thanks.  My library has that book so I've just put it on hold and will read it.

I have to admit that I feel sort of burned by him and his Whole grain breads; new techniques, extraordinary flavor. I was reading his blog, the one before he moved to Pizza Quest, and in the entries around the time the book was published he talks about how he had to submit the manuscript to the publisher before he was ready.  It sounds like writers sign a contract stipulating that they'll submit the manuscript by a certain date.  He says that his recipe testers hadn't sufficiently tested all of the recipes.  It's also clear from what he says in the book that he was just beginning to explore new ways of handling whole grains when he started the book; it wasn't like he had it nailed down when he signed the contract.

I find that his soaker plus biga technique gives the bread an odd flavor; not a wheat flavor and something not really tasty.  It's too bad he hasn't done more testing with this technique; for example, putting the soaker in the fridge, starting from the outset, and perhaps after some number of hours on the counter.  Similarly with the biga.  And then try doing a slow cold rise in the fridge after they're combined.  Many permutations are possible.  I'm also assuming that this added complexity for the procedure is because 100% whole grains are being used; things are simpler and easier when you're using refined flour and don't have the bran messing things up.

On the other hand, two books I have ordered and I'm looking forward to are Tartine bread by Chad Robertson and Eric Wolfinger, and Artisan bread in five minutes a day: The discovery that revolutionizes home baking Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois.
« Last Edit: October 14, 2011, 03:36:55 PM by lumpynose »

Offline wheelman

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Re: whole wheat pizza dough with a soaker
« Reply #4 on: October 14, 2011, 05:39:56 PM »
i stumbled across a reference to a soaker after trying almost the same thing in a quest to achieve effective hydration per pizza napoletana. http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,14610.20.html  i have the book now and have been reading my way through it.  my 12 hour autolize, combined with a natural yeast preferment, made some really nice dough.  i wasn't putting salt in it though.  i've been thinking about exploring that path further some time soon. 
bill

Offline lumpynose

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Re: whole wheat pizza dough with a soaker
« Reply #5 on: October 14, 2011, 08:07:24 PM »
Why no salt?

Offline wheelman

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Re: whole wheat pizza dough with a soaker
« Reply #6 on: October 14, 2011, 09:04:21 PM »
i was just trying to hydrate the flour.  i'll salt it next time after reading the book to see what happens.