American-Style Whole Wheat (Papa John's Influenced)

Started by ChrisG, December 14, 2011, 01:16:38 AM

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I have been successfully making Papa John's original pizza clones but have became curious about wheat crusts.  Without thinking too much into it, I simply used my usual recipe described by Pete-zza in Reply #2:,6758.0.html and modified the flour component.

I made two 14" wheat doughs:
     200.00 g King Arthur 100% Whole Wheat flour + 154.44 g Sam's Club White Bread Flour
     154.44 g King Arthur 100% Whole Wheat flour + 200.00 g Sam's Club White Bread Flour

Flour (100%):             354.44 g  |  12.5 oz | 0.78 lbs
Water (56.5%):          200.26 g  |  7.06 oz | 0.44 lbs
IDY (0.14%):                      0.5 g | 0.02 oz | 0 lbs | 0.16 tsp | 0.05 tbsp
Salt (1.75%):                     6.2 g | 0.22 oz | 0.01 lbs | 1.11 tsp | 0.37 tbsp
Canola Oil (7.3%):         25.87 g | 0.91 oz | 0.06 lbs | 5.7 tsp | 1.9 tbsp
Sugar (4.8%):                17.01 g | 0.6 oz | 0.04 lbs | 4.27 tsp | 1.42 tbsp
Total (170.49%):         604.28 g | 21.31 oz | 1.33 lbs | TF = N/A
All ingredients were weighed out with a digital scale, because I really feel it's essential for reproducibility.

I followed Pete-zza's descriptive instructions as well.  Briefly, water, salt, sugar, and oil were mixed.  The flour was added in three installments and once mixed together for <30 s using the thin spinners, I switched to the kneading forks.  After kneading for 2 min, I sprinkled the yeast on top, and kneaded for an additional 6 min.  I slightly oiled the dough (~1/2 Tbsp ea.) and let sit in 1.5 qt bowls open for 15 min in the fridge.  I then used plastic wrap to cover each ball with one pinky hole placed at the edge.

A 68 h cold ferment in the fridge gave a nice rise that I've seen with the original (all white) balls previously, although I noticed the top was quite dry and almost leather-like.  I just ignored this, and dusted each ball using equal proportions of semolina flour and cheap all-purpose flour.  They sat out for ~1.5 h before I spread them out on the same flour mixture.

After docking, I put on ea:
5 oz Pete-zza's PJ clone pizza sauce
11 oz Sam's Club (Stella) low moisture, part skim, pre-shredded Mozz cheese
8-9 Grape Tomatoes
4-5 Mushrooms
4 Black Olives
1/2 Red Pepper

After 10 min baking at 500F on 14" screens, immediately coming out of the oven, they looked quite watery (from the toppings, as I've previously observed with the white PJ clones).  I let them sit for about 3-5 min so the juices were soaked up, presumably into the baked dough, and then sliced on perforated pans.

In terms of flavor, I could not distinguish between the two different ratios of wheat:white.  The higher wheat did, however, have a slightly tougher bottom, but I didn't mind this at all.  I suspect dropping a minute on the baking time in the future would eliminate this slight toughness.  The edge crust in both cases was a bit dry, likely due to the low hydration.  I simply used PJ's garlic sauce with them and they were still excellent :)  Overall, I am very happy with both recipes and probably would use the higher wheat:white simply because for nutrition.

In the future, I'd like to pick up a wheat dough from PJ's and compare its weight to the recipe above, perhaps to better estimate their hydration they use.  I'm not sure if it's safe to assume the rest of the ingredients are of the same proportions as in the original white crust, but the overall flavor was excellent in both ratios, so I don't see a need to change it.  I've never seen them make a wheat at PJ's but I think it's likely they use the same sauce as in the original, although I'll probably just ask the employee when I pick up a wheat dough ball.  Comparing their wheat dough to mine with an adjusted hydration with only a cheese topping (same for both) I think will allow me to see just how close the two crusts' recipes are in terms of other ingredients and flavor.

These were a lot of fun to make, because I was already familiar with the PJ clone.  I'd recommend it to anyone looking to switch it up from the original crust.  An obvious draw to this approach is the ability to use the already-made PJ sauce and no additional ingredients would need to be purchased except a wheat flour.  I'd suggest increasing the hydration a bit, but not sure how much.  Perhaps someone else has recommendations on this?


Here are some additional photos of the pies



That is a fine looking pizza. I rarely make whole wheat pizza crusts so it was interesting to me to see that you were able to use the original PJ clone formulation with only 0.14% IDY and the normal hydration.  

To the best of my knowledge, PJs has discontinued their whole wheat crust option. I checked the PJ website this morning and did not see any whole wheat pizzas. At one time, PJ also made whole wheat breadsticks, using the same dough as used for their whole wheat pizzas, but I could not find them either. However, if you want to see the ingredients that went into that dough, see Reply 33 at,6290.msg58011.html#msg58011. Also, if you look at the ingredients list at the bottom of the second item referenced in Reply 33, you will see that the sauce is the same one that was used for the basic PJ pizzas. That is also the sauce that I cloned. Also, as noted in Reply 20 at,6633.msg58010.html#msg58010, I confirmed the use of the regular sauce for the whole wheat pizzas.

In order to adjust the formula hydration for your whole wheat versions, it would help to know, or be able to calculate, the rated absorption value for your flour blends. Or, if you decide to go with the Ultragrain flour, to try to find or calculate the rated absorption value for that flour. To get those numbers, you would need to see the specs or maybe the Nutrition Facts for the different flours, from which it might be possible to calculate the absorption values using the recently posted Hydration Calculator at Then, the absorption value can be modified based on the amount of oil to achieve an "effective" hydration value to use in the dough formulation. That is essentially what I did with the original PJ clone formulations but using King Arthur bread flour. I was able to find the nutrition information for the Ultragrain flour at, so if you decide to go with that flour in order to come up with a PJ whole wheat clone, I may be able to help you with the calculations.



Thanks for the quick and encouraging response!
I can't find %protein info on King Arthur's site, but two other (seemingly unrelated) websites both indicate King Arthur Whole Wheat has 14.0% protein.  This site especially seems believable given the organization of so many flours .

The nutrition label indicates (4 g Fiber / 80 g serving size).  Judging by me manipulating the fiber % by 4.5% vs 5.4%, this small difference seems to translate into huge differences... clearly fiber has a pronounced effect on water absorption - wow!  What's interesting is their site indicates their Whole Wheat flour has 12.2% fiber, more than twice that what's reported on their label?!  source:

I went to the FoodSim tools, used the drop down bar to select "Hydration Calculator", filled in:

78°F room temp
35% Rel Humidity
14.0% protein
12.20% fiber
% absorption reads "Infinity" and I cannot seem to change it, and the % moisture remains blank.

The best resource  I was able to find outside of the KA website was: that has approximate %moisture and %protein of several flours of potential interest for future calculations but unfortunately lacks the King Arthur Whole Wheat, which I'd like to stick with due to being commonly found in grocery stores.  Interestingly, the %moisture is 14% for all flours.  If this is correct for the KA Whole Wheat flour, then it'd have a calculated 105.68% absorption value.  Interestingly, this is MUCH higher than the KA White Whole Wheat reported to be 70% (source: ).

The King Arthur company seems to try and promote their flours as premium or at least above store brands, and given how essential these values are to create recipes, I'm shocked they simply don't have all flours they sell in a large table on their website.  It seems like I might need to call them directly about it: for other flours I intend to use in the future (e.g., rye and pumpernickel).



King Arthur is one of the few companies (Pendleton Flour Mills is another) that list the rated absorption values for their flours. Surprisingly, often the millers themselves can't tell you those values, as I discovered on more than one occasion where I asked. From the King Arthur side, the places that I use to get data on their flours are the one you mentioned at and also the ones at and For other flours, like KA organic flours, you can look under the Specifications and Documents links at

Another good general source to use to get information on flours, even though that information is often of a generic nature, is the website at However, you will often have to do some calculations using the data provide there to get what you are looking for. Examples would be a calculation of the moisture content of a given flour, percents of protein and fiber, and scaling quantities up and down.

As you will see from the above KA documents, most basic white flours have a moisture content of 14.0% (it can be around 15% for European flours). This is a statutory amount and is essentially the same for all white flour products irrespective of source, much like vitamin enrichment is pretty much the same for all white flours. Whole wheat flours have lower moisture content values. In order for the Hydration Calculator to work, you have to enter the flour's moisture content, as given by the miller/retailer or as calculated from other data (like the data from The tool is not designed to produce the moisture content number. I have been using that tool for other flour products also, like rye flour and vital wheat gluten, although I don't know if the tool was designed for those products. But at least I am able to get a general idea as to the absorption values for those products as compared with regular flours.