Whole Wheat Help

Started by nlavon, March 28, 2021, 09:57:47 PM

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I want to create a pizza with a sourdough starter (20 percent) and whole wheat flour at 30 percent of the flour. The rest is Bread Flour. Here is my basic formula:

Pct           Ingred   Grams
100.00%   Flour           352.66
70.00%   Water   246.86
1.75%   Salt               6.17
1.50%   Olive Oil       5.29
173.25%              610.98

Preferment (Sourdough Starter, 20%):
20.00%                70.53
50.00%   Flour             35.27
50.00%   Water     35.27

The remainder of the dough would be:
90.00%   Flour           317.39
60.00%   Water   211.59
1.75%   Salt              6.17
1.50%   Olive Oil      5.29
153.25%              540.45

So, if I wanted to use a 70/30 mixture of Bread Flour and Whole Wheat in the remainder, I calculated that the Bread Flour would be 222.17 grams and the Whole Wheat would be 95.22 grams.

I did read the late Tom Lehmann's article on using White Flour/Whole wheat flour mixed in pizza dough and using different absorption rates for the respective flours. When I went to measure his suggestion of hydrating 300 grams of whole wheat flour with a 70 percent absorption rate (210 grams), it took another 115 grams of water to get a "stiff oatmeal" like appearance of the flour. Backing that total down five percent, that calculates to an absorption rate of 103.3%. I used Target's Good and Gather Whole Wheat flour. Is that even remotely possible?

If it is, then using my absorption rates of 70 percent for the 222.17 grams of bread flour, and 103.3% of the 95.22 grams of whole wheat flour, I would add 155.52 grams of water for the Bread Flour, and 98.36 grams for the whole wheat flour. That's a total of 253.88 grams, an increase of 42.29 grams over the total of water if there was no whole wheat flour in the mixture.

So, is that it? Just the addition of 42.29 grams of water to the mixture?  Something doesn't seem right to me, so I would appreciate any help. Thanks!


Your intentions are excellent (as a fellow whole wheat fanatic) but I can't follow your math. It would be easier to comprehend if you just showed the ingredients as a percentage of the total flour one time... the salt, oil and the SD. Then break the total flour ex SD into the two components of white and WW. If you normally target a white dough at say 63% hydration then calculate the water for the white flour at 63% and then calculate the WW portion at 70% if that is your target. Your recalculated total water will just sum from the two calculations. Some people on this forum care about the hydration impact of the SD and others seem not to care. It is worth being aware of given that you are using 20% SD at 100% hydration. What style of pizza are you trying to make, what temperature are you baking at and what final hydration are you shooting for?

For my own experiments I have found ways to simplify achieving your goal. For starters, my preferred SD is made with white whole wheat flour (@80%). So, in your case, if you used 10% of the total flour ex SD as WW you are more or less at 30%. I have also successfully used a short autolyse period of 20 minutes for the WW with excess water.  The amount of water I use is not that important as long as I soak the WW to maximize absorption and that the total water is correct.

Their are plenty of experienced voices on this forum that can help you with more precise alternative methods but the above works for me very well for my NY style doughs. I use some whole grain in all my pizzas... NY, NP and Al Taglio.

Good luck.


Thanks for the reply. No one ever accused me of being a mathematical genius.

I do believe I misread Mr. Lehmann's article and overcomplicated things. I'm working on a reboot. I like thicker pizzas (thick style but baked on a stone), I was going to bake at 500F and shoot for a total hydration rate of 70 percent. My big mistake was in adding more water than the original hydration called for, I think.

Again, thanks for the input and it is making this whole whole wheat thing clearer.



My WW, while grain spelt doughs were always wet and sticky even without increasing hydration to compensate for the thirstier while grain flour. Once I started to pre-soak the whole grain, I achieved easier doughs to work with at a few point higher hydration. Even more useful for my bread doughs that are 50-80% whole grain.

Let me know if it works out for you


I will post how it goes, now that I know the process.