If you’ve ever made your own yogurt, you may have noticed that there’s a lot of whey produced during the process. Instead of dumping it down the drain, use it the next time you make bread or pizza dough!
As the byproduct of yogurt, whey is rich in calcium and B vitamins, plus it contains nearly 2 grams of protein per cup of whey. Not all whey is created equally, though. Different kinds of whey are produced in various dairy processes including yogurt making and cheese making. Cream products also create whey, such as butter and clotted cream. However, today I’ll focus on yogurt whey because typically the only ingredients in homemade yogurt are milk and yogurt. Ricotta whey on the other hand contains citric acid or vinegar so it would not be suitable for use in pizza dough or bread in my opinion.
I make my own yogurt in my InstantPot regularly. I use a little bit of yogurt from the previous batch as starter for the next batch, and I blogged about the process of making yogurt in a previous article. Since I like to strain my yogurt for a long time to make Greek yogurt, I end up with a lot of whey. My kids also want pizza pretty much all the time, so I’ve found ways to make dough so that I can give them pizza that is healthy, hearty and affordable.
Make ahead pizza dough: start 24-36 hours before you want to make pizza
- 500 grams flour (approximately 3 1/3 cups, with 1 cup whole wheat and the rest all purpose flour)
- 500 grams yogurt whey (about 2 1/4cups)
- 1 tsp. yeast
- 500-1000 (3-6 cups) or more grams flour
- 250 grams (1 cup) yogurt whey
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1/4 cup olive oil
Plus whatever pizza toppings you desire!
To make pizza dough, I first get out a very large mixing bowl to use and mix everything either with a fork or by hand. When I make dough, I substitute about a cup of the all-purpose flour for whole wheat flour so that it’s more nutritionally dense, but it doesn’t compromise the flavor or texture like it would (in my opinion) if I used only whole wheat flour. Next, I use yogurt whey in place of water. I microwave it until it’s warm so that the yeast can ferment. For the first 12-18 hours the only ingredients in my dough are 500 grams of flour, 500 grams of whey and 1 teaspoon of yeast. This process is called making a poolish. After 12-18 hours, the mixture is a bit wet and has bubbles that pop every few seconds.
At this stage, I’ll add another 250 grams of warm whey, 3 tablespoons of sugar, 1 tablespoon of salt, 1/4 cup of olive oil and a whole lot more flour. I don’t measure the flour, I just keep adding it until it forms a nice ball. Then I let it rise twice: once for 3-12 hours, then divide it, kneed and stretch it and let it rise another 3-6 hours. After dividing the dough, I put it in a large, well-oiled bowl. It’s imperative not to skip the kneading process in the middle. That’s the best opportunity to give your crust the elasticity and crunch it needs to taste delicious!
I first learned about the process of making this kind of dough through the book Flour, Water, Salt Yeast, but I’ve modified it quite a bit with whey instead of water and with the addition of whole wheat flour, sugar, oil and more yeast.
Once your dough is ready, divide it again (this recipe should make 4 pizza crusts) and spread it on a pan. Preheat your oven to 500 degrees.
Poke the dough with a fork and pre-bake the crust for 7-10 minutes at 500 degrees. Top your pizza with your favorite toppings. For this pizza I used crushed tomatoes, diced fresh garlic and fresh mozzarella. Return to oven for another 7-12 minutes until the cheese is golden and bubbly.
What are your favorite pizza toppings? Share them in the Facebook or Instagram comments!