Thursday, August 16, 2018

Review: Wewalka Classic Pizza Crust - European Style Dough

For home pizza makers, the biggest challenge is the crust. There are plenty of good recipes to make your own dough - this one to emulate Roberta's pizza is one of my favorites. I often opt for a shortcut, buying a ball of pizza dough from a bakery, Trader Joe's, or Whole Foods.

Earlier this year, I tried a pizza-ready dough by Pillsbury, where the crust is rolled in parchment paper. Unroll it onto a baking sheet (including the parchment paper), add toppings, and bake. I was pleasantly surprised by the result - a thin, chewy, and tasty crust that held up well to my toppings.

Thanks to a reader comment on that review, I discovered a similar product by Wewalka, made in Austria and carried in Giant supermarkets in my region of Pennsylvania. I found a "buy one get one" sale and picked up the "Classic" (14.1 ounce rectangular crust)  and the "Bistro" (7.8 ounce round crust). 

To compare it to the Pillsbury product, I chose the rectangle crust for my first attempt. There is a big calorie difference here, worth noting. The Pillsbury crust has 600 calories, which works out to 75 crust calories per slice if cut into eight servings. This Wewalka Classic checks in at 1040 calories, which comes to 130 calories per slice. The Wewalka Bistro, weighing 6 ounces less, has 560 calories.
Summer tomatoes
The dough rolled out a bit more easily than the Pillsbury dough, and it filled most of a large baking sheet. For my sauce, I diced some red and orange summertime garden tomatoes, and drained them for a few hours. I saved the juice and boiled it down with some olive oil, salt, and a pinch of sugar. I then took that thickened liquid and combined it with the fresh diced tomato. (I generally avoid fresh tomatoes on pizza due to the excess moisture, but this labor-intensive process solved the water issue.)

I used two cheeses - some Priano fresh mozzarella (from ALDI) and some Asiago. I added some red and orange sweet peppers (mostly for color) and thin slices from a large clove of fresh garlic. Finally, I squeezed out 4 ounces of fresh (raw) Italian sausage from its casing to make lovely chunks that cook on the pizza. 
Pre-bake
Following package directions, I baked the pie for about 18-19 minutes at 425 degrees. Out of the oven, I topped the pie with fresh chopped basil. The overall product was delicious, but that was mostly due to the sauce of summer tomatoes, the excellent cheeses, and the sausage. The crust was thin, dense, golden brown, chewy, and sturdy enough to support the toppings.

Out of the oven
However, the crust was blandly flavored. I remember the Pillsbury crust being oddly reminiscent of a Chinese dumpling in texture and flavor, but this crust had little distinct flavor. It served nicely as a vehicle for the toppings, but did not stand out in any other way. 


Based on results to date, my top choice for home pizza dough (beyond make your own) remains the $4 dough ball at Whole Foods. The $2 dough ball at Trader Joe's would be my next choice. Due to its convenience and low calories, the Pillsbury dough comes in third. I enjoyed our pizza on the Wewalka Classic crust, but it's in fourth place here.
Underside of crust
I'll update this post if I get a different result with the Bistro crust. Add your experience in the comments section.

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