Sourdough Pizza Crust

I hope everyone is doing great quarantining! There has been so much crazy that has happened in 2020, and it’s only April. But in light of all the darkness happening, I am thoroughly enjoying social distancing and being in quarantine. It just gives me a lot of time to focus on myself, reflect and be at some level of inner peace — even though I certainly miss outings with my friends, all for the greater good.

The extra time to focus on myself really means spending much more time in the kitchen, experimenting and trying different things. Earlier this year, I delved into the art of sourdough. And while I was really hesitant about it because it just seemed so scientific, I am totally over the moon obsessed with my sourdough starter, LaGertha, named after the Viking shield-maiden.

Honestly, experimenting with bread has been so fulfilling. And I decided a couple weeks ago to get into making sourdough pizza crust, given that I have a lot of time to learn and I just really love pizza. I’ve had Joe Beddia’s cookbook, Pizza Camp, sitting on my shelf for a while, so used that recipe as my template. He uses instant dry yeast in his recipe, so it took some experimentation to find the right balance of ingredients that worked for me. My last batch was such a hit — now has a sitting place in the “favorites” section of my highly illegible recipe book — so I thought I share on ze bloggo.

It’s a thicker pizza with a crust that is fluffy as heck, but yet has an awesome crunchy bite. Only thing about it is that it’s a time investment. If you want pizza within the day, you certainly can. I made a batch and rose it at room temperature for 5 hours, and it’s still goooood. But waiting that extra day or so really makes the difference if you ask me.

Prep Time: 27 to 60 hours Cook Time: 30 to 40 minutes Serves: two 10-inch pies

What You’ll Need

  • 70g active starter
  • 465g 00 flour (AP can be used, too)
  • 315g warm water
  • 15g sugar
  • 10g salt
  • 30g olive oil

Note: If you want to use active dry yeast in this, I imagine you can substitute the starter with 7g of active dry yeast and add 35g of flour and 35g of water.

How You’ll Do It

  1. In a large mixing bowl, thoroughly mix together with a fork starter, warm water and sugar. Once those ingredients have been fully combined, add flour.
  2. Mix the dough with your hands until everything has been combined and you’re left with a ball. It should be pretty wet. Cover the bowl with a damp towel, and let the dough sit in a warm place (I use my oven) for about 2 hours.
  3. After two hours, add the olive oil and salt into the dough and mix with wet hands. The dough should look pretty silky and beautiful at this point.
  4. Cover the bowl, and place the dough to rise in the fridge for 24 to 60 hours. I enjoy the 60-hour rise because the dough gets a lot of time to relax and ferment.
  5. After the first rise, take the dough out of the fridge and separate the dough into two. At this point, you’re going to shape the dough into round balls, working one at a time. Here is a good technique from Baking Steel.
  6. Put each dough ball into a separate bowl, place damp towels on each and let sit in a warm area for 4 -5 hours for the second rise. The dough should be doubled in size at the end of this.
  7. When the pizza is ready to be baked, preheat a cast iron skillet in the oven at 450°F. I would let it preheat for at least 30 minutes. You can also use a baking sheet for this, or a pizza stone if you have one.
  8. When the pan is ready, now is the time to start stretching out your pizza dough. I prefer to just use my hands for this, adding a little bit of flour to prevent the dough from sticking to the work surface. I like to start by pressing the dough out into a circular shape with my fingers, and then I flip the dough onto my fists and start slowly stretching the dough. When you’re done, it should be about 10-inches in diameter and about one-fourth to a half-inch thick.
  9. Take the hot pan out of the oven, and place it onto a trivet. Coat the pan with olive oil — I use a brush. Then place the dough into the pan — you’ll hear a nice sizzle!
  10. Add your favorite toppings now, and try not to go overboard with it (a heavy pizza makes for a soggy pizza!).
  11. Toss that baby in the lowest rack in the oven, and let it bake for about 30 to 40 minutes. You’ll know it’s ready when the crust is golden and slightly charred, and the cheese is golden and bubbley.
  12. Take the pizza out of the oven, let it rest for 10 minutes for everything to set — and then consume!
  13. Happy Pizza-tining!
Sourdough pizza with cheese, tomato sauce and pesto

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