Sourdough Pizza Crust: A Guide
I’d been making sourdough loaves for a few months before I had the confidence to give pizza a go. For some reason it looked more intimidating and I didn’t quite understand how to make the crust. I avoided it, all while following the #sourdoughpizza hashtag on instagram and salivating every time I photo crossed my feed.
As it turns out, there are two options to making sourdough pizza crust and both of them are incredibly simple! One way uses your discard and provides a crispier thin crust, and another way is just simply half a recipe for a regular loaf and provides a bubbly fluffy crust.
Almost every week I make a big batch of sourdough – generally I make enough dough for 2 loaves, turning half into a loaf and the other half I split in two for two pizza crusts. Yes, we generally eat 2 pizzas a week! Hah! We just can’t get enough. Some people ask “aren’t you sick of pizza?!” or “is that very healthy?” The answers to those questions are “no, never” and “yes, it is!” because the way I look at it – I’m using quality ingredients in both the crust and the toppings (hello, so many vegetables!), and the probiotics in the sourdough make my tummy happy. So it’s a win-win really.
CREATING THE CRUSTS:
LONG—FERMENT LOAF METHOD:
This is my most common method. This yields 2 pizza crusts that you’ll store in your fridge for up to 6 days.
What you’ll need:
-Unbleached all purpose flour
-Active sourdough starter (see my post here about creating your own)
-Optional: fold-in herbs like oregano or italian spices
The night before: levain
Create your levain (a mixture of water and flour that has been converted into a leavening agent through the process of fermentation). This is the sourdough equivalent to active dry yeast. It’s naturally leavening.
100g filtered water
100g unbleached all purpose flour
20-30g active sourdough starter
Mix together in a large mason jar, mixing bowl, or whatever you usually use to make a levain. Set aside on the counter.
THE TIMES LISTED BELOW ARE SIMPLY TO BE USED A GUIDE! Obviously if you need to start at 6am or even noon, go for it! Just keep the spacing relatively the same.
8am, the next day, autolyse:
Your levain should have doubled in size. This means it’s ready to become pizza dough!
In a large mixing bowl or a tub (I like using these), mix together the following:
350g filtered water
400g unbleached all purpose flour
100g bread flour*
*You can use 500g all purpose flour if you need, and you can even use 500g bread flour. I encourage you to play around with your flour percentages and types. This is the best part of sourdough! You can be creative! I do not suggest using entirely whole wheat though. You’ll end up with soup.
Be sure to mix everything in entirety and let it sit, covered with a kitchen towel, for 20-30 minutes.
Add 20g more filtered water and 20g sea salt. Mix well.
9am, 9:30am, 10am, 10:30am, stretch and folds:
At 9am do your first “stretch and fold” – pull up the sides of the dough and fold it over the top, working around the bowl. I usually do 3 stretch and folds per session.
If you are folding in herbs like oregano or italian seasonings, do this on the first stretch and fold.
You’ll repeat this action 4 times – once every 30 minutes.
10:30am-2:30pm(ish), bulk fermentation:
Bulk ferment. This is when you’ll leave your dough alone and let it do it’s thing. You’ll want it to double in size and have some bubbles. Depending on the temperature of your kitchen, this may take longer or shorter.
Warmer kitchen = shorter ferment time. Colder kitchen = longer ferment time.
Bench rest and shape:
Once your dough has doubled and it has done it’s bulk fermentation in the warm air, it’s time to split the dough in two and wrap them up for later!
Scrape the dough out onto your counter and divide it into two equal parts.
Using a bench scraper, form it into a tight ball. Let it rest for 15-20 minutes.
Now wrap each dough ball up in plastic wrap (or store it in a tightly covered glass bowl) and place in the fridge! You’re ready for pizza night.
Alternatively, you can do this much quicker using King Arthur Flour’s short ferment method!
SHORT FERMENT METHOD (by King Arthur):
I skip the added yeast sometimes but you can do it if you want a quicker rise!
Follow the instructions on their site and you’re set for a quicker crust.