Sourdough Pizza Crust

Sourdough pizza crust recipe

The Spruce / Julia Estrada

  • Total: 45 mins
  • Prep: 45 mins
  • Cook: 0 mins
  • Ferment: 28 hrs
  • Servings: 4 servings
  • Yields: 2 pizzas

Sourdough pizza is the original pizza. Bread is a very old food, and prepared yeast is a relatively modern invention. Therefore, the first pizza would definitely have been a sourdough pizza, and, what’s more, it was almost certainly eaten by a baker. Baking is hard work and there’s no time to waste. A historical baker would have grabbed a piece of scrap dough, rolled it thin so it would cook as fast as possible, topped it with whatever they could get away with pilfering from the bakery’s larder, and thrown it in the oven. This recipe is a nod to these humble practical aspects of the baker’s life. The quantities are in a 1-2-3 ratio: one part starter, two parts water, and three parts flour, so no matter how much starter you have or how much pizza you want to make, you can easily figure out the water and flour.

From a home cook’s perspective, sourdough is better than yeasted pizza dough and not just for flavor. The slower natural yeasts in a sourdough starter help the dough to last longer in the refrigerator, meaning you can make a batch of dough, divide it into several storage containers, and have a stock of pizza dough ready to bake for up to a week or more. Plus your reward for all that slow fermentation is that deeply delicious sourdough flavor.

This dough is pretty soft. If you are more comfortable working with a firmer dough, start with one hundred grams of water and add more as you see fit. Different flours can absorb different amounts of water, so your flour may need more or less water to achieve the intended consistency.

Ingredients

  • 180 grams bread flour
  • 120 grams warm water
  • 60 grams sourdough starter
  • 15 grams extra virgin olive oil
  • 5 grams sea salt

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for sourdough pizza
    The Spruce / Julia Estrada
  2. Add all of the ingredients to a medium bowl (a glass bowl is great because you will be able to observe bubbles from fermentation activity). Stir to thoroughly combine. The dough will look rough and shaggy and feel soft and sticky.

    Add dough to bowl
    The Spruce / Julia Estrada
  3. Cover bowl with a damp towel or plastic bag and rest for 20 minutes.

    Cover bowl
    The Spruce / Julia Estrada
  4. Then stretch and fold the dough, more or less as follows. Moisten your hand with a little water, scoop your hand underneath the dough and gently grasp one side of the lump. Lightly stretch the dough in your hand away from the main mass, then fold it over. Repeat this motion on different sides of the dough three or four more times.

    Dough
    The Spruce / Julia Estrada
  5. Then flip the whole mass of dough such that the seams of your folds face down against the bottom of the bowl. You should notice that the shaggy dough becomes considerably more smooth, which is the goal. If the dough looks as shaggy as before, use a visual guide and try again.

    Dough rising
    The Spruce / Julia Estrada
  6. Rest the dough for another 20 minutes, then stretch and fold again.

    Rest dough
    The Spruce / Julia Estrada
  7. Cover once more and ferment for 3 to 4 hours at room temperature. Your dough will probably not rise significantly, but you should see bubbles forming on the surface and underneath (which you can observe if your dough is in a glass bowl). If you do not see bubbles, continue to ferment until you do.

    Dough rising
    The Spruce / Julia Estrada
  8. Lightly flour a work surface. Invert the bowl above the floured area and wait for the dough to release itself from the bowl. Divide the dough in half. Using essentially the same technique as the stretch and fold earlier (minus the wet hands), shape the pieces into rounds.

    Flour work surface
    The Spruce / Julia Estrada
  9. Coat the inside of two round, one-pint storage containers (preferably with lids) with oil and place a dough ball seam-side down into each one. Cover with lids or plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 24 hours before using. Dough kept in the refrigerator longer will continue to develop flavor and has a shelf life of a week or more.

    Dough in bowl
    The Spruce / Julia Estrada
  10. To make pizza, remove the dough from the refrigerator and place on a well-floured surface. Coat the dough lightly all over with flour as well. With your hands, gently flatten and stretch the dough into a thin circle about 12 inches in diameter.

    Dough on board
    The Spruce / Julia Estrada
  11. Add sauce and toppings as desired and bake according to your preferred method. Serve immediately.

    Sourdough pizza
    The Spruce / Julia Estrada

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