The rich, complex flavor provides just the right counterpoint to robust pizza toppings, and it is light enough in texture to form a pillow-y rim with large, lovely holes and lofty oven spring. The dough-making is concentrated in the morning and late afternoon, allowing time during the day to tend to other activities. The Proofer is particularly valuable in keeping the dough on schedule so that flavor and quality are consistent from batch to batch and dinner is ready on time.
High-Extraction Flour — Great Flavor, Great Texture
High-extraction flours are similar to whole grain flours except they have a portion of the bran removed. The advantage they bring is increased flavor and nutrition without the bitterness or heavy texture caused by the bran. They are easy to make. Sifting whole grain flour through a fine strainer removes some of the larger bran flakes. For whole wheat flour, this creates a high-extraction flour made from about 94% of the whole wheat kernel. Coarsely ground whole rye flour will strain to about 65% of the rye kernel, or medium rye flour may be used with equally good results.
A Spoonful of Sugar
There is a little sugar in this dough to enhance browning. Sourdough doesn’t often have added sugar, but with pizza baked in a home oven (not as hot as a pro oven), a little added sugar goes a long way towards ensuring that the dough browns deeply and attractively. Sourdough starter and high-extraction flours give this pizza crust a rich, complex flavor that provides just the right counterpoint to robust pizza toppings. It is light enough in texture to form a pillow-y rim with large, lovely holes and lofty oven spring.
This recipe highlights three key points for great pizza dough. First, high-extraction flours bump up flavor and nutrition without the bitterness or heavy texture caused by too much bran. Second, a spoonful of sugar helps the crust brown attractively in a home oven, which isn’t as hot as a commercial pizza oven. Third, higher hydration helps produce a lighter, puffier rim with beautiful large holes.
Yield: This recipe makes four 10-12” thin crust pizzas. It can easily be halved to make two pizzas.
Timing: Mix the leaven the night before, then make up the main dough the next morning. In the afternoon, divide and shape into balls, then preheat the oven and preparing toppings. Shape, top and bake the pizzas at dinnertime.
Equipment: Folding Proofer, pizza stone.
|Unbleached AP flour||
|Water, about 70F / 21C||
*Preferably a mature white sourdough starter with 100% hydration.
Mix the Leaven. The night before making pizza, combine all the leaven ingredients and stir well. Cover and ferment in the Proofer at 70F for 12 hours.
|Unbleached AP flour*||scant 3 cups, spooned||350||12.3|
|High-extraction wheat flour**||3/4 cup, spooned||80||2.8|
|High-extraction** or Med. Rye||2 Tbs||20||0.71|
|Water, 85F / 29C||1.5 cups||350||12.3|
|Leaven||all from above||100||3.5|
Get Ready. Refill the water tray and set the Proofer to 81F / 27C. Before measuring or weighing, sift whole grain wheat flour through a fine strainer to create high-extraction flour. Do the same with whole grain rye flour. Mark a bowl or bulk fermentation container at the 8 cup (1893 ml) level.
Mix the Main Dough. Combine the flours, sugar and salt and whisk or stir to combine. Add the Leaven and water and mix until all ingredients are well distributed. Set in the Proofer to ferment. Tip: With a long bulk fermentation (first rise), it is not necessary to autolyse the dough.
Pre-shape into Rounds. Lightly flour a work surface and divide the dough into four pieces. Shape each into a round. Place the rounds smooth (top) side down on a lightly oiled sheet pan and sprinkle the seamed upper surface with semolina or flour. Tip: At this point, if dinner is more than 2 hours away, the dough rounds can be covered and refrigerated.
Final Proof. Proof dough balls in the Proofer at 81F for 90 minutes. If they are cold from the refrigerator, proof a little longer, for 2 hours.
Prepare to bake. While the dough is proofing, preheat the oven for at least an hour at 500F (260C) with a pizza stone on the middle rack. Prepare toppings and side dishes. Cut 12” circles of parchment.
Shape and Bake. Lightly flour a work surface and have parchment circles nearby. Without compressing the rim, shape each round into a pizza and place on a parchment circle. Add toppings, transfer to the oven using a peel or the back of a sheet pan, and bake for 6-9 minutes. If necessary, rotate half way through baking for even browning.
|Total flour||500 grams|
|Unbleached AP flour||80%|
|Total Dough Weight||920 grams|