Radicchio Sourdough Pizza

This is our favorite sourdough pizza crust, developed after years of pizza making.

The rich, complex flavor our sourdough pizza crust recipe provides just the right counterpoint to robust toppings, and the crust is light enough in texture to form a pillow-y rim with large, open holes and lofty oven spring. The dough-making is concentrated in the morning and late afternoon. The Folding Proofer is particularly valuable in keeping dough on schedule so that flavor and quality are consistent from batch to batch.

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 of high-extraction flours is increased flavor and nutrition without the bitterness or heavy texture caused by bran. Easy to make, sifting whole grain flour through a fine strainer removes most 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, which is not as hot as a professional oven, a little added sugar goes a long way towards ensuring the dough browns deeply and attractively. Sourdough starter and high-extraction flours give this pizza crust a rich, complex flavor providing just the right counterpoint to robust pizza toppings. It is light enough in texture to form a pillow-y rim with large, open texture and lofty oven spring.

Our recipe highlights three key points for great pizza dough.  First, high-extraction flours enhance  flavor and nutrition without bitterness or heavy texture caused by too much bran. Second, a spoonful of sugar helps deep browning of the crust. Third, higher hydration helps produce a lighter, puffier rim with large open texture.

pizza with meatballs and shallotsMeatball and caramelized shallot pizza

Printable Recipe

Yield:  This recipe makes four 10-12” / 25-30 cm thin crust pizzas.  It can easily be halved to make two pizzas.

Sour_pizza_TIMELINE

Timing: Mix the leaven the night before, and make the main dough the next morning.  In the afternoon, divide and shape into balls, then preheat the oven and prepare toppings. Shape, top and bake the pizzas at dinnertime.

Equipment: Folding Proofer, pizza stone.

Ingredients

Leaven

Volume

Grams

Ounces

Sourdough starter*

1 T

15

0.5

Unbleached AP flour

5 T

45

1.6

Water, about 70F / 21C

3 T

45

1.6

*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 / 21C for 12 hours.

Main Dough Volume Grams Ounces
Unbleached AP flour* scant 3 C, spooned 350 12.3
High-extraction wheat flour** 3/4 C, spooned 80 2.8
High-extraction** or Med. Rye 2 T 20 0.71
Sugar 1 T 12.5 0.44
Salt 2 tsp 11.5 0.41
Water, 85F / 29C 1.5 C 350 12.3
Leaven all from above 100 3.5

* An unbleached flour with about 10% protein is ideal for this recipe. Gold Medal or Pillsbury Unbleached All-purpose flours are among good choices.

**Simple directions for making high-extraction flours from whole grain flours are in the “Get Ready” step of the recipe.

Get Ready.  Refill the water tray and pre-heat 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 / 2L level.

Mix the Main Dough.  In a medium bowl, 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. Place bowl in the Proofer to ferment.  Tip: With a long bulk fermentation (first rise), it is not necessary to autolyse the dough.

homemade high-extraction flour

Stretch and Fold.  During the first hour or two, stretch and fold the dough three times.  Then allow the dough to ferment until it has risen to a volume of about 8 cups, 5-6 hours.

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.  Place the dough balls in the Proofer at 81F / 27C 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.

sourdough pizza with sausage

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. The dough will be soft and very sticky and can form a delicate thin dough which tears when stretched too much, so lightly handle from underneath and gently work towards the outer edge of the pizza form. The dough makes a beautiful crust if you can avoid adding more flour. 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. 

sourdough pizza crust

Overall Formula
Total flour 500 grams
Unbleached AP flour 80%
Hi-Extraction Flours 20%
Water 80%
Salt 2.3%
Sugar 2.5%
Leaven flour 10%
Total Dough Weight 920 grams