• Sourdough pizza

Sourdough Pizza Crust Recipe

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          recette imprimable

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

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.

Sour_pizza_TIMELINE

Equipment: Brod & Taylor Folding Proofer & Slow Cooker, medium bowl, pizza stone is optional.

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 70 °F / 21 °C for 12 hours.

Main Dough Volume Grams Ounces
Unbleached AP flour* scant 3 C, spooned 350 12.3
High-extraction wheat flour**  ¾ 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, 85 °F / 29 °C 1½ 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 81 °F / 27 °C. 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 C  / 2 L 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 C / 2 L, 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 81 °F / 27 °C 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 500 °F / 260 °C  with a pizza stone on the middle rack.  Prepare toppings and side dishes. Cut 12” / 30 cm 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. After shaping the dough place each crust on a separate piece of parchment. 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 g
Unbleached AP flour 80%
Hi-Extraction Flours 20%
Water 80%
Salt 2.3%
Sugar 2.5%
Leaven flour 10%
Total Dough Weight 920 g
2018-03-20T16:07:11+00:00 Bread & Sourdough|12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. bibby March 20, 2016 at 5:41 pm - Reply

    dough after mixing is extremely sticky. I measured everything in grams. Is it supposed to be sticky? thanks

    • Wes March 20, 2016 at 6:43 pm - Reply

      It is normal for this dough to be extremely soft. When handling or shaping the dough use olive oil on your fingers to keep from sticking. The soft dough will produce a light and airy crust.

  2. dave hill July 24, 2016 at 9:48 pm - Reply

    Seriously if you follow the instructions, this isn’t even dough – it’s flour slime.

    • Diane January 28, 2017 at 12:59 am - Reply

      Dave, We are sorry that this recipe did not work out for you and thank you for letting us know. We added a few notes to the instructions that may be helpful. Everyone in our office has made the recipe exactly as the instructions indicate with success but not necessarily with ease. It is not an easy dough to handle. The dough is very silky soft and very sticky and can become a delicate thin dough (window pane with light coming through) which tears when stretched too much, so it must be handled lightly from underneath and gently worked towards the outer edge in the form of a round pizza. I use olive oil and support underneath while gently nudging the dough in the shape of a round disk. The dough does make a beautiful crust if you can avoid adding more flour. Our Rustic Pizza Crust recipe is a customer favorite which you may enjoy instead with a much easier dough to handle. Again sorry for your disappointment and our best to you in future baking.

  3. Nicolas Ghantous June 12, 2017 at 8:07 pm - Reply

    Hello a question to after you bake 4-4.5 minutes and freeze.. When you are ready for pizza just add toppings and bake? would it

    affect the texture or the wholes? thanks

    • Diane June 13, 2017 at 1:21 pm - Reply

      Nicolas, Yes, you can simply add toppings to the frozen pizza crusts and place them straight in the pre-heated hot oven. They begin defrosting as soon as they are removed from the freezer and that is fine too. The best method we have found is to freeze the crusts when they are still just slightly warm and then try to remove any air from the storage bag and place directly in the freezer. This way there is a bit of moisture in the crusts and taste as good as fresh made. The crusts should keep in the freezer several weeks and still taste great. When par baking the crusts, the dough is completely a baked but very little or no browning to the crust rim. People who have hungry children or unexpected guests especially enjoy this handy technique of ready to bake crusts. If you are new to baking you can also use this method of freezing for our Rustic Pizza Crust recipe. The Sourdough Pizza Crusts are our favorite but inexperienced bakers can become frustrated because the dough needs gentle handling. Thank you for your interest and happy baking.

  4. Jenny June 15, 2017 at 9:15 am - Reply

    The dough turns out as approx 750ml or 3/4 cups hence if you expect it rises to 2C/2L so it is 2.5 times increase in volume with a warm dough of 27C, it will be way too over proofed in my opinion

    • Diane June 19, 2017 at 3:00 pm - Reply

      Jenny, Thank you for your interest. We have made this dough many times as the instructions indicate and with great success. It is a very soft dough which can be difficult to handle for beginners but makes a delicious crust. The difficulty is in handling, with very gentle support from underneath while shaping to prevent tears in the dough. The bottom of the crust is very thin and has a more full rim. The crusts are small reaching only between 8-9 inches in diameter. They are wonderful individual pizza crusts for personalizing with toppings. The total weight of the dough is about 920g (four dough balls at about 230g each). We have not had a problem with over proofing at 27C. If you have experienced problems with this recipe, be certain your water temperature is not too warm. Ideal water temperature for bread making is between 74 – 76F / 23 – 25 C. This is a very important point in bread making. Please let us know if we can assist in the future, for sharing your thoughts, and all the best to you in baking with sourdough.

  5. Nancy Dobrinski February 9, 2018 at 11:56 pm - Reply

    It would be very helpful if you could post a video showing how to shape the crust while support it underneath.

    • Diane February 12, 2018 at 5:39 pm - Reply

      Nancy, Great suggestion and thank you for reaching out to us. We will put that on our list of video projects. Light finger touches gently & slightly stretching the dough from underneath works well. You need to be very gentle (with olive oil on the fingers helps) so that you do not tear the dough. This is a fantastic crust and once you are successful it will be easier to repeat. We have a few video projects in the works and have added this one to our list. All the best to you.

  6. marie cookeed March 17, 2018 at 6:15 pm - Reply

    i am lost. after the parchment paper step . Do I bake with the parchment paper or transport the dough on to pan without the parchment paper?

    • Diane March 20, 2018 at 4:04 pm - Reply

      Marie, Yes, after shaping the dough place each crust on a separate piece of parchment and transfer to the oven using a peel, small flat sheet pan with no rim, or wide spatula. Thank you for your question. We will modify the instructions to prevent any future confusion.

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