Making your own Sourdough Pizza Crust will bring your pizza to higher level. Not only is Sourdough Pizza Crust a wonderful way to use up extra sourdough starter but it also produces a pizza with a slightly more fluffy and chewy crust.
Pour the sourdough starter into a large bowl. Add the water, sugar and then the amount of flour indicated for the sponge step. Mix together gently with a wooden spoon.
Cover the bowl with a cheese cloth or a dish towel. Leave the covered bowl in a place sheltered from drafts for 6 to 12 hours. I usually prepare the sponge before going to sleep and leave it overnight.
After the long rest, you will have a sponge (a frothy mix, with bubbles on top). The bubbles show the sponge is active.
Add the amount of flour, salt and olive oil indicated for the bulk fermentation stage into the glass bowl with the sponge. Mix together with a wooden spoon. Let it sit a few minutes.
Continue mixing with a spoon until the dough starts coming together. Turn the dough out onto a clean floured board or hard surface. Knead the dough about 5 minutes. If the dough is sticky, add a little more flour. Or if dry, add a few drops of water. The dough should not stick to your hands when you knead it.
Divide the dough into four parts. Place each part in a bowl with enough space for the dough to double. Cover each part with a cheese cloth or clean dish towel. Let the dough sit about six hours until it has more or less doubled. The skin of the dough may start to feel a little dry or the top may begin to crack.
Stretching the Dough
Preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C) (see notes) with your pizza stone or pizza pan inside. I use a cast iron pizza pan (see above) with great results. Let the heat at the indicated temperature for at least 10 minutes.
Place parchment paper on a pizza peel or flat surface. Add flour on the parchment paper so the dough will not stick. Gently pick up one of the parts of dough and roll it into a ball. Put the ball on the floured parchment paper. Flatten it down. Place your hand on the dough and start stretching the dough out in the form of a disc. Continue gently stretching while being careful not to stretch it too thin or to make holes. Pick up the dough and place onto the back of your hands. Gently stretch the dough with your knuckles out until you get the desired thickness.
Use a fork to poke holes on the pizza dough. Spread your tomato sauce on top of the pizza, leaving the edges bare. Be careful not to put on too much sauce or your pizza will become soggy. Add your cheese on top of your pizza. Then add the other toppings. Do not overload the pizza or the dough may not support the toppings.
Let the prepared pizza sit 5 to 10 minutes. I usually let it rest while I prepare the next pizza and the last pizza is in baking in the oven.
Place the pizza in the oven. If you use a pizza peel it will be easy to flip it onto the pizza pan. Let it bake about 10 minutes or until the crust turns golden brown and the cheese and other toppings look cooked. Remove the pizza from the oven and let it sit a couple minutes before slicing it. Enjoy it!
When making the sponge, you can use a blend of flours. For my pizza crusts, I mixed one-half unbleached bread flour and one-half all-purpose flour.
Note that you will add flour at two stages: the sponge and the bulk fermentation stages.
You can leave the dough in the refrigerator up to five days during the bulk fermentation stage. However, be careful they are covered well so they do not dry out and become crusty. One of the best pizzas I’ve ever tasted let their pizza dough rise at this point 5 days. Experiment to see what works best for you.
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