Updated: Jul 31, 2019
I'm fascinated with making pizza, and so you are if you're on this page. I wanted to make a sourdough pizza base because I was searching for more flavor in every bite of pizza.
You see, making a lot of pizza means you will ultimately eat a lot of pizza, and using fresh/instant yeast and 00 flour is a low ceiling from a flavor perspective. I'm not a pizza purist by any means. I'm not here to argue about the styles, methods, and rules about pizza. I know there is Napoletana, New York, Al Taglio, Sfincione, etc. Trust me, I'm all about eating every single one of those types of pizzas.
I simply wanted to make something that works for me, naturally leavened to enhance flavor and digestibility, cooked in a wood-fired oven. I also believe that using more accessible and diverse flour types will make you a less narrow-minded pizza chef.
Here Is What You Need:
100 grams Mature Sourdough Starter
200 grams Bread Flour (or 00 flour)
200 grams Water
700 grams Bread Flour (or 00 flour)
100 grams Spelt Flour
50 grams Rye Flour
150 grams All-Purpose Flour
625 grams warm water
20 grams salt
400 grams levain
Start with your mature sourdough starter that is past its peak and is ready for a feeding.
For tips on knowing when your starter is ready to be used to build a levain, read more here.
Combine your mature starter with 200 grams of flour and 200 grams of warm water. Since the inoculation is 50% (meaning you're adding 50% of the amount of flour), your levain should be ready in about 3-4 hours depending on the temperature in your house. My house is usually 72-75 degrees.
Final Dough Mix
Dissolve the salt into the water. Once it has been completely dissolved, add the rest of the water and 400 grams of levain. Now you can slowly begin adding flour and mixing with your hands.
The key to the mix is to incorporate the flour slowly so that it hydrates fully. Although this is a low hydration dough, I still like to incorporate my flour and water slowly at the initial stages.
Once you've fully incorporated the flour, let the dough rest for about 10 minutes before beginning the initial kneading.
I prefer to knead by hand for this small quantity than to use a stand mixer. I believe that you will learn to appreciate and understand the dough better this way. However, if you aren't ready to knead for 20 minutes, you can add the dough to the bowl of a stand mixer and mix on low speed for 10-15 minutes and a higher speed for 5-10 minutes.
For the hand kneading process, use the palm of your hand and push the dough in a forward motion to the point that it is almost tearing. Pull the dough back onto itself, rotate it, and push with your palm again. This is my go-to, basic hand kneading technique. I'm trying to work air into the dough by doing this.
Once you get to the point where the dough is coming together and getting tight, you may need to let it rest for 5 minutes before continuing to work the dough. Remember that the key to making dough is to watch it. If you feel you need to add more water, add a tablespoon at a time.
You'll know your dough is ready once it becomes smooth and bouncy. You should be able to squeeze it and pull it without any tearing. This usually takes me about 20 minutes.
Divide the dough into about eight 238 gram pieces and use your palms to smooth them into a round ball. Once these are shaped, place them on a parchment paper-lined tray and let them ferment at room temperature for about 1 hour. Now, you can wrap this tray with plastic wrap and place in the fridge (38-40 Fahrenheit) for 24 hours.
Now that you're dough is fermenting, check out my sourdough pizza recipes so that you can proceed to the next steps to delicious pizza at home.