Sourdough Pizza Dough
This is a wonderfully flavorful and light pizza dough. The unusual addition of our Gazelle rye flour brings out the fruity flavors of the mature starter and helps achieve the crust that is crispy yet airy and moist in the middle. Although this recipe takes a bit of advance planning, the dough can also be frozen for later use. Don't be intimidated by the multi-step process: it is well worth it.
BY: ELLE COWAN
22 hours minimum
4 Pizzas (10-11”)
3 cups (400g) Expresso flour
½ cup + 1 tablespoon (100g) Gazelle rye flour
¼ cup + 2 tablespoons (75g) ripe sourdough starter (*See Bakers Notes)
1⅓ cup + 2 tablespoons (350g) water, warmed to 105-115°F
3 tablespoons (30g) olive oil
1½ teaspoons (8g) fine sea salt
Fortissimo durum flour (semolina) (** see Baker’s Notes below)
- In a medium-sized bowl, combine Expresso and Gazelle flours using a whisk.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the starter, water and olive oil. Using a whisk or your hands, break up the starter into the water and oil.
- Once dissolved, add the two flours to the liquid using a wooden spoon or your hands.
- Once the liquid is mostly absorbed, add the salt.
- Continue to mix until the dough has come together. You don’t need to knead the dough, it will be quite sticky.
- Cover with a tea towel or plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes.
- Using wet hands, scoop the dough and stretch and fold it over onto itself, working your way around the bowl. Cover and rest again for another 30 minutes.
- Repeat this 3 more times in 30 minute intervals for a total of 2 hours.
- On the final fold, the dough should be soft, light and more homogenous than it was when first mixed. If it feels like it isn’t quite smooth enough, repeat the folding technique and rest for another 30 minutes.
- Once the dough is ready, cover the bowl and let it bulk ferment at room temperature for 8-12 hours or until doubled in size. If you time the dough preparation properly, it can be done overnight.
- Once the dough has doubled and is significantly less dense, on a lightly floured surface, divide the dough into 4 equal pieces, about 240g each. Let rest for 10 minutes.
- Prepare 4 small bowls or containers with lids making sure the size is large enough for the dough to double in size. Grease the containers very lightly with olive oil.
- Shape each piece of dough into a ball and place them in each of the containers.
- Refrigerate the dough for about 8 hours or up to 2 days baring in mind that the dough will continue to rise each day. (*** See Bakers Notes)
- Remove the dough from the fridge about 2-3 hours before you’re ready to bake.
- 1 hour before you are ready to bake the pizzas, preheat the oven to 500°F with a pizza stone inside. If you are using a pizza oven you’ll need to prepare the oven well over an hour before you’re ready to cook the pizzas.
- While the dough comes to room temperature, prepare the toppings you like for your pizza, such as sauce, cheese, veggies, or meats.
- When you’re ready to shape the pizza, heavily dust your countertop with durum flour or semolina. If you don’t have durum flour, feel free to use bread flour instead.
- Gently remove the dough out of its bowl and onto the surface, coating the dough on both sides with the flour, making sure it does not stick.
- Begin by pressing the dough down lightly in the center, avoiding the outer rim of the pizza. Keep pressing to expand it.
- Once you’ve pressed down to about double its original size, using floured hands, rest the dough on your knuckles alternating in the center to stretch out the middle, making sure to move around evenly without tearing.
- Make sure you do this in intervals and place the dough back on the surface and check to see it is properly stretched. The dough will contract slightly once it is on the counter again.
- You’re looking to create about 10-11” diameter pizza, or slightly smaller than your pizza stone or baking tray.
- Once you are happy with the shape, be sure to generously flour a pizza peel or sheet tray. Place the prepared dough on to the peel, adding more flour if the dough is still a little sticky.
- Do a quick test to be sure the pizza can easily move off the peel by sliding it back and forth.
- Add the toppings starting with the sauce (or cheese if you’re making a white pizza) followed by any other toppings of your choice.
- Once you’re ready to bake, transfer the pizza from the pizza peel directly onto the pizza stone or pizza oven. Bake for about 9-11 minutes depending on your oven temperature (**** See Baker’s Notes below).
- The pizza will be done once the crust begins to bubble and brown and the cheese is fully melted.
- Repeat with the remaining 3 pizzas. Cut and serve hot.
Start planning this recipe at least a day in advance. This dough is very easy to work with and is fairly forgiving in terms of time, but please do plan ahead. For example: start mixing the dough the night before, about 3 hours before you go to bed. The following morning, shape the dough and then proof in the fridge for the rest of the day until a few hours before you want to start baking your pizzas. If you don’t want to bake all the pizzas at once, you can simply freeze the dough after it’s shaped (through Step 23). Next time you want to use it, remove from the freezer the day before and place it in the fridge to thaw. Proceed with the remaining instructions.
* A ripened starter is one that is fed and allowed to rise to double its size. It also sometimes benefits from resting overnight before you use it. You should not use a starter that has just been fed because it needs time to grow and strengthen. For our starter we used a 100% hydration starter. This means that the starter is fed equal parts water and flour. Example: 100g starter, 100g water and then 100g flour.
** We recommend Fortissimo durum flour, which is a great replacement for any semolina. In traditional Italian pizza recipes, semolina is usually used both to prevent the pizza dough from sticking to the peel and to make a more robust crust. While we love our Fortissimo, and suggest you use it, feel free to use whatever durum flour you have on hand, or even substitute with cornmeal or parchment paper.
*** We strongly suggest that you refrigerate the dough for a few hours to develop the flavor and relax the gluten. If you are in a big rush, you can skip this step and go directly to shaping. But you should keep in mind that sourdough really benefits from that extra resting time to achieve better texture and flavor.
**** Wood-fired pizza ovens will vary in temperature, and you’ll need to rotate often to prevent one side from burning more than the other.