Posted by: crunchynurse | February 20, 2010

Sourdough Pizza

It’s very easy to whip up a batch of pizza dough using sourdough starter.  If you don’t have a sourdough starter, one of the most reliable is Carl’s Starter.  Click here for the address to mail a request for a dry starter.   If you are just beginning the process with dry starter, you will need to follow the instructions for reviving the start before you can use it.

With sourdough, it does take some time to rise so you will need to plan ahead.  You can make the dough the night before and put it in the refrigerator overnight.  Take the dough out in the morning to rise at room temperature and you can have pizza for supper.  Or, you can make the dough in the morning and let it rise for 7 to 8 hours.  Sourdough that you make about 24 hours ahead,  with part of the proofing taking place in the refrigerator, will have a lower glycemic index.

If you are interested in learning to bake bread, sourdough pizza is a good place to begin.  Pizza dough is very forgiving to work with.  I have made batches over the years that were a little too dry or too moist, over or under risen, but they all taste delicious when you put some toppings on them and bake them up.  With bread, you need to be a little more precise in order to get the loaf to rise properly, but pizza dough only needs to rise a bit to form the crust.  We have come to enjoy our homemade pizzas so much that we now prefer to make our own than to order out.

Ingredients:
1 cup fresh starter
1/2 cup warm water
1/4 cup (olive) oil,
1 tablespoon sugar,
1/2 teaspoon salt.
2 to 3 cups King Arthur unbleached flour

Mix together all ingredients except flour.  Stir flour in gradually until you have enough to form a stiff dough. Knead until smooth, adding small amounts of flour if the dough is too moist. Let rise at room temperature until doubled, about 7-8 hours. Roll out or gently shape with hands until the dough is just slightly larger than your pizza pan.  I find this dough fairly easy to lift and transfer to the pan, because of its elasticity, but it can also be patched with a bit of dough from the edge of the crust, if it happens to tear, and it will still come out fine. Once you have it in the pan, you can shape it a little to form the crust.  If you like a thin crust pizza, you can put the sauce and toppings on and bake it right away.  If you prefer a thicker crust, you can let it rise for up to an hour before adding toppings and baking.

I always double this recipe, and it makes 3 thin crust pizzas (when doubled).  I use a pizza stone, but you can use any pizza pan that you like.   Metal pans will need to be greased prior to use.  Stoneware pans that are not seasoned should be greased with palm shortening.  You may need to reduce the baking time by a minute or two for metal pans.  I preheat the oven to 450 F, and bake the pizza for about 10 to 12 minutes on the lowest rack until the cheese is lightly browned.  My oven runs a bit hot and tends to brown too much from the top.  For some ovens, you may need to bake at 475 to 500 F and/or use one of the middle racks. Check the pizza after 10 minutes of baking time and adjust accordingly.  Pizzas with more toppings will take a few minutes longer, as will thicker crust type pizzas.

Enjoy!

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