Some pizza purists will tell you there’s only one way to do pizza dough: make it yourself. Others argue it’s an art best left to the professionals and that you’re better off just buying it. Whatever your skill level or culinary opinion, it certainly can’t hurt to throw out another recipe to help keep your crust skills crispy. Maybe you’ve tried whole wheat or an herb infused dough recipe, but you haven’t lived until you’ve tried sourdough pizza crust. Making sourdough is a bit different than making traditional pizza dough, so we're going to break down the process for you, step by step.
What sets sourdough apart from all the other crusts? First, there’s the flavor. Sourdough has a tangy, sour flavor resulting from a compound called lactic acid. Lactic acid is a product of specific yeasts within the dough called Lactobacillus, which exist in many other foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, and cheese. Sourdough's unique process also makes it special.
What the Heck is “Starter”?
As the name implies, starter is where the process of making sourdough begins. Sourdough is comprised of flour, water, and wild yeast. It’s a simple (and ancient) way of creating yeast and preserving it. Sure, you can achieve similar flavor by just using a packet of yeast, but this age-old technique is not only fun, but an artisanal approach perfect for anyone who truly takes pride in their cooking. Furthermore, sourdough can have nutritional benefits when properly made. Authentic sourdough can work as a probiotic for the digestive system, improving the process of digestion. At this point, you’re probably asking, “So where do I get some sourdough starter?” The quickest and simplest way is probably to head to your local bakery and ask for some. Most bakeries will happily oblige at little or no cost to you. If you’re not lucky enough to obtain a starter this way, you can also order some online, or use this awesome sourdough starter guide from the pros at King Arthur flour.
How to Make Sourdough CrustNow that we've tracked down some starter, we can begin to make our pizza dough. Keep in mind that sourdough starter already contains quite a bit of water. This needs to be taken into consideration to get our dough recipe just right. We’ll need to use less water than we normally would, to adjust for the water content of the starter. Let’s take a look at the recipe: (Makes two 8-8.5 oz. dough balls)
- 1 C. sourdough starter, room temperature
- 2 tsp. salt
- ¼ C. water
- 1 ¼ C. bread flour (or all purpose flour)
- ¼ tsp. yeast
- Add all ingredients to the mixing bowl, except ¼ C. of flour.
- Mix on low speed 1-2 minutes until just combined.
- Let the dough rest 20 minutes covered with a kitchen towel.
- After 20 minutes, resume mixing on low speed for 5 minutes.
- At the 5 minute mark, increase mixing speed to medium-low (speed 2 or 3 on most mixers). Continue mixing another 2-3 minutes while adding the reserved ¼ cup of flour slowly until desired consistency is achieved. Dough should appear sticky but should feel smooth to the touch when dusted with flour.
- Remove dough from mixing bowl and divide in half. Place in a lightly oiled container, cover with plastic wrap and allow dough to rest overnight.*
- Remove from refrigeration 1-2 hours before using to allow the dough to proof (rise).
*If you want to use the dough immediately after mixing, place it in a lightly oiled container covered with plastic wrap and allow it to rise 1-2 hours before use.
Sourdough crust is a fun, delicious, and even healthier way to enjoy pizza. Test out this recipe on your next pizza night, and you might just make it a permanent switch!