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Author Notes: I've drawn this recipe and method from a number of different sources, as well as my own experience adapting sourdough recipes to fit my starter. I've formulated this with my 100% rye sourdough starter, a stiff starter of slightly less than 1:1 water to flour. I think if you use a higher liquid starter, this amount will still work but you may need to experiment. Something perhaps unusual, I scald all of the flour in my pizza recipe. I do this for a few reasons, one, I've read and experienced that it leads to fluffier bread, two, I store my flour in the freezer so this speeds up the action. If you don't like the idea of scalding flour, you can juts use regular tap water instead of boiling.
I owe it to Valentina Solfrini's cookbook Naturally Vegetarian for the flour mix and weights, and Maurizio at The Perfect Loaf blog's "Sourdough Pizza Dough" for the pizza preparation method. Hope you enjoy! —Lily Applebaum
Makes: 4 approx. eight inch pies
Prep time: 15 hrs
Cook time: 20 min
grams spelt flour, I use Bob's Red Mill brand. I have not tested this with other whole wheat flours, but I don't see why any brand of regular whole wheat flour wouldn't work!
grams bread flour, I use King Arthur brand. This is essential for balancing the low gluten content of the whole wheat flour, so if you can't get bread flour, use 300g AP flour and 200g whole wheat
grams ripe sourdough starter. I often feed my starter right after pulling it from the fridge, leave it for about 12 hours at room temp, then scoop out 60g for the pizza after that
teaspoon kosher salt
cornmeal for dusting, around 1/4 C
your preferred pizza toppings, of course!
- Weigh out both flours and stir together in a medium mixing bowl.
- Tare the bowl on your scale, and once the kettle has finished boiling your water, carefully add to the bowl until you reach 392 mL (a little more or less is of course fine). Do this as quickly as you can.
- Stir the flour vigorously with a rubber spatula, it will be sticky and very wet.
- Cover and leave the flour and boiling water for 20-30 minutes to rest.
- Once the dough has rested, stir down and measure out your ripened starter. Feed the starter again and replace in the fridge unless you'll be baking again this week. Add starter to the dough bowl.
- Warning! this dough will be very sticky and kind of frustrating to work with! dampen your hands slightly and knead the starter into the mixed dough. Keep kneading for about 5-10 minutes. Though it will be sticky and stick to your hands, try to power through it. As you work with the dough, you'll feel it develop strength. I just knead by turning and folding inside the bowl, if you are handy with a dough scraper though you can knead on the counter. Once it starts to clean itself off of your hands slightly, it's ready.
- Cover the dough and leave to bulk ferment. You have a few options; if it's warm in your house, leave it out for two hours and then put it in the fridge for about 8. If it's cold in your house, leave it out at room temp for 10ish hours, no need to be precise.
- After the dough had its bulk fermentation, find a cake pan, pie plate, really any pan will do, that will fit four dough balls. Fill the pan with cornmeal so that it's thickly coated and none of the bottom of the pan is visible. This is important to getting a good rise on your pizza dough and creating a springy airy crust, so if you have to waste a little cornmeal that's OK.
- Preheat your oven to its hottest setting, for me 500F. Whatever you'll ultimately be baking the pizza on, for me two steel cookie sheets, leave those inside the oven to preheat as well.
- Divide the dough into quarters and form each quarter into a tight little round, like you're shaping dinner rolls or mozzarella cheese. Place each dough ball into the pan prepared with the cornmeal. As you place each one, lightly brush the top of it with olive oil. It's better for the dough balls to touch each other than the sides of the pan.
- Cover the dough balls and leave them to proof for about 2 hours, but longer is not a problem.
- Once the balls have proofed, you're finally ready to make the pizza! Gather your topping ingredients and have them ready to go. Set up two small sheets of parchment paper that will fit your pizzas. Place one dough ball per sheet of parchment, sprinkling a little of the extra cornmeal from the pan around the sheet.
- Lightly press the center of the dough ball down flat, and press out from the middle toward the edges to create a crater shape and widen the circle of dough to your preferred pizza size. Remember that the crust will puff up and rise in the oven, so you don't have to leave a *ton* of thickness for the crust at the edges. (see my photos for some visual aids here).
- Top your pizzas; for the ones pictured, I used about 1 TBSP chili oil, chopped scallions, and a sprinkling of sesame seeds for a vegan pie, and about 1 tsp olive oil, 1 TBSP grated pecorino cheese, chopped fresh rosemary and garlic chives from my garden, and sunflower seeds for a non-vegan one.
- Pull the baking sheets that have been preheating in the oven out, and carefully slide your parchment with the pizza on, one to each sheet. Optional, if you have a spray bottle spritz the tops of the pizzas with water just before putting into the oven. Bake the pizzas for 15 minutes, or until they start to look golden or even charred in some places.
- Let the pizzas cool for a good 5-10 minutes after they come out! This is the hardest part :) while you're waiting for them to cool, finish them with any finishing touches. For my vegan pizzas, I drizzled some sesame oil, for the non vegan pizzas I added fresh oregano and thyme.
- Repeat with the two remaining dough balls, and enjoy!