Crispy Sourdough Pizza Leavened with Wheat Starter
The recipe calls for exact amounts to end up with four 290g dough balls, which are perfect for a standard 30cm pizza. You can scale it up or down as required. You can scale it up or down as required, maintaining the same percentages. Hydration sits roughly at 68% so it is easy to work the dough.
There is no need to prepare the levain ahead of time and almost all ingredients can be mixed at the same time. Timing can be easily adjusted to fit your daily schedule, or you can bake it during the weekend.
Keep in mind there are multiple factors affecting the process, like temperature, environment, manual skills and techniques, and the activity of your starter. Treat this recipe as a general guide only; feel free to experiment and tweak everything to your liking!
This is a fairly simple recipe, and once the dough is ready, you can retard it in the fridge for 2-4 days, and it will still work perfectly fine. Use a baking stone to achieve the best results.
STEP 1: @ 5.00pm – DOUGH MIX (30 min)
Mix all ingredients in a large bowl – you can do it by hand or by using a mixer. Dump it onto your kitchen bench and do a slap/fold technique, or a couple of stretch and fold cycles, which can be done directly in the bowl. Do it until you get a cohesive mass.
The dough mix is as follows:
- 635g wheat flour (100%)
- 432g water (68%)
- 18g salt (2.8%)
- 95g mature wheat starter (15%)
STEP 2: @ 5.30pm – BULK FERMENTATION (3 hours)
This step will take around 3 hours but can go even longer, if required. Keep the dough in the bowl during this time.
Perform 4 sets of the stretch and fold technique every 30min for 2 hr until you feel the dough is very elastic and does not tear when you stretch it. Stretch the dough up high so that you can fold it over completely. Now grab the other end of the dough and repeat the process for all 4 sides: north, south, east and west). Keep the bowl covered in between every run to limit drying.
STEP 3: @ 8.30pm – REFRIGERATE (overnight up to 48 hours)
Add a little bit of extra virgin olive oil to the bowl and incorporate by rubbing gently.
Dump the dough out onto the bench and shape a round boule.
Now cover the dough with a plastic foil and place in the fridge. You can leave it there for a day or two. This step will help develop its flavour, so you don’t really need to be checking your watch. Ideally, keep it in the fridge overnight.
STEP 4: @ 12.00pm next day – DIVIDE & FORM BALLS (30 min)
Get a baking dish or a tray which will be used to hold your shaped dough balls and lightly oil it with extra virgin olive oil so the dough does not stick.
Divide the dough into 4 equal parts. Do not flour the bench, we want to have some tension on the dough as you work it. Grab one part and form a ball. Repeat with the other parts.
Now fold each ball as an envelope (grab each side one by one and fold towards the middle), and then keep rolling in your hands so that it has a completely closed bottom and is kind of ‘sealed’ on top. Pinch your fingers there to seal it. It’s quite difficult to explain, so best to refer to some YouTube videos!
You want the dough balls to be perfectly round. Lightly oil each ball and place in the oiled vessel, covered with plastic foil, for proofing.
STEP 5: @ 12.30pm – REST & PROOF (4-6 hours)
The dough balls should be left to rest for around 4-6 hours, depending on the surrounding temperature.
During this time, they should have flattened a bit (or relaxed) but also become super-stretchy, flexible, and airy. After covering with olive oil, they should not stick to each other.
During proofing, keep the tray covered with foil.
STEP 6: @ 6.30pm – BAKING (10min)
Pre-heat your oven to 250 C (or the highest temperature your oven can go to). If you have a baking stone, that’s great, make sure it gets super-hot before putting your pizza on it.
You could also use one of the trays from the oven. If you have a pizza peel, this will come really handy, and if not, you can also use a cutting board. Cut some parchment paper and put on top of the peel/board.
Lightly flour the kitchen bench and get one of the dough balls out of the vessel. Place it on the bench upside-down (you can use a dough scraper for it) and start shaping your pie.
You want to keep pressing the dough in each direction so that it expands and forms a round shape with a rim around it. Do not press the rim itself, it will then rise in the oven.
Now transfer the shaped round dough onto the parchment paper (which is on the cutting board or the pizza peel) and continue shaping, if required.
It is now time to add tomato sauce and all pizza toppings as per your personal preference. The tomato sauce recipe is below; it is really simple and tastes authentic (we like using Thermomix to mix all ingredients, but any blender should also work fine).
Once ready, use the cutting board or the pizza peel to transfer the dough onto the baking stone, and bake for about 10 minutes. It is recommended to turn your pizza by 180 degrees halfway through the process to ensure it bakes evenly.
Tomato Sauce Recipe:
- 1 can of whole peeled tomatoes, drained
- 20g extra virgin olive oil (1.5 tbsp)
- large spoon of tomato paste
- dried oregano
- salt and pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients in a blender to get the required consistency. It is important to drain the tomatoes first, otherwise the sauce may be too 'soupy'. Adjust seasoning to your liking. The remaining sauce can be used for your pasta meal on the next day.