Friday, February 25, 2011

Incredible (Partially) Sourdough Pizza Crust

I made this pizza a few days ago. It's based closely on Peter Reinhart's "Sourdough Pizza Dough" recipe in Artisan Breads Every Day (Reinhart 69-71). Fair warning: this takes a long time and I had to plan three days in advance. However, I have never had homemade pizza that tastes like this. Simply incredible. I highly recommend it for anyone wanting to make it. I made a few modifications (changing the starter base) and cutting the bread flour with whole wheat flour, but I am sure that the original version is just as good (or probably better) than mine. Here goes:

Sourdough starter:
57g Whole Wheat 100% hydration starter
100g unbleached bread flour
69g room-temperature water

Mix the starter together in a bowl. Cover in plastic wrap and let sit for 6-8 hours before using or refrigerating. According to Reinhart, it can last for up to 4 days. I used it the next day.

If you refrigerated the starter (like I did), let it sit out for 2 hours before using it in the dough.
226g of sourdough starter (all of it)
460g unbleached bread flour
50g whole wheat flour
340g lukewarm water (pour in 300, use the last 40 to hydrate the dry active yeast)
1 teaspoon dry active yeast
14g salt
1.5 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons olive oil

Mix the flour, water, and starter together in a bowl with a dough whisk. Then add the hydrated dry active yeast, salt, honey, and olive oil. Mix again until well blended. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes.

Knead the dough for about three minutes until it begins to feel more like dough than a sticky lumpy mass. Then use the stretch-and-fold technique in the bowl or on an oiled surface: stretch the dough and fold the end closest to you up to meet the top of the dough. Then stretch the top of the dough and fold it back toward you (in half again). Then stretch and fold the left side in so it divides the dough into thirds and stretch and fold the right side in on top of it. Turn the dough over and let sit for 10 minutes and repeat the process. After this second time, repeat the process two more times. The whole process should take 40 minutes.
Split the dough into 5-6 equal pieces and place them in sealable plastic baggies. If you want the pizzas to be large, break it into 3-4 and use larger freezer bags. The put the dough in the refrigerator overnight. They can stay there for up to four days. I used half on the next day and half two days later. The pizza dough seemed exactly the same.

The next day, take the dough out of the refrigerator 90 minutes before you plan to bake. Spray oil on a cookie sheet. With lightly oiled hands, remove any dough you want to use from the bags and roll each piece into a separate ball. Place on the cookie sheet and lightly cover with plastic wrap.

Prepare any toppings that you plan to use. 30 minutes before baking, heat the oven and baking stone to 475 degrees F (you may need to go higher if you have a large oven). Make sure you baking stone is on the bottom-most rack of the oven. This will ensure that your bottom crust is crispy rather than soggy. Our oven is fairly small so if the oven is too hot, things will burn, but so long as the oven stone is as far down as possible, it manages to cook the pizza to perfection.

Just before you are ready to bake, lightly flour your hands begin to stretch the dough. I found the dough to be very stretchy. I was even able to toss it a bit, but it only took about 45 seconds to get each piece of dough into a lovely thin crust. Top the pizzas with whatever you want. I topped three of the pizza's with a heavily-modified version of Lisa Rayner's Pizza Sauce (Rayner 101) [1], part-slim mozzarella, and fresh basil. I stretched the last one less thin and coated it lightly with olive oil and sprinkled it with garlic salt and fresh rosemary. It made fantastic mock-foccacia.
On the peel.
With homemade sauce.
With mozzarella and basil
Load the pizza into the oven with the pizza peel. Let cook for four minutes. Turn the pizza so it is facing the opposite direction. Cook for 3-4 more minutes. Then your pizza is ready to eat.
Out of the oven after 8 minutes. Amazing.

  1. I ended up heavily modifying the pizza sauce because it was way too thick and flavorless  for my taste (and I hate fennel). I will try Reinhart's sauce next time (Reinhart 70).

1 comment:

  1. That pizza looks seriously amazing. It's making me sad that I don't live around the corner anymore.