Sourdough starter gives pizza crust a light airy texture and a subtle sourdough tang. The following recipe is modified from Jeff Varasano, arguably one of the greatest pizza scientists of our country (you’ll know what I mean if you visit his website). I have greatly simplified his process. I follow his proportions pretty much exactly (I like adding a little more salt and sourdough starter for flavor) but I don’t get caught up in the details of the exact types of flours, etc.
We like making Homemade Neapolitan Pizzas with our sourdough crust. The following recipe makes five pizza crusts.
- 550g (2⅓ cups) water
- 850g (8½ cups) organic bread flour (I like using King Arthur flour.)
- 30g (2 Tbsp) sea salt
- 60g (1/2 cup) sourdough starter
- 2.5g (1/2 tsp) dry active yeast
- Keep the sourdough starter in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours. (I always keep our starter in the refrigerator so we are ready to go.)
- Set the starter out at room temperature for 2-3 hours.
- All of the ingredients should be room temperature or a bit cooler.
- Mix 75% of the flour (637 grams), the water, salt, starter and dry yeast in a mixer at low speed for 1-2 minutes.
- Cover and let rest for 20 minutes.
- Mix at a low speed for 8 minutes.
- After 5 minutes, begin adding the remainder of the flour.
- Increase the speed of the mixer slightly (never higher than ⅓ of the dial) and mix for 6-8 minutes.
- The dough should form a wet, slack dough ball.
- Leave it in the mixing bowl and cover it with a towel.
- Let it rest for 15-20 minutes.
- Split the dough into five balls, approximately 310 grams each ball.
- Put each ball in an oiled plastic container and let rise in the refrigerator for 1-6 days.
- Prior to making the pizza, let the dough ball rest at room temperature for about 80 minutes.
TIP: To measure the bread flour, use a spoon to scoop it into the measuring cup and level it off with a knife. The flour gets compacted in the bag so if you scoop the flour directly from the bag using the measuring cup, the flour will be too tightly-packed and you will end up using too much flour.