Saturday, August 20, 2011

By George!

Yes, yes! I've done it!

For some reason, sourdough pizza crust nirvana has eluded me. Irritated me. Disappointed me. Left a lot to be desired.

I am not usually the pizza maker in the family.

My trusty sous chef typically gathers the flock and gets the dough, toppings, and whole-shebang rolling on Friday afternoons as I'm wrapping up work and heading home on 2 wheels. Usually I just toss a salad and/or pour some vino for us and flop onto a sofa for Friday Family Pizza & Movie Night. And he doesn't touch my sourdough starter. Not out of any territorialness on my part, it's just not his modus operandi.

But when my sous chef is away (and this time he was truly abroad in New Zealand *sigh*), this gal gets to play. And play I did. It was time to give the sourdough crust yet another go. I did it with some fear and trepidation. But I think, by George, I've done it!

You don't have to have a 500+degF wood-fired oven or a pizza peel (though I'll quickly befriend you and ask to borrow either if you do!). But a pizza stone and some parchment paper are a big help here. I use an Emile Henry 36cm pizza stone. Make sure to crank the oven up high, too- at least 475degF!

This site was my inspiration for sourdough thin crust, having already tried many others' suggestions with much less pleasing results. You do have to listen to your dough and respond accordingly, but it's not a particularly lengthy process. In fact, I'd say this is a great starting point for all you thin crust pizza connoisseurs.

We use this for sauce. Because it's good.
Pizza-pizza. Enjoy!

Sourdough Pizza Crust
makes enough for one 14-16" thin crust pizza

1 c flour
1/3 c whole wheat flour
1 1/3 c sourdough starter
+/- 2 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt

Combine starter with flours, 1 Tbsp water, olive oil, and salt in a mixer with dough hook OR knead it by hand to achieve a smooth dough. Add 1-2 more Tbsp water or 1-2 more Tbsp flour until dough is slightly sticky, but "lively" as my Grandmother would say.

Leave dough in a bowl, covered well, in refrigerator overnight (at least 5hrs). Remove dough and let it rest at room temperature while preparing pizza toppings and preheating oven to 475degF. Place pizza stone into oven.

Stretch dough over tops of knuckles into a 16" circle. Lay dough circle onto parchment paper. Roll edges of dough into a crust and fit to baking stone size. Dock all but the crust with a fork (or pizza docking tool!).

Remove hot stone from oven. Lay parchment with dough onto hot stone. Bake for 3-4 min. Remove from oven.

Spread sauce, cheese, toppings, and more cheese onto crust. Return to oven for an additional 10min (or until crust is crisp & golden and sauce is bubbling and cheese melted). Remove stone. Slide parchment off of stone and allow pizza to cool very slightly before cutting into wedges to serve. Sprinkle with extra parmesan and/or crushed red pepper if desired.

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