Chewy Sourdough Pizza Crust
With An Easy Sauce Recipe And Topping Suggestions
Some of you may know this about me, and some of you may not. I started my cooking career fresh out of high school in a chain pizza shop. I used to really load up the toppings for the customers there. Some customers knew me by name and would actually request to have me make their pizzas. I went on to manage a pizzeria and sub shop before completing my culinary education. After I moved to San Francisco and had worked in a few classy restaurants I went back to my roots and I got a job as a pizza chef. I was hired by another lady chef who was starting a concept restaurant that featured a gourmet food court. One of the food court options was pizza. I was able to help create a lot of the menu with her and I actually developed my own sourdough crust recipe from the sourdough starter I still use today. Unfortunately it didn’t take off the way that we all hoped. Perhaps because the location and marketing wasn’t as successful as it could be. But I did really enjoy my time there and it was valuable to me because I taught myself how to throw pizza dough and I became a very skilled pizza chef. I’ll always look back on that time fondly. From time to time I make pizza at home and I always use my sourdough pizza recipe. It’s changed a little bit since my days in San Francisco but the essence remains the same. I like to use lots of fresh awesome toppings and a nice garlicky sauce. I’ll give you some suggestions for toppings along with a quick and easy pizza sauce recipe to get you started on your sourdough pizza path.
Recipe yields 2 large pizza crusts
1 1/2 Pounds Organic Unbleached Flour (about 5 cups)
1 Cup Sourdough Starter
1/4 Cup EV Olive Oil
3 Teaspoons Salt
1 Tablespoon Coconut Sugar
1 1/2 Cup Filtered Water
For the sauce
16 Ounces Organic Crushed Tomatoes (preferably from a glass jar or home canned is great)
1 Bulb Fresh Minced Garlic
2 Tablespoons Dried Oregano (fresh is ok too!)
1 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Cup Water
The Night Before
Combine the dough ingredients and kneed them into a smooth dough. It should be wet to the touch but not sticky. Adjust flour or water if needed. Cover the dough and let the dough proof overnight on the counter.
The Next Morning
Your dough should be at least doubled in size. Punch it down and shape it into two even balls. Flour them well on the bottom and put them on a plate or tray, covered in the refrigerator. You will remove them one hour before making the pizza.
Remove your dough from the refrigerator and let it rest and rise at room temperature for one hour. In the meantime prepare the sauce and toppings.
In a small saucepan combine the tomatoes, garlic, oregano, salt and water. Simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until the sauce is thick and a deep red color. Cool the sauce to room temperature before using.
Grate your cheese. I used a combination of Mozzarella and Provolone. You will need about a pound of cheese for two large pizzas.
Preheat your oven to 400°.
Arrange your toppings on a large platter, cutting board or tray for easy access. For these pizzas I picked Salami, Green Olives, Peppadew Peppers, and Roasted Garlic for one pie and Ham, Spinach and Black Olives for the other. This is the fun part! Get creative with those toppings!
Generously flour your work surface and working one dough ball at a time start flattening the ball with your fingers from the center out. Leave a nice thick rim around the outside if you like a chewy crust. Pick the dough up and drape it over the backs of your hands. Gently pull the dough with the backs of your hands from the center out. At this point you can toss it or just continue pulling it gently until it’s stretched to at least 12 inches in diameter. You can also gently grip the crust and let the dough hang and stretch from it’s own weight. Make sure to rotate the dough quickly while doing this so it stretches evenly. When making large pizzas I like to use a pizza pan for supporting the pizza but smaller pizzas I like to cook on a pizza stone. When the dough is sufficiently stretched place it on the pizza pan and use a fork to perforate the dough from the center to crust. This will help keep your pizza from getting big air bubbles while baking.
Using a wide spoon add sauce to both pizzas. Then top the sauce with cheese and your favorite toppings. Pro Tip: If you are using spinach or another leafy green add it to your pizza between the sauce and cheese layer. This will keep the spinach from burning and drying out!
Bake your pizzas staggered on separate racks in the middle of the oven for 25 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is bubbly.
You may even get this compliment from your kiddo…”This pizza, is the best pizza, in the whole world!” -H, Age 3