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Chewy Sourdough Pizza Crust – Learn How To Make It

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This chewy sourdough pizza crust is definitely on our family’s monthly rotation!

Some of you may know this about me, and some of you may not…

Sourdough pizza collage with text overlay.

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 (I’ve always been a rule-breaker). Some loyal customers knew me by name and would actually request that I make their pizzas.

I went on to manage a pizzeria and sub shop on the UC Santa Cruz campus before completing my culinary education at Cabrillo College.

After working in a few classy restaurants in San Francisco, I went back to my roots and got a job as a pizza chef. But this time I would be throwing SOURDOUGH! 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 collaborate with her on a lot of the offerings there and I developed my own sourdough pizza crust recipe (the one you will see below) with the sourdough starter I still use today.

My time working as a pizza chef was very valuable to me. 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.

Basically, Pizza Is in My Roots!

Almost every month 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.

A freshly baked sourdough pizza.

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 it proof overnight on the counter.

The Next Morning

The dough should be at least doubled in size. Punch it down and shape it into two even balls. Flour them well on the bottom, put them on a plate or tray and cover them, and put them in the refrigerator. You will remove them 1 hour before making the pizza.

Pizza Time

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let it rest and rise at room temperature for 1 hour. In the meantime prepare the sauce and toppings.

Grate about 1 pound of cheese for two large pizzas. I like a combination of mozzarella and provolone.

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

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. 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 its 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.

Slices of baked sourdough pizza.

Make Your Own Sourdough Pizza At Home

Chewy Homemade Sourdough Pizza Crust

Yield: 8-12 servings
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Proofing Time: 12 hours
Total Time: 13 hours 30 minutes

The perfect soft and chewy all-purpose sourdough pizza crust for weeknights or pizza parties. 

Ingredients

For the dough

For the sauce

  • 16 ounces organic crushed tomatoes, preferably from a glass jar or home canned
  • 1 clove to 1 bulb fresh garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano (fresh is great too!)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup water

Toppings

  • Grated cheese, about 1 pound for two pizzas
  • Salami, green olives, peppadew peppers, roasted garlic, ham, spinach, black olives — whatever else your heart desires!

Instructions

The Night Before

  1. 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 it proof overnight on the counter.

The Next Morning

  1. The dough should be at least doubled in size. Punch it down and shape it into two even balls. Flour them well on the bottom, put them on a plate or tray and cover them, and put them in the refrigerator. You will remove them 1 hour before making the pizza.

Pizza Time

  1. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let it rest and rise at room temperature for 1 hour. In the meantime prepare the sauce and toppings.
  2. Combine the tomatoes, garlic, oregano, salt, and water in a small saucepan and 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.
  3. Grate the cheese. I like a combination of mozzarella and provolone.
  4. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  5. 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!
  6. Generously flour your work surface. 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 its 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.
  7. 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!
  8. 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.

Notes

You may need to use up to 65 grams (1/4 cup) more water depending on dough consistency. 

Kristen

Monday 4th of April 2022

Hi there!

Just wondering if there is a substitute for the coconut sugar?

Thanks!

Butter For All

Sunday 10th of April 2022

Hi Kristen!

You can use honey or cane sugar. Any common sweetener should work just fine! Hope you love it!

Best,

Courtney

Adrianne Black

Thursday 25th of November 2021

I've used your recipe many times for pizza crust. Do you think it would work equally well for stromboli? Any reason it wouldn't? I wasn't sure to use this one or the one I use to make cinnamon rolls and just leave out the vanilla and sugar or a regular sourdough bread recipe. None of them vary a whole lot, so I'm not sure it would matter much, but wondered your thoughts.

Butter For All

Thursday 25th of November 2021

Hi Adrianne!

Good to hear from you! This dough would make excellent Stromboli! Mmmmm, I must try it too :)

Have a wonderful holiday!

Courtney

Deborah

Tuesday 3rd of August 2021

Hi. Do you have any pizza dough recipes made with cassava flour?

Deborah

Wednesday 11th of August 2021

@Butter For All, I’m on your mailing list and look forward to a cassava pizza crust!! Thank you!

Butter For All

Sunday 8th of August 2021

Hi Deborah!

Not yet, but I love a good challenge! Get on my mailing list so you can see my new recipes as they are published! I'll definitely work on more cassava recipes!

Best,

Courtney

Jaime

Monday 1st of February 2021

Hi! Do I use starter that needs to be fed? Or when it’s at peak before falling? I’m getting into sourdough baking but never know when it’s best to pull from my starter for recipes unless it states it. Also, how long can you let it ferment on the counter? I’m trying to let dough ferment as long as possible for gluten issues. Thanks!!

Butter For All

Friday 5th of February 2021

Hi Jamie,

This really just depends on your personal preference. If you use freshly fed starter it will be more active and rise the dough a little quicker. A fully fermented starter, that doesn't have a lot of bubbles left, will need a little bit of extra time to get going in a recipe. Discard starter straight from the refrigerator will need extra time and will contribute a very strong sour flavor. A common misconception is that your sourdough starter has to be used at a specific point of time. In actuality all healthy starter, whether fresh and bubbly or flat and sour will work to rise your dough. Typically this dough can be fermented for 10 to 12 hours (overnight) before shaping. Alternatively it can be left to double (or even triple) at room temperature, divided into balls, and then cold retarded in the refrigerator for up to 72 hours.

I hope you give it a shot and let me know what you think!

Courtney

Heidi Grimsey

Friday 22nd of January 2021

This is an excellent recipe! I use bread flour and less water in the dough. I found that I never have enough pizza sauce, so I use a 28oz can of San marzano crushed tomatoes and the same amount of spices, only using about 4 large cloves of garlic. (not a whole bulb!!😜) We live Chicago style deep dish, so I usually divide dough into a slightly larger ball and a smaller one. I shape the larger one to fit our big deep dish pan that’s covered with1/4 c olive oil on the bottom, layer with sliced mozzarella over the dough, then spinach and pepperoni, then the saucepan top. I sprinkle with a bit of grated Parmesan. I bake at 450F for about 40 minutes. So delicious! The other ball of dough gets made into thin crust pizza baked on a stone, or a garlic cheese bread. Just thought I’d share my deep dish experience for others to try! Love all your inspiring recipes with real food! Thank you❤️

Butter For All

Friday 22nd of January 2021

Wow, Heidi!

That sounds incredible! Thank you so much for sharing your technique, I think I'll try it next time I make pizza. I'm positively drooling!

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