February 2020 is when I finally took the plunge into the magical, obsessive, therapeutic world of sourdough. Just before COVID took over our world. Needless to say, I'm very glad I started when I did. I had a healthy, bubbly starter and the requisite variety of flours on hand before the stores were panic-raided and flour and yeast were suddenly nowhere to be found. I'm also glad that many of you have started making your own starters as a result of the nationwide yeast shortage (silver lining?). The wild yeast and fermentation process without a doubt make a bread (or crust) that is easier to digest and more nutritious in my opinion. And having a healthy starter on hand means you don't need to worry about running out of yeast. It also means you can make this delicious sourdough pizza crust!
Sourdough Pizza Crust
If you follow me on Instagram, you know that Friday night is pizza night in our house. And we've been making a really good, pretty standard pizza crust for years. Click here for my Basic Pizza Crust. Well, of course, just to be like one of the cool kids, I had to toss some of my sourdough starter discard into it one day. Then that got me thinking... Can I make it with just sourdough starter and eliminate the need for commercial yeast entirely?
Down the google rabbit hole I went. I was disappointed to find so many so-called sourdough pizza crusts that used a small amount of starter. Rather, these recipes relied on store-bought yeast for most of the leavening. Then I stumbled on this recipe: Sourdough Pizza Dough from Saveur and my quest was over. I made a few small tweaks, and have landed on what I feel is the perfect sourdough pizza crust.
A few notes on the sourdough pizza crust process:
First you will mix your bubbly, active starter with room temperature water, then stir in the flour. You'll let this rather messy mixture sit at room temperature for an hour or even two if your kitchen is quite cool. This is called 'autolyse.' One of those scary words you read at the beginning of your sourdough journey and think "what have I gotten myself into." It's just a resting period that allows the flour to hydrate and the glutens to develop with basically no effort on your part.
Salt and Coil Folds
Next you will introduce the salt and with wet fingers you'll give it a bunch of really good folds and flips and turns to get the salt mixed in. Then after 30 minutes you'll come back to your dough, give it a few folds and ignore it again for 30 minutes. You'll repeat this for 3 hours. For a great visual guide on coil folds, check out Bella's guide that I've listed below.
Bulk ferment then choose your own adventure
After the final set of folds, you will leave the dough to bulk ferment at room temperature for a few hours. After this, you will either bake your pizzas or stash the dough in the fridge until the next evening (or even a few days later). This is a very laid back sourdough recipe mainly because I made it that way and because that's the way I cook and bake.
Interested in sourdough but don't know where to start?
Here are a handful of sourdough starter guides. They cover all the stages of sourdough.
- Baker Bettie: Her Instagram video tutorials were the reason I decided to make my starter. Very thorough, explained in simple language, and just easy to follow along with. Find her video series here: Sourdough for Beginners Video Series
- Displaced Housewife: Rebecca, one of my blogger/Instagram BFF's just released a sourdough starter guide. It is no-fuss, no-stress with a good bit of her signature humor and candor mixed in. Find it here: How to Make a Sourdough Starter
- Ful.filled: Bella's incredibly comprehensive sourdough guide came out just when my starter was at the point where I was ready to bake but didn't know where to start. It is packed with info, super-helpful videos on all the steps, and great resources for tools and supplies. Find it here: Basic Sourdough Bread Guide
And for when you need a sourdough break
- Cooking with Cas: Clark AKA Cas is a friend I've semi-recently made on Instagram and he is so smart and so funny. He offers such a wealth of knowledge on many food topics including sourdough. You'll see all of these qualities reflected in his article: So you've started making sourdough...now what? This is such a unique and important article because he teaches us all how to dry and freeze our starters for long-term storage. It's hard to imagine, but at some point you might just need a break from baking sourdough and constantly maintaining your beloved starter. This article is for when that time comes. This would also be handy if you want to ship your starter.
That's pretty much it
I hope you'll let me know if you try this recipe and/or if you are new to sourdough or a seasoned pro. Leave a comment and rating below if you make it! And come hang out on Instagram @wild.thistle.kitchen! It's always a good time - especially on pizza Fridays!
Happy cooking and baking! xo - AnitaPrint