• This sourdough pizza base is chewy and flavoursome with a golden, crisp crust. (Alan Benson)

The best of both worlds: sourdough bread and pizza.

Makes
2

Preparation

40min

Cooking

12min

Skill level

Mid
By
Average: 4.1 (16 votes)
Yum

Standing time: 13 hours | Proving time: 8½ hours

When I started making my pizza bases with sourdough it was a complete revelation – chewy, flavoursome and with so much substance. I've found that folding the dough (instead of kneading it), along with the multiple resting (proving) times in this recipe, produces a bread with quite large, uneven air pockets and a great texture.

I’ve also found that turning your oven to the grill setting for the first couple of minutes of baking helps give your pizza a deep golden, crisp crust.  

Below is a timelime to help you map out your pizza making.

Feed your sourdough starter to get it active, 4 — 8 hours

↓ ↓ 

Make dough, stand 30 mins

↓ ↓ 

1st folding, prove 30 mins

↓ ↓ 

 2nd folding, prove 30 mins 

↓ ↓ 

3rd folding, prove 30 mins

↓ ↓ 

4th folding, prove 1 hour

↓ ↓ 

Stand in fridge for 12 hours (overnight)

↓ ↓ 

Divide into 2 balls, prove for 6 hours

↓ ↓ 

Stand in fridge for 30 mins (OR up to 12 hours)

↓ ↓ 

Preheat oven to 240°C → Grill for 2 mins → Bake for 10 mins

 

This recipe is part of our Bakeproof: Sourdough column. 

 

Ingredients

  • olive oil, for greasing

Dough

  • 50 g (2 tbsp) active sourdough starter
  • 210 g (210 ml) lukewarm water
  • 300 g (2 cups) strong bread or pizza flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 2 tsp fine sea salt

 

Topping

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 300 g trimmed mixed mushrooms (such as sliced mushroom caps; whole, halved or quartered Swiss browns; and whole or halved shiitake)
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed or finely chopped
  • 125 g fontina, cut into 1 cm cubes
  • 80 g Persian feta or fresh goat’s cheese, coarsely crumbled
  • 2 sprigs rosemary, leaves stripped
  • 25 g coarsely grated pecorino, to serve
  • chilli flakes (optional), to serve
  • freshly ground black pepper, to serve

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.

Instructions

1. To make the dough, place the sourdough starter in a large bowl. Add half the water and use a balloon whisk or spatula to break up the starter until almost smooth. Stir in the remaining water. Sift together the flour and salt, add to the starter mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until combined and a very shaggy dough forms. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm draught-free place for 30 minutes.

2. Instead of kneading, you are going to fold and stretch the dough (see Baker’s tip #1). To fold the dough, leave it in the bowl and pick up the top side of the dough, lift it up and fold it back on itself. Turn the bowl a quarter turn and repeat three more times, turning the bowl after each fold. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm draught-free place for 30 minutes. Repeat this folding process 3 more times (which will be 4 foldings in total), resting the dough for 30 minutes between each time you fold (see Baker’s tip #2).When you begin this process, the dough will be loose and shaggy but will become less so as you continue to fold and rest. Once all four folding and resting processes have been completed, the dough will be smooth, spongy and elastic.

3. After the final fourth folding, brush a medium bowl with olive oil to coat well. Transfer the dough to the oiled bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap and place in a warm draught-free place for 1 hour or until slightly puffed.

4. Transfer the dough and bowl to the fridge and allow to prove slowly overnight for 12 hours.

5. Gently turn the dough out of the bowl onto a well-floured surface. Being careful not to deflate the dough too much, use a sharp knife or a pastry scraper to cut the dough in half. Use well-floured hands to shape each dough portion into a loose round and place in a shallow dish, leaving plenty of room for the dough to expand. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm draught-free place for 6 hours or until well puffed.

6. Transfer the dough to the fridge for 30 minutes (see Baker’s tip #3).

7. Place an oven rack in the top third of the oven and preheat to 240°C (220°C fan-forced). Line a large heavy baking tray with non-stick baking paper (see Baker’s tip #4).

8. Meanwhile, to make the topping, heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, for 4-5 minutes or until just tender and starting to colour. Add the garlic and cook, stirring for about 30 seconds or until aromatic. Remove from the heat, transfer the mushrooms to a bowl and set aside to cool slightly.

9. Remove the dough from the fridge and place one portion on a well-floured benchtop. Use lightly floured fingertips to press and stretch the dough into a round about 24 cm in diameter, leaving a 2 cm border. Transfer to the lined tray. Scatter half of the fontina over the pizza base. Top with half the mushrooms, half the feta or goat’s cheese and half rosemary.

10. Turn the oven setting to grill, place the tray into the oven, throw a large handful of ice cubes into the oven, then shut the door immediately (see Baker’s tip #5). Bake on the grill setting for 2 minutes, or until the top is starting to colour, then turn back to the original setting and bake for 10 minutes or until the base is golden and cooked through.

11. Sprinkle with half the pecorino, chilli flakes, if using, and freshly ground black pepper and serve immediately.

12. Repeat with the remaining pizza dough and topping ingredients.

 

Baker’s tips

#1. Folding the dough, along with the multiple resting / proving times in this recipe, replaces the kneading process and produces a bread with quite large, uneven air pockets and a great texture. The more air you can retain during this process, the more opened textured your crust will be.

#2. It is very easy to lose track of how many times you have folded your dough. To make sure you don’t lose track, use a permanent pen to put a mark on the plastic wrap covering your dough each time you finish a folding.

#3. In step 6, putting the dough in the fridge for 30 minutes before using it makes it easier to handle and shape. You can leave it in the fridge for up to 12 hours at this stage and use straight from the fridge, if you wish.

#4. If using a pizza stone, place it in the oven on the oven rack before preheating the oven. Place the dough on a piece of baking paper before adding the topping ingredients and use an oven tray without sides and the baking paper to help transfer it to the pizza stone for baking.

#5. Creating steam by throwing a large handful of ice cubes into the bottom of your oven will help give your pizza the best possible ‘oven spring’ or rise when baking as well as a crunchy crust.  

 

Photography by Alan Benson. Styling by Sarah O'Brien. Food preparation by Anneka Manning. Creative concept by Belinda So.

 

View previous Bakeproof columns and recipes here.

 

Anneka's mission is to connect home cooks with the magic of baking, and through this, with those they love. For hands-on baking classes and baking tips, visit her at BakeClub. Don't miss what's coming out of her oven via Facebook,TwitterInstagram and Pinterest.