I've been working on a sourdough pizza crust ever since I started my sourdough adventure. But though I could make bread that we loved, pizza crust seemed to escape me.
Normally I would say that pizza crust is far easier to make than bread and would be the perfect first project for a beginning bread baker, but somehow I couldn't get the perfect chewy/crispy pizza crust effect with sourdough.
But I kept trying, and I think I've made progress. Maybe one of you are searching for a good sourdough pizza crust. And maybe you have some hints for me that I haven't tried.
My best results have come when I fed my starter the night before. We usually have pizza Saturday evening, so if I can just remember to feed it Friday evening, I'm ready for pizza baking.
I also have found that I need to give it plenty of time. Regular yeast pizza can be started late in the afternoon. But for sourdough, I plan to mix up my dough by lunch at the latest. If I mix it up at breakfast, then it will be all ready for whenever we decide to enjoy our pizza on Saturday.
With this pizza crust, we've also become addicted to focaccia. This is a flat Italian bread, thicker than pizza, that is fun to personalize. Be sure to check out the variation at the end of the recipe for focaccia. I usually make a double batch of the dough so I can make two pizzas and one focaccia. Above is focaccia with pesto and mozzarella.
Here is a focaccia with mayo, cheddar, and sweet onion ready for the oven.
And this is the result after baking. I think this is my all-time favorite version.
Sourdough Pizza Crust and Focaccia
Makes two large pizza crusts or one focaccia
1 cup sourdough starter
1 cup warm water
2 tsp salt
1 T oil
1 cup bread flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
Combine all ingredients in bowl. Stir until well combined. Allow to rest for ten minutes.
Knead for five minutes, adding more flour if needed. Dough should be slightly tacky but not sticky.
Place in oiled bowl and cover. Allow to rise for approximately four to six hours.
Divide into two pieces for pizza. With hands, stretch dough onto large pizza pans or baking sheets. If dough resists stretching, allow to rest for five minutes, then stretch again.
Add toppings and bake at 425 for 15-20 minutes. Cool five minutes before serving.
Variation: This dough is also terrific for focaccia. Focaccia is a kind of flat bread. Do not divide in half and shape dough into a large rectangle on a baking sheet. Dimple dough with fingers and brush with olive oil and desired toppings. I like sundried tomatoes, pesto, or chopped sweet onions. Smearing the dough with mayonnaise is awesome. And of course, cheese is always good. Bake as for pizza. Ed loves to make an egg sandwich with leftover focaccia.