What do you do with your excess Sourdough starter? To avoid some of the waste associated with maintaining Sourdough I like to make this pizza-base dough, which is full of flavour, great texture and handles most toppings. You can also make a bigger batch and par-bake the base or freeze it raw.
First, a note on the Sourdough Starter
Because it’s kept in the fridge, my Sourdough starter only needs feeding once a week and it’s just before feeding that I scoop out what I need for this pizza dough – mature, unfed starter. If you’ve let your starter go further than this and you get the liquid separating on top it’ll be more sour and rise slower – it should work but might tastes quite tangy. If your starter’s fed regularly it will be less of a sour taste and will rise more quickly. Better for making the same day but with less developed flavour.
|White Bread Flour|
|Whole Wheat Bread Flour|
How to make Sourdough Pizza
Before you feed your sourdough starter let it come to room temperature (if refrigerated) and give it a stir, take out 50g and add it to your mixing bowl.
Add 170g of the room-temp water to your starter and mix together with your hands or a spoon, you’ll have some lumps but the aim is to incorporate as much as you can – so you’re holding back 40g of the 210g water required.
Pour the flour(s) into your bowl with the starter and water and combine to a shaggy mass. I like to give the starter’s yeast a head start before adding the salt, which inhibits the yeast. So ten minutes after the initial mix I stir the 9g of salt to the remaining 40g of water and add this to the bowl. Squelch between your fingers and then fold it together
Once your ingredients are incorporated knead for 7 – 10 minutes using your preferred method. I like to move to a counter and use the slap/fold technique until it firms up, starts to resist the stretching and folding and holds its shape on the counter.
Tip: If the dough is really sticky (perhaps more hydrated than intended) then I’ll lightly oil the counter-top.
If using a mixer then knead for about 7 minutes in a mixer with the dough hook, until the dough wraps itself around the hook and cleans the side of the bowl.
3. Bulk Fermentation
Place the dough in a greased container and cover. Over the next 2 – 3 hours, called our bulk fermentation period, the dough will rise to almost double its kneaded size. We’ll also continue to add strength with at least three stretch and folds.
4. Pull and Fold
Roughly every 45 minutes I’ll move around the edge of my dough, which will now be more relaxed and filling the bowl, pinch a good portion pull it up and fold it into the main part of the dough, turn the bowl and repeat as if moving around the face of a clock. I’ll normally get 4 – 6 stretches out of a full turn and I’ll repeat this process for 4 full rotations.
Cover the bowl and place in the fridge overnight.
The next day about 5 hours before I want to use the dough, I’ll take it out the fridge divide it into two equal part. Using the lightest amount of flour or slightly oiled hands form a ball tucking the dough under itself to form a taught surface.
Shaping technique: Holding one of the dough pieces, I’ll folded it under and into itself, turning to repeat all around to form the ball shape then put it back on the counter and perform some twist and pulls to generate the tension in the surface. If you are left with any creases, seams or holes pinch them together.
Rest the shaped dough balls on a lightly oiled surface for a final proof, normally for 2 – 3 hours.
Tip: place the proofed dough in the fridge for the final 30minutes of the 3 hours as it will be easier to handle when you are working it during the next step.
Need to freeze some? At this stage, once the dough is fully risen, lightly spray or brush olive oil all over the surface of the ball and place it in a freezer bag removing as much air as possible from the bag. This will keep for up to three months. When you want to use it, thaw-out over-night in the fridge before leaving on the counter for 30 minutes to relax.
I normally aim for two 12″ pizzas from this recipe, which I prepare on greaseproof paper or pizza pans sprayed or brushed with olive oil to coat the bottom. Gently press the dough toward the edges of the pans or into the shape you wish, rustic is good – I don’t aim for the perfect circle or consistent thickness and I don’t use a rolling pin.
If you find your dough is resisting and shrinking back as you’re pressing it out to the edges, try giving it a 15-minute rest before continuing.
Cover and let the dough rise until it’s the thickness you like.
Towards the end of the rise time, preheat your oven to 230c (450°F). If you have a pizza stone put it in now to warm up, otherwise put in a flat bottom roasting tray upside down to warm up.
Sauce and top as you like, but don’t add the cheese yet.
Another top tip is to part-bake the base with only the sauce on, because leaving the cheese off for the first five or ten minutes (depending on crust thickness) helps reduce the sauce and concentrate its flavour. Also, adding the cheese at the start can create a layer that traps moisture and makes your dough soggy.
Bake thin-crust pizzas for 5 minutes before removing from the oven and adding cheese. For thick-crust pizza, bake for 10 minutes before removing from the oven and adding cheese – or whenever the pizza’s edges begin to brown. Return to the oven and bake for 5 to 7 more minutes, until the cheese is melted.
Store leftover pizza covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
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