Embarking on the Sourdough Pizza Journey: From Dough Beginner to Master

Embarking on the Sourdough Pizza Journey: From Dough Beginner to Maste

Sour Dough

Unlocking the Sourdough Secret

Sourdough is an age-old method of dough preparation that relies on a natural starter, known as the "mother," for its fermentation process, foregoing the use of commercial yeast found in store-bought packets. While this natural fermentation takes a bit longer, it rewards you with dough that boasts rich and intricate flavors. The beauty of sourdough is that it can be applied to various recipes, spanning from bread to pizza and even pastries.

Nurturing Your Sourdough Starter

Irrespective of the culinary creation you're pursuing, be it pizza or any other sourdough-based recipe, the cornerstone lies in maintaining your sourdough starter. Keep your starter comfortably housed in a jar on your kitchen counter, shielded either with a lid or a cloth secured by an elastic band. For those who frequently employ their starter in dough-making endeavors, it's crucial to nourish it with equal parts of the same flour used in the starter and water every 1-2 days, ensuring its vitality and readiness for deployment. Don't forget to set aside a portion of the starter before each feeding to prevent excessive growth.

In situations where you need to part ways with your starter temporarily or can't tend to it for a period, seal it securely and place it in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. The cold confines of the fridge will lull the starter into dormancy, eliminating the need for regular attention. When you're ready to resurrect it, resume the routine of feeding every 1-2 days.

Crafting the Perfect Sourdough Pizza


For the Levain Mix:

  • 50g (1.8oz) mature sourdough starter
  • 50g (1.8oz) "00" flour or bread flour
  • 50g (1.8oz) whole grain flour
  • 100g (3.5oz) warm water

For the Final Mix:

  • 425g (15oz) "00" flour or bread flour
  • 75g (2.6oz) whole grain flour
  • 310g (10.9oz) warm water
  • 10g (0.4oz) salt
  • 250g (9oz) levain mix
  • Olive oil for greasing the proving container
  • Flour for dusting the work surface


Constructing the Levain Mix

Commence this journey in advance, ideally by the morning of the day before your pizza feast. Ensure that your sourdough starter is vibrant and well-fed in the days leading up to this culinary endeavor.

  1. In a tall jar, merge 50g of sourdough starter with flours and warm water. Stir diligently until complete integration is achieved. Cover the jar and grant it a 3-4 hour sojourn at room temperature, or until it doubles in volume. A clever tip is to encircle the jar with a rubber band at the initial levain level for easy tracking of the doubling process.

Constructing the Final Mix

Once the levain mix attains its doubling glory, proceed to orchestrate the final mix.

  1. In a capacious bowl, dissolve the salt into the warm water until it's entirely absorbed. Introduce the 250g of levain mix, stirring until harmonious. Slowly incorporate the flours while using your hands, ensuring thorough amalgamation. Leave this concoction to rest, uncovered, on your kitchen counter for a brief 10-minute hiatus before commencing the inaugural kneading.

The Art of Dough Kneading

Following the brief reprieve, bestow your work surface with a fine dusting of flour and embark on the kneading journey. If you opt for the manual approach, employ the palm of your hand to guide the dough forward, nearing the point of delicate rupture. Draw the dough back onto itself, rotate it, and once more apply palm pressure. This rhythmic process shall extend for approximately 10-15 minutes. Alternatively, a stand mixer can be enlisted to undertake this task, commencing at low speed for 10-15 minutes, followed by a higher speed for 5-10 minutes. The dough reaches its zenith of readiness when it attains a velvety, resilient texture that rebounds upon fingertip pressure, a testament to the fully developed gluten structure. It should be pliable and resilient, readily responding to gentle tugs and squeezes.

Upon your work surface, refine the dough by delicately tucking the edge of your hand beneath it and coaxing it toward you, tracing the periphery of the dough to ensure evenness and a flawless fermentation outcome.

Bulk Fermentation of the Dough

Apply a modest amount of olive oil to a commodious bowl or container, spreading it evenly with your fingers to coat the interior. Nestle the dough within, and then veil it with a cloth or lid, allowing it to bask in the ambiance of room temperature on your kitchen counter for an uninterrupted 3-hour bulk fermentation odyssey. The dough will signal its readiness when it doubles, adorned with a plethora of air bubbles beneath the surface.

Partitioning and Shaping the Pizza Dough

Partition the dough into either 3 or 4 equitably sized portions, contingent on your preferred pizza size. Proceed to shape each piece into a ball, mirroring the technique employed during the bulk fermentation phase. Position the dough fragment on the countertop and gradually draw it toward you from the farthest edge, gently tucking the edge of your hand beneath it. Persevere with this method around the circumference until a smooth, spherical configuration is achieved.

Once shaped, adorn a proving tray with a gentle sprinkle of flour or line a baking tray with parchment paper, then gently nestle the pizza dough orbs upon it. Subsequently, enshroud them with a cloth or the tray's lid and consign them to the refrigerator for a minimum of 24 hours of cold proving.

Stretching, Garnishing, and Baking Your Pizzas

When the cold prove concludes its spell, usher the pizza dough balls back to room temperature by exposing them to your kitchen counter for approximately 2 hours. It is imperative that the dough attains room temperature for effortless stretching.

Once primed, embark on the grand finale: stretching, garnishing, and baking your pizzas! Ensure your oven is preheated to a formidable temperature, around 500°F (260°C), for optimal results.

Lightly dust your pizza peel with a veil of flour. Stretch the pizza dough ball to your preferred dimensions, typically spanning from 12" to 16", and lay it upon the peel. Proceed to adorn it with your chosen toppings before gracefully sliding it into the awaiting oven. Remember to orchestrate periodic rotations for even cooking. Upon completion, serve and savour your homemade sourdough pizza!