Sourdough Thin Crust Pizza

Well, whle pizza aces would not be impressed by this recipe, a busy parent may appreciate its make-ahead option.

I bake bread about twice a week, and sometimes I set some dough aside for pizza.  The husband, the neighborhood, and the Awesomest Neighbor don’t seem to mind!

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SOURDOUGH THIN CRUST PIZZA

Dough:

  • 750g + 50g water (at room temperature)
  • 200 g leaven
  • 1000 g unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 100 g whole wheat flour
  • 20 g sea salt

Topping:

  • 900g pizza sauce
  • 500g mozzarella cheese
  • fresh basil to sprinkle
  • smoked sea salt to sprinkle
  • olive oil (optional)
  • dry oregano (optional)

Yields:

8 medium sized pizzas

DIRECTIONS:

Make the dough. I used a modified Tartine basic country dough recipe. Mix leaven the night before by combining 200 g of water at room temperature, 1 tbs of mature starter, and 200 g of all-purpose flour.

When the leaven is passing the floating test (if you drop a spoonful of leaven into water at room temperature, it floats), the dough is ready to be mixed.  Place a large mixer bowl on a scale.  Pour 700 g of water.  Add 200 g of leaven (I usually discard my mature starter at this point to use the leftover leaven as starter next time).  Mix the leaven with water.  Add 1000 g of all-purpose and 100 g of wheat flour and mix with a dough hook until incorporated.  Cover the bowl with a plastic wrap and let rest for 25-30 minutes.

Sprinkle with sea salt, and pour the remaining 50 g of water over the dough.  Mix again until incorporated.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for about 3 hours.  Turn the dough a couple times during the first hour.

After 3 hours dump the dough on a lightly floured surface and, using a dough scraper cut it into 8 equal parts.  Fold each part into a ball.  Dust a large cutting board with flour.  Place the dough balls on it, lightly dust each ball with flour and carefully place the cutting board in a large plastic bag.  Refrigerate until ready to bake.

Preheat the oven to the hottest – I use the convention broil setting at 500° F/260° C. Place the pizza stone on the middle rack.

Prepare the ingredients. The beauty of pizza, is that you can dump anything you want on it, and it will taste good.   My family prefers very simple cheese and tomato sauce pizzas with vegetables, so here are our little tricks.  

  1. Since I’m not a professional, it takes me a while to assemble my pizzas, hence the dough gets pretty moist, and I cannot slide it easily to the pizza stone. So, I prepare all the ingredients ahead of time and lay them on platters ready to dig in!
  2. Pre-shredded cheese contains starch and calcium sulfate to prevent caking, so if you have time – shred cheese by yourself.
  3. I pre-bake the crust for just a couple minutes before placing the toppings on it.
  4. Pizza sauce is an art form on its own.  I still need about a 100 attempts at home-made pizza sauce before the recipe could be published.  So, I cheat.  I mix a jar of Dave’s Gourmet Organic with a 6 oz can of tomato paste.
  5. For many people pizza is all about the sauce, for others – about the toppings,  for me – it’s about the crust.  I love bread, and there were very many failed pizzas before I was able to convert my bread recipe into a perfect thin crust.  To make it even more appealing to those, who have a tendency to throw away crust, I lightly sprinkle the edges with smoked sea salt. It adds even more magic to this sourdough goodness.

Make pizzas. Once the oven is hot, remove one of the dough balls out of the oven and place it on a floured surface.  Roll it into a thin disk with a rolling pin.  Lightly sprinkle the edges with smoked salt.  Lightly dust a pizza peel with flour or corn meal. P;ace the dough on the peel, and carefully transfer it to the pizza stone.  The hardest part is done!

Bake for 2 minutes.  Remove from the oven.

Keep the crust on the peel while sprinkling olive oil, oregano, applying pizza sauce, and other toppings.  Shift the pizza a little bit to make sure it’s not stuck to the peel, and carefully slide it on the pizza stone again.  Bake for another 5-6 minutes, rotate half-way through if needed.  Sprinkle with fresh basil.

Make ahead. Two pizzas are more than enough for Dave and I.  So, in strange cases when neighbors didn’t find out I’m baking pizza and failed to stop by, I pre-bake the rest of the dough.  Roll and bake each disk for 3 minutes. Lay them lined with parchment paper.  Let cool. Place the crusts in a large freezer-proof zip-lock bag, a freeze.  When ready to cook, let them thaw at room temperature before applying the toppings, and bake for 5-6 minutes.

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