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Sourdough Pizza Crust

When you swap out processed ingredients with nourishing “real food” ingredients, you may be surprised to find that the healthy version of your favorite junk food is even better.

pizza with sausage

Here at Real Plans, we are emphatically in love with junk food makeovers. Some of our favorites are nachos, poutine, and of course, pizza made with this sourdough pizza crust. When you swap out processed ingredients with nourishing “real food” ingredients, you may be surprised to find that the healthy version of your favorite junk food is even better.

The quest for perfect homemade pizza

There are many ways to make homemade pizza, but until I discovered this recipe for sourdough pizza crust from our friend Jenny of Nourished Kitchen, I always felt like the experience was lacking something. Maybe it’s because I grew up on the east coast with endless options for cheap and delicious pizzeria slices on nearly every corner of even the smallest towns.

In a pinch, tortilla pizza (a.k.a. tosadas) are fun but certainly not the same. And don’t even try to tell me it’s ok to make a bagel into a pizza! I’ve tried the balls of store-bought dough, and they’re decent. I even have a homemade version that I really like, but this sourdough pizza crust is next-level good. Let’s find out why…

Is sourdough pizza crust healthier?

Most conventional bread and dough these days are made with instant or active dry yeast that comes in little packets and allows you to made bread or other baked goods that rise within a few hours. 

Way before the addition of yeast into baked goods, a simple mix of water and flour was the base of all raised bread products. So sourdough pizza is not a new hipster invention, it’s actually the original way pizza was made. Naturally found bacteria in the wheat develops when water is added, and when left long enough to ferment, the dough achieves a delicious tang. A ball of this dough, rolled super thin, topped with whatever leftover ingredients are on hand, and thrown in the oven.

In my humble opinion, sourdough pizza crust (as with anything sourdough) is not only superior in taste, but sourdough is better for your health. It’s easier to digest and imparts probiotic benefits even when baked. Many folks who are sensitive to gluten find that true sourdough does not give them problems.

Also, the natural fermentation helps the dough keep longer in the fridge, so you can double or triple your batch to use for up to a week.  

How to make sourdough pizza crust

The thing about making sourdough anything is it is slooooow food process. This is something to celebrate and enjoy because when it comes to bready food, good things come from the magic of time. Just asked the hoards of sourdough bread makers from the recent pandemic shutdowns. That said, if you are in a rush, save this pizza recipe for another time.

Before you can even think about making sourdough pizza crust, you need a sourdough starter. Maybe you have a buddy that will gift you some, or perhaps you already have some and that’s why you’ve found this recipe for sourdough pizza crust. But if you’re brand new, you need to read this post on how to make a sourdough starter.

Once you have your starter ready to go, the actual steps are fairly straightforward:

First combine flour, salt, and spices (we are using oregano, basil, and crushed red pepper flakes) in a large mixing bowl, and whisk until evenly combined. 

Form a well in the center of the flour, and pour in the olive oil, sourdough starter, and 1 ½ cups water. Mix this all together by hand to make a shaggy dough. If you’re not sure what that means, (because I wasn’t) a shaggy dough should look more like cookie dough – sort of messy. Later, when it rises, it will look like a smooth ball.

Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let it sit on your kitchen counter until doubled in size, about 12 hours.

When your dough is ready, preheat the oven to 425F.

Flour your working surface, then scrape the dough out of the bowl and onto your floured surface. Knead the dough for 10 minutes or so, incorporating just enough flour to make the dough workable. It should feel like it will stretch and not tear. Form it into a ball, then cover it with a large bowl, and let it rest for 15 minutes.

Separate the dough into 2 balls. Roll them out onto a baking sheet or baking stone until ¼ inch thick. Then bake for 10 minutes.

Remove the crusts from the oven, top with your favorite sauce, cheese, and toppings. (I really don’t need to tell you what to put on your pizza because I haven’t met a human that doesn’t have strong opinions about pizza toppings.) Return to the oven and bake 10-12 minutes more, or until the cheese is nicely melted and toppings are done to your liking. Slice and serve.

How to freeze sourdough pizza dough

After the first rise is complete, divide your pizza dough into individual balls. Each ball of dough should match the serving size of the pizza you plan to make in the future.

Avoid leaving the dough at room temperature for too long, as this can cause the outer layer to dry up. To prevent freezer burn, coat the dough evenly with olive oil. Place the balls in a single layer on a baking sheet. Freeze for about three hours.

Remove the frozen dough balls from the baking sheet and place them into a plastic bag. Remove as much air as possible and seal the bag tightly.

Let the dough thaw completely, about 10-12 hours. The easiest way to do this is overnight. A quicker option is to thaw the dough in warm water while still sealed tightly in the freezer bag.

Once fully thawed, the dough can be rolled out and baked into your sourdough pizza crust.

Frozen dough is best used within 3 months.

Sourdough Pizza Crust

Ingredients

  • 4 c pizza sauce
  • c shredded whole milk mozzarella cheese
  • toppings of your choice (pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, artichokes, etc)
  • 6 c all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. finely ground sea salt
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 c sourdough starter

Instructions

  1. Combine flour, salt, oregano, basil, and crushed red pepper flakes in a large mixing bowl, and whisk until evenly combined. Form a well in the center of the flour, and pour in the olive oil, sourdough starter and 1 ½ cups water. Mix it together by hand to make a shaggy dough, then cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let it sit on your kitchen counter until doubled in bulk, about 12 hours.
  2. Flour your working surface, then scrape the dough out of the bowl and onto your floured surface. Knead the dough for 10 minutes or so, incorporating just enough flour to make the dough workable. Form it into a ball, then cover it with a large bowl, and let it rest for 15 minutes.
  3. Heat the oven to 425F.
  4. Separate the dough into 2 balls. Roll them out onto a baking sheet or baking stone until ¼ inch thick. Then bake for 10 minutes.
  5. Remove the crusts from the oven, top with your favorite sauce, cheese, and toppings. Return to the oven and bake a 10 to 12 minutes more, or until the cheese is nicely melted and toppings are done to your liking. Slice and serve.

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