Back in Septemeber, the sourdough baking bug had struck me, and apparently, I was ahead of the trend that would be sweeping kitchens all pandemic long. In the time since cultivating my starter, I have had a few folks ask how I made it. I referred them to this video. https://youtu.be/2FVfJTGpXnU I like this method and I found the video to be easy to follow and straight to the point. I will recommend that whatever recipe you follow just always stick to that ratio of flour to water and it will work! Another protip is to get yourself a scale. This will take all the guesswork out of the process a gram of flour and a gram of water. They are both equal, a gram is a gram. So even if it always seems to be 201 grams of flour don’t sweat it, match it to 201 grams of water. I have a link to the scale that I use every day from measuring my coffee beans to all sorts of ingredients it has helped me grow my skills in baking and try new recipes. OXO 1130800 Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale with Pull-Out Display, 11-Pound, Silver
First I will provide a formula then talk about what I do and if you have any questions or if I miss anything let me know in an email!
- 100g of your mature sourdough starter
- 100g of bread flour or Tipo 00 (Italian pizza flour)
- 100g of whole wheat
- 200g of water (room temp)
The final mix-
- 850g of bread flour or Tipo 00
- 150g of whole wheat
- 610g of water (room temp)
- 20g of salt
- 200g of levain mix
- Extra virgin olive oil
- flour for work surfaces
- This will make about 8 balls of dough at 263g per ball.
Anyway fast forward to the global pandemic… flour, yeast, sugar, and most baking staples have flown off shelves. I have my mature starter waiting in the back of the refrigerator ready to emerge from its temperature-controlled nap to get to work. I will generally discard and feed on a Wednesday and use that discard to build a levain for a weekly ritual of inviting 2 people over to bake up anywhere from 6 to 8 crusts of a variety of toppings.
I am baking a two-part dough build and that has become something that I am fine-tuning and really on the verge of perfecting each batch. The first part is a 1-1-2 of starter, flour, and water. After the levain has had about 3 or 4 hours to double it is ready to have the remaining water, flour, and salt added into the mix.
In a large bowl add all of the levain then dissolve the salt into the water. I get pretty hands-on with it and try to break up the starter in the water. Then add all the flour in gradually. Once all the flour has been hydrated let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes up to 30 minutes. After that period has expired it is time to begin to knead the dough. I guess I should do a video to show these steps at some point too…
But for now, the kneading process is key! On a floured work surface turn out So take time to work the dough pressing it out and away and fold it back over on itself. This process should take about 15 minutes if you are doing it by hand. You will know the dough is ready for bulk fermentation if it springs back when you press it down.
If you are using a stand mixer( with the dough hook) you should let it run on low speed for about 5 minutes. I let it rest for 5 and then turn the mixer back on low for a minute or two then turn it up to high. I have a 7 qt Kitchenaid low is 2 and high with the dough hook is 4. Speeds any faster aren’t recommended by the manufacturer.
Now it is time to enter into bulk fermentation. In a clean large bowl drizzle enough EVOO to coat the bowl and dough ball. Place your dough ball in the bowl cover and let sit of 3-4 hours or until it has doubled in size. The goal is that it has doubled in size and not a specific amount of time has passed. Typically I set a 3-hour timer on my phone. Check the dough and then set a new timer of 45 minutes or an hour.
Next, I get out a small container place it on the scale, and zero it out. I just use this to keep my scale cleaner. Now turn your dough ball out onto a floured work surface. Using hands, a bench scraper or a knife cut your dough into balls that weigh 263g. You can just cut off what looks to be about an eighth of the ball and add or take away from the ball. If you are left with some extra dough split it up and share it with the other balls.
There are several ways to shape a dough ball. The goal is to have a round ball with a tight surface. So I generally start by working the bottom into itself and t turn the ball on the bench or in my hands to seal it up. Once done with this step I place on a flour sheet pan and flour the tops of the balls cover with plastic wrap or another sheet pan and let rest in the refrigerator of 24 to 48 hours minimum.
Remove them 2 hours before baking. Top with whatever you have laying around!
I recommend using fresh mozzarella and making a red sauce from San Marzano tomatoes, a couple of leaves of basil, and salt. Blitz in a blender and it is ready for your pizza.
Bake in your home oven is possible! Max out the temp and use a pizza steel that has been preheating for about 45 mins to an hour… I have personally cracked about 3 pizza stones so don’t bother getting one. The next bit of kit that makes it easy is a pizza peel linked below!
Happy baking a send me any questions or pictures of your pizza!
Nordic Ware Natural Aluminum Commercial Baker’s Half Sheet (2 Pack), Silver
OXO 1130800 Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale with Pull-Out Display, 11-Pound, Silver
Rubbermaid High Heat Scraper 9-1/2
Kitchen Supply 12-Inch x 14-Inch Aluminum Pizza Peel with Wood Handle
1/4 x 16″ x 16″ Steel Plate, A36 Steel, 0.25″ Thick