Here's our recipe for a simple sourdough pizza base (that can also be used for focaccia). It's very forgiving, can be stashed in the fridge or freezer for impromptu pizza parties and cooks/eats like a dream.
150g Sourdough starter, ripe and ready to go*
240mls Lukewarm water
3 Tbsp olive oil
360g Hi-grade/ bread/ pizza flour
In a medium bowl, mix together the warm water, starter and olive oil. You don't need to be too pedantic about this - just mix to loosen the starter somewhat thereby making it easier to mix through the flour.
Add the flour and salt and stir to combine. The dough will be really soft and kind of 'shaggy' (a Danish dough whisk is good for this) but don't worry, that's as it should be at this stage.
Cover your bowl with a damp cloth or clingwrap (I actually use/ re-use a shower cap that I reserve just for this purpose) and rest for 30 minutes.
Now, we're going to do the 'sourdough stretch and fold' four times. It's super simple. Basically, you should dampen your hands and then, by placing one hand slightly under the dough and to the side, stretch a portion of the dough out a little and then over the top of the main mass. Turn your bowl a 1/4 turn and repeat. Repeat 5 more times (6 times in all - but, again, this is not a magical number nor an exact science, anywhere between 5-10 is totally fine).
Leave to rest for another 30 minutes and repeat the stretch and fold process for a total of four times. Over this time your dough will go from soft and shaggy to lovely and soft and smooth - and this is perfect.
Clean and lightly oil your bowl, replace your dough into the cleaned bowl and turn once to oil the top. Leave for 4-6 hours to rest (and ferment) at room temp - it may not rise significantly but that's ok.
Now put the dough into an oiled, lidded container and stash it in the fridge for 24 hours or so. This is not completely necessary (as in, you could use your dough immediately) but it does give you flexibility and, more importantly, I think it really does improve the flavour of your finished base.
When you're wanting to create your pizza masterpieces, grab your dough from the fridge. Divide into four (ie four bases) and, taking one ball of dough at a time, gently push out to form your pizza base shape. We generally go for the right size for a one (somewhat greedy) person size, say 24cm but, again: your pizza, your rules!
Top as you would a normal pizza and whizz it into the oven for anywhere between 6-8 minutes depending on how you're cooking it.
- Pizza dough won't stretch? Sometimes your dough just won't budge. The solution? Let it rest for a bit. Grab another ball of dough and get that one going then go back to the original dough - you'll find it much easier to roll/stretch.
- Can you freeze your dough? Absolutely. Wrap in a couple of layers of clingwrap or an airtight container (with enough room in it to rise just a little) and freeze. Allow the dough to defrost for 24 hours in the fridge (for best results) or on the bench for a quick defrost.
- Are pizza dough and focaccia dough the same - essentially, yes! So feel free to grab this dough and make yourself some focaccia instead!
- Is sourdough pizza dough better than the normal one using yeast? Nope, it's just different, although some people do find the sourdough version easier on their tummies. But, again, you do you.
- Need pizza now? Try our super easy, yeast risen dough recipe here.
- No starter? No worries! Here's the perfect Sourdough Starter Recipe from our friends at Cotto Restaurant on Auckland's K' Road.