You might find it quite sad that we eat pizza every single week end… but let me tell you something, our pizza is nothing like shop bought, ordered or frozen pizza. We even prefer our pizza to Franco Manca’s, the dough has obviously the same sour taste coming from the sourdough, but our crust is crunchier and this is what really does it for us. Crunchy on the outside and soft and bready on the inside, our pizza base is perfect and it is also a great way to keep your sourdough starter going.
Having a sourdough starter is really not a big deal and I think we should all have one. Mine stays in the fridge for up to 2 weeks without being fed and for any longer period, I just freeze it. It’s kind of my second pet after our cat Vegas. Many recipes are out there to get a sourdough starter going, and once you have it well established, just make sure it is super active before using it. After a few days in the fridge, it won’t show ay bubbles anymore and will start to split with a dark colour water on top of the started mix. This dark liquid is good and all you need to do is to take it out of the fridge a few days before making the pizza dough or bread, and mix the dark water back in properly, and feed it every day equal weight of water and flour. The started should look like below to make sure it is active to give you best results.
Of course you can top your pizza with anything you want, but our two favourite pizzas are the Red and the White. The Red has a tomato, onion, garlic and oregano base, with roasted pepper, nduja sausage (from Natoora on Ocado), red onion, olives and mozzarella. The White has a creme fraiche base, with lardons, onion, chorizo and emmental.
Sourdough Pizza Base
For 3 medium size pizzas
- 200g sourdough starter
- 300g strong white flour
- half tsp salt
- 80ml water + extra
I do everything in a mixer with a dough hook as the mixture is quite soft. Mix the starter and the flour together then in the mixer, add the water gradually on low speed for 3/5 minutes until it is well mixed. Then mix on hight speed for 10 minutes to build up the gluten. A firm ball with an elastic texture and a shiny skin should move around the dough hook. Now that the gluten has built up, it is time to add some more water to hydrate the dough a little. This step is essential if you want a crust that is crunchy on the outside but still soft on the inside. And kneading a dough that is too liquid makes it really hard to build up the gluten properly which is why you want to add the water after kneading. It is hard to tell how much water I add each time due to how liquid the starter is, but my objective is for the ball to absorb enough water so it becomes more liquid and doesn’t form a ball anymore. Around 20ml, so basically a splash of water, should be enough. When the dough has absorbed the water, transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, cover and let rise until doubled in size. Either in the fridge overnight, or at room temperature for a few hours. Knock back the dough and let it rise again until doubled in size. In summer, I make the dough in the morning, leave it in the fridge until I come back from work, then knock back and leave it to proof until dinner. In winter, I would prepare the dough in the evening, let it rise in the kitchen overnight, knock back in the morning and leave it in the fridge during the day.
Cut the dough in 3 and stretch it as much as possible, spread the base inna thin layer on top, add toppings and bake on a baking stone at 250C for 10 minutes.