This naturally fermented pizza crust isn’t just amazing in taste, especially when lightly dressed with a bright sauce and speckled with creamy cheese, but it also helps feed the “good” bacteria in your body!
The fermentation process of sourdough helps to unlock B vitamins which help with energy metabolism, as well as numerous prebiotic and probiotic-like properties to improve gut health. And even though sourdough bread isn’t considered gluten-free, studies have found that regular sourdough consumption may help improve the digestion of gluten. This is another result of the fermentation process of sourdough which alters the enzymes in the wheat to potentially help counteract adverse reactions to gluten. Sourdough can also help keep blood sugars in a healthy range.
And when it comes to pizza toppings, the possibilities are endless! A few seasonal produce options include grilled asparagus, fresh avocado, cauliflower, leafy greens like arugula and kale, fresh herbs, sauteed leeks, and mushrooms.
Servings: 4 Small Pizzas
For the crust:
- 350 grams Water, (preferably lukewarm)
- 110 grams Sourdough Starter, (active and bubbly)
- 500 grams All Purpose or Bread Flour
- 10 grams Salt
- Marinara or Pizza Sauce
- Fresh Mozzarella
- Shredded Italian Cheese
- Fresh Basil
- Traditional Balsamic Vinegar
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- In a large bowl, stir together the lukewarm water, sourdough starter, and salt.
- Add in the flour; use your hand like a spatula to mix until the flour is completely incorporated. (There should not be any dry spots of flour left.) Cover with a kitchen towel or Saran Wrap, then set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes.
- After the first rest, it’s time for the first fold. Remove the cover, then gently pull up one side on the dough to then fold over into the center. Turn the bowl slightly and repeat. Repeat the pull & fold method a total of 8 times. Then, cover and rest for 30 minutes.
- After the second rest, repeat the pull and fold method same as before, then let rest an additional 30 minutes. (You will have done the pull and fold method for a total of 3 times.) By the end, the dough should be smoother and elastic. If not, repeat one more time.
- Cover the dough with Saran Wrap, set out at room temperature for 4-16 hours (until doubled in volume). (I usually will do this so that I complete the last fold prior to bed, so that it rests overnight. The timing will also depend on the time of year, like summer or winter, and strength of your sourdough. For instance, you may be able to start this dough early morning during the hot summer months and have it ready by the evening).
- Gently transfer the dough to a clean and very lightly floured surface. (You want to be careful to pull from the edges and NOT punch down the dough, or you will lose the air pockets that were created during fermentation.)
- Using a bench scraper or knife, carefully separate the dough into 4 equal portions. Using the stickiness of the dough on the clean surface to your advantage, gently roll each portion into a tight ball. (Tip: Use your pinky finger to press the bottom of the dough inward as you shape it into a ball.)
- Place the dough in either small separate containers or distribute on a baking pan, then transfer to the fridge for at least 4 hours (up to 8 hours).
- When ready to be used, remove the dough to sit out at room temperature for at least 20 minutes while you prepare the toppings or heat up your oven/pizza oven.
- OVEN: Preheat oven to 500ᵒ F. Place a large baking pan or pizza stone into the oven as it preheats.
- PIZZA OVEN: Heat up until temperature reaches at least 500ᵒ F (you can test this by using an infrared thermometer or allowing it to heat up for at least 15 minutes).
- TIP: If using the oven, you will prepare the pizza on the hot baking pan or pizza stone. If using the pizza oven, you will want to prepare the pizza on a pizza peel that has been generously dusted with flour for easy removal.
- Place one dough ball onto a lightly floured surface, then use your fingers to press into the dough to outline the crust. Either use your hands to gently stretch the dough from the center on the prepared peel or pan until your desired crust thickness.
- Add your favorite toppings!
- OVEN: Bake for 6-12 minutes, then (optional) broil 1-2 minutes, until desired crust. Enjoy!
- PIZZA OVEN: Cook for 40-60 seconds, then pull out to twist 180 degrees and cook an additional 30-60 seconds, until desired crust. Enjoy!