Make pizza night even more delicious with this homemade sourdough pizza dough. Easy to make, with great flavor, it's also perfect to use up some sourdough discard.
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Unsurprisingly, with two young kids, we have pizza fairly regularly. We used to have a favorite pizza place back in Cambridge which would sometimes be our go-to, but we also enjoy making pizza at home.
My eldest claims my pizza is the best, but I suspect it's just that he enjoys putting on his own toppings, as is part of our ritual.
Since we have a sourdough starter going right now, unsurprisingly I've been looking at ways to use some of the discard. I hate to throw it away as it feels horribly wasteful.
In fact, I am a bit unorthodox in my sourdough maintaining. I tend to hardly throw away any and instead just keep it gently bubbling rather than very active. If I don't need it a while, it goes in the fridge (this part is more typical, I know).
Then, importantly, is to use it rather than discard it. There are lots of ways to use up a decent amount of starter once you get into the habit, such as sourdough pancakes and much more. You can add some starter to lots of baking, from sourdough muffins to brownies, for a slightly different flavor.
While pizza dough is still a kind of bread, so this isn't necessarily a discard recipe, it is still a delicious way to use some.
Why make sourdough pizza crust?
Believe me, once you try a sourdough pizza crust, you may never go back to 'regular'. It has a lovely depth of flavor which definitely adds something to the end pizza. The other argument, as with any sourdough bread, is that it is easier to digest for some people.
I found it crisped up really well, too. Whether better than the dough I typically make is hard to say, as we have a different oven here, but it certainly worked well.
With or without yeast...
To be truly sourdough, this shouldn't contain any actual yeast but instead rely purely on wild yeast from the starter. But that also requires a little more planning to let the dough rise naturally. So, you have two options: one takes a little longer without any yeast, and the other speeds things up with a little yeast added.
It's not much - still less than for a dough purely relying on yeast - but enough to help things along a little, but still with that nice sourdough flavor (even if maybe not quite as much).
What flour should you use?
Many would argue that being a kind of bread, you should use bread flour as it has a higher protein content. Conversely, the classic Italian "00" flour used for pasta and sometimes pizza is actually less about protein level (it can vary, but is generally medium) and more the very fine milling.
As for pizza, it depends on the texture you want - bread flour's higher protein means it has higher gluten-forming capacity, so more stretchiness. It leads to a chewier texture and helps with creating air pockets.
Most "00" flours have a protein level similar to all purpose, so a medium level, but being typically durum wheat rather than red wheat, the gluten acts a little differently and has less chewiness but does create nice air pockets. This Serious Eats article shows a good experiment of different flours in pizza.
I typically to use a mixture of bread flour, all purpose and wholewheat flour for pizza.The wholewheat is more for flavor (and to help me feel like our meal is a little healthier, I guess, too!).
My rationale for mixing the other two flours is to get a balance of chewiness and rise. My preference is a thin, crisp crust.
Since I haven't had a lot of luck with finding bread flour here, I used just all purpose and wholewheat in this dough and it worked just fine.
You can certainly swap out some for bread flour, 00 flour or do away with the wholewheat if you like. Just remember different flours absorb water differently and so you may need more or less in your dough.
Sourdough pizza dough is easy to make, whether you use entirely sourdough or a little yeast to help it along. It's easy to handle and results in a pizza with a delicious flavor and texture. So use some of that sourdough starter and give it a go soon!
Looking for pizza topping ideas? Try these:
- Bacon corn pizza
- Caramelized onion and gorgonzola pizza
- Fall pizza with squash and sausage
- Plus get more main dish recipes in the archives.
Sourdough pizza dough
- 180 g sourdough starter ¾ cup
- 210 g all purpose flour 1 ½ cup
- 140 g whole wheat flour 1 cup
- 180 ml water lukewarm, ¾ cup
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ teaspoon instant yeast (optional - see further below)
- Mix all of the ingredients (with or without yeast - see step 3 on where different) together in a large bowl until they are well combined then let the mixture sit 15 minutes.
- Then, knead the dough either on a surface or by stretching and folding the dough over itself in the bowl a few times. Either way, fold over after each stretch, then turn 90 degrees and repeat. Make around 6 - 8 stretch and folds.
- Form the dough into a ball in the bottom of the bowl, cover the bowl with cling wrap/film and leave to rise around 3 hours. If you are not using yeast, you should leave it longer - either out for around 8 hours or, for a slower rise, prepare the dough the night before, leave it out an hour or two then put in the fridge to continue proving gradually overnight.
- Once the dough has roughly doubled, turn it out on to a lightly floured surface and divide up to use for your pizzas - you can make them whatever size you want but this makes roughly 3 good-sized personal pizzas (assuming a relatively thin crust). Top as you prefer then bake at 425F/220C for approx 15-20 minutes until lightly brown and crisp.
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