Updated: May 9
Since I started working in the catering industry one of my everyday jobs as trainee chef was pizza preparation. Back then I used to think that my pizza was very nice as everybody enjoyed it. Not until recently, I started experimenting with sourdough and in result, I baked the best pizza I ever had. It was crispy and thin, the crust was full of flavour and enjoyable like never before. I don't think that I will order pizza takeaway anymore, my starter sleeps in the fridge ready to fulfil my wishes. I would love to share this amazing recipe with you too, all you need to bake it is a baking stone or a cast iron pan, oven and ingredients. Don't worry if you don't have the sourdough starter, this recipe works also with fresh and dried yeast.
Once you prepare the dough in the morning you can leave it in room temperature and bake pizza after 6 hours (lunchtime) or place it in the fridge for longer fermentation and bake it in the evening or the next couple of days. Prolonged fermentation results in different flavour profile and texture, so you can try different methods to see what suits you best (reduce the time by half if using fresh or dried yeast).
Makes 2 medium pizzas
Ingredients for dough:
50 grams (1.76oz) of activated sourdough starter (or 7 grams (0.25oz) of fresh yeast, 3,5 grams (0.12oz) of active dry yeast)
450g (16oz) of plain flour (you can mix equal amounts of plain flour with strong flour for more bready texture according to your preference).
7g (0.25oz) of salt (I used salt with garlic, basil and paprika).
300g (10.6oz) water with no chlorine (from the filter, bottle or pre-boiled and cooled).
Ingredients for the sauce:
400g (14oz) of chopped tomatoes (1 tin)
2 tsp of sugar
1tsp mixed Herbs De Provence
a handful of fresh parsley
1tbsp Worcestershire sauce
Toppings and Rolling ingredients:
200g (7.0oz) of mozzarella cheese (grated or fresh)
a handful of Spinach or fresh basil
few drops of olive oil
100g (3.5oz) of Salami (or another dry-cured sausage or ham)
1tsp dried oregano
anything else you like with your pizza (I had some of my not so hot pepper sauce for dipping the crust).
50g (1.7oz) of Plain flour and optionally 2tbsp of Semolina for rolling.
1. Prepare the dough by mixing all the ingredients together and leave it covered in the bowl for 30 minutes (you can do it with a spoon or hand).
2. Knead the dough for 2 minutes then bring it to a ball shape, cover and ferment until needed (6h room temperature or 12-48h in the fridge(if using fresh or dried yeast reduce this time by half)).
3. In the meantime prepare the tomato sauce, mix all the ingredients in the small pan and simmer until desired consistency (5-10 minutes, I like it chunky but you can puree).
Leave to cool and refrigerate or make a bigger batch and freeze for the future pizza.
4. When the dough is ready, divide into two balls, use a little flour for help but don't go crazy. Bench rest covered for 30 minutes.
5. During that time you can heat up your oven on the highest temperature grill setting. Place your cast iron pan or bakers stone in the oven, close to the grill to allow it to absorb as much heat as possible.
6. Roll pizzas to the required size using flour (if you have Semolina add some underneath). You can give it a final stretch by lifting it with your hands and moving around the rim, then transfer onto baking paper. if you are using a cast-iron pan, place the pizza dough straight in. Place your toppings, drizzle with a little olive oil and oregano and place in the oven on the lowest shelf (don't forget to move the stone down).
7. Reduce the temperature to 200C, change the setting for standard and bake pizza for 12-15 minutes. Before baking another one heat up your stone or iron pan on the grill setting again for 5-10 minutes and repeat the process. Enjoy
To bake pizza, you predominantly need to heat it from the bottom. This also helps to make it crispy. The heat from the top helps to cook ingredients but it doesn't have to be as high.
Semolina makes the bottom crust even more crunchy and prevents the dough from sticking.
Pizza peel helps to transfer it onto a baking stone, but I still like to use baking parchment underneath (I forgot to transfer my pizza on the baking parchment. It was tough to do once all the ingredients were in place, and I lost some of the shapes).
Before adding any vegetable toppings or leaves on the pizza I like to toss them in some olive oil, this helps to cook them better in this short baking time.