An easy sourdough pizza crust recipe using sourdough starter. They are light and airy with the best chewy bite.
Sourdough pizza bases have great texture and flavour, so a simple topping is best. The sourdough pizza crust recipe itself is the star. The middle is a thin crust pizza base, but the edge is thicker, chewy crust with plenty of lightness.
You need an active starter for this sourdough pizza dough recipe. The amounts to feed the starter will depend on when in the day you want to begin the dough process. If you want to make the dough in the early afternoon, then your starter can be fed at a 1:1:1 or 1:2:2 ratio in the morning. It will be ready to use within 4-6 hours. That is a ratio of starter:flour: water, measured in weight.
Eg, a 1:1:1 ratio could be 35g starter, 35g flour and 35g water.
If you want to mix the dough in the morning, the starter can be fed the night before. In this case, you'll need to feed it at a different ratio so that the starter doesn't rise too quickly overnight. Try 1:3:3 or 1:4:4 if it's warm overnight.
A good sourdough starter is the basis of all good sourdough recipes and the same goes for this pizza dough. It brings so much more texture and flavour than dough made with commercial yeast. Once you've got that sorted you are on your way to pizza perfection!
Haven't got a starter yet? Learn to make your own sourdough starter!
For this recipe, use bread flour or a strong all-purpose flour with a protein level of at least 11%.
Here are two options of timings that can be used for this pizza dough. You can tweak these timings to suit your own schedule but this will help give an idea.
The cold proof of the dough can be extended up to 24 hours (or even longer!)
The night before
- Feed sourdough starter
The following morning
- 9 am - mix the dough.
- 9:30 - bulk fermentation of 4 hours
- 1:30 - Fridge proof 4 hours
- 5:30 - Pre-shape dough
- 6:00 - Cook pizza
- 9 am - Feed starter
- 1 pm - Mix the dough
- 1:30 pm - Bulk fermentation of 4 hours
- 5:30 pm - Fridge proof overnight
- 4:30 pm - Pre-shape dough
- 5:00 pm - Cook pizza
Kneading the dough
Unlike my sourdough bread, which uses folding to create the structure, this pizza dough instead has a rougher slap and fold kneading process. This is because creating those delicate gluten structures isn't quite as important in a flatter pizza dough as it is in a bread loaf. A 6 minute rough knead creates the structure that's required.
Slaps and folds literally are slapping the dough down hard on a clean bench and folding it over. Slap, fold and repeat. Speed is key, especially if you're working with sticky dough.
It may stick to your fingers but sheer force and speed will rip it off your hands as you slap it down. After a while, you'll feel the dough strengthen and become more elastic.
Mix together the main water and flour for the dough in a large mixing bowl. Combine it into a shaggy dough and let it sit for around half an hour. Add in the sourdough starter and salt and use wet hands to squish it together until well combined. A little water on your hands will stop the dough from sticking too much.
Pull the dough out of the bowl into a work surface. Slap and fold the dough thoroughly for 6 minutes until the dough feels stronger. Use a bench scraper to gather up the dough if it flings too far. Alternatively use a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook to knead the dough. You can also just do stretch and folds and completely skip the kneading part. If you choose this, stretch and fold the dough every 15-20 minutes for about an hour instead.
Transfer the dough to a container with a lid, or a large bowl. Cover the bowl with beeswax wrap or compostable plastic wrap and let it bulk ferment on the bench for 3-4 hours depending on room temperature. In temperatures above 24°C, the bulk ferment can be for 2-3 hours, while in cooler temperatures it can be extended to 4. After the bulk ferment, there should be some signs of fermentation activity in the dough and some bubbles. If you use a clear bowl or container it can be easier to see these signs.
After this first rise, place the dough in the refrigerator. The cold dough ferment helps bring flavour and texture to the dough.
After the cold-proof, take the dough from the fridge and cut it into 2 equal pieces.
Lay a piece flat on a lightly floured surface and stretch it out into a rectangle. Take a side of the rectangle and bring it into the middle. Continue with all the sides of the dough until you have created a little dough parcel.
Flip it upside down so the smooth side is showing. With the palms of your hands, spin the dough parcel around to create a circle. Choose a part of your work surface that doesn't have much flour, to create some surface tension when you spin the dough, to create a smooth ball. Repeat with the second piece.
Place each dough ball on a baking sheet dusted in flour or lined with a piece of parchment paper. Cover with a tea towel and let them sit at room temperature for around 30 minutes. This pre-shape helps to stretch the dough out later.
Shaping the crust
Push each piece of dough out on some baking paper with your fingers, into a 20cm circle. You can also use a rolling pin to gently roll it up, but this does de-gas the dough a bit more.
Starting from the middle, press the top of the dough outwards so the inner circumference is thinner and there is a thicker crust around the pizza base.
Topping the sourdough crust
Top the homemade sourdough pizza crust with your favourite toppings. Our favourite is a classic Margherita-style pizza, but with olives and capers. We use a homemade pizza sauce, topped with cheese, olives and capers, and some fresh basil at the end.
The recipe for the sauce is included in the recipe card at the bottom of the post.
Baking the pizza
The pizza crust should be baked quickly, using very high heat for the best results. If you've got a pizza oven you can use that, or a pizza stone preheated in an oven at around 250°C /482°F.
Try these sourdough hot cross buns or baguettes!
Sourdough Pizza Bases
These sourdough pizza bases have so much texture and flavour that a simple topping is best. The dough itself is the star.
- 35g starter
- 35g flour
- 35g water
- 300g all-purpose flour (with at least 11% protein), or bread flour
- 200g water
- 8 grams salt
- 100g starter
- Feed your starter by combining the starter, water, and flour into a clean jar. Place a rubber band around the jar which will help indicate when the starter has doubled. This starter is using a ratio of 1:1:1. If you are making it to rise overnight, you can change the ratios to 1:2:2 or 1:3:3 as your starter will be left to rise for a much longer time.
- When your starter has nearly finished rising, add the main pizza flour and water to a bowl and leave it to sit for at least half an hour.
- Add the risen starter to the dough as well as the salt. Use wet hands to squish it in well, then pull the dough on a clean bench.
- Slap and fold the dough thoroughly for 6 minutes until the dough feels stronger. Alternatively use a machine with a dough hook, or stretch and fold the dough every 15 minutes for 1 hour.
- Transfer the dough to a container with a lid, or a covered bowl. Let it bulk ferment on the bench for 3-4 hours depending on room temperature. In temperatures above 24°C, the bulk ferment can be for 2-3 hours, while in cooler temperatures it can be extended to 4. After the bulk ferment, there should be some signs of fermentation activity in the dough and some bubbles. If you use a clear bowl or container it can be easier to see these signs.
- After the bulk ferment, place the dough in the fridge in an airtight container to stop it from drying out for 4-24 hours.
- Preshape - Remove the dough from the fridge and cut it into 2 even pieces. Shape each piece into a round ball and leave them to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes, covered with a tea towel.
- Gently roll or push each piece of dough out on some baking paper with your fingers, into a 20cm circle. Starting from the middle, press the dough outwards so the inner circumference is thinner and there is a thicker crust around the pizza base.
- Top the homemade sourdough pizza crust with your favourite toppings.
- The pizza crust should be baked quickly, using very high temperatures for the best results. If you've got a pizza oven you can use that, or a pizza stone preheated in an oven at least 250°C /482°F.
- Alternatively, the pizza can also be made in a cast-iron skillet. Cast-iron traps really well. Press the dough into the skillet, then bake in hot a pre-heated oven until puffed and browned.
Homemade Pizza Sauce
1 small brown onion, diced
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 ½ Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
400g can chopped tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt and pepper to taste
In a medium saucepan over low-medium heat, fry the onion for 6-8 minutes until browned and caramelized. Add in the garlic and toast for another minute. Add in the balsamic vinegar and let it deglaze the pan. Add in the chopped tomatoes, salt and pepper, and herbs. Simmer on medium heat until slightly reduced. Blitz into a smooth sauce. Leftover sauce can be stored in an airtight container for up to 4 days, or frozen for up to 3 months.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1 grams
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 319Total Fat: 0.9gSaturated Fat: 0.1gUnsaturated Fat: 0gSodium: 778mgCarbohydrates: 66.8gFiber: 2.4gProtein: 9g
Carol clemans says
I’d like to adapt this recipe to use for a cast iron pan. The recipe I currently use states that you make the dough and then refrigerate the dough for 24-72 hours. Can it do this with this dough? The other recipe is not for sourdough, but with a yeast dough.
I love your site!
Hey Carol! Yes you can do that with this dough 🙂 Thank you!
Renee Waddell says
If you freeze the dough at what point should you put it in the freezer. Before cold proof or after you shape it into the ball
This pizza dough is amazing.
Home Grown Happiness says
So happy you love it! 🙂
I made this recently and although the pizzas turned out well, the dough was incredibly sticky and hard to handle. I used the stretch and fold method opposed to slap and fold. Maybe a little less water next time would make a difference? At the pre-shape stage the dough was noticeably wetter than say the ciabatta dough as a comparison
Home Grown Happiness says
Hey Beverly, this dough is a lower hydration than the ciabatta bread so it shouldn’t feel stickier.
As for the stretch and folds instead of the slap and folds, I do that too now days, it’s so much easier isn’t it 🙂 I will be updating this post to reflect that at some point.
Merryl Nall says
can you freeze this dough to use later?
Home Grown Happiness says
Yes you can 🙂
At what stage do you freeze ?
Home Grown Happiness says
After the bulk ferment you can portion it and freeze it 🙂