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Sourdough Pizza with a Bubbly Crust

This 16" pizza took 1.5 lbs of dough

We all love pizza, that is just the way it is! (If you don’t, don’t tell anyone, you will be deemed a suspicious person) If you like a chewy, tasty crust, you might want to add some sourdough to your dough. For this formula, I added not only 60% motherdough which had been cold fermented three days ( for the flavor and added extensibilty), but also some vigorous 100% hydration starter as well (for the yeasts).

I combined the two, one for flavor and one for yeasts so that the dough could be a quick one day dough. For your 60% motherdough you would need to start three days in advance. Here is a formula that will make up 1 lb 2 oz of dough, enough for two batches of pizza dough. Each batch of pizza dough will make three 12″ or 14″ pizzas, depending upon how thick you like your crust.


60% motherdough- start three days before baking day

  • 4.5 oz /127g starter @ 100% hydration
  • 4.5 oz /127g water
  • 9 oz /255g bread flour
This makes 18 oz/510g of motherdough @ 60% hydration, enough for two batches of pizza dough.
Mix all of the above ingredients together, leave in a covered container at room temperature for one hour and then refrigerate (covered) for three days.  This dough has no salt, so it will be sticky once it has done some fermenting.
This pizza dough formula will make about 3 lbs 10 oz of dough @ 66.5 % hydration. If you have too much dough for the amount of pizza, try making a few baguettes with it.  In my family, I tear off a hunk of dough weighing about 8 oz for each person and everyone makes their own pizza with their favorite toppings. It is fun to have a pizza party this way!
Pizza Dough:
  • 9 oz/255g of the 60% motherdough
  • 12 oz/ 340g vigorous starter @ 100% hydration
  • 13 oz/368g water
  • 1.5 oz / 42g olive oil
  • .5 oz /14g  sugar
  • .7 oz/ 19g salt
  • 1 lb 6 oz/ 623g bread flour
  • (optional 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder or granulated garlic)
Tear the motherdough into hunks and place into folding trough or mixing bowl.  Add the rest of the ingredients in the order shown. Stir all of the ingredients before putting in the flour. Add the flour and knead for a few minutes enough to gather into a ball. Ferment the dough in the covered folding trough for about three  hours, folding the dough every half of an hour.
After three hours, shape the dough into rounds, covered in oil, and let bench rest for 20 minutes. Stretch or roll out dough and place on a cornmeal sprinkled pan, a cloth covered surface or peel (sprinkle with cornmeal).  The easiest way is to place the dough right onto a baking parchment which has been sprinkled lightly with cornmeal. Spray or spread  dough with oil. Allow the dough to final proof 1 – 1.5 hours.
When ready, have your oven preheated for one hour to the highest heat it will go(usually 550F ), place your baking stone about 1/4 from the bottom of the oven. If you have your dough on a pizza pan or baking sheet, you can place the dough, pan and all onto the hot stone for about 5 minutes.
Pizza dough parbaked for five minutes

The finished pizza slice with the large holes from parbaking

If your dough is on a parchment paper or a floured cloth surface, remove your dough directly to the baking stone. This allows the dough to bubble up and have a great crust. After 5 minutes (3 minutes for a very small kid’s pizza)  take the dough out, remove the dough from the pan onto a pizza peel or flat baking sheet (one with no lips) (Wow, bread ears and pan lips, what is next?) Then pile on your sauce and toppings.
My favorite sauce is pesto sauce but I usually have some red pizza sauce handy for everyone else. I also like using just Mozzarella cheese, I grate it into large chunks.
If you start your dough on a pizza pan before removing it to a final bake on the baking stone, the bottom will look like this:
Place the dough directly onto the hot stone and bake for however long it takes to have the toppings finish melding. This can be 5 more minutes for a small pizza or maybe 10 – 15 more minutes for a large pizza. Watch it closely as it can suddenly overbake at such a high temperature.  Allow your pizza to cool somewhat before slicing or your toppings will all slide off. When done baking, you can slide the pizza back onto the pizza pan for serving.
Here are some pizza pics:
A small 8oz child’s pizza, with only the toppings he wanted….
Pepperoni is still a favorite with many folks

Nicely melded toppings

An advantage to parbaking your pizza crust is that you can pile on more toppings and know that the crust will not end up raw in the middle.
 For more information and pizza baking tips, visit Peter Reinhart’s much acclaimed “Pizza Quest” site.
Next up, I have been working on a formula using only 100% starter with  a one day ferment and shape for pizza dough. Something really simple and quick…. stay tuned…

Sent to Susan at Yeastspotting…. check it out!


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  1. April 19, 2014    

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  2. ChristinaChristina
    July 24, 2011    

    Wow,your pizza looks amazingly good! I will be trying out
    your sourdough pizza dough recipe. Thanks for the great
    instructions. I’m also looking very forward to your 100% starter
    one day pizza dough recipe.

  3. tonyktonyk
    July 17, 2011    



    • northwestsourdoughnorthwestsourdough
      July 17, 2011    

      Hi Tony, yes you can but give it plenty of time to recover and do not freeze it for too long. The yeasts die off during freezing.

  4. northwestsourdoughnorthwestsourdough
    July 8, 2011    

    Hi Peter, this crust came out well. The motherdough did do just what you said, the gluten was weakened enough to stretch out easily. I think some malt added to this dough would be just perfect… but I ran out, so I couldn’t try it. See you at Pizza Quest!

  5. July 8, 2011    

    This looks like a great recipe for sourdough pizza. I especially like your idea of using a three day old motherdough to promote easier extensibility when shaping the crust (I assume this extensibility is caused by the combination of acids and protease enzymes weakening the gluten over those three days). Can’t wait to try it. Thanks Teresa!!

  6. KenKen
    July 7, 2011    

    Awesome. You and your motherdough. I am going to have to give this a try. I am tempted to take some of my BBB dough that is fermenting happily in the fridge to use as the motherdough. I think I like the BBB bread too much to compromise my bread. Oh the decisions. Thanks so much!

    • northwestsourdoughnorthwestsourdough
      July 7, 2011    

      Thanks Ken, if you use the BBB dough for your motherdough, remember to leave out some salt in your final dough, as the BBB dough would already have some salt in it if it is pate fermente (old dough).
      For nine ounces of dough that would be about .1 oz of salt.

      You would also have to adjust for the bread dough being 73% and the motherdough being 60% hydration. Use 1 oz less water in your final dough, it woun’t be exactly the same, but close enough (if you are following the pizza formula).

      • KenKen
        July 9, 2011    

        Thanks Teresa,
        I was actually thinking of my “biga” dough, pre-salt and not high hydration. I I opted to start new motherdough though so tomorrow I try my pizza crust! BTW my BBB is fabulous! Thanks
        Congrats on Peters compliments. You must be very proud. You deserve it too.

        • northwestsourdoughnorthwestsourdough
          July 9, 2011    

          Thanks Ken, stay tuned, I am working on a new pizza crust for Pizza Quest. Peter has been a good friend to me and I look forward to working “playing” at Pizza Quest. Become a member of Pizza Quest and you can join in the fun as well.

        • KenKen
          July 10, 2011    

          I did join today although I have watched many Pizza Quest webisodes. I look forward to seeing that!

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  1. Sourdough Pizza » Xihuan on August 28, 2012 at 1:29 am

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