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Pizza Dough with Sourdough starter

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  • Pizza Dough with Sourdough starter

    Hey all, question for you master dough chefs. I'd like to try making my pizza dough with the awesome sourdough starter I got from Jim but I'm not sure what to use for a recipe. I've had good results with the one here.

    How would I adjust that for a sourdough starter? Or should I go completely different?

    Shay - Centerville, MN

    My Outdoor Kitchen/Pompeii WFO Build...

  • #2
    Re: Pizza Dough with Sourdough starter

    Hi Shay!

    You are making about 850 grams of dough. For simplicity I am going to translate it to 1000. I am also going to assume your starter is 100% hydration (meaning it has as much water as flour BY WEIGHT!) The starter should be fully active - if not it needs to be fed once or twice to get it at/near its peak. I will explain the calculations so you can change the hydration or amount of dough if you want.

    Start with 40 grams of starter.
    Add 80 grams of water. Stir to thin the starter.
    Add 80 grams of flour. Stir well. Cover with saran wrap and let it sit on the counter for about 12 to 14 hours. It should be just about peaking in activity. You now have 200 grams of preferment which includes 100 grams of flour and 100 of water.

    Assuming you want 66.7% final hydration you will want 600 grams of flour (equals the 1000 grams final dough divided by 1.667 (1 plus the hydration)) and 400 grams of water in the final dough.

    Put 500 grams of flour in a bowl (600 final less 100 in the preferment). Mix in 12 grams of salt (2 percent of the flour weight). Make a well in the flour. Add the preferment and 300 grams of water (400 final less the 100 in the preferment). Mix by hand or in the mixer. If you use the mixer follow your normal mixing pattern or the one in the recipe.

    NOTE: This is EXACTLY like making sourdough bread to this point. To make bread you would simply let it rise about 2-3 hours, form the loaf and let proof another couple of hours and bake...

    For pizza I prefer to ball Caputo flour about a half hour after mixing so... I would let the mixed dough proof for about a half hour and ball the dough. Personally I would put the balls in trays but plastic bags with a little oil in the bag/coating the dough works well. Sourdough is not as fast as commercial yeast. It will be ready to use in about five to six hours. Most wild yeasts are much less active than commercial yeast when cold. If you want to hold the dough (i.e. it is ready to use about noon if you started the preferment at 6 pm the night before), let the balls proof for three hours before refrigerating. Then, pull the balls about two hours before you want to use them. You should be able to hold the balls in the fridge for up to three days without significant ill effects.

    Good Luck!


    • #3
      Re: Pizza Dough with Sourdough starter

      Wow, that was very descriptive, thanks a lot! I might have to tweak it a bit, I use a bread maker to mix and it probably won't hold quite that much but I'll stick to the percentages.

      Do I use my '00' flour for this? I'm going to start feeding my starter today and I was going to use King Arthur flour for that but when I'm ready to make the pizza dough what do I use?
      Shay - Centerville, MN

      My Outdoor Kitchen/Pompeii WFO Build...


      • #4
        Re: Pizza Dough with Sourdough starter

        I would not feed my 00 flour to the starter. Let's assume you use bread flour for the starter. There are only 20 grams of bread flour in the starter out of 600 total - or about 3 percent - not enough to worry about. You can use either flour for the pizza. Since you seem to be used to 00, I would suggest using it. With BF only you would probably want to add some oil to help it relax.

        The recipe I gave is EXACTLY how I do my normal sourdough for artisanal boules (except I start with 100 grams and make 2.5 kg). With Caputo it should give a quite fine pizza dough. It may? be a bit sticky and challenging to handle but...it's probably time for you to confront the wet dough monster and tame the beast!

        Good Luck!


        • #5
          Re: Pizza Dough with Sourdough starter

          Thanks for outlining this in detail, Jay. I just mixed up a kilogram of dough. I hope to make pizza in the next few days if weather cooperates. I typically use instant yeast with 65% hydration. This is my first pizza with sourdough starter. I didn't think it the extra 1.7% would be noticeable, but the dough already handles differently. (I mix by hand). I'll let you know how it turns out.

          Do you make your sourdough (as you mentioned above) with 66.7% hydration.
          Mike - Saginaw, MI

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          • #6
            Re: Pizza Dough with Sourdough starter

            Hi Mike!

            I used 66.7% so the calculations would be easy! I actually usually do 70 percent for bread though I do ciabatta up to 85% or so (have done 100% just to prove it could be done!) (I don't recommend it. It is not for the faint of heart. Like they sometimes say on daredevil shows "DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME!")

            I do not use sourdough for my pizzas because my starter really doesn't like the refrigerator and I haven't found a workable schedule at room temp but I admit I haven't tried very hard! I should probably try my normal schedule and ball the dough about an hour after mixing the final dough, put it in trays, and refrigerate that. That would probably work.

            WRT your pizza dough, if it is giving you trouble by being too loose and sticky, try giving it a couple of stretch and folds during the proof before you ball it. Proof it for say an hour and do a stretch and fold at 30 minutes and at one hour. Then ball it - if it will cooperate - otherwise wait another half hour and ball it. They let it rest...and/or refrigerate it until say 2 hours before you want to use it.

            Good luck!


            • #7
              Re: Pizza Dough with Sourdough starter

              OR... You could run over to PizzaMaking.com - Pizza Making, Pizza Recipes, and More! and use their awesome Preferment Pizza Dough Calculator.
              It's right there on the front page under Dough Tools.


              • #8
                Re: Pizza Dough with Sourdough starter

                Thanks, PP!

                I hadn't seen those. Nice calculators. A quick check suggests they give reasonable results - at least for my test case. The biggest restriction for sourdough is the calculator does the sourdough as a one step process from starter to final dough and most artisanal sourdough bakers do a two stage process involving both preferment and final dough steps in order to get more flavor.



                • #9
                  Re: Pizza Dough with Sourdough starter


                  Go stick your head in there for awhile and look up some of the previous posts.
                  From SFSD to Camaldoli to Ischia, they are all there.
                  Steve "owns" the joint. He incepted this cool forum and wisely allowed the inmates to run his pizza asylum.

                  You will find veritable "dough scientists" contributing almost daily.

                  "Pete-zza" is the lead dog and iron butt of this community. An affectionate term borrowed from Nixon who was an unparalleled researcher. When a question is posed in the forum, peter sees it. He steps in to help if needed and usually rescues the day.

                  Bill/SFNM is an accomplished chef who has a small Earthstone woofer at his home. He actively pursues cooking as if his life depended on it. His extremecookingblog.com features all facets of culinary interest and his photography will cause you to salivate. An artist who works off both sides of his brain.

                  If you are sporting for some mental pugilism and would like to learn something in the process, look up Red.November. He can take your query to the 8th decimal point. We all hope he NEVER finds that elusive electron.

                  Jeff Varasano got his start there as a kitchen chef. He generously gave pizza to the world by posting his findings on his blog as he chased the formula to Patsy's. He is also responsible for advocating the removal of the self cleaning door lock on home ovens to get up to "Pizza Temperature".He now runs Varasano's Pizzeria.

                  Willard is the escaped lab rat who melded the two ideas of lining home ovens with unglazed quarry tiles and a barbecue grill. He came up with the 2stone Pizza Grill. No one is laughing anymore.

                  There are so many folks here like PFTaylor who travels around to report on great pizza. DKM who cracked the Gino's east Chicago Deep Dish. (It's actually better and tastes like Gino's from 25 years ago.) Mobile Oven guys and cross posters to this forum, telehort and jjerrier2450. Our friend, Marco aka pizzanapoletana who allows us to peek behind the Neapolitan curtain every so often.

                  There are so many diverse people in there that come together with one thing in mind. Great pizza. A language everyone understands.

                  I'm happy to be one of the lunatics that Steve fosters in this wonderful forum.


                  • #10
                    Re: Pizza Dough with Sourdough starter

                    Thanks again PP! And for the elaboration!


                    • #11
                      Re: Pizza Dough with Sourdough starter

                      Yesterday I made 15 pizza's using Jays EXACT RECIPE above for sour starter pizza. For some bizarre reason, my SD starter is particularly strong these last 2 years (it's been watching me build the wfo so it's been working out or taking vitamins in anticipation...or something).

                      Anyhow, I took Friday off and made 3 batches of the above recipe at 10 am using my SD starter that I refreshed twice in the last 2 weeks in anticipation of using it for my party on Saturday. I made the 3 batches Fri morning, let it bulk rise for 3.5 hours then cut, folded it into 220 to 235 gram balls and into the fridge until 28-30 hours later to come to warm summer temp for 1 hour.

                      I used Caputo 00 for the 500 gr flour but my SD starter is always KA bread flour with the occasional tablespoon of Rye flour every few months.

                      The only thing different I did was add an extra 1/8 cup of water to each batch and dip my fingers copiously in water to keep the dough balls from sticking to my hands while I balled up the pizza balls. This was also the 1st time I hand kneaded (sorry KitAid) so I gave the hand balling a bit more care folding them into balls. Hand mixing was very easy and I don't have to clean the kitchenaid mixer .

                      In my 'cold' garage fridge, the doughs doubled better than most ADY recipes I've done. I was really blown away by the dough activity. It was 87 deg outside so a 1/2 hour or less was needed when I dumped the balls onto my outdoor worktable to work into a 12" pizza pie. I was so scared this wouldn't work out without commercial yeast and now, I have no reason to ever use it again for pizza's as long as I've got the SD starter.

                      This SD dough seems so much more forgiving than commercial yeast. Thanks for sharing the recipe Jay, everyone loved pizza dough and I especially enjoyed the complex, sour taste in the crust.

                      1st pic is my braised short-rib (Susanne Goin/Lucques recipe) with mozza, caramelized onions, a shmeer of tomato sauce and my oven dried oval/cherry tomatoes. Last pic is the cherry tomatoes coming out of the oven. I could have eaten them all like that. Also, there's my shrimp/pesto pizza but you can see the crust is quite "happy" though it's out of round and there were better looking pizzas. It's hard to cook well and play photog at the same time.

                      Thanks again Jay. I really appreciate your input and suggestions and have learned something new about sour dough in pizza balls.
                      -Thanks, Dino
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                      • #12
                        Re: Pizza Dough with Sourdough starter

                        Yeah, Dino!

                        Sounds like you had a mostly good experience but if the dough stickiness was too much just drop it down a few percent to 64 or even 62. Your guests will be unlikely to notice the diff.

                        Also...I find wetter, sticky doughs really benefit from bench forming in a layer of flour. I seem to have gotten to the point where I can reliably make round pies out of even the nastiest, softest doughs (but saying so will probably jinx me!) that way. (okay, there IS a limit - I probably can't with 85% ciabatta style dough!)

                        Glad it worked for you. The recipe was strictly intended to get you close. Adjustment for personal tastes and habits is expected!

                        Bake On!


                        • #13
                          Re: Pizza Dough with Sourdough starter

                          So I have been working in pizza for 30 years. I have used yeast for all those years. Now I have decided to take it up a notch. I have my starter ready. I don't know how much starter I use for a 45 lb batch of dough. And what will the steps be in a commercial application?


                          • #14
                            Re: Pizza Dough with Sourdough starter

                            It all depends on how much time you plan to spend going from starter to dough. I find what I call a 4X expansion at 70 to 75 degrees will reach peak activity in about 12 hours. And the dough is (for me) also a 4X expansion so here is how I would calculate it.

                            45 pounds of dough requires 9 pounds of starter and 36 pounds of flour and water.
                            The 9 pounds of dough would require about 1.8 pounds of starter and 7.2 pounds of flour and water.

                            Sooo...now that we have gross amounts...
                            Around dinner time/early evening, mix 1.8 pounds of 100 % starter with 3.6 pounds of flour and 3.6 pounds of water. Mix and let rest overnight. It should be peaking around 12 hours later. Then add flour and water to give the right hydration. Lets assume 66.666% for simplicity. You want 27 pounds of flour and 18 pounds of water in the final mix. You have 9 pounds of ripe levain containing 4.5 pounds of flour and 4.5 pounds of water. So you need to mix in 22.5 pounds of flour and 13.5 pounds of water to make your final dough - and add .54 pounds of salt. (There is a reason i like 100% starter hydration!)

                            This should rise for about an hour or two at room temp and then either be retarded for up to three days or get a total proof of at least 5 to 6 hours before using. Depending on what flour you use you may need to ball the dough early (at the one/two hour mark) or it may not matter. You can find info on this site about that.


                            • #15
                              Re: Pizza Dough with Sourdough starter

                              What is the best pizza target hydration if I am using a 550f residential oven with a 16" pizza stone on the bottom rack? (This is a new LG convection oven, but I have never used convection for pizza). Would convection work better for pizza? I have been using the Tom Lehman calculator and making pizzas at 62% hydration. I now have an Italian sd starter I purchased from sourdough.com. and the first pizza I made from the recipe in the instruction book with my 3day old active starter tripled in size even in my fridge. a very active starter. The dough was easy to hand stretch but the recipe was short on salt for my taste and didn't develop a sour taste yet. I am going to continue feediing it. I guess it needs more time to develop flavor.