I was blind, but now I see. Sourdough pizza is one of the most perfect foods. To make it at home, you don’t need a bunch of fancy tools or ingredients. All it takes is a few basic ingredients and lots of patience. As a new convert to the church of DIY sourdough, I can tell you that it’s worth the wait to achieve a flavorful, chewy, and airy crust at home.
Amazing Sourdough Pizza Crust
To make sourdough pizza, you need a sourdough starter. A sourdough starter is basically a culture of bacteria and wild yeast that you use for baking sourdough breads and pizza. You cultivate the bacteria and wild yeast by mixing flour and water, and continuing to feed your mixture everyday until it is bubbly, sour (in a good way), and mature enough to make dough rise. Added to dough, the bacteria and yeast begin the process of fermentation, the result being bread that has a degree of sourness/tanginess, air bubbles, and a tantalizing aroma. Making your sourdough starter at home is very easy, but depending on the temperature of your kitchen it could take a few days or more than a week. Check out this blog post for instructions for making your starter. If you have a friend who is already making sourdough bread, ask them to share their starter so you can get started on this sourdough pizza sooner.
Now that you have your sourdough starter ready, it’s time to bake some incredible pizza. You don’t need a fancy pizza stone, special water, or expensive flour to make this. You will need a kitchen scale, and at least 1 baking sheet––I like using a cast iron baking pan or cast iron skillet best because you can preheat it and achieve a crispier crust, but a regular cooking sheet will do.
Other than that, you’ll need:
- mature sourdough starter
- unbleached all-purpose flour
- pizza toppings
- lots of time
Since sourdough pizza (and sourdough everything) takes a long time, I recommend getting started on your pizza crust at least 3 days before you want to bake it. You could do it sooner, but in the event of any schedule hiccups, 3 days will give you the most flexibility. Another thing I love about sourdough pizza is that the crust freezes well. Watch the video below to watch step-by-step how I make sourdough pizza. Any of the technique I mention in the recipe is demonstrated in the video.
The video was sponsored by Daiya vegan cheese, but you can use any vegan cheese for your sourdough pizza. I happen to be allergic to cashews so my options are limited, and I do love the ease and affordability of Daiya. You could also skip the vegan cheese all together, or make your own.
Yummy Vegan Pizza Toppings
I always make a combination of classic cheese pizza with tomato sauce, a potato pizza with kale, and, since it’s currently fall, my favorite is butternut squash and kale. My other favorite toppings are: mushrooms, garlic, broccoli rabe, artichoke, and olives. Add fresh basil or other soft herbs and greens when the pizza comes out of the oven. Same with finishing extra virgin olive oil, and black pepper.
This recipe comes from Alexandra Cooks. Check out her blog post for more details, and for amazing close-up photos of sourdough pizza. I’ve whittled down the process to include the steps that made the most sense for me, and included the video to show you a simple step-by-step of the process. If you have any questions make sure to watch my video, or visit the Alexandra Cooks blog post. And I implore you, do not be intimidated by sourdough pizza. The process, at least for me, is a lot easier than sourdough bread. As long as you have a mature sourdough starter, a warm kitchen/house, and patience, you will be successful!
If you’re craving pizza right now, and don’t have your sourdough starter ready yet, try my pizza recipe made with store-bought yeast. Or for something a bit more adventurous (yet still delicious), try my cauliflower crust pizza, or black bean crust pizza!
Vegan Sourdough Pizza
Sourdough Pizza Dough
- 375 g water
- 100 g sourdough starter
- 10 g salt
- 500 g all-purpose or bread flour
Marinara Cheese Pizza
- 1 cup seasoned tomato sauce I make my own, or use a jar
- 1 cup vegan mozzarella style cheese
- handful fresh basil (add after pizza
Potato Kale Pizza (or Butternut Squash)
- 1 cup vegan mozzarella style cheese
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1-2 cups sliced yukon potato OR butternut squash must be very thinly sliced
- 3 cups kale torn into chunks
- 1/2 tsp olive oil drizzle on after pizza has cooked
Mix the dough
- In a bowl, combine the water, starter, and salt and stir to break up and sort of dissolve. It doesn't need to be perfectly dissolved.
- Add the flour, and stir until combined. You can use your hands to help, by squeezing the ingredients. It will be extremely sticky.
- Transfer the dough to a greased bowl, and cover with a kitchen towel, and let it rest for 30 minutes.
Fold the dough
- After 30 minutes have passed, use damp hands to stretch and fold the dough about 8 times. Click here to watch how this is done.
- Let the dough rest for 30 minutes, then repeat the stretch and fold 3 more times. 4 times total.
Ferment & Rise
- Now that you've finished the stretch and fold, cover the dough with a kitchen towel and leave it on your counter at room temperature, about 70-75°, for 8-12 hours.
- The dough should rise 50-100% (or double). I let it sit on the counter overnight or at the beginning of the day. Depending on your house it could take more or less time to rise.
- Alexandra Cooks (the blog I took this recipe from) says that she has better structure in dough that has been allowed to rise 50% rather than double. I let mine double and have also had fantastic results.
- Now that your dough has risen, transfer it to a heavily floured workspace. I like to flour my hands before transferring the dough so that it doesn't stick as much.
- Use a bench scraper or a knife to cut the dough into 4 equal portions.
- Next you'll need to shape the dough into tight balls. To do this, fold the bottom of the dough under and spin the dough as you do this. Watch this to see how it's done.
- Line a baking pan with parchment or a cotton tea towel, and sprinkle a bit of whole wheat flour on the surface.
- Transfer the dough balls to the tea towel, and fold the towel to create a divider so that the dough doesn't stick.
- Cover the dough with a plastic bag (I use a clean grocery bag), and twist to close it up.
- Let the dough sit in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours or up to 3 days, after which you can freeze the dough if you don't want to use it right away.
Make your pizza crust
- Take as many dough balls out of the refrigerator as you would like to bake, and set them on a floured workspace.
- Let them come to room temperature for about 1 hour. I have rushed this process with good results. The point of letting it warm up is that it will make it much easier to work with the dough.
- Preheat the oven to 550°, and place your pizza stone or cast iron in the oven while it heats.
- Shape the dough into a round pizza crust, about 10". You can make it thin or thick crust. I always make thin crust.
- Transfer the crust to parchment paper, then top.
- Transfer the pizza on parchment paper to the hot baking vessel, then bake for 6 minutes, or until the crust is golden.
- You can bake more than one pizza at a time if you have enough baking pans.
- Remove from the oven and add your fresh basil, extra virgin olive oil, or other delicate toppings. Let the pizza cool a couple minutes before serving.