Saturday, August 29, 2015

Herbed Sourdough Pizza Dough

Is there a person who doesn't love pizza? The idea of a topped flatbread is so appealing that it spans cultures, generations and dietary preferences, leading to regional "standard" favourites like Chicago deep-dish and blistered, cracker-thin Neapolitan as well as international variations on the theme like Turkish pide, German flammkuchen, and Macedonian pastrmajlija. Here at home - especially at my house - the more or less traditional Italian style of pizza takes precedence, but it's more often enjoyed via a phone call to the local delivery guys. My stepbrother, however, discovered the delights of homemade pizza and from what I hear has since been making some fabulous ones for himself and his wife. After tasting one of these, my mom started talking about the possibilities of homemade pizza too - especially now that she's retired and getting back into the foodie scene. All she needed was a recipe!

Sourdough Pizza Crust

Luckily, I had a few options that I was keen on trying out, from the sweeter Dessert Pizza crust I shared a few weeks back to a re-tooling of the Higher Protein Pizza Dough, a crispy semolina and spelt base (riffed from this one) and even a recipe touted as the key to "Light-as-Air" Pizza. In the end, though, the need to both use up some sourdough toss-off and make a larger batch of dough to account for my Summer Camp group brought me to KAF's Sourdough Pizza Crust, and I have to say the results tasted better than any other pizza dough I've had. As sourdough lovers, both Mom and I were easily drawn to the tangy, yeasty aroma the dough had as it was rising and, later, par-baking. I wound up freezing half a batch for later, since Mom declared she could eat the whole pizza herself as well as the leftover crusts! That said, the dough both freezes and thaws perfectly, and the ability of it to slowly thaw and rise in the fridge afterwards, in my opinion, improves the flavour even more.

Herbed Sourdough Pizza Dough
Makes 2 thin crusts or 1 thick crust 
Sourdough Pizza Crust1 cup sourdough starter, unfed (straight from the fridge)
½ cup warm tap water
1 cup flour
2 cups whole wheat bread flour
2 tbsp soy flour
½ cup semolina
1 tsp salt
1 tsp instant yeast
½ tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried oregano (or Italian seasoning)
1 tsp fresh thyme
  1. In a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, mix all the ingredients to combine.
  2. Increase the speed to medium and knead 8 minutes, until smooth and slightly sticky.
  3. Place in a lightly greased container, cover and let rise until doubled - about 1 - 1 ½ hours.
Assembly:

For two round, super-thin crust pizzas:
  1. Drizzle two 12" round pizza pans with olive oil, tilting the pans to coat the bottom. Sprinkle generously with cornmeal.
  2. Punch down the dough and divide in half, cover and let rest 15 minutes.
  3. With a rolling pin, begin flattening the dough into a round, always starting from the centre of the ball and moving outwards.
  4. When the dough starts to shrink back, cover and let it rest again for 15 minutes, then place in the prepared pan and finish by pressing the dough to the edges of the pans.
  5. Cover and let rest 30 minutes. 
  6. If freezing dough, wrap in plastic, then foil and store in a freezer bag up to 6 months. Unwrap and thaw in the fridge before proceeding.
For one thick crust pizza:
  1. Drizzle olive oil into a rimmed 10" x 15" cookie sheet or a 14" round pizza pan, tilting the pan to coat with the oil. Sprinkle generously with cornmeal.
  2. Punch down the dough and shape into a flattened disk.
  3. Place in the pan, cover and let it rest for 15 minutes.
  4. Push the dough towards the edges of the pan. If it starts to shrink back, re-cover and let it rest for 15 minutes before proceeding.
  5. Cover and let rise for 1 hour, or until desired thickness is reached.
Baking:
  1. Heat your oven to 450°F.
  2. For thin crusts, par-bake the dough for 4 minutes, then top and bake for an additional 8 to 10 minutes.
  3. For a thicker crust, par-bake the crust for 8 minutes before topping. Top and bake 10 minutes longer.
To Freeze:
  1. Par-bake the crust(s) as described above and cool completely.
  2. Wrap in plastic, then foil, and freeze up to 2 months. Thaw completely before proceeding.
Amount Per Whole Recipe
Calories: 1,813.5
Total Fat: 7.9 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 20.8 mg
Total Carbs: 378.7 g
Dietary Fiber: 45.4 g
Protein: 70.4 g

Sourdough Pizza Crust