Welcome to pizza week! It starts with making Petrie’s first sourdough pizza base and will continue over the coming week with delicious pizza toppings. There will be the traditional toppings like margarita, as well as more unusual ones like kale and artichoke heart (a personal fave) and a few meaty ones too. Friends and I are having a pizza night later this week and I look forward seeing what topping combos we create after a few wines – I’ll let you know!I am very fond of pizza. Unfortunately it is a rare occasion that I can indulge myself as I am intolerant to commercial bakers yeast and therefore pizza dough.
My friend’s mum just finished constructing her own outdoor pizza oven. I planned to visit her for Easter and was very keen to test out the new oven. This would, however, require sourdough pizza dough.To make my own dough I would need a sourdough starter, which I did not have. With high hopes I headed to a couple local bakeries which I knew made sourdough bread to enquire about buying unbaked sourdough bread.
Unfortunately it was at this point I learnt that they add commercial bakers yeast to their sourdough to speed up the process. I was about to face the sad reality that I would not be able to test out the pizza oven, when the final bakery I visited, Dobinsons, offered to give me some of their sourdough starter. Amazing! This gesture made my day.
A sourdough starter is like a pet – you need to care for it and feed it, I named my starter Petrie. I used half to make the dough and fed the rest to use in other sourdough baking, such as Sourdough Bread and Sourdough Crumpets.
There is debate in the online community about the difference between bread dough and pizza dough. In regard to recipes there are so many variations of each pizza and bread dough that there really is little difference, except that pizza dough always seems to have olive oil as an ingredient.
I made my pizza dough a few days in advance and stored it in an airtight container in the fridge. Storing it in the fridge will delay the proving process and enable you to keep it for up to seven days. You could use a little bit each day and have fresh pizza for a whole week!
My dough doubled in size in the few days it was in the fridge. Before using the dough my friend kneaded it and left it out to prove for about three hours, before rolling.
It was the first time the pizza oven had been used and upon lighting my friend became concerned that it would not reach the required temperatures to bake the pizzas. To insure against going hungry we pre-baked most of the bases.
Lessons learnt: pre-baking pizza bases is a great idea and from now on I will always do this. You will get a clearly defined crust and you are guaranteed the base will be cooked through. No one wants a soggy par-baked pizza base!
We made five pizzas on this occasion – margarita, mushroom, ham & kale, antipasto and kale & artichoke.
Ingredients: 1 1/4C sourdough starter, 1 1/4C flour, 2t salt, 3T olive oil
Equipment: bowl, electric bread hooks, oven/pizza tray
- mix the sourdough starter and olive oil
- Add the flour and salt, use the bread hooks to knead (or knead by hand) until smooth and glossy
- Prove the dough
- Roll out to fit your pizza tray and pre-bake