Sourdough Pizza

Making sourdough is a favorite pastime for many, but within the last few weeks thousands more have joined the club, as yeast is suddenly hard to find on the grocery store shelves. We here at Breadin5 have been making sourdough for years, and while we have a post on our Easy Sourdough Starter, we realized there are many more things to make with our no-knead bread method. We had some requests for a sourdough pizza crust, and we are delivering (pun intended).

We know that flour is also scarce, and the bread flour called for below may not be available to you right now. Since different types of flours have different protein levels (and this of course effects the recipe), we have included a video on mixing flour and adding more water if necessary. If you need help finding flour, good places to look are local bakeries (they sometimes will sell flour to customers), and restaurant supply stores. You can also check out Baker’s Field Flour & Bread – they are local to Minneapolis, but ship nationwide.

Finally, if you are interested in all things sourdough, check out this article on the scientists who revived yeast microbes from 4,500 years ago to make a loaf of bread.

Sourdough Pizza

Note: You’re going to need a sourdough starter. If you haven’t started one yet, please check out our post for Easy Sourdough Starter. Our method uses whole wheat flour, but I used bread flour (same proportions) in mine for the pizza.

Flour has different protein contents depending on the type and brand, which can effect how much water to use. If you mix your dough and it seems dry, more water can be added. We have included a video below of Zoë mixing up a batch of dough so you can see how your dough should look, and add water accordingly.

We have instructions in our Healthy Bread in Five Book for ‘semi’ sourdough – using some of the starter along with yeast to give a milder sourdough flavor. Check out page 390 for details.

Extra dough can be portioned into 10-ounce balls and frozen, if desired. Wrap each ball in plastic wrap, and then place in a freezer safe bag. Dough can be pulled out the night before using and thawed in the refrigerator overnight.

If you need extra help rolling out pizza dough and transporting it to the oven, there is a video at the very end where Zoe shows you how to do so.

2 cups lukewarm water (see note above)

3 cups activated levain (sourdough starter)

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1/8 cup olive oil

6 cups [840 g] bread flour

Mix the water, activated levain, salt, sugar, and olive oil together in 5-quart container or the bowl of a stand mixer.

Mix in the flour with a Danish dough whisk or a heavy duty stand mixer. Cover (not airtight) and allow it to rest at room temperature until the dough rises, two hours or more (sourdough can take a lot longer to rise than commercial yeast. I let mine rise for 4 hours at room temperature, then moved it to the fridge overnight, where it continued to do a slow rise).

If your dough looks dry (which may happen depending on what type of flour you are using) you can add more water. Zoë demonstrates how your dough should look in the video below:

The dough can be used immediately after it’s initial rise, though it is easier to handle when cold. Refrigerate it in a lidded (not airtight) container and use for pizza over the next few days.

Preheat a baking stone at your oven’s highest temperature for at least 30 minutes. Sprinkle a pizza peel liberally with flour. Dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and cut off a 10-ounce piece. Dust it with more flour and quickly shape it into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter turn as you go. Cover the dough with a piece of plastic wrap or kitchen towel, and let rest for 20 minutes.

Flatten the dough with your hands and/or a rolling pin on a work surface, or directly onto a wooden pizza peel, to produce a 1/8-inch thick round. (You can also put it on a piece of parchment paper for ease. Note that your crust won’t brown as nicely if doing so! Parchment is shown in the photos below because I needed to move the pizza around to take photos. Also, my kids prefer a lighter crust. But if you want a dark crust, use a pizza peel.) Dust with flour to keep the dough from adhering to the surface. Use a dough scraper to unstick the dough as needed, and transfer to a pizza peel if you haven’t stretched the dough out on one already. When you’re finished, the dough round should have enough flour under it to move easily when you shake the peel.

Add toppings to your pizza (I kept mine simple: sauce and cheese, with a scattering of basil leaves after the pizza emerged from the oven). Slide the pizza onto the preheated stone. Check for doneness in 8 to 10 minutes, and turn the pizza around in the oven if one side is browning faster than the other. I took my pizza out earlier for a lighter crust (my kids’ preference), but you can take your crust as dark as you like.

Allow to cool slightly, preferably on a wire cooling rack. Cut into wedges and serve.

Watch Zoë roll out pizza dough here (you can find the full video on Instagram):

You can also do cracker-crust pizza with this dough, or any of our lean doughs.

Thanks EveryDayCheapskate.com: great review of “New Artisan” and, an Artisan Baker’s Gift Basket…

Mary Hunt blogs at EveryDayCheapskate.com, and she’s put up a marvelous review of “The New Artisan Bread…” When you visit, scroll down and you’ll see the holiday gift basket she’s put together, plus some very kind words:

“I may as well be president of the Artisan-In-Five fan club. for how this book and its method changed my life…”

Mary Hunt, EveryDayCheapskate.com

Thanks Mary!

Epicurious names “The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day” as one of the greatest cookbooks of all time

NewArtisan is 1 of greatest

We are insanely flattered. Epicurious.com, which is the food website of Conde Nast, publisher of Bon Appetit and the late, lamented Gourmet, has named The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day as one of the 53 greatest cookbooks of all time. That’s our book in their picture, right in the middle of some very exhalted company. Bakers like Dorie Greenspan, Julia Child, Peter Reinhart. We’re hyperventilating. Thanks for the shout-out, Epicurious:

“We were surpised that more baking books weren’t nominated… all the baking frontrunners are bread books. The panel’s  favorites were Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois, and The Bread Baker’s Apprentice, by Peter Reinhart.”

For more, click on Epicurious.com, in “The Hunt for the Greatest Cookbooks of All Time”

Thanks Dorie!

Dorie Greenspan endorsement on book jacket

Zoe met world-famous baker and cookbook author Dorie Greenspan a few years back when she was in New York to tape a segment for the Cooking Channel, on the Kelsey Nixon Show. We’re both huge fans of Dorie’s so we were thrilled when Dorie endorsed The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day for the back cover.

“Every step of Zoe and Jeff’s adventures in bread has been fascinating and delicious for us, the home bread bakers who follow them, but this book may be their most exciting yet, because they’ve incorporated years of readers’ questions, problems, and discoveries into every chapter…truly the all-you’ve-ever-wanted-to-know edition. And there are plenty of photographs… at last!”

Dorie Greenspan, James Beard Award-winning author of Around my French Table

Thanks Dorie!

Beautiful Day, and a Pizza Recipe, at the 3rd Annual Minneapolis Bread Festival

The pie

1-Beautiful pie

2-Zucchini, thinly sliced
This past Saturday, we had another opportunity to demo our pizzas and flatbreads at the 3rd-annual Minneapolis Bread Festival and Baking Contest at the historic Mill City Market in downtown Minneapolis. It was a beautiful day, and the pizzas came out great. Our request for the organizers: just get whatever’s fresh and beautiful. Here’s the result (most of these beautiful photographs are courtesy of the Mill City Times). Read on for a pizza recipe, pizza tips, and some beautiful shots from a beautiful day, or check out our entire book on pizza, Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in Five Minutes a Day. (more…)