I was going to start by saying if you don’t like pizza, you’re not a friend of mine. Having thought about that for a second, though, if you don’t like pizza than I can eat your pizza. So sure, we can be friends. I’ll just probably wonder what’s wrong with you.
Generally speaking, I have found that most people have a strong affinity for dough, sauce, cheese, and toppings, myself included. Pizza and I go way back. From English muffin pizza birthday parties, to personal pan pizzas from Book-It (a sweet reading program where books read earned you points towards PPPs from pizza hut – I read A LOT), to late night/early morning college pizzas (sure, this stopped after college, definitely), to a perfect Neapolitan-style pie in Tokyo, pizza earns an award for being one of the longest relationships in my life. And we’re quite happy thank you very much.
The inspiration for this recipe came from my favorite family meal we’d have at Ristorante Coltibuono. After culinary school, I staged in a restaurant in the Chianti region of Tuscany. It was a once in a lifetime experience and I left with some fantastic memories and kitchen pointers including: pan pizza is a delicious and easy meal.
What better way to feed a crowd, or treat yourself, than to throw down a sheet pan of dough and let people put whatever they want on their own, personal section. Don’t like anchovies? Not a problem, they’re only on my square. Please keep your pineapple on your side of the line, boundaries are there for a reason. Everyone gets to be creative and, who knows, maybe you’ll be inspired to try something new.
My recipe calls for sourdough starter instead of active dry yeast. Starters have a nasty reputation for being a bit dramatic and volatile and that just couldn’t be further from the truth. I’ve had Blair Waldorf for eight years now and if I’ve managed to keep her alive, you can too. (If you live in the area, I’m happy to share some of her with you.) Just like people, starters need to be fed so they don’t get hangry. Incorporating a weekly batch of pizza dough into your world is a perfect way to keep all loved ones, humans and science projects alike, happy and well fed.
Another twist, this recipe is done by weight. Believe it or not, weighing ingredients is actually easier than measuring, you get a consistent product, and it allows for less human error. Kitchen scales are relatively inexpensive and incredibly handy. I recommend picking one up if you don’t already have one.
Finally, sourdough takes a little planning ahead as this dough requires about 10 hours to rise. The great thing is, you don’t have to sit around and wait for it. I’ve added some scenarios below to help with your timing.
Now, get your pizza party on!
Sourdough Pizza Dough
(makes one full sheet pan or four thin crust 10’ pizzas – feeds 2-4)
- 200 g bubbly starter
- 250 g tepid water
- 50 g whole wheat flour
- 400 g all-purpose flour
- 10 g olive oil
- 10 g kosher salt
I like to weigh everything in the bowl of my mixer. Start with the starter and water, stir to combine. Add flours, olive oil, salt and mix on medium with dough hook attachment until all ingredients are incorporated. This is a wet dough so don’t be alarmed by the stickiness. With damp hands, shape dough into ball, cover with a damp paper towel and a dish towel, then allow to rise until double in size, about 8-12 hours.
- If you mix this dough the night before your pizza party and allow to rise overnight, cover with plastic wrap and put in fridge, allowing dough to come to room temp for an hour before proceeding with next steps. (Once risen, dough can also live in fridge for 1-2 days.)
- If you mix this the morning of your pizza party, well done you, guess you got up early.
- Preheat oven to 450F or 425F convection.
- Stretch dough onto well-oiled sheet pan. (If dough is still a bit cold from fridge, you may need to stretch it twice, leaving 20 min or so in between to allow the gluten to rest.)
- Add whatever toppings you desire.
- Bake for 25-30 min, rotating pan halfway through cooking.
- Cool for 5 min, cut, eat.
If you’re making round pizzas, divide risen dough into four balls. Roll out dough to 10” circles on well-floured table with well-floured rolling pin. Bake for 10-12 min or desired level of doneness. Or, if you have an amazing friend with a fun Pronto pizza oven, bring your dough over to their house and have a party with them.