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Sourdough crust

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  • Sourdough crust

    I am falling deeply, deeply in love with a higher hydration, scant kneading, stretch and fold sourdough for pizza skins.
    I have sworn by the conventional yeast FB recipe dough and I do think for a quick dough it produces a fantastic result, but what I've done with sourdough the last couple of parties is just outta the park with the most amazing extensibility, tenderness and oven spring. INCREDIBLE oven spring.

    The following is an adaptation of the "standard" FB recipe using techniques borrowed from Reinhardt and our FB resident sourdough pro texassourdough(Jay).

    Splatgirl's sourdough pizza dough
    ~75g. of lively, 100% hydration starter (use more if you want shorter rise time)
    500g. bread flour (I use King Arthur)
    325-400g water (more is better but less makes for easier handling. gives a great result either way. for reference, the full amount = ~82% hydration)
    10g. salt

    Combine flour, starter and water and stir to hydrate. Let sit for 20 minutes. Add salt and knead for ~3 minutes or until dough has started to come together and smooth out a bit.
    Dump onto wet or oiled counter and cover with oiled cling wrap
    Using a wet dough scraper and wet hands, do a stretch and fold on each of the four sides of the dough blob (ala Reinhardt) every 10 or 15 minutes for 1 hour.
    Cover and let sit for 1-2 hours at room temp, then do another stretch and fold and immediately portion into pizza weight balls (I like ~230g. and find that with this recipe I can use a smaller amount of dough than for a same-sized IDY dough pizza)
    Depending on the vigor of your starter, let the dough portions sit at room temp 3 or 4 hours until risen by ~1/3 or so, then stash in the fridge overnight or until ready to use. Let warm up a bit before stretching into rounds. They should have doubled or more by the time of use.

    This recipe just seems to work better and give more flexibility for doing a day or more fact it seems to get better vs. IDY dough that I did not like to work with next-day, forgetabout day two or three when it becomes an unruly mess and gets funky tasting. The oven spring is FABULOUS and gives a super light, fluffy crust. Even the dough rounds that I let the kids smash and abuse the heck out of bake up looking and tasting fabulous.

    If I can tear myself away from this recipe for a minute, I am going to apply the same short knead, stretch and fold to the yeasted version and see if the results are similar.

  • #2
    Re: Sourdough crust

    I was wondering of you could help me out. I also have been using a sourdough yeast in my dough but with not as good a result as you desribe. I'll try your recipe but have a question: when use take your yeast culture from the refrigerator do you 'restart' it or use it cold? I've been restarting it and it seems to be a real pain. The process takes anywhere from 2 hours to 12 hours (or more) depending on how long its been cold.


    • #3
      Re: Sourdough crust

      Hi Splat!

      Thanks for giving me credit whether I deserve it or not!

      Sounds good! With really wet dough like this the amount you mix it is pretty arbitrary for you can't overwork it - it is too wet. I have been creeping into the higher hydration range also (though 74-5 percent has been about as high as I have gone on pizza dough. Mix to ragged dough, then mix some more (just to make the hydration uniform) followed by rests and folds is all you need. What you are really doing is making ciabatta range hydration pizza dough. The biggest trick is its stickyness.

      One of the reasons I have stayed a bit lower is that I am using trays for dough and the wetter doughs are harder to keep from forming a puddle in the bottom of the tray. I have also been mixing harder to get the dough to come together enough to give a little more dough ball integrity (and not run together). But I have been only partially successful. (That is where I start getting jealous of the spiral mixers. They can make dough that is shockingly not sticky without the overworking issues.)

      Thanks for sharing! I will try the recipe this weekend for ciabatta! (and maybe make a few pizza balls as well!



      • #4
        Re: Sourdough crust

        Yo Jay
        I think for me, what I needed to get comfortable with was the comparative UNDERWORKING, and the realization that less is better vs. the 8 or 9 minutes of kneading that I had been doing with the IDY dough.
        Like I said, I intend to apply the same technique to the IDY version and see if the results are similar. My guess is no. There seems to be something about the way a sourdough interacts with the process of gluten development that is different from commercial yeast.

        I know it's less practical, but after trial and error one thing I am 100% wedded to for successful pizza round shaping is portioning the dough into individual containers and then dumping directly from those into a bowl of flour, knocking off the excess and shaping. Reliably stick-free, gorgeous rounds with just the barest rub of flour on the peel and none of the headache of handling and trying to shape a super wet dough.
        I've amassed a slew of small plastic bowls, but I think a couple of jumbo muffin tins would be a good multi-tasking alternative.


        • #5
          Re: Sourdough crust

          I agree! IDY will not give the same result.

          It is amazing how much a little (lot) of flour will do to make a dough manageable. And if you slap the dough round back and forth a few times almost no extra sticks but it will remain much more manageable!!! Would love to make pies with you someday! Everyone would eat well! )


          • #6
            Re: Sourdough crust

            Love, rebellion, good food, slapping, headache, wedding and a Dr/Scientist ... hmmm all the makings of a good novel!!!
            / Rossco


            • #7
              Re: Sourdough crust

              Splatgirl - this sounds like a fun recipe that I'll have to try. I've been neglecting my starter of late so I'll have to revive it and give this a spin.

              Do you happen to have any pictures of finished pizzas that you could post?



              • #8
                Re: Sourdough crust

                No but I promise I will get some next time. Big parties are when I try and do a couple of different dough recipes for comparison but I'm also the solo prep chef and pizzaiolo so it's hard to get my act together (and my hands clean enough) for photos.


                • #9
                  Re: Sourdough crust

                  Ha! Yeah, it's the same at my house. I'm a one man show. I'm usually racing to do everything so I can sit down to eat with everyone.

                  Anyhow, thanks for the recipe. I'll give it a try!


                  • #10
                    Re: Sourdough crust

                    Not having any sourdough I tried it with yeast, in my barbecue, no WFO yet.

                    The best pizza I've made so far, with the little knowledge, and tools at my disposal.
                    Thanks for the recipe Splatgirl. I altered it a little I used 74% hydration and 12% whole wheat that I grind myself, with 10% olive oil to the dough to help with the lower heat I need to deal with my pizza stone oven setup. I've never done sourdough yet, I need to learn how to make a starter. I'm new to all this baking stuff... I also made a loaf of bread in a Pyrex container in the barbecue.

                    I've learned a lot reading this forum, and hope to learn more, as I experiment with the great ideas you all are so wonderful to share.

                    Thanks again
                    Last edited by Fish Wheels; 04-20-2010, 07:54 PM.
                    I would have a shot at the answer, if I had the appropriate question.


                    • #11
                      Re: Sourdough crust

                      Looks really nice - well done!!
                      / Rossco


                      • #12
                        Re: Sourdough crust

                        Hi Big Phil. For some reason your post is just showing up now..., so apologies if this is late.
                        I typically use/feed my starter straight from the fridge, but it sees fairly heavy use every week and thus is quite active. If you're having an issue with excessively long proof times, you probably just need to refresh your starter more frequently. Also make sure you're feeding it enough relative to the amount you start with. I typically use all but the scrapings from my jar when I do my weekly bake and then add a minimum of 100g flour back to the jar, so I'd guess that is around a 4x expansion by weight. IMO, what is more important is after feeding, let it sit out on the counter until it has peaked before putting it back into the fridge.

                        So say tomorrow I bake or make pizza dough. Tonight I will pull my starter from fridge and either add all the starter to make a pre-dough/soaker with a portion of the flours and water from the recipe I'm using, or I'll do another 4x expansion to get enough starter to use in multiple recipes/batches. Either way, it will have peaked again by the a.m. and my final dough will be ready to bake off or retard in the fridge by afternoon.


                        • #13
                          Re: Sourdough crust

                          Hi Big Phil!

                          Sourdough should go through a double expansion for most purposes. The first expansion gets it at peak performance and the second expansion is for the final dough (and yes there can be a third or fourth expansion but the volume of dough will grow amazingly!).

                          It sounds like you have tried to do sourdough in one shot. While that might reasonably work if you use a LOT of starter that is not really the best answer for you would have to keep a lot of it and it would never be at peak performance so you would not get a good rise. The double expansion is a normal sourdough activity. If two expansions are too much trouble then I would suggest simply using conventional recipes with instant dried yeast (IDY). Either the flavor is worth the trouble or it is not, so you do it or you don't, but that is a personal decision. While you may get similar flavor in with a large shot of starter you will be unlikely to get good, consistent texture. The easier way out is to use a good IDY formula. Very predictable. Great texture. And with an overnight retard the flavor is really good.

                          And note: while Splatgirl says she uses her starter straight from the refrigerator (me too), she uses it in the first expansion which goes overnight. The second expansion is done in the morning.

                          Good Luck!


                          • #14
                            Re: Sourdough crust

                            Hi Splatgirl,

                            After reading your posting, I'm determined to give sourdough crust a try. Where did you get your starter from? What is the difference between using bread flour vs. caputo flour in your dough?

                            I'm really wanting to get a great oven spring as well a nice, crackly blistering of the crust (similar to what you'd find great sourdough bread). To me, the sourdough flavor is secondary to the texture of the crust and crumb. I have a wood fired oven that I plan to bake these in. Do you typically spritz your oven with water when cooking your sourdough pizzas?

                            I recently ate at Pizzeria Mozza in LA and fell in love...

                            fennel sausage pizza, the best! | Yelp

                            Any advice would be greatly appreciated!



                            • #15
                              Re: Sourdough crust

                              Hi Sue
                              I birthed my starter from scratch. I had failed at the plain water and flour method of cultivation a couple of years ago, so I went with a variation on one of the techniques I read about and just plunked a (organic) raisin into a flour/water mixture and had activity within a couple of days. After that I just fed, fed, fed.

                              I have only ever used about 10# of Caputo but I found that I prefer King Arthur bread flour for flavor. Of course this is completely personal but that plus the accessibility and price factors make KA a win for me. I believe that recipe and how the dough is mixed and handled is a bigger factor than flour. Likewise oven heat management. Any old AP or bread flour if well mixed and handled and baked will make a crust that is superior to a poorly managed Caputo dough.

                              Spritzing the oven is not typically done for pizza. You wouldn't/shouldn't have time!
                              Great oven spring, big crackly bubbles and that perfect char are all about dough hydration, handling and oven heat. With practice, you will be able to get something that is on par with the best VPN style pizzas out there. That said, VPN style pizza crust, whether it be sourdough or IDY-based, is nothing like the crust on a good sourdough bread, IMO. Bread (partly because of that spritzing with water) has a thicker, chewier crust that is the result of gelatinization of the starches on the outside which you can't really get with the super hot, fast cook of a WFO pizza.

                              And just so we're clear, on-par with VPN was NOT what I was pulling out of my WFO on my first few-or several-attempts. Getting tuned in to pizza dough and WFO cookery takes practice, even if you're already an experienced bread maker or indoor pizza chef.

                              IME-based on what I've learned by doing and from books- the strength of the sour flavor of any sourdough bread product has much more to do with how the dough is handled and built than it does the starter itself. Since you say you don't care as much about the flavor, that makes it easier but... the characteristics you say you desire are not sourdough-centric by any means. You can get all of that with a yeast dough faster and easier.

                              Learning the rhythms of sourdough baking adds a whole nuther HUGE layer of complexity to the subject of dough. I don't want to discourage you, but IMO there are enough minute variables with pizza dough as it is. Swap sourdough into your repertoire once you've honed your yeast dough formula and skills. Besides, you'll need something to do while you grow your sourdough baby anyway, right?