I’m told, on good authority, that sourdough pizzas are all the latest rage in London. This site may be all about traditional cooking but you could never accuse Master in the Kitchen of being dated – and so in the spirit of the times I’m sharing a brilliant sourdough recipe. A wood fired oven would be nice – the heat is perfect and produces the nicest, crispiest pizzas. Like the vast majority of us, however, I must make do with a bog-standard electric oven. The good news is – these sourdough pizzas taste great even when baked at home in a standard oven. Conclusion: everyone can bake a first-rate sourdough pizza in their very kitchen. Have no fear. The recipe below makes enough for 4 large pizzas. If that’s too much cut the dough in four and freeze the ones you aren’t going to use. Or if you don’t have a freezer just reduce the ingredients by half.
For the dough
800 gr wheat flour
200 gr rye or whole wheat
1 cup of sourdough starter
600 ml of warm water
1 tbs of sea salt
A good glug of olive oil
For the tomato passata
1 large bottle of tomato passata
3-4 cloves of garlic
A sprig of rosemary
2-3 stems of oregano
Sliced fresh tomatoes
For the toppings
The choice is yours … salamis, olives, parmasan cheese, rocket salad, basil, ham, artichokes, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, red pepper…..
Directions for the dough
In a deep bowl mix the sea salt with the sourdough starter and the warm water. Mix until all the salt has dissolved. Add the wheat flour and rye (or whole wheat) and a good glug of the olive oil. Knead into a dough. Dribble more water in if the dough is too dry – or sprinkle more flour over the dough if it’s too wet. The gluten in the white flour should ensure that the dough kneads in a big pillowy mass. My trick to knowing if the dough is ready: too dry and the dough forms into clumps of flour that won’t hold; too wet and the dough sticks to your kitchen counter and to the hands. It’s just right when the flour holds together in a round mass and comes easily off the surface without sticking.
When you are happy with the consistency of the dough form it into a round and dribble olive oil over the top spreading the oil evenly over the dough to prevent it from drying out. Cover the bowl with a tea-towel and leave to rest in a warm spot for 8-10 hours. As the dough rests the wild yeasts and LABs as well as the enzymes present in your sourdough starter will set about transforming the proteins in the flour into more digestible proteins. They will also help neutralise some of the anti-nutrients present in the rye or whole wheat – leaving you to consume grain that is full of nutrition.
After the resting period knead the dough one more time and then cut the dough into four. Freeze any pieces you don’t need. (Handy for busy days). The easiest way to get the shape you like is to roll the dough out with a rolling pin as thinly as possible and then stretch the dough until it fits the shape of your tin.
Directions for the tomato passata
Pour the tomato passata into a bowl. Chop the garlic and herbs together on a chopping board. Chopping the garlic and herbs together in this manner releases the oils in both the garlic and herbs releasing not only the most amazing armomas but tastes as well.
Stir the crushed garlic and herbs, together with a generous amount of sea salt and pepper into the passata.
With a ladle pour the seasoned passata over the dough. Add the mozzarella (or any cheese) and the sliced fresh tomatoes. Finally, sprinkle a generous amount of olive oil over the whole.
Bake in the oven for 25-30 mins.
I like to add extra toppings over the pizza once the pizza has come out of the oven – salami, olives, freshly grated parmasan, rocket salad, basil etc. I think they taste better fresh than grilled since most of the flavours in basil, salami and olives are altered by the heat. In the case of olives, salamis and parmasan cheese the LABs will survive and you will be eating a full gamut of wild beneficial bacteria. If, however, you have a preference for them cooked then add them to the pizza before you bake but be aware the LABs and enzymes in the fermented foods, as well as the Vitamin C content in fresh vegetables will have been destroyed.
Enjoy the final result.