So it's Friday night and you want some junk food but once again you're broke. It's time to make pizza. This is my sour dough pizza crust.
(NOTE: You must have sour dough starter to make this recipe. Starter is not something you can make right away, but takes about a week to ferment. Suzanne McMinn's post on sour dough starter is a great resource. Chickens in the Road Sour Dough Starter
One tip I would offer to you is that your house must be warm for the yeasties to ferment. I made a batch this winter that didn't work out because my house was too cold. However, if you turn on your oven light, your oven temperature will increase 10-20 degrees F higher than the rest of your house, which is warm enough for the yeast to reproduce.
Start out by proofing your 3/4 tsp (ish) of yeast in 1/3 of a cup of luke warm water with 1/2 a tbsp of sugar. Proofing yeast is the process where the yeast is allowed to "wake up" after it's hibernation in your refrigerator. I always give my yeast warm water and sugar so it has something to eat. You know your yeast is good if after 5 minutes there are bubbles on the surface of your water.
While the yeast is proofing, add 2 cups of flour to your work bowl. I always use whole wheat. You could go half W.W. and half A.P if you want. This is also the time to season your dough. Of course you want about 1 tsp of salt. I also like red pepper flakes for a spicier crust, or oregano for more of an Italian flavor. You can really add whatever you want. Just please don't leave it plain. Pizza crust needs flavor.
Make a dent or well in the middle of your flour and add 1/3 cup of your sour dough starter.
Add your water/ yeast mixture. This week I was trying to make a chewier crust so I added an egg. If you want a crispy crust, leave the egg out.
Finally, forget to add about 2 tbsp of olive oil until you've already started mixing the dough. Or you can be more organized than me and add it right away. Using your big ol' wooden spoon, stir your dough together until you have 90% of the flour incorporated. At this point you'll need to use your hands to work in the last 10% of the flour. And if you have a stand mixer with a dough hook, STFU!
After all of the flour is mixed in, grease your bowl with some cooking spray and add the dough back to the bowl. Rotate the bowl so that the dough rolls around and forms a nice tight ball that is lightly coated in the oil.
Your dough is now ready to rise. Cover the bowl with a damp (not wet or dripping) kitchen towel and put in a warm place to rise. It's not a warm day, so my dough is going in the oven with the light on just like my sour dough starter. In the summer, I'd find a patch of sunshine.
After rising in a warm place for an hour, your dough should be about double in size. It wont be as big if you're just using the W.W. flour. It's harder for the yeast to lift the denser flour. Generously, GENEROUSLY, flour yourself a flat workspace and a rolling pin. I like to let my dough have its second rise on the table, so if I don't use enough flour I will never get it off the table. Roll out your dough.
My dough was between 12 and 13 inches in diameter. I let it rise for 45 minutes.
After the second rise, I folded the dough in half so I could put it on my pizza peel to transport to the oven for it's prebake. If you're going for a crispy crust, you want to crank your oven up to at least 450 and let it completely preheat before adding your crust for about 4 minutes. This is going to give you a cracker like consistency. If you want a truly chewy crust, I'd recommend not prebaking at all. I prebaked this crust at 350 for 4 minutes and it was still crispier than I was craving. Bake it directly on the rack or if you're cooler than me, on your pizza stone.
After you prebake, or not, go ahead and assemble your pizza. I absolutely LOVE the store bought pizza sauce that comes in the glass jar. I heart it with a heart. We had a bacon and onion pizza this night. We were low on possible toppings. But how can you possibly go wrong with bacon? You can't.
Happy Friday dinner!