Your Questions About Sourdough Pizza Crust

Donald asks…

difference between sourdough pizza and normal pizza?

i was thinking about making pizza and was looking up recipes online. i was just wondering what the difference between sourdough pizza and just normal pizza dough was.
is one softer than the other?

sourdough answers:

Sour dough has sourdough culture in it and would be a tangy and chewier crust.

Lizzie asks…

Does anyone have a Rye pizza crust recipe?

My boyfriend is allergic to yeast. He can only eat rye bread and I’ve been trying to find a recipe for rye pizza crust that doesn’t contain yeast and I haven’t had any luck so far. Can anyone help me?

sourdough answers:

Rye crust veggie pizza

250 g + 150 g fine rye flour
100 ml tepid water
2 tbsp sourdough starter
2 tsp ground coriander

50 g young green peas
50 g spinach
50 g grated root celery
50 g stalk celery
1 small carrot, grated
10 small brussels´sprouts
100 g mozzarella
2 tsp chopped fresh sage
2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
100 g tomato paste
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground pepper mix (rosé + white + green)

1. Mix the first part of flour and tepid water, add the sourdough starter (see my sourdough bread recipe for that or go borrow from a baker). Let stand overnight. Add enough flour to make a really thick dough. Let stand for at least overnight in the fridge, better, if a few days.
2. Roll out the dough on the table and then press inside a shallow pan. Let is rise for an hour in a warm place, make 6 cuts over the crust so the pizza will be easier to decide into slices later. Then bake in amedium heat oven for 20 minutes.
3. Cook the spinach in butter and a bit of salted water until soft. Add the carrots, sprouts and celery, slightly heat them and let cool. Pour on the pizza crust. Add the peas, tomato paste (you can heat the tomato paste first with some soy oil tom make it less sour); crumble the mozzarella cheese on top and season with the herbs, salt and pepper.
4. Bake in the oven in about 180 C for an hour. It takes longer than the ordinary pizza cause rye dough cooks more slowly. If you think the crust may burn from the bottom, put another baking plate underneath the pan. Eat warm or pack away in the fridge to take a piece along to a lecture or something.
New York Reuben Pizza

Rye Crust:
1-1/4 to 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup rye flour
1 envelope Fleischmann’s Pizza Crust Yeast
1 teaspoon Spice Islands Caraway Seed
1 teaspoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup very warm water (120° to 130°F)*
1 tablespoon oil

1/2 cup 1000 Island salad dressing
1 cup sauerkraut
4 packages (2 ounces each) thinly sliced corned beef
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Swiss cheese
Dill pickles spears, optional

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Combine 1 cup all-purpose flour, rye flour, undissolved yeast, caraway seed, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Add very warm water and oil; mix until well blended, about 1 minute. Gradually add enough remaining flour to make a soft dough. Dough should form a ball and will be slightly sticky. Knead** on a floured surface, adding additional flour if necessary, until smooth and elastic, about 4 minutes. Cover and let rest on floured surface while preparing fillings.

Rinse sauerkraut with water thoroughly. Drain and pat dry with paper toweling; set aside. Chop corned beef; set aside.

Pat dough with floured hands to fill greased pizza pan or baking sheet. OR roll dough on a floured counter to a 12-inch circle; place in greased pizza pan or baking sheet. Form a rim by pinching the edge of the dough.

Spread salad dressing evenly over crust. Sprinkle sauerkraut and corned beef over dressing. Top with Swiss cheese. If desired, cut dill pickle spears into thin spears and use to garnish top of pizza.

Bake on lowest rack for 12 to 15 minutes, until cheese is bubbly and crust is lightly browned.

*If you don’t have a thermometer, water should feel very warm to the touch.

**To knead the dough, add just enough flour to the dough and your hands to keep the dough from sticking. Flatten dough and fold it toward you.Using the heels of your hands, push the dough away with a rolling motion. Rotate dough a quarter turn and repeat the “fold, push and turn” steps. Keep kneading dough until it is smooth and elastic. Use a little more flour if dough becomes too sticky, always working the flour into the ball of dough.

George asks…

I was given some sourdough starter. How do I ‘feed’ it and how do I maintain it so it won’t go bad?

I’ve looked on-line for “tips” and recipies but am not satisfied with what I’ve found. I just want to know the best way to maintain and feed this sourdough. Does anyone here have experience baking with sourdough? Is there anyone that knows how the Hungarian bakers made their breads? I don’t remember my aunt using sourdough in her bread making…
I’d appreciate your comments and help.
E. Farkas

sourdough answers:

8. To feed starter:

• Some people feel that any off-colored liquid that has surfaced on the starter should be poured off. I feel that If the liquid is not overly discolored, it is not necessary to pour it off.

• Use tap water as long as it is non-“softened water” or if in doubt of your waters contents, use filtered spring water.

• Use a good unbleached, organic and if possible un-bromated medium bread flour in approximately equal amounts that equal at least 50% of the starter itself. Mix well but do not over mix enough to develop any gluten structure in the flour.

• Stir the flour and water in with a plastic or wooden implement that has been cleaned with boiling water or use disposable chopsticks as a safe alternative.

9. Feeding the starter for use:

A. Normally the starter should be brought out of refrigerator at least 48 hours before it is needed for baking. Start feeding starter approximately equal portions of the water and flour by weight. Stir down starter after feeding and place in a warmer area in the room at least 80 degrees F but preferably 85 degrees F. And feed starter again when the bubbles on the sides of the container are uniform in size from top to bottom, this will be approximately every 5 to 10 hours depending on room temperature, activity level of the starter and weather conditions.

Continue this procedure until desired quantity is achieved. The important feeding is the last one approximately 5 to 6 hours before use. This feeding must consist of more flour than water so that the starter becomes the consistency of very thick apple sauce. The starter should be as thick as you can stir with a chopstick. The last feeding, allow the bubbles to form in a uniform pattern through out the starter before use.

B. In the case of a “sponge and dough” formula, a starter can be used straight from the refrigerator up to 50% of the sponge weight itself, and placed in with a sponge and let sit for the 10 to 12 hours before being placed in the dough portion of the formula with possibly only the salt to be looked at ( to bring the salt into the minimum 1% and Maximum 2% range) and maybe the % should be raised, other adjustments such as the deletion of the yeast, need not be made. This method enhances the flavor of the sponge and add to the shelf life of the finished loaf.

C. Starter is sometimes used as a flavor only such as in crackers or pizza crust. When used as a flavor it is used directly from the refrigerator or from a room temperature multiple fed starter but placed in the formula and baked within a 2 to 4 hour period. In this application it is being used as a sponge.

10. Always feed un used starter once more before returning it to the refrigerator and allow 15 to 30 minutes at room temperature after feeding before returning starter container to the refrigerator, this acts as a sugar fuel to the starter. The starter does not really stop its fermentation activity when refrigerated but just becomes slower. In fact one should check the starter container every few days while in the refrigerator to make sure the lid remains on the starter, burping lid if necessary.

11. Keep refrigerated at 35 to 39°F (1.6 to 3.8°C) when not in use.

David asks…

Making pizza at home what is the best crust?

I make my pizza at home because I do not like store bought pizza‘s they are hard and too crusty. However crust like Pizza Hut and Dominos are good, but what is it that makes them so good that cannot be made at home. I know its thier secret recipe but geeze theres gotta be something that is close to it. I’ve tried several but they all come out too tough or hard too thick or something. Help!

sourdough answers:

When I make pizza at home, I usually use a sourdough bread recipe, I just knead the dough more.

HOWEVER, if you like a pizza crust a lot at a pizza place (or a bakery or bread store), just go to the manager of that store and ask to buy the dough. They’ll sell it to you! Then take it home and cook it up!

Mary asks…

What is the best homemade pizza crust recipe?

Please actually give recipes, and I don’t have access to random cookbooks.

sourdough answers:

Basic Pizza Crust

Yields: 3 pounds of Dough


1 tablespoon dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 2/3 cups warm water
2 tablespoons olive oil
7 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup whole-wheat or rye flour
1 tablespoon coarse salt or 2 teaspoons fine salt
Proof the yeast for 5 to 10 minutes in 1 cup of warm water and a pinch of sugar, until the yeast dissolves and the liquid begins to appear creamy.

Add the remaining water and 1 1/2 to 2 cups flour, including the whole-wheat or rye flour. Beat this well (a hundred strokes) until it’s smooth and soupy, and then let it stand for 10 to 15 minutes, until it’s bubbly and swollen. Add the salt and olive oil and proceed to stir in the rest of the flour by the cupful until the dough is stiff but still slightly sticky. Tip: Stir the dough in the same direction so that the gluten strands retain a smooth, consistent pattern.

When the dough begins to form a cohesive mass that’s thick enough to hold its shape, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and let it rest. Meanwhile, clean and oil the bowl. Knead the dough, turning it clockwise by quarter turns and sprinkling a little flour on top and on the surface underneath before folding it over. Add just enough flour so the dough doesn’t stick and tear. (A dough scraper is invaluable for lifting the mass of dough cleanly from the counter.) Kneading takes about 5 to 8 minutes. When the dough is smooth, springy, and pliant — earlobe-soft — return it to the oiled bowl, cover it with a damp cloth, and let it rise until doubled. This generally takes between 35 and 45 minutes at 70 to 75 degrees.

After the first rise, you can form the crust, assemble the pizza and bake it immediately or punch the dough down and let it rise again before baking. This doesn’t substantially change the resulting crust, but it gives you more time if you need it before baking the pizza. Or, you can refrigerate the dough for several hours or up to two days. In this case, give it a final punch down after it has chilled for about 40 minutes and put it in a plastic bag.

By letting the dough mature in the refrigerator, the gluten ripens and relaxes and the dough becomes less sticky, and will stretch farther when working with it. With this refrigerated dough, you can obtain a thin, crisp crust, or a thick, chewy crust, depending on how thin you roll or stretch the dough when forming it, and on whether or not you allow it to warm up and rise before baking it. A thick crust made from chilled dough is likely to have larger air bubbles and be less delicate and more chewy–rather like the difference between regular and sourdough breads.

Three options for crusts:

*For a light, risen crust, use a freshly made dough, although you can use a chilled dough. For the highest, puffiest results, add 2 teaspoons more yeast to the recipe and use the dough within three hours of making it. For a finer-textured crust, simply roll it out thinner and let it rise to the same height. Let the dough rise until it’s puffy, and fingerprints disappear when dough is pressed. This takes about 10 minutes with freshly made, room-temperature dough, or about 15 minutes with chilled dough.

*A thick, chewy crust can be made either with fresh or chilled dough. Stretch or press the dough to about 1/3 to 1/2 inch thick and let it rise just slightly. Whether you’ll end up with a thick and chewy crust or a light and risen one depends on how thick you roll it out and how high you let it rise.

*For a thin, crisp crust, use dough straight out of the refrigerator. Roll it out as thin as you want it — usually about 1/4 inch — and get it into the oven within minutes, before it has a chance to rise.

Assemble the pizza on an oiled, rimless cookie sheet. A third of the recipe will make a 12- to 16-inch round crust, depending on how thin you roll or spread it. Lightly form the dough into a ball and stretch it out. First, hold it vertically by one edge and turn it in your hands, allowing gravity to stretch it as you turn it. Then lay it on the cookie sheet and press out the dough, starting from the center. Be careful not to tear or poke holes in the dough. A floured rolling pin is handy for rolling out thin crusts. If the dough springs back, let it rest a minute or two, or chill it in the fridge, and then continue to work it out.

Arrange the toppings, usually three to four items, so that they don’t overlap. Apply the cheese a little more than halfway through the baking process. By adding the cheese when the crust is just lightly browned, you can tell when the topping is sufficiently cooked and also avoid overbrowned, leathery cheese and an undercooked crust. Those toppings that don’t need much cooking, like blanched spinach or asparagus, paper-thin prosciutto, or steamed shellfish, also go on at halftime, along with the cheese

Bake pizza in a very hot oven — 475 degrees — on a heavy baking sheets and on a baking stone. Check the pizza during baking and rotate it if it appears to be cooking unevenly. Lift the crust to see how it’s cooking underneath. If the bottom is still pale while the top seems almost done, turn the oven temperature down and leave the pizza in longer.

When the crust is lightly browned and the toppings are cooked, sprinkle on the cheeses. Then bake the pizza an additional 8 to 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly. By this time, the crust will be perfectly done.

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