My friend Holly came over to help me with this photoshoot, and took many of the pictures you see. She’s amazing! Here’s her portfolio.
Remember how pizza parties were the best thing as a kid?
Well, I’ve got news for you – they’re even more fun as an adult. And the pizza’s better too.
I’ve been working on this Sourdough Pizza Crust recipe over the past few weeks, and I’m so excited to share it with you.
The sourdough pizza crust bakes up crisp on the edges, with a pillowy, fluffy interior, making for the perfect bite. It’s my ideal thickness, enough for a bit of chew and holds up to some glorious toppings.
Besides a great dough recipe, the best pizza is made in the hottest oven possible, most commercial ovens used at pizza restaurants heat up 700-800ish degrees F .
When you cook pizza at the right temperature, the crust gets the correct amount of crispy texture, without being brittle or dry. Hot ovens also mean that your pizza stone inside stays hot consistently, and retains heat so each pizza will literally take 5 minutes to make.
And here’s where my Twin Eagles Gas Grill comes in clutch – it can get up to 700 degrees F, much much hotter than my kitchen oven will ever get. In effect, it acts like one of those fancy pizza ovens, but it’s a GRILL.
That blazing heat means a crisper bite, bubbly toppings, and those deliciously charred spots on the bottom of the crust.
Through trial and error, having zone dividers on the grill was a significant piece of the success puzzle. While the two burners on the left side of the grill were responsible for cooking the crust, the right side of the grill could be off, so I could move the pizza to the top cooking rack, close the lid, and let it finish “baking” without burning the crust.
Another important topic: organization. Now, I wouldn’t consider myself a super organized cook, but it’s an essential part of this pizza making situation.
You want to be able to work quickly after the dough is on the pizza peel, so it has less time to possibly stick to the parchment paper. This was my #1 issue when testing.
Tools You’ll Need to Make Sourdough Pizza Crust
- toppings, with veggies cut up if needed and cheese shredded or torn
- sauce and olive oil at the ready
- a pastry brush and several spoons
- parchment paper sheets
- extra flour and cornmeal for stretching the dough and coating the parchment
- a large cutting board
- a pizza peel with long handle (that’s the one I have, which is less than $9) – don’t try it without this, the grill is way too hot for any part of your body to be exposed to!
Also to note, all grills are different. Consider your first attempt at grilled pizza as a sacrifice to learning just how to control your grill temperature, and trust me – it might not be perfect but it will still be delicious.
How to Make Sourdough Pizza Crust
Unlike making sourdough bread, which requires some stretching and folding in the bulk fermentation stage, sourdough pizza dough is mixed with a stand mixer, then rises on its own, hands off. It stays that way for several hours until it has at least doubled in size.
From there you’ll use your bench scraper to cut the dough into equal balls of dough, usually about 180 grams. I don’t like to go much bigger than that because at the point, shaping into the crust gets more difficult.
p.s. — If you’re new to sourdough, here are my Top 5 Tips and Insight for Maintaining a sourdough starter!
The dough balls can rest on the counter for about an hour for their second rise, or you can stick them into the refrigerator for as long as two days, then use when ready!
When you’re working the balls into the crust, the dough will be wet. And that’s okay! Just make sure your hands are floured and the pizza peel too. You’ll get the hang of it – it just takes a little practice.
Topping combinations are endless. On the day that we photographed, I made these three pizzas:
- red sauce, pepperoni, olives, and shallots with Tillamook white cheddar and fontina cheese
- margherita with tomatoes from my garden
- ricotta, arugula, prosciutto, and peach
If you make this sourdough pizza recipe, be sure to tag me on Instagram with hashtag #heartbeetkitchen or @heartbeetkitchen!
- 130 grams sourdough starter, fed and at its peak
- 385 grams water
- 610 grams King Arthur Organic Bread Flour
- 10 grams olive oil
- 10 grams honey (or maple syrup)
- 13 grams fine sea salt
- cornmeal and all-purpose flour dusting
- pizza sauce
- Add starter and water to the bowl of a stand mixer. Stir with a fork to loosen starter.
- Add flour, olive oil, honey, and salt. Stir with a spatula to incorporate flour into wet mixture. Doesn't have to be fully mixed.
- Attach dough hook to stand mixer and secure bowl. Mix on low speed for 10 minutes.
- Remove bowl from mixer and cover with a towel, letting bulk fermentation happen for 7-8 hours, until dough has doubled in size.
- Once doubled, place parchment paper on large baking sheet and spray with non-stick spray such as olive oil.
- Turn dough out onto pan and let rest for 15 minutes.
- Dust the top of the dough with flour and use your hands to press dough out to make it flat.*
- Using a bench scraper, cut the dough into pieces weighing about 180 grams. Flour your hands, and pick up each dough ball. Form each into a very tight ball. You want to create a ball that has a completely closed bottom. You want a tight skin on each of these that completely surrounds the dough ball.
- Place back on baking sheet and repeat with remaining dough.
- At this point you can let the dough rise on the counter for 45 minutes, for its second rise. Or you can put it in the refrigerator for up to a day.
- 45 minutes before you're ready to grill the pizza, lay out all of your ingredients at a station so you can work quickly once the dough is pressed out.
- 30 minutes before you're going to grill the pizza, turn on the grill, with cast iron pizza pan on one side, over two flames turned to medium high. Leave the right side burner off. You'll want the interior temperature of the grill to be 600 degrees.
- Lay a piece of parchment paper on your pizza peel and liberally dust with cornmeal and flour.
- Dust top of dough ball with flour. With floured hands, pick up a dough ball and hold up with two hands on corners of the dough. The dough will start to droop downward with gravity, and you'll rotate the dough clockwise, like you're turning a steering wheel. Bring it down to the parchment paper, and lightly press out into a circle, stretching the corners. Do NOT use a rolling pin. This will make the dough too thin, resulting in a tougher crust. You're aiming for each pizza to be around 7-8 inches in diameter. Don't try to make the biggest pizza. Keeping it smaller will result in the fluffiest baked dough. Stretch and adjust the dough a little more, aiming to position one edge of the pizza all the way at the front edge of the peel.
- Spread with a light amount of sauce, and put the the rest of your toppings on, including cheese. Err on the side of less toppings that piling it super full, to be sure the crust can handle the weight.
- Carefully shimmy the pizza onto the cast iron pan, without the parchment. Close the lid, and let cook for 3 minutes. Then open the lid, transfer the pizza to the right side, top rack, and close lid for another 4-5 minutes to finish cooking.
*this is a WET dough, and that's okay! use flour as you need while working with the dough after it's bulk ferment, to keep it from sticking to your hands or surface.
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