Ok, so this is not a picture of pizza, if you hadn’t already figured that out. That is a picture of the panettone I made for Christmas and I’ll blame my long absence from blogging on my current obsession with baking sourdough creations from the sourdough starter I ordered from King Arthur. It has made panettone (which also had no less than 31 egg yolks and 2 sticks of butter, and made amazing panettone bread pudding Christmas Day), regular sourdough loaves, whole wheat sourdough with walnuts and cranberries, sourdough pita bread, and now sourdough pizza crust. Which will now bring us around to a picture of pizza.
Specifically, the sourdough pizza topped with bacon, roasted brussel sprouts, and a poached egg that I made for dinner today. I used the same recipe I used for making sourdough pita, but I doubled the quantity so I would end up with 4 (8 oz) pizza dough balls. I prefer using weight measurements for baking since it’s a lot harder to mess up a recipe that way, but in cooking I’m a lot more lax, to the point that most of the time I don’t even measure things.
Sourdough Pizza Crust
13 oz sourdough starter
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
6 oz distilled water (this is because chlorinated water and sourdough yeasties are not friends)
11.5 oz unbleached all-purpose flour, plus extra if needed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon table salt
Combine sourdough starter, yeast, water, oil, and salt in the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer fitted with the dough hook. Beat on medium speed until well-combined. Mix in the flour, until the dough pulls away from the bowl sides, adding more flour by the tablespoonful if necessary. Continue to mix on medium speed for 5-7 minutes, until the dough is elastic and you can stretch it thin enough to see through it before it starts to tear (this is called the windowpane test).
Lightly grease a clean mixing bowl with olive oil and add the dough to the bowl, covering loosely with saran wrap and leaving to rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 - 1/2 hours. In the meantime while your dough is rising, if your oven takes forever to preheat like mine, go ahead and preheat it to it’s hottest temperature (mine can do 550 F), with a pizza stone placed on the lowest oven rack.
Once the dough has risen, divide it into 4 portions of about 8 oz each and shape each into a ball. Let them rest for 15-30 minutes before beginning your pizza construction. I rolled my crust pretty thin since that’s the way I like it, but you can always roll it thicker if you want a chewier crust, you’ll just probably want to pre-bake the crust before you add sauce and toppings for a few minutes to make sure it isn’t doughy in the middle.
As luck (and the contents of my refrigerator) would have it, I happened to desire bacon, roasted brussel sprouts (pan-roasted in the bacon fat so they’re nice and healthy), and since I tend to think most things can be improved by adding an egg on top, a poached egg. For excellent instructions on how to poach an egg, see this recipe from Bon Appetit (but I only use 2 Tbsp of vinegar for each egg because 1/2 cup per egg seems ridiculous and I don’t want to taste vinegar instead of egg). For my sauce I used the marinara sauce I had previously made and froze. I had a little wedge of Pecorino Romano kicking around in the fridge, so I added some of that to my usual cheese combination of Parmigiano Reggiano and whole-milk mozzarella. Any of the dough-balls that you don’t want to bake immediately can be wrapped in saran wrap and refrigerated- they should be just fine for making more pizza tomorrow or the next day, just let the dough come to room temperature before rolling out.
Once the dough has been rolled out to desired thickness, I place it on a sheet of parchment paper before I go any step further. I’ve had more than one near-disaster of pizza-on-pizza-peel-violence, so I ‘cheat’ and just bake the pizza on the parchment paper, which will turn black but should not smoke or catch fire (at least mine doesn’t!). The pizza peel still gets in on the pizza action as I use it to transfer pizza-and-parchment to the preheated pizza stone, but I don’t have to worry about the crust sticking to the peel.
So now we top our pizza! This list of toppings is for one pizza, and I’m more or less guestimating the measurements so you can be creative and top with whatever toppings you prefer.
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/3 cup (sorry, I didn’t really measure, just went by looks) homemade marinara sauce
4 strips of cooked bacon, crumbled
about 1 cup roasted brussel sprout halves (pan roasted in the bacon fat until mostly tender, since they’ll keep cooking once in the oven)
1/4 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano
1/4 cup finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano
1 cup grated low-moisure whole milk Mozzarella
poached egg (s) for topping the finished pizza
Brush the crust with the olive oil before evenly spreading the marinara sauce over the crust, leaving a border along the edges. Sprinkle on the Pecorino Romano and Parmigiano Reggiano cheeses, then top with the brussel sprouts and bacon and then finally sprinkle the Mozzarella on top. Transfer the pizza on the parchment paper to the pizza stone in your preheated oven and bake at 550 for 8-10 minutes, until the crust and cheese are nicely browned. Cool for a few minutes before slicing and top with a poached egg.