Monday, June 9, 2014

Pizza with Sourdough Crust

We haven't made pizza at home in a long time. It seemed like a hassle to try to make a no-guilt crust so we just skipped it altogether. However, now that I keep a sourdough starter the door has re-opened to many recipes I had previously passed over, including one for homemade pizza. If you have a sourdough starter, you too can make a nutritious pizza that the whole family will love!

If you don't have a sourdough starter yet, it is easy to keep one! Read my quick start guide for more information.


1 pizza dough recipe, found here. You will need 1 1/2 cups sourdough starter, 1 1/2 tbsp. olive oil (or other oil), 1 tsp. sea salt or Real Salt, and up to 1 1/12 cups of unbleached white flour

3 cloves garlic, diced finely
2-3 tbsp. olive oil, like this one
1 can diced tomatoes or approximately 2 cups diced fresh
1/2 to 1 jar tomato paste (7 oz.), like this one
1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
Salt & pepper to taste

You can use whichever toppings you prefer, but as shown above, we used:
16 oz. mozzarella cheese, chopped
1/2 to 3/4 lb. ground beef (seasoned with salt, pepper, & 3/4 tbsp. Italian Seasonings)
1/2 green or red pepper, diced
1/2 to 1 small onion, any color
1 cup diced mushrooms
A handful of kale, chopped
3-4 tbsp. parmesan cheese
Oregano to sprinkle on top
1 tsp. to 1 tbsp. olive oil

1 tsp. olive oil
A scant tbsp. of flour

How To:
1. Dough: Approximately 5-8 hours prior to making the pizza, start your dough. Combine the starter, oil, and salt. Then add about a cup of dough and mix until the dough starts to form. Turn onto a floured surface and knead for about ten minutes, adding more flour if needed. Dough should be soft and a little sticky. Set into a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place. Please read through the original recipe on the Gnowfglins site for detailed steps and tips.

2. Sauce: After the dough has risen and about an hour before you want to eat dinner, start your sauce. Add the olive oil and garlic to a small or medium saucepan and cook over medium heat until the garlic aroma is strong and it just starts to brown. This will only be a few minutes. Pull off the heat to let it cool and the garlic will brown a little more. Once cooled, just a few minutes, return to the heat and add the tomatoes and paste. You will want to add enough paste so the sauce is a bit thick. Start with half a jar and go from there. Mix to combine and simmer. Add oregano, salt, and pepper. Turn to low and let simmer very low until ready to use. Stir occasionally.


3. Prep Toppings and Pan: Brown the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat, crumbling as it cooks. Season with Italian Seasonings and once cooked through, turn heat to low (or off) and set aside until ready to use. Prep your pizza pan by greasing with a light coating of oil. Add the flour and then tip the pan until the flour coats the entire surface. Tap off any excess (see photo). The pan I use is a 10x14 rectangular cookie sheet. Prepare the rest of your toppings (dicing and chopping as needed). Set aside in individual bowls.
4. Add Dough to Pan Pre-Cook: Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Remove the dough from its bowl and knead a few times. It will be a really soft dough at this point so be gentle with it. Using your fingers, press it out into a generally rectangular shape and then place into the pan and continue pressing until the dough fills the entire pan. The dough is soft enough that you shouldn't need to roll. However, if you can't press it into shape, just use a rolling pin or small fondant rolling pin. I've never had that happen, but just in case!

Use a fork to poke holes in the dough and then bake for 5-10 minutes. You don't want the dough to get too brown. This is a pre cook. When done, remove from oven. It is ready for toppings.
5. Add Toppings and Bake: Once your pre-cooked crust is done, you are ready to add toppings. First add your sauce and cheese, and then everything else through the kale. Finish with parmesan cheese and a sprinkling of oregano. Pour a little olive oil in the center of the pizza (anywhere from 1 tsp. to 1 tbsp.). Return to the oven and cook another 15 to 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let sit for about 5-10 minutes, then cut and enjoy!

This pizza crust from Gnowfglins is awesome! I cannot think of a way to improve upon it and so I have linked it here. It is the recipe we use at home and I hope you enjoy it as much as we do. Please check out their site for many more awesome recipes and ideas.

Please feel free to experiment with toppings. We have experimented with lots of different toppings, like pepperoni, jalapeƱos, black olives, tomatoes, ham, basil, hard salami, and spinach, and you can add whatever you prefer. The combination above is really good and I wanted to share that with you, but you can get creative and personalize your pizza in any way. 

Try to ensure that you have a "crust" area to hold onto to make eating the pizza less messy. I tend to fill mine up right to the edge and always regret not leaving a little more room to hang on to my slice. If you make a rectangle pie like this, you will have center pieces that have no crust, but most pieces will be along the edges and it is a lot easier to eat with a crust area.

A tip regarding the meat: With all the other toppings, 1 lb. of ground beef is really too much for this pie. What we have started doing is cooking a full pound and only using about a half lb. and then freezing the leftover. That way, after you make pizza twice, you have enough leftover ground beef for another pie and only need to let the cooked meat defrost. It works great.

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