** The thickness of your sourdough starter can determine how
much water or additional flour needs to be used. If you think the dough is too moist, add additional flour (a tablespoon at a time). The same is true if the dough is looking dry
and gnarly. Add warm water (a tablespoon at a time). NOTE: I usually have to add water as I have a fairly thick starter.
Remove starter from refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 2 hours.
Pizza Stone or tiles to 450 degrees F. for 30 minutes.
In a mixing bowl of your
Stand Mixer, place sourdough starter, olive oil, salt, and bread flour. Fit the mixer with a dough hook and
mix the dough on medium speed for approximately 5 minutes until you have a soft dough. If the dough is too dry, add some water. Once dough is kneaded, cover and let rest for 30
NOTE: Dough may be refrigerated at this point and stored until ready to use.
To store each batch of dough, spray a plastic bag with nonstick spray and place the dough in it. Store no longer than 7 to 10 days, or if frozen for up to 2 months.
If refrigerated or frozen prior to use, allow the portions to come to room temperature before they are rolled out.
Using parchment paper
cut the size of the pizza you want, sprinkle with flour.
Knead dough over the flour until soft, supple, and no longer sticky (adding additional flour as needed).
Sprinkle the top of the dough with additional flour; roll and stretch the dough into a circle over the parchment paper.
If your dough is very elastic and wants to spring back, let it rest for a few minutes, and then try rolling it out again.
Once the pizza dough is prepared, form the dough into a ball the size you would use to make one (1) large pizza. If making a larger batch of
dough, for the dough into balls. Optional: Lightly spray each dough ball with cooking
spray or lightly wipe with olive oil (making sure all sides are lightly covered). Place each ball of dough into individual re-sealable freezer bags.
Seal, squeezing out all the air from the bag.
Place in the freezer until ready to use. The pizza dough may be stored in
the freezer for up to 3 months.
When ready to use, remove from the freezer and place in your
refrigerator 12 hours or overnight. Before baking, remove the dough from the
refrigerator and bring to room temperature, let sit on the counter for
approximately 30 minutes. You are now ready to stretch out your dough and
prepare your pizza.
A baking or
Pizza Stone should be placed on a oven shelf and preheated with the oven. Preheat the stone to the temperature you’ll be cooking the pizza at
BEFORE you put the pizza dough on the stone. Pizza stones need at least 20 minutes to heat up fully. Once pre-heated, the stone evenly transfers intense heat to the food
being cooked, ensuring a particularly crisply baked base. NEVER put a cold stone in your fully heated oven unless you want it to crack.
I have a large stone that fits on oven rack in my oven. Either this stone or some unglazed terra cotta tiles are usually in my oven
most of the time as they are also great for bread baking. Casserole dishes can also be set on top of the stone.
As to if it might crack, this I do not know, as I have never had it happen. I always place the cold pizza stone in a cold oven. I then turn on the oven
to preheat oven and stone. Once the stone is hot, I do not remove it from the oven. I place my prepared pizza on the hot stone in the oven.
How To Clean Pizza Stones: Think of your pizza baking stone as a sponge; it will soak up everything put on it. These "stones" are actually molded sand,
tightly compacted under high pressure. Like sand on the beach, they will suck in any liquid exposed to the surface. Anything else in the water - including soap - goes right into
the stone. Manufacturers warn you to use only clear, plain water to clean a baking stone.
First, completely submerge your baking stone in warm, clear, plain water for 15-20 minutes. This should thoroughly saturate the stone with clean water
and dilute the soap residue. Next, remove the stone from the water and place it on a pie cooling rack on your kitchen counter. Allow the stone to dry completely overnight.
Repeat the same soaking and drying process five or six nights in a row. After the last round, bake some pizza dough on the stone. If the pizza stone
still smells, I'm afraid your stone is destined for the trash.
How To Use Unglazed Terra Cotta Tiles:
I, personally use these tiles all the time in my oven. You must make sure that they are "unglazed" tiles only. They are very cheap to buy (You
can find them at any hardware/home store. I buy them at my local Home Depot). I even leave them in my oven when using the
self-cleaning cycle. I bought enough to line the bottom shelf of my oven. Most of the time, I just leave them in the oven all the time as these
tiles don’t effect the oven’s performance and are great to help stabilize the heat when cooking or baking.
Hints from Shelley Booth of Phoeniz, AZ: For bread and pizza baking I use inexpensive unglazed terra cotta tiles. From experience as a potter I know
that terra cotta is food safe when unglazed and not for storing liquid. Terra cotta in general is fired at a lower temperature when not
glazed and has not vitrified, thus it is porous, which makes it ideal to use as plant pots but not for liquid storage.
I preheat the oven for one hour, tiles on lower rack, where it stays unless something bulky is baked. Dust the tiles with cornmeal and slide the pizza skin or bread and bake until
done. I often pre-bake the pizza skin to a point where the skin is done and just starting to brown. Cool and then add whatever desired and baked again
until brown and cheese bubbly.
Another thought, when baking anything I will put the container on the preheated tiles. The concept behind this that ovens, especially electric cycle on and off
in order to maintain the set cooking temperature without spiking. This result in a variable oven temperature and when baking
bread this could effect the end product. The tiles store heat and thus help maintain a consistent temperature. A gas oven, which I
use, does the same cycling but not as often and maintains the temp profile better.
Thin pizza crusts (known as cracker dough) usually needs to be well docked to help control blistering and bubble formation during baking. This just means to prick it all over the
middle part (not the edges) so that it doesn't inflate. Either use a
Dough Docker or use a fork to prick the dough thoroughly. In a home setting, it is also common to use dough dockers if the
pizza dough is to be pre-baked or par-baked before finishing. That applies mostly to cracker style pizzas.
Also known as a pizza shovel.
Pizza Peels are a long-handled, wide wooden or metal spatula-like implement that slides quickly and easily under the pizza,
keeping hands safely out of the fiery oven. It is used for moving pizzas to and from an oven. Sprinkle cornmeal all
over the surface of a baker's or pizza peel before using.
Pizza Cutter or Pizza Wheel will save you time when cutting your pizza into slices. The use of a pizza cutter instead of a sharp
knife avoids the dislodging of loose toppings through the back-and-forth motion of the blade typical of a knife. Pizza cutters press their blade down vertically instead.
A helpful hint is to put a piece of parchment paper on the peel instead of using cornmeal.
I place the rolled-out pizza dough on the parchment paper and then add the toppings. The parchment goes into the oven with the pizza.
This makes it easier to slide the pizza off the peel and onto the baking stone.
If you don't have a peel, an upside-down cookie sheet will do if you use parchment paper. Just slide the pizza onto the stone with the
Does pizza have to be a circle? - You can make them triangular, square, diamond, or anything else you can imagine.
Just change the shape of your pan to the shape of a crust that fits your imagination.