Sourdough Pizza {low FODMAP}

May 11, 2019

PIZZAAAAAAAA 🍕

Y’all should know by now that pizza is my love language. I think I’ve posted more pictures of pizza to Instagram than anything else. (Look, even one of my earliest pictures was of pizza.)

It also should be well known by now that I consider Italian style pizza the most superior form of pizza. (Aside from the occasional Detroit-style.) There’s just something truly magical about the charred outside and fluffy, chewy inside that can only be achieved with a 900 degree wood-fired oven. I don’t think I could ever get sick of that.

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I also love a good challenge, which means that since high school I’ve been trying to re-create the impossible (in this case impossible = 900 degree wood fired oven) and make pizzas as close to the true Italian style as possible. And before I went low FODMAP, I had gotten a pretty close approximation. Of course it was never going to be this, but I was pretty damn proud of my pizza making skills.

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And then I had to give up wheat flour (or so I thought at the time, I didn’t realize I could eat sourdough until much later). It was a fine trade-off — I was willing to give up much more than pizza in exchange for not being in pain all the time. Pizza was one of the first things I started experimenting with and “mastered” with gluten-free flours (plus some vital wheat gluten) when I went low FODMAP. But, like I mentioned with my sourdough cinnamon rolls post, even the best gluten free flours can never achieve that fluffy-chewy texture that wheat flour can.

Confused about all this talk of sourdough? Read why sourdough is low FODMAP!

And honestly, I had been struggling with that recipe for awhile — I don’t know what it was exactly, but every time I’d tried it recently, I’d ended up with something closer to the cardboard end of the spectrum than the fluffy-chewy end of the spectrum.

But… I know now that I can eat sourdough made with wheat flour. And when we went to Florence last year and I was able to eat that magical pizza dough (and lots of it 🤤), something clicked. The part of me that loves a good challenge realized that I was just one challenge away from having a preeeety close approximation of this in my own kitchen. All I needed was a sourdough starter of my own.

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Sure, bread and cinnamon rolls were a nice byproduct of having a sourdough starter, but I was really in it for the pizza. It’s taken a little longer because I’ve been experimenting with different methods of cooking it, trying to replicate that 900 degree oven as well as I can. (Of course we haven’t grilled the pizza yet and YOU BETTER BELIEVE THAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN SOON!) I think we’ve gotten as close to perfect as we’re going to get so I bring you: the sourdough pizza of my dreams.

If you’re sick of lame gluten free pizzas, or looking for a good challenge: this pizza is for you.

A few notes:

  • If you need a sourdough starter (you do), I highly recommend starting with these instructions from The Perfect Loaf. Maurizio’s instructions are meticulous and have been so informative for keeping our little starter alive and well.
  • We have historically owned two pizza stones, and they have worked great for all things pizza (as well as just about everything else). If you’re just getting started, I recommend purchasing one. I think we have these but any will do. However, for Christmas this year I decided to level up and got myself a BAKING STEEL, and it is TWENTY-THREE POUNDS of pizza perfection. I like to do a few squats and curls with it before I put it in the oven to work up a good appetite. 😉💪🏼 (For the curious, I got the ⅜” one — although I was tempted by the ½” one, 32 lbs seemed like a recipe for breaking my toes)
  • In a nutshell, steel is more conductive than stone which means that it is better at transferring energy to the pizza, getting it even closer to that charred ideal. If you’re curious, this article from The Pizza Lab explains it better than I can (and with pictures!), and you can also appreciate that J. Kenji Lopez-Alt is even more enthusiastic about pizza than I am.
  • Not everyone’s oven is the same and can reach the same temperatures. I’m going to describe what has worked best (so far) for us, but please experiment with pizza placement, dough thickness, temperature, bake time, and using the broiler until you find what works best for you!
  • I’m a pizza minimalist and given the choice, I’ll always choose mozzarella and prosciutto. Sometimes I use pepperoni because I love Marc (and he loves pepperoni). Sometimes I’ll add pesto. You are welcome to add whatever toppings you desire, but I promise less really is more in this situation. You don’t want your pizza to be soggy because you went overboard with the toppings!

Timing

The timeline is super flexible, and I include the length of each step in the instructions below. Feel free to adjust, but this is what I usually do.

  • Day 1
    • Mix: 1:00 pm
    • Bulk fermentation: 1:30 pm — 4:00 pm
    • Refrigerate: 4:00 pm — overnight
  • Day 2
    • Divide & shape: 11:30 am
    • Proof: noon — 6:00 pm
    • Preheat oven: 5:00 — 6:00 pm
    • Bake: 6:00 pm
    • Eat: 6:30 or 7:00 pm

Supplies

  • Scale (I have this one but there are plenty of options)
  • Several bowls
  • High-walled baking pan (I use a pie pan)
  • Plastic wrap or bag
  • Spray bottle with water
  • Parchment paper
  • Pizza peel (optional but highly recommended especially if you are using a steel)
  • Pizza stone or baking steel

Sourdough Pizza

Yield | 4 servings
Notes
Recipe from The Perfect Loaf
Flour: I buy Caputo "tipo 00" chef's flour from Whole Foods. Caputo also makes a specific pizzeria flour, but I haven't tried it yet. If at all possible, try to find a tipo 00 flour to use. The "00" indicates that it's milled to be very fine, which is what you want in the pizza. If you don't have access to a 00 flour, you can definitely use a regular all-purpose white wheat flour, or a mix or bread and all-purpose flour (for the protein content).
Starter: I suggest you create your starter following these directions, and maintain it following these. You want your starter to be at its peak when you use it for this recipe — just take the amount needed for the pizza dough, and then feed it like you would normally. If your starter is at its peak before you need to use it, you can make an intermediate build that will be ready in a few hours. I usually do this and add 50g water at 90°F, 50g flour (25g white and 25g whole wheat), and 50g starter to a separate jar. Mine is usually ready in about 2-3 hours.

Ingredients

Dough

  • 285 grams type 00 white flour see notes
  • 32 grams whole wheat flour
  • 212 grams water
  • 9 grams salt
  • 47 grams mature sourdough starter see notes

Toppings

  • High quality olive oil
  • Fresh mozzarella
  • Tomato
  • Prosciutto or pepperoni
  • Arugula

Directions

Mix the dough (30 mins)

  • Add the flours, water, salt, and starter to a large bowl. Mix with a spoon until the liquid is incorporated and the dough is too stiff to mix anymore. Dump everything out on the counter and mix with your hands until all the crumbs have been incorporated.
  • Slap & fold the dough on your counter for 5-7 minutes, or stretch and fold the dough until it's strong and resists stretching.

Bulk fermentation (2.5 hours)

  • Place dough in a clean bowl, cover with a towel, and place somewhere warm (75-77°F). Every 30 minutes, stretch & fold the dough (each way — top, bottom, left, and right). If the dough is stiff and resists stretching after the third time, let it rest the remaining time. If it's still very stretchy, do a fourth stretch & fold.

Refrigerate (overnight)

  • After the 2.5 hours are up, dump the dough onto your counter and shape into a boule. You can sort of spin the dough on the counter, and then pull it slightly toward you to create tension — you want it to get nice & taut.
  • Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.

Divide & shape (next morning)

  • Remove the dough from the refrigerator and dump onto the counter. Start by tucking the dough into itself. Then pinch the bottom and turn the ball in your hands, turning and pinching until it forms a very tight ball. Finally, spin the ball on the counter again and then pull it a few times toward your body to make sure there are no seams. See this video for a better idea!
  • Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled pan or sheet (something with higher walls works best — I use a pie pan) and cover with plastic wrap.

Proof (6 hours)

  • Place the dough somewhere warm (75-77°F) to proof for 6 hours. When it's done, the dough should have relaxed from the tight ball shape and should be soft to touch.
  • You can either bake the dough now or place it in the refrigerator for several hours to overnight.

Preheat oven (1 hour)

  • An hour before you plan to eat, preheat your oven to 550°F or as hot as it will go. Place your baking steel or stone in the oven a few rungs down from the top (we use the second from the top — you'll need to experiment to see where works best for your oven). Preheating for this long ensures that your oven temperature is stable and that your steel or stone have gathered a lot of heat.
  • 30 minutes before you bake the pizza, place the entire proofing pan (dough, plastic, and all) into the refrigerator. Having slightly cool dough makes it so much easier to shape.

Shape & bake

  • Gather all your desired toppings and cut or prepare anything so that they're ready to go. Cut two pieces of parchment paper to fit your steel or stone, and get your spray bottle.
  • Remove the proofing pan from the refrigerator. Lightly dust the top of one of the dough balls and, using a dough scraper, gently remove it from the pan. Place top-side down on your counter. Lightly flour your hands or the top of the dough.
  • Start by creating an indentation around the edge of the crust. Try not to press any gas out of the dough here — you want the bubbles to rise up and get that nice char. Now gently lift the dough up and, using your fists, gently stretch the dough as you work around, letting gravity help you stretch it to your desired size. See this video for a better idea on how to shape the dough!
  • Lay the dough on one piece of parchment paper and adjust so that it's a circle.
  • Switch your oven from bake to broil (as high as it can go).
  • Place your toppings on the pizza. I usually brush with oil (just in the center, not around the edges), and then add meat (prosciutto or pepperoni), tomato, and then torn pieces of mozzarella on top.
  • Using a peel if you have it, slide the parchment paper and dough into the oven, on top of your stone or steel. Grab your spray bottle and lightly mist the dough all around. This helps the dough from drying out and lets the crust rise high. (Totally optional and if you don't have a spray bottle you can skip this step.)
  • Bake for about 4 minutes, rotating once halfway through. (Definitely use the pizza peel for this, and make sure you don't catch the parchment paper on fire...) This goes fast, so keep an eye on the pizza and pull it out when it reaches your desired doneness.
  • Experiment with leaving the broiler on for part of all of the bake time — I've found our oven works best when I leave the broiler on the entire time, otherwise it takes FOREVER to bake the pizzas (forever = 5+ minutes). If you oven gets hotter than ours or you notice the top is cooking faster than the bottom, you might want to turn it off halfway through. You can also experiment with moving the oven rack closer to or further away from the top and see what that does.
  • When the pizza is done, remove and transfer to a plate or tray. Top with remaining toppings (oil, arugula, parmesan), cut and serve. Repeat with the other dough ball.
  • Enjoy! Best served with a glass of Italian red wine. 🍷

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Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls

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Someday I’ll do a travel guide for Austin – considering I live here it’s almost embarassing that I haven’t done one yet – but until I get my act together I’ll tell you the one place you MUST go if you’re in Austin: Via 313 Pizza…

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2 Comments

  1. In pizzas too I love cheese pizza a lot. This is because cheese pizzas is healthy and makes me strong. I love to cook pizza at home. My MOM cooks the best pizzas in the world. I always ask her to make pizza. But from few days I would like to try some other pizza recipes . While searching I came here this amazing recipe. Next time I will ask MOM to try this recipe in wood fired oven

    Reply
    • Ooh yes I’m sure it would be even more delicious in a wood fired oven! 🤤

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