(This recipe appeared in the Spring 2021 issue of Pastry Arts Magazine)
Here’s a very versatile dough that can be used for pizza, flatbread, naan, pita and more. While there are specific weights, temperatures and percentages detailed in the recipe below, these can, of course, be changed to what works in your kitchen and with your schedule. Once you have made this recipe, feel free to experiment by changing it up with a wetter or drier dough, or a different percentage ratio of flour, or types of flour. We use spelt in our baguette dough, and this could certainly be used in place of the whole-wheat flour. Some of our favorite pizza toppings include: Spinach and Sunflower Seed Pesto; Sliced Tomatoes and Herbs; Spicy Cauliflower, Olives, Marinara Sauce, Pine Nuts and Cashew Cheeze*; Sweetcorn, Zucchini, Marinara Sauce and Miyoko’s Mozz.
*Note: Cashew cheeze recipe is soaked cashews, nutritional yeast, water, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper, blended together until smooth.
Yield: 1 kg dough
- 50 g sourdough starter
- 80 g water
- 75 g bread flour
- 25 g whole wheat flour
- About 4-8 hours before mixing your final dough, mix together ingredients for levain; cover with a tea towel and allow to stand at room temperature until ready to use.
- 480 g (87.5%) organic bread flour or organic 00 flour
- 60 g (12.5%) organic whole wheat flour
- 380 g water (75-79˚F/24-26˚C)
- 80-100 g (15-18.5%)* Levain (from above)
- 13.5 g (2.5%) salt
- In a medium-large bowl, mix the flours and water for a minute or two until there are no lumps of flour; the dough should look a little shaggy but there should be no dry areas. Allow to rest covered with a tea towel or plate for 20-30 minutes (beginning of the autolysis).
- Mix in the levain, making sure it is fully incorporated. Re-cover and rest for another 20-30 minutes. (This will give the gluten time to relax and the levain to start fermenting before the salt is added.)
- Mix in the salt and start to develop the gluten – this can be done either by hand or machine, but mix for at least 5-8 minutes. (Since the flour has had the chance to hydrate with the water before mixing, this should take less time than usual. The salt will control the fermentation and slow it down, but also bring out beautiful flavors from the grain.) Once the dough is smooth and shiny, place it into a lightly oiled container roughly four times the size of your dough and put a lid on top. Allow to stand for 1 hour.
- At this stage the dough should have fully relaxed into the container. It is time to ‘stretch-and-fold’ the dough. Lightly wet your hands and pull the dough up from one side, about 12” or until it feels like it may break. Turn the container and repeat this process three more times. Return the lid and set the timer for another 30 minutes.
- Repeat the process and allow to stand for another 30 minutes.
- Repeat the stretch-and-fold process. At this stage you should notice that the dough is becoming more active and stronger. Make a mark or take note where the dough line is sitting in the container. Allow the dough to stand in a warm place for 2 hours (this is the start of the bulk proof stage).
- Check the level of the dough – if it has increased by 50% or more, it is time to place the dough into the refrigerator for an overnight slow proof. If your dough is moving a little slower, feel free to leave it on the counter for an extra hour or two before refrigerating.
- The following day, remove the dough from the refrigerator and either divide into two 500 g balls for pizza, or five 200 g balls for individual flatbreads. This is best achieved with a dough knife/blade by tucking all the edges in and forming a teardrop shape to create strength within each ball. Place each ball onto a board a few inches apart and cover with a clean plastic bag or wrap with a tea towel. Leave the dough on the countertop for a minimum of 1 hour, and up to 4 hours. An hour before baking, set a baking stone, steel or tray in the oven and preheat to 500˚F (260˚C).
- Once the dough has come to room temperature, it will be a lot easier to work with and shape, as the gluten will be relaxed and warmer. Start by stretching the dough to about half the size you want it to be. (Do not use a rolling pin –this will destroy a lot of the aeration and your dough will become over worked, which will affect the final texture. Allow the stretched dough to relax for 5-10 minutes before you stretch it again to 10-12” 500 g balls or 4-6” 200 g balls. Finish shaping by using your fingers to push in 1” from the outside edge to create a crust. Shaping the dough in stages will work a lot better because you want to manipulate the gluten strands rather than pulling and forcing them in one go. That technique will just result in rips and holes, whereas the slow and steady approach with your hands will result in a light and soft dough and an aerated crust. Try spraying the crust with a little water and sprinkling on some sesame seeds, it’s a game changer!
- Once your dough is shaped and is the desired size, transfer to a peel, baking mat or parchment paper. Load on your toppings and bake for 10-20 minutes, depending on the size and thickness of base. Once beautiful and golden-brown, remove it from the oven and place on a cooling rack. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before cutting.
*Note: Amount will depend on the temperature of your kitchen, and how active your levain is. Keep leftover levain and feed to your usual starter ratio.
About Ed Tatton
For more sourdough inspiration or to ask Ed a question on this recipe, follow him on Instagram @eds_bred or visit https://edsbred.com/.