Sourdough Pizza Margherita

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Pizza night happens here sometimes more than once a week. It’s an easy dinner option for me that makes the kids happy and makes me very happy. 

It’s really not that difficult to make your own dough. And once your dough is ready, all the hard work is done. You roll our your pizza dough and toss on your favorite toppings. Sit back and relax while it bakes into pizza perfection. 
I happened to have some sourdough starter around and have been making some interesting things with it. I came across these lovely girls that have a sourdough group called, “Sourdough Surprises”. Every month they make something based on their sourdough starter. Last month was sourdough pizza. I missed their deadline but was inspired to make my own sourdough pizza. If you have sourdough starter and want to join the group, this month’s project is a sourdough sweet pie
My mom happened to be here yesterday to join us for dinner and let’s just say, I couldn’t contain my excitement over this dough. Do you ever brag so much about something you make that your mate or your entire family and friends tell you, “Alright, enough already. YES! IT’S AMAZING! Can we just eat?!?”
Sometimes that happens over here. Last night I wasn’t bragging about the dough because I was actually not sure how to describe how AMAZING it was. So I reached out to my mom sitting to the left at me for her opinion.

Me, “Mom. The dough is so…”
My mom doesn’t miss a beat thinking I finished my sentence, “It is.”
Me (slightly perplexed), “It is what?!?”
My mom, “Fluffy and perfect. I thought you had just said it’s fluffy and perfect and I was agreeing.”

Ok, sometimes we pretend we hear things because we are so enthralled in our food and really don’t want to talk about how good it is. This was one of those moments.

I LOVE this pizza dough. I like how the good people at King Arthur’s Flour describe the dough:   “The vigor of the starter enhances the pizza dough’s rise. Even the merest hint of tang comes across as rich flavor, which marries beautifully with the usual pizza toppings of tomato, cheese, veggies, and meat” I kept my pizza simple this time. I usually like to add either some combo of veggies or anchovies (gasp! I know! anchovies. What can I say. My dad is Sicilian and I can’t get enough of anchovies.)

That’s what it was. It was that subtle tang and the rich flavor. It also was the lightness of the dough. A lightness I’ve never experienced with my usual pizza doughs. My hubs makes a much thinner pizza crust. My mother-in-law Teresa in Italy makes a crust that is almost just like this. This pizza recipe is a reason to keep sourdough starter around.

Guess what? I’m proclaiming tomorrow another pizza night!

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I know you are sitting on the edges of your seats wondering how in the heck do you make your sourdough starter, Lora? I will show you in a post coming up soon. If sourdough has never thrilled you and maybe even scared you a little, I’ll try to walk you through it. 

Sourdough Pizza Margherita

Dough:

1 cup sourdough starter unfed (straight from the fridge)
1/2 cup warm water
1 packet instant yeast (King Arthur’s Flour recipe has 1/2 tsp.I used more for faster rise)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup bread flour (you could use all-purpose flour if you prefer)
1 tbsp. salt

Topping:

1 cup tomato sauce
1 cup fresh mozzarella, diced
fresh basil

Dough Directions:

In a large bowl, pour in warm water. Sprinkle the yeast on top and let whisk it together. Let it sit for a few minutes. Pour in the sourdough starter, flours, and salt. Stir together with a wooden spoon until combined. Place the sourdough starter in a bowl.  Add in the warm water, flours, salt and yeast. Stir until a slightly sticky and malleable dough forms. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl. Cover the bowl (I cover with a kitchen towel) and let stand in a warm spot to rise (until dough is about doubled in size). Since I’m in Florida, it’s easy to find a warm spot and it usually rises in less than an hour. 

While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 420 F. (I know some people make their pizzas on much higher heat. This temperature works fine for my pizza). If you’re using a pizza stone, now is the time to preheat it. I would preheat it toward the last 1/2 hour of the dough’s rising time.
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My dough at just one hour of rising time. Very ready to gently deflate.
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Pizza making time!
Place the deflated dough on a lightly floured clean counter. Roll out the dough to your desired size for your pan. Brush the perimiter of the dough with olive oil.

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Spoon on the sauce in the middle of the pizza dough. (I made two pizzas. One on my pizza stone and one on my pizza pan. I wanted to test the crust texture difference and they were pretty much identical).

Bake for about 10-12 minutes. Toss on the mozzarella pieces and bake another 8-10 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and has a little color. Let pizza cool slightly before slicing.

dough recipe: slightly adapted from King Arthur’s Flour

Buon appetito!

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