It’s the new year and I’ve started it off by building a new starter. I’m using the King Arthur Flour method and it is good and healthy so I decided to use some of the discard for pizza.
Sourdough starter alone requires a long, slow proof but with a little boost from some active yeast, you can have lots of flavor in only about 4 hours. It can go longer so, if you want pizza for dinner, start the dough before you leave for work and it will be ready to go when you get home.
For home cooks without pizza ovens, I really like the cooking method from Bon Appetit that uses a cast iron skillet and a stove top step to make sure the crust comes out browned and crunchy. Of course, Michelle and I have modified it a bit.
The sourdough crust gave very good flavor and texture to a quite delicious pizza.
Cast Iron Skillet Sourdough Pizza
Sourdough Pizza Dough
1 cup sourdough starter
1/2 cup lukewarm water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon active yeast
1 teaspoon cornmeal
Pizza sauce – dashes of basil, thyme and oregano plus a sprinkle of salt in a cup of tomato sauce heated in a saucepan over low heat. Taste after it is warmed and add more of whatever it is missing. If using a can of sauce, consider adding in a pinch of sugar to combat any metallic taste.
Toppings of choice – pepperoni, sautéed mushrooms and grated mozzarella cheese.
Stir sourdough starter before removing one cup. To it add 1/2 water, oil, salt, flour and yeast in a stand mixer and mix together until it forms a shaggy but sticky dough. Place in a well oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm place for 2 to 4 hours.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F with a cast iron skillet inside.
Use a 9 inch pan for a thicker crusted pizza and and 10 inch for a thinner crust. Using your fingertips, press the risen dough into a rough circle to fit in the skillet.
When the oven is at temperature, remove skillet and drizzle olive oil over the bottom. Use a basting brush to coat the bottom and sides with oil. Sprinkle the corn meal in the bottom for an additional crunch. Carefully set the dough into the skillet, letting it slump around the sides. Beware of touching any of your skin to the sides as the skillet is very, very hot.
Place the skillet over an element on the stovetop set at medium high heat. Prick the bottom with a fork a few times. Once it starts to bubble, add a little olive oil and use the basting brush to coat the base of the pizza and the crust. Add a light sprinkling of kosher salt.
It is time now to build your pizza. We start with a light layer of tomato sauce. Then a generous amount of mushrooms, a generous amount of mozzarella cheese and sliced pepperoni. Placing the pepperoni on top of the cheese keeps the cheese from over browning in the oven, although you will need to blot the grease before serving.
Place the skillet in the oven and cook for 15 minutes. Check the cheese. When it starts to go dark, the pizza is ready. Tap the crust edges to be sure – they will sound hollow. It may take 10 minutes more but watch it carefully.
Let stand for 5 minutes in the skillet before easing it out onto a cutting board. Wait another 5 minutes before slicing and serving.