Homemade Pizza is not only super delicious, but it’s also an incredibly frugal meal. For just a fraction of the cost of a pizzeria pie, you can enjoy homemade with this easy Sourdough Pizza Crust.
Use up that sourdough starter discard in this delicious and flavorful sourdough pizza dough. Mix the dough in the morning and it’s ready to bake into pizzas at dinnertime. Take it over the top by cooking your pizza on the grill.
We can’t live on bread alone. We need pizza!
And Sourdough Pizza Crust is pretty remarkable. Tangy, chewy, and full of flavor, it’s the perfect base to your favorite pizza toppings.
Why Make This
It may be better for your tummy. Some say that sourdough is healthier for you than dough made with commercial yeast. They claim it’s more easily digestible. I’m not sure about that, but we do like the flavor.
It uses up a lot of sourdough starter. If you’ve ever fed a starter, you know that it quickly doubles and triples and explodes all over your counter. Conventional wisdom says to discard half of your starter prior to feeding it in order to control this rapid growth. I say, don’t throw it out, make it into pizza!
This is the best pizza dough ever. Well, my husband certainly thinks so! Grilling pizza is a highlight of his week, and he prefers the sourdough crust.
You need just a handful of ingredients to whip up the best sourdough pizza!
sourdough starter – Whether you use bubbly sourdough starter or the discard before you feed it, is up to you. I typically feed my starter on a Thursday night so that I have enough to make pizza and bread dough on Friday morning.
warm water – You don’t want it boiling hot, but definitely on the warm side.
olive oil and honey – Many sourdough pizza recipes don’t call for olive oil or honey, but I find that they give it the right texture and balance out the sour in the sourdough. You can use whatever cooking oil you like as well as regular sugar if that’s what you have.
bread flour – Bread flour will give you best texture, but you can use a good quality, unbleached, all-purpose flour as well.
salt – Don’t omit the salt. I’ve forgotten it on occasion and the texture and taste of the pizza crust is just not the same. Be sure to include it.
yeast (optional) – If your starter is very bubbly and you start the dough first thing in the morning (or it’s a very warm day), you won’t need the yeast. I usually add it if I start the dough less than 5 hours before I want it to be ready.
This recipe makes three 12-inch thin crust pizzas. Adjust the number of pizzas on the recipe card if you’d like to make more or less.
Once you’ve got the dough ready to go, you’re more than halfway there. But you do need toppings. Check out all the fun pizza recipes you can make yourself!
Here’s a short list of possible toppings for your sourdough pizza:
- pizza sauce – commercial or homemade pizza sauce
- shredded mozzarella cheese – you can also use Monterey Jack, pepper Jack, goat cheese, or feta on your pizza
- sliced pepperoni
- cooked and crumbled sausage
- sliced peppers and onions
- cooked and chopped bacon
- chopped pineapple
- sliced mushrooms
Prepare the dough
Mixing up a batch of sourdough pizza dough is a regular Friday morning activity at this house. The process is pretty simple, especially if you have a stand mixer.
1. Weigh out the sourdough starter discard into a mixing bowl. Add the hot water, olive oil, and honey.
2. Next add the flour, salt, and additional yeast, if using.
3. Knead the dough with a dough hook until smooth and elastic, adding a bit of water if needed to make a smooth, stretchy dough.
4. Place the dough ball in a greased bowl and allow to rise 8 to 10 hours, or until doubled in bulk.
Form the pizzas
5. Transfer the risen dough to a large work surface that has been dusted with flour.
6. Divide the dough into equal portions. You can make large pizzas, single serve pizzas, or even mini pizzas.
7. Form each into a dough ball and allow to rest for a few minutes. If you have extra dough balls, you can freeze them at this point in greased bags or freezer-safe containers.
8. Form each dough ball into a large round. Place each round on a greased pizza pan or pizza screen. Add the toppings and bake or cook on the grill.
I find that if my starter “discard” is still bubbly and I’m starting my dough before lunchtime, I usually don’t need to add any additional yeast to the dough, to have it rise by dinnertime.
If the starter has been refrigerated or I start the dough late in the day, I add a teaspoon of SAF yeast to guarantee a good rise.
Yes, you can freeze pizza dough, but you do run the risk of the dough not rising as well after thawing as it might when freshly made. That said, freezing leftover pizza as well as formed rounds, pizza dough, and ready-to-bake mini pizzas makes it easier to enjoy pizza more often.
We’ve made this dough with both unbleached, all-purpose flour and bread flour. My daughters actually did a science experiment, determining the amount of gluten in both kinds that we use, Wheat Montana and Bob’s Red Mill, respectively.
There isn’t a huge difference in the gluten development of the two. Both are good and we didn’t see much difference in texture in the finished product.
Knowing how much it costs you to prepare a recipe can help you decide if it’s the type of recipe to make regularly or one you might want to save for special occasions. Let’s crunch some numbers and see how this recipe pencils out.
- starter – $0.08
- olive oil – $0.40
- honey – $0.21
- bread flour – $1.09
- salt – $0.03
Shopping at a mid-range grocery store at non-sale prices, one can expect to pay about $1.81 for the dough to make 3 pizzas. This works out to 60 cents/pizza!
Commercial pizza dough ranges from $1.49 to $3.79, making homemade the surefire winner!
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Sourdough Pizza Crust
- 1 1/2 cup sourdough starter discard
- 3/4 cup water heated
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp honey or sugar
- 3 3/4 cup bread flour or unbleached, all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 3/4 tsp active dry yeast optional
To mix in a stand mixer:
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the sourdough starter discard, hot water, olive oil, and honey. Add the flour, salt, and yeast, if using.
- Using a bread hook, knead the dough until a smooth, elastic dough forms. If the dough doesn't mix easily, add a few more tablespoons of water to achieve this.
To make the dough in a bread machine:
- In the pan of the bread machine, place the ingredients in the order listed by the manufacturer. Set the machine to dough and start. Open the lid after a minute to scrape down the sides, careful not to catch the dough paddle.
- Listen for when the dough cycle ends.
To mix by hand:
- Combine the ingredients in the order listed in a large mixing bowl. Stir until the dough starts to form a shaggy ball.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead until a smooth, elastic dough forms.
- Transfer the dough ball to a greased bowl. Cover with a lid or plastic wrap and allow to rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, about six to eight hours.
To form the pizzas:
- Move the dough to a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into three equal portions and form each into a round dough ball.
- Stretch each dough ball into a large round and place on a greased pizza screen.
- Add your toppings and bake on the grill or in the oven at 475 until the crust is crisp and the toppings are cooked, about 5 to 8 minutes.
This post was originally published on January 14, 2020. It has been updated for content and clarity.