Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Sourdough pizza

I've been making a lot of pizza recently. I'd kind of got out of the habit. I used to make it regularly, but when I moved to my current abode with its weedy electric oven, I found my old method produced heavy, doughy focaccia instead.

Now I've started rolling out the dough thinner, and since my visit to Franco Manca in Brixton I've experimented with a sourdough base. I never thought it would make such a difference, but it does. I used this recipe from a sourdough guru (though he insists "All this praise is jolly nice of course so long as it is appreciated that the original yeasted recipe is Carol Field's. All I did was convert it to sourdough a long time back.") for the dough and the pizza tastes so much better.

I didn't have a written recipe before; it was more: half fill a bowl with flour, bit of salt, glug of olive oil, yeast, glug of lager, enough water to make a dough. And it worked.

I always enjoyed making the yeast dough because it was ready so quickly. Yet after having tasted a naturally leavened dough with a 20 hour fermentation, I don't want to go back. Of course my oven doesn't go up to 500ºC like a proper pizza oven, but it's still nicer than a yeast dough.

I've also learnt not to leave the dough out at room temperature. The gluten will degrade within a day im summer; you can really feel the difference by the second day when it has already lost its strength and you have to add more flour just to stop it falling apart. It's really weird the way it feels almost liquid-like rather than stretchy and pliable.

The person who taught me to make pizza said old dough was better than freshly made, and he was right, but that's only if it's kept in the fridge.


  1. Sourdough pizza. I must try that. I have a sourdough culture that has been lying dormant in the fridge for 8 months +... think it will still be safe?

  2. it should be, if it hasn't grown fur.