Sourdough pizza recipe

Pizza is among the world’s most popular fast foods, and that’s with good reason. A bread base topped with tomato and cheese and then with anything your gastronomic heart desires on top of that. Baked in a searingly hot oven until the crust is wonderfully crispy and slightly charred, and the cheese is molten hot. This is my recipe for sourdough pizza.

I remember when I was about 17 years old, I went to visit my friend Søren who worked at the local music shop called Music Key. I’d hang out there and we’d play with the equipment when there were no customers.

One day he was going to go buy lunch and he said he was going to buy a pizza, and I said “Pizza? I’ve never had pizza”. He was surprised, “You’ve never had pizza?” he asked.

We went and bought a pizza. I had a capricciosa, which in Denmark includes tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, mushrooms and ham. It was delicious. I’ve been a pizza lover ever since.


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The history of pizza

Pizza probably evolved from a flatbread eaten by the Romans called panis focacius. The modern version of the pizza was invented in Napels in Italy aroud the turn to the 19th century.

The earlier versions of the flatbread did not contain tomato, since the plant originated in the Americas.

Poisonous tomatoes?

The tomato plant came from the Americas to Europe in the 16th century. At first it was thought to be poisonous because it’s of the nightshade family.

By the 18th century it had become common for the poor people around Naples to add tomato to their yeast based flatbreads, and thus the pizza was born.

The dish became popular and soon travelers to Naples ventured into the poor part of town to try the local delicacy.

The dish quickly became popular in all of Italy over the next decades.

The spread of pizza

The pizza stayed a local delicacy in Italia up until somewhere after the second world war, where US servicemen stationed in Italy became very happy with the dish and it started gaining popularity in the States.

A statistic states that 13% of all Americans eat pizza on any given day.

The popularity spread all over the world and today pizzas are eaten everywhere and there’s are very many varieties. Even my local Indian restaurant serves ‘Indian pizza’ with toppings based in classic Indian cuisine.

The dough I am presenting in this article is an offspring of a classic Naples pizza, which resembles the New York style pizza.

The pizza base dough in this sourdough pizza recipe

Vitals

Total weight1227 grams
Prefermented flour9.1%
Hydration65.0%
Yield4 pizzas (25cm/10 inch)

The dough

The base for the pizza is the carrier of toppings, but is usually nothing more than that.

With this recipe I strive to make the base so much more. It’ll be a delicious part of the pizza with well fermented bread, leavened using a sourdough starter.

The doughs hydration is sitting comfortably at 65%, with a good amount of salt to bring out the taste of the flour. A good splash of olive oil is added for both flavor and texture, but also helps make the pizza more crispy.

The inoculation of the starter is at 20% which is perfect for a room temperature fermentation at about 21°C/70°F. If your room is vastly warmer, you can lower the inoculation.

WeightIngredientBaker's Percentage
585gtipo 0090.0%
65gsemolina10.0%
400gwater61.5%
16gsalt2.5%
130gstarter (100% hydration)20.0%
18golive oil2.8%
13gdiastatic malt2.0%

If you want to scale the recipe, or change it around, you can do so here in my Bread Calculator.

Tools needed for a successful homemade pizza

Ad links! Links for ingredients/items in this section are affliate links, which means that I will a commission if you purchase the product!

There are some tools needed to make a great pizza at home.

First of all, an oven that can heat very warm is great, because you get the most authentic result. A wood fired stone oven gets all the way up to 500°C/932°F.

My oven heats to 300°C/572°F and also has a very good broiler, which means I can get to around 325°C/617°F. Not exactly wood fired pizza oven temperatures, but it’s not bad.

To help yourself getting perfect pizza, you’ll also need these items:

  • A pizza peel – essential for loading the pizza onto the piping hot baking steel.
  • A baking steel – helps retain heat in the oven and gives your pizza that tell tale bottom.
  • A pizza cutter – you need smaller pieces unless your mouth is as large as Steven Tyler’s.

Ideas for toppings for this sourdough pizza recipe

This section contains an absolutely non exhaustive list of ideas for toppings for your pizza. You can basically come up with your own.

NameIngredients
MargheritaTomato sauce, buffalo mozzarella, fresh basil
RomanaTomato sauce, mozzarella, anchovies, oregano, capers, extra-virgin olive oil
VienneseTomato sauce, mozzarella, German sausage, oregano, extra-virgin olive oil
Quattro StagioniTomato sauce, mozzarella, mushrooms, artichokes, ham, olives, fresh basil
MarinaraTomato sauce, garlic, oregano
CarbonaraTomato sauce, mozzarella, parmesan, eggs, bacon
HawaiiTomato sauce, mozzarella, pineapple
Frutti di MareTomato sauce, mozzarella, seafood
CrudoTomato sauce, mozzarella, parma ham
PugilieseTomato sauce, mozzarella, onion, oregano
NapoletanaTomato sauce, mozzarella, anchovies, oregano
MontanaraTomato sauce, mozzarella, mushrooms, pepperoni, stracchino
EmilianaTomato sauce, mozzarella, eggplant, boiled potatoes, sausage
FattoriaTomato sauce, mozzarella, peppers, peas, porchetta
AmericanaTomato sauce, mozzarella, sausage, french fries
Prosciutto e FunghiTomato sauce, mozzarella, prosciutto, mushrooms
Braccio di FerroMozzarella, spinach, ricotta cheese, parmesan
SardaTomato sauce, mozzarella, pecorino cheese, spicy salami
TonnoTomato sauce, mozzarella, tuna, onions
ValtellinaTomato sauce, mozzarella, bresaola, Parmesan flakes, rocket
GorgonzolaTomato sauce, mozzarella, gorgonzola, olives
CalzoneTomato sauce, mozzarella, ham, mushrooms, artichokes, anchovies, oregano.
Pizza al PestoTomato sauce, mozzarella, Genoese pesto, pine nuts, olives
MediterraneaTomato sauce, buffalo mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, pepper
OrtolanaTomato sauce, mozzarella, assorted vegetables
DiavolaTomato sauce, mozzarella, spicy salami, chilli pepper
RusticaTomato sauce, mozzarella, gorgonzola cheese, eggplants
ContadinaTomato sauce, mozzarella, asparagus, mushrooms, bacon, parmesan.
ParmigianaTomato sauce, mozzarella, eggplants, parmesan flakes
CapricciosaTomato sauce, mozzarella, ham, artichokes, mushrooms, olives
Ricotta e SpinaciTomato sauce, mozzarella, ricotta cheese, spinach.
Mare e MontiTomato sauce, mozzarella, seafood, porcino mushrooms
PadanaTomato sauce, parmesan cheese, salami, zucchini, polenta
TedescaTomato sauce, mozzarella, Vienna Sausage.
TiroleseTomato sauce, mozzarella, gorgonzola cheese, speck
BoscaiolaTomato sauce, mozzarella, porcino mushrooms, bacon
CampagnolaTomato sauce, mozzarella, corn, sausage
VegetarianaTomato sauce, mozzarella, various vegetables
BufalinaTomato sauce, Buffalo mozzarella, oregano
FontanaTomato sauce, mozzarella, gorgonzola cheese, radicchio, parmesan
FrancescanaTomato sauce, mozzarella, porcino mushrooms, ham, parmesan
TricoloreMozzarella, bresaola, parmesan flakes
ValdostanaTomato sauce, mozzarella, fontina cheese, bacon
CapreseMozzarella, sliced ​​tomato
Fiori di zuccaMozzarella, courgette flower, anchovies olive oil
BismarckTomato sauce, mozzarella, ham, fried egg
FunghiTomato sauce, mozzarella, mushrooms, parsley, olive oil
Salatpizza (danish)Tomato sauce, shredded mozzarella, lamb kebab, iceberg lettuce, tomato, cucumber, creme fraiche dressing

Kebab pizza?

The last one is one that have come to prominence in Denmark over the last decade. It’s basically a pizza with kebab and a salad on top.

Many of the pizzerias in Denmark are owned by people of Middle Eastern descent which means they also serve pita breads and durum with kebab. I haven’t found any information about where the “Salatpizza” originates, maybe it’s not even Denmark?

Let me know in the comments what your favorite topping is for pizza.

The conclusion of this sourdough pizza recipe

This is absolutely the best homemade pizza I’ve ever had.

The base is as thin as paper. The tomato sauce has lots of taste. When the pizza is baked the crust puffs up perfectly and super chewy. Yum!

The the base has a wonderful tang from the sourdough and a well-developed taste. Now the base is not just a carrier for the toppings, but part of the pizza taste profile.

I made four pizzas for this recipe:

  • Margherita: Tomato sauce, buffalo mozzarella, fresh basil
  • Quattro Formaggi: Tomato sauce, mozzarella, mushrooms, artichokes, ham, olives, fresh basil
  • Sune’s favorite: Tomato sauce, mozzarella, mushrooms, pineapple
  • Tomato sauce, mozzarella, kalamata olives, capers

They were all gorgeous, delicious pizzas that I’d serve to any pizza lover. You should make this too!

Please share this recipe for sourdough pizza on social media

This is my recipe for sourdough pizza. If you like the recipe please consider sharing it with like-minded pizza lovers on social media.

If you make it and post it on Instagram, please tag me as @foodgeek.dk so I can see it. That would make me very happy.

Ad links! The links in the recipe for ingredients or tools are affiliate links, which means that I get commission if you purchase the product!

Sourdough Pizza Dough

Course: Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine: American, Italian
Keyword: pizza, sourdough, sourdough pizza
Prep: 25 minutes
Cook: 0 minutes
Fermentation: 3 hours
Total: 3 hours 25 minutes
Servings: 4 pizzas
Calories: 559kcal
Author: Sune Trudslev
Nutrition Facts
Sourdough Pizza Dough
Amount Per Serving (1 pizza with tomato sauce)
Calories 559 Calories from Fat 45
% Daily Value*
Fat 5g8%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Sodium 1701mg74%
Carbohydrates 112g37%
Fiber 6g25%
Sugar 7g8%
Protein 16g32%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
A delicious sourdough based base for your pizza toppings
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Ingredients

Dough

  • 585 g tipo 00 flour 12-13% protein, alternatively bread flour
  • 65 g semolina
  • 400 g water
  • 16 g salt
  • 130 g mature sourdough starter
  • 18 g extra-virgin olive oil
  • 13 g diastatic malt powder

Pizza sauce

Instructions

Mix dough and bulk ferment

  • Add 585g tipo 00 flour, 65g semolina flour, 16g salt and 13g diastatic malt powder to a bowl and incorporate it by hand.
  • Add 400g water, 130g mature sourdough starter (peaked in the last 12 hours) and 18g extra-virgin olive oil.
  • Mix everything until all the flour is hydrated. Leave to rest for 30 minutes covered.
  • Perform 3 sets of stretch and folds spaced out by 30 minutes.
  • After the last set, do a windowpane test. If the dough doesn't pass the test, do another set of stretch and fold and a 30 minute rest.
  • Put the dough in a bulking container and let it rise to double size.

Divide, shape and final rise

  • Once the dough is doubled divide the dough into balls of 300 grams each.
  • Oil a roasting pan with olive oil.
  • Shape each dough piece into a taut ball and add it to the pan.
  • Cover the pan with cling film and let the dough final rise for about 1 hour at room temperature or about 24 hours (and up to 5 days) in the fridge, whatever suits your schedule.

Make the pizza sauce

  • Dice the onion finely.
  • Heat a pot to medium heat.
  • Fry the onion and crushed garlic a couple of minutes until it's softened.
  • Add the can of tomatoes and tomato paste and mix.
  • Add the oregano and basil.
  • Let simmer for about 30 minutes.
  • Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper.
  • Blitz the sauce in a food processor until it's smooth.
  • Add to a container and store in the fridge until you need it.

Get the oven ready

  • Add your baking steel to a baking sheet or wire rack on the top shelf in your oven.
  • Turn you oven on as high as it goes. Mine goes to 300°C/572°F. Also turn on the top broiler if you have one.
  • Let the oven heat for at least 30 minutes after it hits the top temperature. You want that steel to be scorchingly hot.

Make the pizza

  • Flour your counter liberally.
  • Flour your peel with quite a bit of semolina flour and put it aside.
  • Push the dough out into a disc while turning it. Leave a little edge that you don't press down.
  • Once you have a disc of about 12cm/4¾ inches start pulling the dough out with your left hand (or right if you are left handed).
  • Flip the dough over your hand and turn the dough counter clockwise (or clockwise if you are left handed) about an ⅛th.
  • Keep going until you have a disc of about 20cm/7⅞ inches.
  • Then lift up the pizza dough onto your clenched fists. Move one first to the left while stretching a little bit. Move the other first to the first fist. Keep going until the pizza is about 25cm/10 inches.
  • Add the pizza dough to the peel and arrange it so it's a perfect circle.
  • Add a little bit of tomato sauce in the middle of the pizza base.
  • Use a spoon to distribute the tomato sauce on the base by moving in an outward spiral until you have a thin layer of tomato sauce on the base. Leave about 1cm/⅓ inch without any sauce.
  • Add your desired toppings. Make sure they are not very wet and the fewer toppings the the lower the chance of a soggy bottom.
  • Grab your peel and add the pizza to the baking steel.
  • When the tip of the peel is where you want the back of your pizza to be, pull back quickly.
  • Bake the pizza until it's to your liking. This is very oven dependant, so keep and eye on it until you know about how long it takes (for the next pizzas).
  • If your oven heats unevenly from back to front, turn the pizza around using the peel during baking.
  • When the pizza looks done add it to a plate and cut it using a pizza cutter. Pizza-time!

Video

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  1. ivanhoegc Reply

    Quattro formaggi is four cheeses. I suspect you have confused with quattro stagione!

  2. simone Reply

    hi Sune, Marinara is with oregano, not basil. Really good.

    • Thank you. I fixed it 🙂

      I had a lot of pizza’s on my plate, so to speak 😀

  3. Ivan Reply

    I think you should warn people Tipo 00 is not a well-defined flour by protein/gluten content, and be clearer about the strength of the flour you are using. Tipo 00 can be anything from cake flour (W less than 100) to bread flour (W over 300). If it doesn’t say very much about it, it is probably similar to US all-purpose flour in strength (W around 200). Tipo 00 refers to the fineness of the grind and low ash content, not strength of the flour.
    To add to the complication of buying Italian Tipo flours, protein content – which you can find printed on the pack – is not well correlated with flour strength. For example, my local deli sells Pizzetti Tipo 00 which is an unbelievable 22% protein, but it isn’t strong bread flour – it is a middle strength all-purpose flour with W value about 200 according to their website.
    When I use this Pizzetti general purpose Tipo 00 (only flour I have been able to get the last few weeks of the Great British Coronavirus Flour Shortage), I have to do some extended stretching and folding at the start of bulk ferment to get a dough that will later pass the window pane test. If it is only a 65% hydration dough, maybe only 5 or 10 minutes. But I wouldn’t get away with what you did there.
    So I don’t know what Tipo 00 you are using, but it doesn’t seem to be like the Tipo 00 I am using. Or maybe you have some other skill to get your medium strength flour develop its gluten without the extended stretching sessions others of us seem to need when we can’t get bread flour.

    • That is a very good point. I’ve updated the recipe to state the protein content that you need. Thank you.

      In case you cannot get bread flour, but you can get vital wheat gluten (it’s probably a lot less popular), you can use my vital wheat gluten calculator to find out how much to add: https://fdgk.net/vital-wheat-gluten-calculator

  4. guro Reply

    Hi!

    Can the dough be frozen at any point? After dividing and before final rise in the fridge perhaps? I was thinking about making the entire batch and then freezing maybe half of the dough balls.

    • Yes, at any point where you’d put in the fridge you can put it in the freezer.

      When you want to use it, take it out and let it thaw completely in the fridge (around 24 hours).

  5. Ellen Seltz Reply

    Hi Sune, would dividing the dough into 2 instead of 4 hurt the result? I have a large baking stone & a lot of mouths to feed.

  6. Phyllis Van Hagen Reply

    This is a wonderful recipe and it will become my go to pizza recipe. Despite the use of a pizza stone and a preheat for one hour at 500 degrees, I have NEVER been able to achieve a blackened bottom on the crust- not even close.i have baked on the bottom shelf and higher. I often use the broil mechanism briefly. I was hoping the addition of diastatic malt powder would remedy that but no. In thinking about it maybe I need to cook it longer? I did bake these for 8-10 minutes. I did find that when I reheated a slice in a scorching cast iron fry pan, the bottom crust scorched nicely. For one pie, I topped it with a filling for a “flamiche aux poireaux .” That was amazing. I will push on and keep experimenting and what a delicious way to experiment.

  7. mike Reply

    Hi Sune, love your instructions and recipes, really helping with my sourdough beginnings. You’ve done all the hard work experimenting! But just a little confused by the 2 different recipe ratios in the post. The first reciple in the main part of the article doesn’t include semolina or diastatic malt and looks like around 70% hydration (including starter) but then the detailed recipe at the bottom includes these with a total hydration around 65% (including starter). I ended up using the first recipe as I didn’t have semolina or diastatic malt and it turned out fine (was pretty sticky but workable) but just wondering if I get those other 2 ingredients will following the second recipe give better results?

    • There was an error in the top recipe. It’s been updated 🙂

  8. Natalia Reply

    Hi! Thank you for your wonderful recipes, I love them!

    If I don’t have diastatic malt, should I replace it with semolina or normal flour?

  9. Danilo Reply

    Hi Sune, thank you very much for your amazing recipes. Concerning this one, I have just one basic question before I start off: do I have any chance of success with a normal kitchen oven that reaches at most 250°C?

    • Yes, it won’t be as charred and stuff, but it’ll still be delicious 🙂

  10. Judith Barnes Reply

    I’m thrilled to have found this recipe, which was a total success! I was despairing because my breads and pizza dough were coming out TOO SOUR! Luckily I just scored some semolina flour (not easy to find right now!) but didn’t have the malt powder, which didn’t seem to matter. I used my own deep dish, cast iron skillet baking technique and my pizza was perfect and not at all sour. Yay! Next time I’ll use some stone-ground whole wheat flour too. Thanks for the perfect dough recipe and technique.!

  11. Kasper Grønhøj Reply

    Tak Sune! Efter at have opgivet håbet om en 100% surdejspizza, så har din opskrift vendt op og ned på. Det var simpelthen den bedste pizza jeg – og resten af min lille familie nogensinde har fået. Den ryger lige i gemmebogen.