The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Sourdough pizza talk

rainwater's picture

Sourdough pizza talk

I'm on my second batch of Sourdough pizza. My first batch was all water for liquid, and I found it disappointing.....that's a relative "Fresh Loaf" bakers are looking for always better or best. I found the finished product a little doughy.......My guests loved it, but I was critiqueing as I first pizza dough since joining "The Fresh Loaf" was the Neo-Neapolitan from Reinhart's pizza book.....excellent! It's what I compare all my efforts to.
My second batch of Sourdough pizza, I used milk for the liquid......this pizza, which I'm eating as we discuss, is picture perfect.....Nice rounded, bubbly outer rim of crust, the pizza is crispy from the center to the edge, and the crumb is beautiful....nice bubbly crust.....but it is a little on the chewy side.....very good taste.....
Lately, I'm debating on the texture of sourdough product vs. yeasted product. I find the texture of yeasted product to be generally better....lighter, a little springy (lively), and usually good crumb...and sourdough products tend to be a bit breads rise just as much, but the crumb texture tends to be a little more chewy?, and the bread feels heavier, even though it's the same weight and size. ....but the sourdough always taste better......

Any comments on the digestability of sourdough versus yeasted dough? I wonder if the sourdough with it's yeast and bacteria culture may be more digestible for us?

xaipete's picture

I think that the type of topping one plans for their pizza dictates that type of dough one uses , e.g., a basic vs. sourdough type. I have some sourdough pizza balls ready to use in my refrigerator and baked one yesterday for lunch. It was turned out great. I've never noticed any digestion differences between yeasted vs. wild yeast types--they all seem to get eaten promptly :-). --Pamela

ClimbHi's picture

Sourdough or yeast (and once or twice, a combination of the two) depending on how long I have to wait for the dough to rise. If I have lots of time, I'll go with the sourdough.

I generally pre-bake the shell a bit -- form it on the peel, put a weighted cake pan in the center, and slip it into a HOT oven (I use wood-fired) for a minute or so, just until the crust starts to brown and firms up. If I want a crispy center crust, I'll remove the pan for a bit after the dough sets up. Then top and finish off in the oven at your leisure.

I prefer to use a ciabatta dough for my shells whether I'm using yeast or sourdough. Adding a few tablespoon of olive oil to the recipe will tenderize the crust for ya.

Pittsburgh, PA

chayarivka's picture

Sourdough contains friendly organisms that actually aid digestion. Like yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchee, miso and other fermented foods.

My anecdotal experience (and NOT scientific study) has been that some people who believe they have wheat allergies actually have yeast allergies. Also, it seems many people who feel bloated after eating yeasted products do not after eating sourdough products.

For more scientific information google "sourdough health". (For some reason the links aren't pasting here).

Also try: (I have a great link, but it isn't pasting!!!???) and search for an article written 20th February, 2006 which reports a study that says some celiac patients can eat sourdough without ill effects.

There is tons more info. Just search!

(Sorry I don't know why links won't paste, -never had this happen before).



Paddyscake's picture

as for digestive info

Do you use bread flour for your dough? I so, you might want to try using AP for a lighter product.


gaaarp's picture

I never thought about the possible probiotic qualities of sourdough.  Makes sense, though.  I'm personally a big fan of kimchee.

xaipete's picture

Yes, I think Betty is right. Bread flour might yield a darker crust than all-purpose. Bread flour definitely, IMO, yields a more sturdy crust. I prefer a yeasted crust made with all-purpose flour to a sourdough crust. I think that is because I prefer lighter pizzas, e.g., Pizza Margarita, made with fresh mozzarella.


summerbaker's picture

I have been experimenting with sourdough pizza as well and noticed the same thing as you, namely the flavor is better but texture is more doughy.  My first attempt, which was formed straight from the fridge,  was incredibly doughy so the second time I let it rise at room temp (about 65-67 degrees) for six hours (after retarding the dough in the fridge overnight), but because it didn't seem to be getting anywhere I preheated my oven to 200 for ten minutes, turned it off and put the plastic wrap covered bowl of dough in it for the next four hours.  When I took it out it had expanded by about 1 1/2 times and the resulting pizza crust was much better - bigger holes, crispier.  My thought is that next time I might just leave it out of the fridge altogether (even overnight) and see if it can get to just under double in volume without the use of the warm oven to prompt it.  If you don't mind taking the time to answer, how much did your dough rise?

Your use of milk is an interesting idea, which I'll have to try sometime when I'm feeling brave!

rainwater's picture

Whoops...have been away from the computer a, cook, clean, get my next bread ready.....I fed my starter, and started the Poilane  Miche from the Bread Baker's Apprentice.  This will be interesting.  So far, my sourdough bread escapade has been successful......and my pizzas have been great actually.....but for pizza dough, it has to be the best.  My first Neo-Neopolitan dough (yeasted) was so good that I've had as good, but never better.....I was devouring the crust like manna from heaven.  ....and I'm sure that sourdough has the same potential.....the sourdough pizza dough has more flavor, but I'm looking for that texture.  The sourdough with milk dough was better texturally.....I would say the photo shot to be perfect.....rounded bubbly edges, and nice crumb in the crust....just a little chewy. 

I'm starting to think that maybe forming (kneading, or french stretch and fold) of the dough may be a little more delicate matter with sourdough?????? 

I doubled my volumn in the appropriate amount of time before I divided the dough into 10 oz. portions, kneaded just enough to form dough balls....put one in refrigerator for the next day, and the other three in the freezer. 

I take the refrigerated dough from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature for a couple of hours, or more....then form pizza shell, top, and bake....When taking the dough from the refrigerator the second day, Reinhart doesn't mention letting it rise; the formula just calls for bringing to room temperature.

My recipe (Reinhart's) calls for 1/4 olive oil, but I put 1 Tbs.  I want the crust to be as light as possible....maybe a little more oil......I'll keep experimenting. 

I don't have any problem eating the pizza, it's just my quest for the pizza crust to be ethereal.......

I'm going to check out the information on the 'digestibility of the sourdough'. thanks for the links.

rainwater's picture

Ahhh....thanks for the thread on nutritional advantages of sourdough.......very interesting.....any bacteria advantage of the sourdough is gone after baking, but the digestibility of the bread's iron, minerals, and nutrients are enhanced by the yeast/bacterial action before the actual baking, which makes the bread's nutrients more available.....makes sense.

Ha!  I wonder if a teaspoon of raw sourdough starter could be good as relief for an upset tummy.....or used occasionally as a pro-biotic????

chayarivka's picture
Mako's picture

I'm using the BreadTopia recipe for my sourdough crust,


but I cant seem to get it golden brown, everyone raves about the flavor and texture, but I'm not satisfied,

500 degrees on a pizza stone

Tried brusihng the edges with butter

Tried prebaking it

antying else I can do?


I think my pizza stone on the gass grill gets a nicer finished crust for what its worth