The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Getting more "Sour" in my pizza

hotsawce's picture

Getting more "Sour" in my pizza

Based on the help of the forum, I finally got a starter going and have successfully used it in pizza.

I made a naturally leavened pizza with about 13% starter fed 1-1-1 seed-starter-water-flour, let it mature, and used in the final mix. Bulked at room temp for no more than 2 hours, into the fridge overnight, then balled. There was a little bit of rye/whole wheat in the starter.

Used a couple balls that evening and barely got any tang. The next day, to my surprise, there was a bit more but I still want more tang/sour.


Any suggestions on getting more tang or sourdough flavor in the finished dough? I would think more starter would contribute to flavor, but I am concerned about it fermenting the dough too quickly and giving it a shorter useable life. I tried a batch where I let it bulk ferment at room temp until a 3x increase in size, but using the balls the next day I had no noticeable flavor increase.


Any suggestions to get a more pronounced flavor in the dough would be greatly appreciated. Because the pizza dough is relatively thin and covered in toppings, the flavor of the dough needs to be bold to standup.

gerhard's picture

starter and more time will give you more sour. Most people eat pizza straight out of the oven even with bread you don’t taste much sour at that point. 

IceDemeter's picture

and more time - and also consider getting a bit more rye and whole grain in to the mix.

I use this recipe (recommended by some folks here):

The starter I use for it is pure rye, and I'll usually change out about 10-15% of the overall flour to be either rye or hard red whole wheat or sometimes a bit of spelt.  I find that there is a definite tang to the dough, even straight out of the oven, especially when I've had the dough in the fridge for a few days...

Give it a try using your usual starter and AP flour (or whatever you normally use), and then try tweaking with some different grains.

Good luck, and happy pizza baking!

Lechem's picture
Lechem (not verified)

I imagine that any tang in pizza is always going to be masked somewhat by all the toppings and won't be as apparent like a loaf of bread.

Some more ideas on top of the good advice already given would be to use your starter when very mature and you can also retard the starter (as you would with a dough) for a day or two before using.

As long as you don't mind your pizza recipe turning into a very long winded one.

hotsawce's picture

Interestingly, after a few initial tests (I'm making about 8 dough balls per day,) I'm finding the smaller amount of starter is not giving me a sour sourdough. I'm actually very skeptical extended cold fermentation does much of anything to promote sour flavor.

I maintain my starter by feeding once per day with a 10% inoculation, kept at room temp at all times. My least sour sourdoughs was a dough with 10% of this starter and one that was actually 54% starter (as a weight of added flour in the final mix.) The starter was not very warm when added and did not bulk too long. They were both surprisingly mild.

Interestingly, my most sour doughs were made with leaven; one at 10% (inoculated at 50%) and one at 15% (inoculated at 100%.) The first fermented in about 5 hours and was built with very warm water and fermented in a relatively warm spot. The second was the same but fermented in about 3 hours due to the large amount of seed starter in the leaven. In all instances, the bulk was only around 2 to 4 hours - not much of a volume increase.

This seems to go against a lot of what I've read on here - I see lots of suggestions for colder ferments, smaller amounts of starter, longer time fermenting.

Can anyone help explain what's going on? I'm thinking the warm water, warm starter, and warm ferment are leading to the more sour dough. At this juncture, I'm wondering if I should push the leaven even higher at these high inoculations and let the bulk ferment ride longer until well fermented, or back off to less leaven but still let the bulk ride a little longer.

In any event, it's been interesting to see the results as they haven't really been what I've expected!

AndyPanda's picture

Before I started (recently) learning about sourdough, I always made my pizza dough with commercial yeast (much less than if I were making bread though). And I would make enough dough balls for a few days - I always found day three was the best (meaning the dough had been in the fridge for three days).

So when I recently started making sourdough pizza, I let the dough sit in the fridge for 3 days. It's sour enough to be overbearing with the pizza (and I really like my sourdough sour).

LJay's picture

Hello Andy! Can we please have your recipe for the sourdough pizza dough?? Thanks so much!