The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.


baybakin's picture

Sourdough Pizza: (Based on Maggie Glezer's Pizza Napoletana crust)

I've fiddled around with this recipe quite a bit, finding the right amount of levain and durum to suit my tastes, and here's what I have settled on.  The key to the big bubbles and flavor is a minimum 24 hours in the fridge, maximum 3 days.  There's lots of instructions on how to make good pizza in a home oven, my setup is as follows: Stone on the bottom of oven (gas in my case), pre-heated at 550F for an hour.  Pizza goes in on parchment, when the crust just starts to get toasty looking I put the broiler on until the top bubbles just begin to char.

150g Levain (100% hydration)
255g Water (room temp)
100g Fancy Durum Wheat Flour
325g Unbleached Bread Flour
10g Salt

Mix all ingrediants together until a rough dough is formed, let rest for 30 mins.
Kneed until smooth, rest on bench for an hour.
Divide into two equal pieces, form into balls.
Wrap in oiled plastic.
Place in fridge for 24-72 hours.

Take dough out of fridge at least one hour before baking.

Hope it works for others as well as it has worked for me.


dabrownman's picture

This crust was super for the Super Bowl.  Our best and most simple one to date – here is the recipe.


1/8 - tsp of active dry yeast

1/2 - tsp of sugar

120 g- AP flour

100 g- water

Mix yeast with sugar and water and let it sit for 5 minutes.  Then mix in the flour and let the biga sit on the counter overnight – 10 hours


300 g- flour

185 g- water

7 g– salt

This makes for 68% hydration dough with 1.5% salt.

Do 10 minutes of  French slap and folds and let sit in an oil covered bowl for 1 hour,  Do one set of S&F’s 4 quarter turns, and let it sit for another hour before refrigerating.  2 hours before you want to use it, take it out of the fridge and let it warm up.  We always par bake out crust for 3-4  minutes at 500 F on a stone before yaking them out to load them up with toppings.


I told Ian that I would tell him where the word crust comes from one day and since this was such a good crust, now is the time.

There is an old bread joke that Americans learned to bake bread from the French and the Brits.  The French and the Brits learned all they know about bread from Romans and the Romans learned all they know about baking bread from the Greeks.  The Greeks learned bread baking from the Egyptians and the Egyptians learned all they know about bread from a small artisan Jewish Bakery run by a Chinese baker in Jerusalem.


Paint with Mojo de Ajo and dock before par baking for 3-4 minutes.

There is way more truth to this than most want to admit.  An example is toast.  The Italians will tell you they invented garlic toast (and pizza too but that is another story), what we call bruschetta today , but this isn’t really accurate and historically correct.


There was a really famous Greek baker, at least as famous bakers could be before television, named Paximos who baked bread long before there was a Roman Empire for Greece to be conquered by.  He invented toast by roasting sliced bread on an open fire – a fairly simple recipe even then.  Paximos found that his sourdough toasted bread not only sold well but kept for an unusually long time, even for sourdough.  This allowed the Greek people people to travel with a food that was light weight and just the perfect road nosh.  It allowed the Greeks to open up over land and sea new trade routes to far away places.  Toast changed the world. 


Paximos called his toast Paximadi, after himself.  To this day you can travel all over Greece where in nearly every bakery, or outside it, you will see a sign proudly advertising Paximadi - toast.  Some is sweet for breakfast and some has garlic on it for warding off conquering Roman hordes and vampires  no doubt.


So, when the Romans finally invaded and conquered the Greeks, they discovered to their horror, that the Greeks had been making garlic toast – for centuries.   Something as good as Paximadi just couldn’t have a Greek name in the vast, all consuming Roman Empire.   So the Rimans changes the name of Paximadi; Greek garlic toast, to something way more Roman – Crustulum – the Roman word we take our word for crust from today.  But, we really should be calling crust Paxim if you ask me.


As a further note, when the Roman Empire fell, Italians stopped speaking Latin and picked up Italian as their daily vibe, they changed the name of Paximadi again - this time from Crustulum to Bruschetta.   Americans too use this modern word for Greek garlic toast today but Americans prefer an even more ancient Egyptian name for wheat and yeast based sustenance on Super Bowl Sunday - Brewskies!

cranbo's picture

Inspired by a recent thread, I decided to tackle creation of a copycat recipe for Joe's Squared pizza from Baltimore. Anyone want to try it out?

Update 1/26/2012: when I first developed this formula and made this over the last 2 days, it started with a very liquid starter (~170% hydration), then to a loose sponge (~114% hydration), to a firm final dough (~59% hydration). It was also created for double the quantity, to ensure that the sourdough build would be successful. I've now updated it based on what I've read and learned about Joe Squared's pizza, as documented later in this tread: generally lower hydration, original bulk ferment, and more fridge time.

Cranbo's Cubed Pizza

Makes about 4 personal-sized (200g) pizzas.


Caputo 00 flour,50g
Sourdough starter,25g; OR use a pinch (1/16 tsp.) of yeast


Stage 1 starter,135g
Caputo 00 flour,200g


Stage 2 sponge,535g
Caputo 00 flour,300g
Vegetable oil,12g


Caputo 00 flour, 100.00%
Water, 60.7%
Oil, 2.15%
Salt, 2.15%

Stage 1:
Dissolve starter in water
Mix with flour until well incorporated
Set aside overnight at room temp (75F for 8-12 hours) 

Stage 2:
Dissolve stage 1 starter in water
Mix with flour until well incorporated
Let sit at room temp (75F) for 2 hours
Refrigerate overnight (8-16 hours)

Stage 3:
Next day, let come to room temp for about 30 minutes
Add stage 2 sponge to mixing bowl
Add flour, water and salt

Mixing and Kneading:
Knead for 1-2 min at lowest speed, just until it starts to come together as a ball
Now add oil
Knead for 5 min at medium speed (Kitchen Aid speed #4)
If you're going to use same-day, start preheating oven now to 550F with your pizza stone, sheet steel, or cast iron griddle. You'll need to preheat for at least 1 hour.

Bulk rise:
Let bulk dough rise 2 hours at warm room temp (75F). You can probably go longer if desired; however, you do not want your dough to more than double. 

At this point, shape into balls, grease lightly with oil, and refrigerate for future use; OR divide into desired pieces (200g is probably the right size for small individual servings).

Generously flour your rolling surface, and roll out to 1/8-1/4" thick using a rolling pin. If dough is too elastic and springs back, let it rest for 10 min, and try again.

Place pizza dough on cornmeal (on pizza peel or parchment)
For true "cube" square style, use a pizza wheel or a sharp knife to cut a 10 or 11" square.  
Top pizza as desired, putting ingredients right up to the edge in true copycat style. 

Bake at 550F for 3-7 minutes, until bottom crust is browned and toppings are melted as desired.

UPDATE 2012-01-26: my first bake is in the thread below. 

belle's picture

Joe squared Pizza in Baltimore, MD - anyone have a copycat recipe to share?

January 23, 2013 - 4:12pm -- belle

Hi all...

I just watched a great pizza segment on Diners, Drive Ins and Dives on the Food Network.   The pizza featured was from Joes Squared Pizza in Baltimore, MD.    Here is the website:

It looks like the BEST pizza I have ever seen...does anyone know about this pizzeria (voted best in Baltimore)?  Better yet, can anyone share a copycat recipe for it?  
Thanks so much!


t-man's picture

Deck Oven Choices

January 17, 2013 - 1:11pm -- t-man

hi, all... i'm about to begin a new adventure.  i'm a geologist by trade- worked in the environmental industry for years.  but i'm half italian, and i grew up learning how to cook and bake from my grandma and her sisters.  i recently quit my geology job and went to a culinary school in rome for 3 months to learn how to make pizza al taglio, among other styles (wood fired, alla pala, tonda, etc.).  a location has come up that i need to jump on, so i'm looking for some advice on setting up a bakery.  this post is concerend with ovens and associated equipment.

dabrownman's picture

Our tradition has always been, since my daughter can remember, to have pizza on New Year’s Eve.  This year my daughter’s boy friend wasn’t able to attend so we put off the pizza until he could – on New Year’s Day.


So pizza was the first bake of 2013 and after Pure Ugly Panettone for the last bake of 2012, we wanted to start off right.  We went back to our real old non SD, non whole grain dough at the daughter’s request.  Seem’s like kids get anything they want now a days.


We did a 3 day build for the poolish, that Italians call a biga, with just a pinch of yeast to try to get some extra flavor in the dough and refrigerated the levain for 24 hours.


We made the dough and, after a two hour bulk ferment, we refrigerated it for 24 hours too, all in hopes of getting a flavorful dough that would stretch thin enough to read a paper though and not tear.  We added our usual sun dried tomatoes, fresh rosemary and garlic to the dough an hour before use.


It all worked out beautifully, my daughter loved the crust as did her boyfriend but, even though it was a fine workable dough that stretched easily and thinly like no other, I have to admit it didn’t taste as good, or have the depth of flavor, as the SD whole grains variety.


The pizza turned out very well and the toppings included all the usual suspects;  Mojo de Ajo, hot and mild sausage (not home made this time), caramelized onions, caramelized; button, shiitake and crimini mushrooms, green and red bell peppers, poblano and jalapeno peppers, kalamata olives, pepperoni and 7 cheeses.

My wife agreed it is the best crust yet so I guess we have to make 2 kinds from now on to suit everyone.

Franko's picture


In the first week of October we began a complete renovation of our kitchen with the idea that should the local real estate scene ever return to a seller's market, an up to date kitchen would be necessary if we wanted to list the house and draw acceptable offers for it. The other side of the coin was that if we opted to stay put, at least we'd have a kitchen that would serve us well for the next 10 to 15 years. The reno took just a shade over 4 weeks to finish, the end result we feel was well worth the inconvenience of doing without a kitchen for what seemed a very long month.

 Before we sold the old oven I managed to get one last bake in to tide me over for at least some of the time while the renos were in progress. Jeffrey Hamelman's Vermont Sourdough from “Bread”, my go to loaf of late, produced two good loaves for me and I was happy to see the old oven go out on a high note of sorts. I love the classic flavour of this bread with it's subtle rye and sour notes giving it just the right flavour to enjoy as Hamelman suggests, everyday.

 That oven turned out a lot of bread, pastries and cakes over the years and had always preformed reliably for my wife and I so I was a little sorry to see it go...but only just a little. The new oven we selected is from the same Sears Kenmore line as the previous one but with a convection function and a few other whistles and bells included that the old one didn't have. Besides having convection, one of the features this oven has is a top range of 550F/287C whereas the old one topped out at 500F/260C. For pizza and some breads I like having the option of using the 500F+ temps for a short period to maximize the jump and/or for crust colouration.

 The very first item baked in the new oven was a pizza made from approx. 220-250 grams of dough that went in at 525F, lowered to 460F and baked in convection mode. The pie baked off in just under 9.5 minutes coming out with a little char around the edges but leaving the bottom crust an even coloured light brown, something I rarely managed in the old oven and never in less than 10 minutes.

This looks promising I thought, but knew I'd have to keep a close eye on things until I became familiar with this much stronger oven.

A few days and feedings later my rye starter had come back to life after it's month long hibernation and  put to work making a levain for another loaf of Vermont Sour. As with the pizza I started the bake at 525F but kept it going for the first 10 minutes (with steam) before lowering the heat to 440F with convection on and removing the steam tray. I stayed in the kitchen for the entire time monitoring the bake as it progressed and it's a good thing I did. The loaf coloured up rapidly, probably 5-10 minutes faster than what I'm used to. I found I had to lower the heat down to 400F and change it's position several times to get an even colour during the final 10 minutes while the internal temp of the loaf came up to 210F. In total the entire bake time came to 40 minutes for the 1,050 gram loaf, roughly the same time it took the old oven to do at a steady average temperature of 460-470F.


For the next bake I wanted to try something different and settled on Hamelman's Potato & Roasted Onion Bread from “Bread”, one I've been meaning to make but hadn't gotten around to yet. It seems I've been missing out on a real treat for all this time. The bread is a joy to eat, very moist for a lean bread and with great flavour from the roasted potatoes, and with roasted leeks that I substituted for the onions. I've made two of these loaves in the boule shape so far, attempting to get the Fendu style loaves shown in photo # 12 of “Bread” with no success. I've come to the conclusion that the doughs I've made are too large for the brotform I have. Next time I'll try it in my large banneton and hopefully the extra room will allow the crease to open up the way it should.

Earlier in the week I'd made some Maple and Black Pepper cured bacon that I thought would go nicely with toasted Potato Leek Bread in a BLT....

and it turns out I was right! 

The recipe below is my adaptation of Jeffrey Hamelman's Potato Bread with Onions -Pg- 120 of “Bread A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes 

Link to Procedure *Here* 


There is another bread that I've made recently but I think I'll save it for another post, this ones become an epic. 

Cheers to all and a very happy Thanksgiving Day to all my fellow TFL members in the US















Steve H's picture

Hamelman-esque Sourdough Pizza Dough

November 10, 2012 - 6:05am -- Steve H

I am trying to make a sourdough pizza based upon my favorite sourdough recipe, the Hamelman Vermont Sourdough. I've decided that the way to do this is to try to adapt the sourdough recipe to the pizza dough recipe in his Bread book. I'd appreciate any comments or suggestions since this is the first time I have tried to adapt one of the recipes this dramatically:

Vermont Sourdough Pizza Dough

Overall Formula


loydb's picture

I subbed Karo syrup for malt extract in my sourdough pizza dough. It came out good, but I feel dirty. :)



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