Sourdough Pizza Dough

If you have a sourdough starter, this sourdough pizza dough is a great way to use up any discard and gives your pizza crust great flavor.

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Hands holding a ball of dough above a countertop.

Simple Sourdough Pizza Crust

Pizza dough is not complicated. You just need a few ingredients and a little time. Making a sourdough pizza dough just adds one more ingredient to the mix and you end up with a dough that is significantly more flavorful, but just as versatile and usable as regular pizza dough. This recipe for pizza dough can be made the day you need it, but it keeps really well up to five days and improves with time. My favorite day to use it is on Day 3, so consider making a big batch of pizza dough and saving a few balls in the fridge for later in the week, or freezing for a rainy day.

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Ingredients on a table with a stand mixer in the background - sourdough starter, yeast, salt, oil, flour, sugar.

Key Ingredient: Sourdough Discard

If you are a keeper of sourdough starter, you are very familiar with sourdough discard. If you are new to sourdough, then you’ll need to know that the “discard” is the part of the starter that you… yep you guessed it… discard each time you feed the starter. If you didn’t discard some of the starter each time, you’d soon have a starter that was so large it would eat you out of house and home, or at least eat all the flour in your home. The downside to discarding starter each time you feed it is that you are throwing a good ingredient away. This pizza dough recipe uses sourdough discard to replace some of the flour and water that is already present in the recipe and to give your pizza dough a boost of flavor. It’s a win win situation.

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A stand mixer bowl sitting on a scale with some ingredients around.

Weighing Ingredients

If you are a keeper of sourdough, you probably already have a kitchen scale and are used to using it to measure out the ingredients to feed your starter. Weighing ingredients is a much better way of measuring, especially when you are making doughs and batters. Weights never fluctuate the way volume measurements do as a result of human error. That makes you, the baker, much more consistent each time you make a recipe. Though I do provide you with volume measurements, I highly recommend weighing your ingredients for recipes, especially for all doughs.

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A bowl of liquid on a scale with other ingredients and a stand mixer in the background.

How to add Starter to Pizza Dough

Whenever you add starter to a recipe, it is easiest to dilute the starter in whatever liquid you are adding to the recipe. In this case, the starter is mixed with the water and olive oil and then added to the dry ingredients in a bowl. The recipe still calls for instant yeast (yes, you can substitute active dry yeast instead) because it speeds up the process a little, helping the pizza dough to rise enough for you to use the dough the day it is made.

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Looking into the bowl of a stand mixer with dough inside.

How to Make Sourdough Pizza Dough

The easiest way to mix a pizza dough is to use a stand mixer. Use the dough hook on speed 2 or 3 of a KitchenAid mixer and let the dough come together until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. You might even hear the dough start to slap the side of the bowl, which is a great audio clue that the dough has been kneaded enough. If the dough is sticking to the bowl, add a little sprinkling of flour until it comes together just right.

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A hand kneading a ball of dough on a cutting board.

Kneading Pizza Dough by Hand

If you don’t have a stand mixer, don’t fret. You can still make pizza dough by hand and work out all your problems at the same time! Combine the ingredients in the bowl and continue to turn the dough over on itself in the bowl until it feels somewhat unified. Once you’re able to turn it out onto a countertop or board without it falling apart, do so and continue to knead the dough by hand until it feels smooth. It has been kneaded enough when it feels like a horse’s nose when you run your hand across it. That might sound like a strange analogy, but try it and you’ll understand!

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A hand shaping dough on a countertop with a shaped ball of dough in the foreground.

Shaping Pizza Dough

Once the dough has been kneaded, shape it into a round. This is more important than it sounds. The key to making a pizza round is to start with a round ball of dough. If you’re going to make a different shaped pizza, then it doesn’t matter as much, but getting your pizza to be round is much easier if you start with a round ball. Shape the pizza by cupping your hand around the dough and pulling it towards you while you give it a 90 degree turn. This helps shape the dough, stretches the top side of the dough into a smooth surface and seals all the open edges on the bottom.

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Two balls of dough on a baking sheet on a wooden table.

Freezing Sourdough Pizza Dough

If you’re planning on using this dough today, let it sit out on the countertop for an hour or two before stretching it into a crust. If you’re not using it today, lightly oil the surface of the dough, cover it with plastic and pop it in the refrigerator. It can live happily in the fridge for up to 5 days and builds flavor the longer it waits. You can also freeze the dough at this stage. I like to put each dough ball into a lightly oiled plastic bag, sucking out all the air and freezing it on a flat tray. 

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Two balls of risen dough on a baking sheet on a marble counter.

Ready to Use

Take the pizza dough out of the refrigerator at least one hour before you start to cook. The dough will have grown in size. Remove it from the baking sheet carefully, trying to keep its round shape intact. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and shape it to suit your needs – a pizza, a calzone, a stromboli, or even some sugar fried dough for a sweet treat.

Featured Recipe Techniques

More about the skills used in this recipe.

Cooking School
How to Make a Sourdough Starter

Making your own sourdough starter is a little like magic. You need very little - just a few tools, some...View Technique

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Sourdough Pizza Dough

  • Prep Time: 20 m
  • Rising Time: 2 h
  • Total Time: 2 h 20 m
  • Servings:
    2
    (1-pound) dough ballss

Ingredients

  • cups bread flour (460 grams)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1 cup sourdough starter or discard (200 grams)
  • 1 cup luke warm water (240 grams)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Instructions

  1. Combine the flour, salt, sugar and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer.

  2. Combine the sourdough starter or discard, water and olive oil in a second bowl. Stir to dissolve the starter in the liquid.

  3. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix with the dough hook on low speed until a dough is formed. Add more flour or water as needed so that the dough stays together. Let the mixer knead the dough for about 10 minutes. The dough should clean the inside of the bowl.

  4. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and let it rise in a warm place (around 75˚F), covered with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel, until it has doubled in bulk. This should take an hour or two.

  5. Turn the dough out onto the counter and divide the mixture into two dough balls, shaping them into rounds with your hands. Lightly coat each dough ball with oil and transfer to the refrigerator, covered with plastic wrap. You can place them on a baking sheet, or place each dough ball into its own oiled zipper sealable plastic bag or container. (You can freeze the dough balls at this stage, removing as much air as possible from the oiled bag.) Keep in the refrigerator for at least one day, or as long as five days.

  6. When you’re ready to make your pizza, remove your pizza dough from the refrigerator at least 1 hour prior to baking and let it sit on the counter, covered gently with plastic wrap.

  7. Use the dough to make pizza, calzone, stromboli or any other recipe that calls for pizza dough.

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