sourdough pizza crust
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Sourdough pizza crust is simple to make a day or two ahead for two 12-inch pizzas with chewy, airy crusts that are perfectly crisp on the outside. Proof and shape your pizza dough balls directly onto sheets of parchment paper for easy transferring of the dough onto a hot baking stone in the oven.

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There are so many things I love baking with my sourdough starter like Soft Sourdough Breadsticks, Sourdough Soft Pretzels, and Sourdough Danish Pastries.

But one of my favorite things to make with my starter is sourdough pizza dough! Pizza is such an easy meal to put together after preparing the dough the day before.

The texture of the crust rivals restaurant pizza, thanks to a higher hydration dough. Good homemade pizza is a must for us living up in the mountains where restaurants are few and far between.

This pizza dough recipe is heavily influenced by Maurizio Leo’s sourdough pizza dough and his method for baking pizza in a home oven. I quite enjoy his recipe just as it is, but after making it many times, I’ve made my own tweaks and simplified the method.

The recipe calls for a very small amount of diastatic malt powder. This is to help the crust develop and brown properly, but you can leave it out if you don’t have any on hand.

The crust turns out like a beautiful artisan pizza with the occasional giant crispy air pocket. Gosh, I’m making myself hungry for more pizza…

a side view of the sourdough pizza crust with a large air bubble

With this method, there’s no mess on a rolling pin, my oven, or even on my pizza stone, so the dishes afterward are very minimal–a win-win!

You can customize each sourdough pizza with whatever sauce and toppings your heart desires. Just keep in mind that freshly sliced, torn, or shredded mozzarella (or whatever cheese you’re using) will melt much better than pre-shredded cheese.

Sourdough Pizza Crust Baking Schedule

*The strength of your starter, the temperature in your home, and other factors will affect how long each step in the recipe will take.

Approximate timing:

  • Mix and rest: 20 minutes
  • Bulk fermentation: 2.5 hours
  • Retard in refrigerator: 24+ hours
  • Pre-shape and proof: 3 hours 15 minutes
  • Shape, top, and bake: 35 minutes

I usually start my dough in the late morning on day one. This gives me time to feed my starter when I wake up in the morning so it can peak before I mix my dough.

I begin proofing the next day around 2:30pm to have pizza in time for dinner. This means the dough is in the fridge for more than 24 hours for optimal flavor and development.

sourdough pizza close up

The timing is flexible, though, since you can leave the dough in the refrigerator longer than a day.

You could start in the afternoon or evening on day one, if that works better for your schedule, then leave it in the fridge for pizza anytime on day three.

(And really, if you’re in a big hurry, the dough will be just fine if you start it in the morning and proof and bake the same day.)

serving a slice of sourdough pizza

Tips

  • If you don’t own a pizza peel (I don’t), a large wooden cutting board or an inverted half sheet pan will work to transfer your pizza to the oven with this method.
  • Make sure to preheat your stone or steel along with your oven to prevent damage. Allow it to stay inside the oven as the oven cools down afterward as well.

Equipment Needed

How to Make Sourdough Pizza Crust

Step 1 – Make Sourdough Pizza Crust Dough and Bulk Ferment (Day 1)

You’ll want to start by scaling your ripe sourdough starter, water, kosher salt, and diastatic malt (if using). Stir them together.

Then add your flour and stir until a shaggy dough forms. At this point I use my hand to knead the dough in the bowl until it comes together and no dry flour remains. The dough should still be fairly sticky (the higher hydration is one key to the open crumb), although it does hold its shape.

Use the videos below to see the consistency, and add a sprinkle more water if your dough feels too stiff.

Place a lid (or tea towel) on the bowl and allow the dough to rest for 15 minutes.

Then it’s time to bulk ferment for the next 2.5 hours, or so. I like to set my dough in my turned-off oven with the light on to keep it closer to 75°-80°F.

You’ll want to perform 3 sets of stretch-and-folds every 30 minutes to develop strength in the dough. You can refer to my video below to see how to stretch-and-fold dough:

Then allow the dough to rest for the remainder of bulk fermentation (another 1.5 hours). Your dough should increase in size by about 1/3 its volume.

Then place a lid (or plastic wrap) securely on the bowl and refrigerate your pizza dough for at least 24 hours.

Step 2 – Proof and Shape Sourdough Pizza Crust (Day 2 or 3)

Remove your dough from the refrigerator about 3.5 hours before mealtime.

Turn out your dough onto your countertop and divide it in half with a dough scraper. You shouldn’t need to dust with any additional flour at this point.

dividing the dough into to pieces

Without degassing your dough, use your scraper to push your first piece of dough against the counter to form it into a tight ball.

pushing the pizza dough against the counter with a dough scraper to tighten the shape
pizza dough after shaping into tight balls

Repeat to form the second piece of dough into a ball. Coat each ball with a thin layer of olive oil. I usually drizzle oil in the same bowl the dough was fermenting in and scoot my dough balls through it.

Place the oiled dough balls in the center of sheets of parchment paper. Cover them with plastic wrap to keep them from drying out and set them in a warm place (75°-80°F).

(Again, you can put them on baking sheets in a turned-off oven with the light on for extra warmth, if you need.)

pizza dough on parchment paper with plastic wrap ready to proof

Allow them to proof for 3 hours or until they look puffier and expand out sideways like the picture below.

pizza dough balls after proofing on parchment paper while covered with plastic wrap

Preheat your oven to 525°F (550°F is even better, if your oven has the option) before you begin assembling your pizzas.

Note: To avoid damaging your pizza stone (or steel), make sure you put it in your cold oven and allow it to preheat with your oven.

The stone/steel insures your crust becomes crispy on the bottom and that heat is transferred to your pizza quickly, giving the crust the ability to rise.

To shape your first pizza, dampen your fingers to prevent the dough from sticking to you. I keep a small bowl of water nearby to dip into as needed.

Begin pressing out the dough ball with both hands in a circular shape. Go from the center outwards, stopping before you flatten the outer crust.

beginning to press out pizza dough ball into the correct shape

You don’t want to deflate the outer crust or pop any air bubbles that come to the surface. Work on pressing the middle of the crust out evenly until your pizza is about 12 inches in diameter.

This method is very beginner friendly. You don’t even have to lift the dough from the parchment to shape it or worry about tearing holes in it as you stretch it.

a sourdough pizza crust after shaping

The crust will expand considerably during baking, so feel free to press even closer to your outer crust during this step if you like a smaller crust on your finished pizza.

Step 3 – Top and Bake Sourdough Pizzas

Add any sauce and toppings you wish. Sometimes we go all out and do supreme-style pizzas with red sauce. Other times, we stick to mozzarella, olive oil, tomatoes, and fresh herbs after baking.

two sourdough pizzas topped and ready for the oven

When your oven is ready, slide your pizza with its parchment onto your pizza peel (or whatever you’re using in place of a peel…see tips section above).

Open your oven and quickly scoot your pizza right onto your hot stone or steel. Close the oven door and bake for about 10 minutes (6 minutes at 550°F). You’ll know the pizza is done when the crust is nice and brown.

Note: Your parchment paper will be very dark by the time your pizza is baked. Don’t worry. It will not light on fire or release chemicals even when you’re baking higher than the recommended temperature on the package, according to my research and experience. 🙂

You can take your crusts even darker than mine if you like them nice and crispy.

sourdough pizza after baking

Once you remove your first pizza from the oven, reset your oven temperature and allow it to come back to temperature before you put your second pizza in. This will allow your second pizza to bake up just as well as the first!

Allow your pizzas to cool on a wire rack for about 5 minutes, then slice and enjoy while they are still warm. I hope you enjoy this recipe!

If you make this recipe and love it, I would be so grateful if you would come back to leave 5 stars and a comment. Your feedback is very appreciated!

Tag your photo on Instagram @aberlehome to show me what you made!

sourdough pizza crust

Sourdough Pizza Crust

Yield: Two 12-inch Pizzas
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Additional Time: 1 day 5 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 day 6 hours 20 minutes

This sourdough pizza crust recipe is simple to make a day or two ahead for two 12-inch pizzas with perfectly chewy and airy crusts that are crispy on the outside. Proof and shape your pizza dough balls directly onto sheets of parchment paper for easy transferring of the dough onto a hot baking stone in the oven.

Ingredients

  • 48g ripe sourdough starter (100% hydration)
  • 215g water, room temperature
  • 7g kosher salt
  • 3g diastatic malt (optional)
  • 330g unbleached all-purpose flour
  • Olive oil to prevent sticking
  • Pizza toppings of choice

Instructions

Feed starter several hours before mixing dough and allow it to peak.

  1. Morning of day 1: Mix starter, water, salt, and diastatic malt in a medium-size bowl. Add flour and stir until a shaggy dough forms. Knead in the bowl with your hand until the dough comes together. Dough should be sticky and extensible, though it does hold its shape fairly well. Add a sprinkle more water or flour if necessary. Cover and allow to rest for 15 minutes.
  2. Bulk fermentation (75-80°F): Perform three sets of stretch-and-folds on the dough at 30-minute intervals, covering dough after folding. Allow dough top rest for an additional hour and a half (covered), or until dough has increased by about 1/3 its volume. (2.5 hours total time for bulk fermentation).
  3. Place dough tightly covered in the refrigerator until the next day (or day 3).
  4. Afternoon of day 2 or anytime day 3: About three hours before intend to bake your pizzas, remove dough from bowl and divide in half (do not degas). Gently form each portion into a tight ball and coat in olive oil. Place each ball smooth side up in the center of a sheet of parchment paper and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Allow to proof in a warm place (75-80°F) for 3 hours, or until dough balls look puffier and expand out sideways.
  5. When proofing is almost finished, place a baking stone or steel inside the top third of the oven. Then preheat oven to 525°F (or up to 550°F if your oven will allow).
  6. Shaping and topping pizzas: Wet your fingertips and begin to press out the first ball of dough on the parchment paper. Work from the center outward to flatten the bottom crust in a circular shape without deflating the outer crust. There is no need to lift the dough from the parchment paper. Continue until pizza is about 12 inches in diameter.
  7. Top with sauce and toppings. Slide the first pizza (still on its parchment paper) onto a pizza peel (a large wooden cutting board or half sheet pan will work). Use the peel to transfer the pizza into the preheated oven on top of the stone or steel.
  8. Bake: Bake for about 10 minutes (6 minutes at 550°F), or until the crust has browned to your liking. Transfer pizza to a wire rack and allow to cool for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.
  9. Reset oven temperature and allow oven come back up to temperature before baking second pizza.

Notes

  • Alternate baking schedule: start dough in the afternoon or evening of day 1, refrigerate to make pizzas anytime on day 3. (if absolutely necessary, the dough can be made and baked in the same day.)
  • If your ambient temperature is cooler than the temperatures listed, your dough will take longer to develop.
  • Freshly shredded, torn, or sliced mozzarella (or whatever cheese you are using) will melt better than pre-shredded cheese.
  • Place your pizza stone or steel in your oven before you begin preheating, and likewise, allow it to stay in the oven afterward to cool along with the oven.
  • Your parchment paper will get very dark, but don't let this concern you.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 871Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 9mgSodium: 1686mgCarbohydrates: 158gFiber: 7gSugar: 3gProtein: 25g

*Nutrition information is not always accurate.