Sourdough Pizza Dough

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I'm a serious pizza eater. There were periods back when I lived near my Dad's restaurant where I'd eat fresh pizza almost every other day; I'd stop in for a slice (or a whole pie) on my way home from work to sort out dinner. This detour was not because I was lazy and didn't cook, but because it's hard to deny the call of a great pizza. I've had endless different topping combinations but always fall back on classics: sometimes, I think the simplest things are the best. And pizza is a food I could conceivably eat at every meal without deviation. When visiting a new restaurant, I always fight an internal struggle when I spot pizza on the menu, especially if I know it's a sourdough pizza dough. My ordering becomes myopic; the entire menu fades away right in front of me, and pizza is all that remains. Even if it’s at some strange fusion restaurant with nothing to do with Italian food, my meal companions can pretty much bet I’m going to order pizza and with about 99% accuracy. And in the end, I’ll inevitably complain about it right after the first slice. What can I say? I’m picky.

I have this vivid memory of several buddies and I, physically exhausted and running on zero sleep, stumbling into a Peruvian restaurant in the tiny city of Aguas Calientes right outside of Machu Picchu. We just finished the 4-day hike through the mountains and rain to the sacred site, and this was our first restaurant meal in days. As I opened the menu I saw the typical Peruvian fare and what do you know, they had pizza! Of course, my buddies looked at me like I was crazy at the sacrilegious pizza selection I made right there, after that hike, in the rain, in Peru. Still, I honestly can’t remember another item on that menu except for the pizza I ordered6. Blinders.

Note: If you're looking to make a pizza in a high heat oven (wood-fired, Ooni, or Roccbox), check out my wood-fired sourdough pizza dough recipe.

Pizza with spinach and feta

When you think of great pizza, what comes to mind? I think the answer depends on your background, where you grew up, and just how much you’ve eaten. There’s nothing better to me than a Naples-style pizza with that thin crust and that blistered and puffy cornicione, but it’s challenging to get this type of crust that comes out of a blazing hot wood-fired oven, and that’s ok. Pizza at home doesn’t have to try to imitate a Naples style pizza; it can be exciting and delectable in a completely different way. One day I’ll have a wood-fired oven, but until then, the focus here is to make a sourdough pizza dough that’s incredibly tasty, versatile, and flexible. Most of us aren’t making pizza professionally, so an adaptable, naturally leavened pizza dough that works around your schedule — and could chill an extended period in the fridge, if necessary — is a good thing.

sourdough pizza cornicione

For me, great pizza has a thin, well-baked crust with an airy and soft cornicione (rim). When you hold a slice in the air, it should sort of sag a bit, indicating the crust isn't baked to a cracker-like consistency but rather still soft and pliable. The bottom should be well cooked with dark spots scattered about. The toppings should be a light dusting of items, especially the cheese—everything in balance.

This formula is versatile and adaptable, though, so if you like a thicker crust, increase each dough ball's weight. If you like a thin, cracker-like crust, shape the dough ball out thin and cook for a few mins longer until things firm up. You can even use this dough recipe for pan pizza and focaccia. If you like a Chicago-style pizza… (gasp), I'm not sure I have any suggestions, but I'm sure you can make it work.

Ok, let's make some sourdough pizza dough.

Flour Selection

I would venture to say that Caputo flour from Italy is probably the most widely used flour for pizza. I’ve purchased a few sacks of Caputo 00 Pizzeria Flour on Amazon to test, and it is really nice to work with. They list the protein percentage of their flour (in the blue bag) between 12-13% (12.75%), but the water absorption is significantly lower than most of the flour I normally work with (meaning it cannot take on super high hydration). The signifier Tipo 00 indicates it’s milled incredibly fine (it truly feels like light powder). You can’t go wrong with this flour—it performs exceptionally well and makes pizza with a thin, delicate crust that is strong enough to hang onto whatever toppings you throw at it.

sourdough pizza toppings and bottom

However, lately, I’ve been working more with Central Milling Organic Type 00 Normal flour (they also have a “strong” version with a higher protein percentage at around 13.8%!), and I’ve come to really enjoy this flour. Much like Caputo 00, it is milled incredibly fine and feels smooth as can be when mixing. I like that it’s a closer option for me in terms of geographic distance, and I can order large quantities without too much of a hit to the bank. My resulting pizza has had a really nice thin crust and a very tender interior when using this flour. I’m thrilled with it. Central Milling indicates their flour has around 11.2% protein and is a hard red winter wheat blend.

I know not everyone has a sack of Tipo 00 flour in their pantry; heck, I didn’t until recently. So, feel free to swap these flours out for all-purpose flour (or even a medium-protein bread flour). This sourdough pizza dough will still be naturally leavened, flexible, delicious, and made at home. You can’t go wrong with that.

The next frontier for me with this sourdough pizza dough recipe will be to explore more fresh milled grains as a more significant portion of the flour percentage (and I did just that here!). My sourdough pizza formula below is a great place to start, and the 10% whole grains I call for can easily be a springboard for experimentation: swap the whole wheat out for spelt or even Khorasan to play with the texture and taste. I think there’s an equilibrium to find: you don’t want the flavor of the grain to overpower the toppings you’re using completely, but rather be a balanced contributor to the overall concert.

Sourdough Pizza Dough Formula

Basil and tomato, classic

I like to think of pizza and bread as siblings separated in childhood.

Why 290g dough balls? In experimenting with varying dough weights for each pizza, I ranged everywhere from a 180g ball to a 300g ball, finally settling on 290g. This is a personal thing, but I found 290g to be the sweet spot for a 12″ personal pizza (I can easily eat a single pizza solo) with a thin bottom crust and larger, puffy rim. If you increase each ball's weight, you can increase the crust thickness at the bottom or increase the pie's size. Conversely, if you go down on the weight, you can make a less pronounced rim or smaller pizza.

Why 69% hydration? One of the fantastic things about a super blazing hot wood-fired oven is you can bake a pizza in around 90 seconds. Because it takes longer than that in a home oven, you'll end up baking off a lot of the moisture in the dough, which means your pizza will turn out to be quite firm like a cracker. With higher hydration, this can be countered a little, give the dough a little extra time in the oven, and generally prevent a sad cracker pizza from happening. I don't think 69% is a set-in-stone number. Feel free to go up or down on this depending on how things turn out in the oven, and most importantly: to adjust for the flour used! Additionally, because I advise using parchment paper to launch your pizza into the oven (more on this below), increasing the hydration into the '70s is totally possible (as you increase hydration, it becomes harder and harder to shape and transfer the pizza from your peel to the oven deck).

Why use diastatic malt? If you've read my site for a while, you'll know I'm a fan of using diastatic malt powder in some of my recipes to increase enzymatic activity7 and add color to my crust. It is optional but recommended.


Total Dough Weight592 grams
Yield2 x 290g dough balls (about two 12″ pizza)

Note that the numbers add up to a little over 2 x 290g sourdough pizza dough balls (580g versus the listed total dough weight of 592g, above) in the chart below. I add a 2% “buffer” to the formula to ensure the resulting dough provides at least two 290g balls. You might end up with a little excess dough on your bench.

If you want to make more than two sourdough pizza dough balls, just scale everything up using baker's percentages.

WeightIngredientBaker's Percentage
288gType 00 White Flour (I used Central Milling Type 00 Normal)90.00%
32gWhole Wheat Flour (I used Giusto's Stoneground)10.00%
2gDiastatic Malt (optional)0.50%
48gMature, liquid starter15.00%

Update: After years of testing, I've updated this recipe with a few changes to the malt used and salt (reduced both). Don't be alarmed at the switch, and this will make even better pizza!


Before we begin, a quick note about building a levain (leaven): I don’t actually create a specific levain to make this sourdough pizza dough. As I’ve mentioned in my post on my Sourdough Starter Maintenance Routine, an ongoing sourdough starter and a levain are essentially the same. A levain is built as an off-shoot, or splinter, that eventually dies off in the oven when the bread it’s built for is baked, but for this pizza dough, there is such a small levain requirement there really isn’t a need to make a levain and wait for it to fully ferment before using. Essentially, you're using your sourdough starter discard to make this sourdough pizza.

It's not necessary to build a specific levain for this sourdough pizza dough; just use your starter.

You can adjust the timetable presented below to suit your schedule. For example, you could mix your dough a few hours before work in the morning and toss it into the fridge, then take it out late in the evening and proof on the counter overnight for a lunchtime bake. Or, you could mix at 5:00 p.m. like I have listed below and instead of shaping into balls the next day at 11:00 a.m. you could shape earlier before work and bake right when you get home. The key is your dough needs to have sufficient strength and fermentation, but there's a lot of flexibility in terms of when each step can be performed. Use the times below as a guide and adjust to suit your schedule. Also, keep in mind I've even placed the shaped dough balls in the fridge overnight and they baked up beautifully the next day.

1. Mix – 9:00 a.m.

The goal for mixing this sourdough pizza dough is to develop quite a bit of strength upfront (more than I would with traditional sourdough bread) and then a little more strength during bulk fermentation through folds. You can certainly use a mixer for this dough, such as a KitchenAid stand mixer if you have one, or you can do things by hand. I've done it both ways and the outcome has been similar. In either case, the end result will be a dough that's not completely smooth, but a very strong feeling. Perhaps a little past medium development.


If using a mixer, I like to hold back a little water, around 50g, and add it in the later mixing stages. In your mixing bowl, measure out the called for water minus 50g and add your mature starter; swish around with a whisk or spatula to disperse. Then add in flour, salt, and malt and mix a bit with your hand (so when you turn on your mixer dry flour doesn't eject out, dusting you head to toe).

Attach the dough hook to your mixer and turn on speed #2 (for a KitchenAid), and mix for a few minutes until everything comes together. Once it is a single dry mass, dribble in the remaining 50g water over the course of a minute or two while mixing, waiting to add more water until the previous liquid is absorbed. If you add the water all at once, the dough will slide around and around, never mixing. I mix for about 4-5 minutes until the dough starts to look a little less shaggy, but it will still be far from fully developed (see image below).

By Hand

If mixing by hand, I follow my same procedure as with sourdough bread. I add everything to a mixing bowl and incorporate it with my hands until it's all one shaggy mass (I don't hold back any water if mixing by hand, I add it all in since this is relatively low hydration after all). Once incorporated, dump out onto your counter and slap/fold the dough for about 5-7 minutes until it firms up and holds shape on the counter.

If you don't want to do slap/fold, you can also perform turns in the bowl, stretching the dough up and folding it over itself for several minutes until the dough is strong and resists stretching and folding.

Sticky and slack dough
Sourdough pizza dough just after mixing.

Just as with bread, the dough level can vary, filling in the necessary strength during bulk fermentation with stretch and folds. If the dough is less developed by the end of the mix, we can add more folds during the bulk. For reference, the above photo is what my dough looked like at the beginning of bulk (I used a mixer).

The dough looks shaggy for sure, but the lower hydration and mixing has made it very strong and resistant to tugging or folding. Transfer dough to a thick-walled container (I use a large ceramic bowl) for bulk fermentation on the counter.

2. Warm Bulk Fermentation – 9:15 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.

At 75-77°F (23-25°C) ambient temperature, bulk fermentation should go for about 2.5 hours. Perform 3-4 sets of stretch and folds—a North, South, East, and West fold for each set – spaced out by 30 minutes during the bulk. After the third set, check how the dough feels: is it incredibly stiff and resists any stretching at all? If so, let it rest the remainder of the 2.5 hours. If the dough is still extensible and slack, give it the final, fourth set.

3. Cold Bulk Fermentation – 11:45 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., overnight)

After 2.5 hours in bulk, use some olive oil and lightly oil a bowl large enough to hold the dough. Then, dump the dough out onto the counter and, using two hands, shape the dough into a very tight boule. You can “spin” the dough on the counter to create tension on the outside or drag it toward your body while using your pinkies to pinch the dough under itself (my preferred method). It's important here to get the dough nice and taut, don't worry about degassing.

sourdough pizza dough end of bulk

Wrap the bowl with reusable plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator overnight.

Above you can see how my dough typically looks at the end of bulk. It has a fairly smooth surface and looks strong and active.

4. Divide & Ball – 11:00 a.m.

Pick a vessel to hold your shaped dough balls. With only two you can use a small baking sheet (like a quarter sheet), or even better, a high-walled baking dish. Lightly oil the vessel with olive oil so the dough is easy to remove later. At the end of this post, I've provided links for all the tools I use here in this post, including my pizza dough trays.

dividing pizza dough
Dividing sourdough pizza dough.

Remove the bulk container with the dough from the refrigerator and dump the dough out onto your un-floured bench. Divide the dough into two 290g dough balls and using almost no flour form each into a very tight ball. It's incredibly important here to create a ball that has a completely closed bottom. You want a tight skin on each of these that completely surrounds the dough ball.

balling sourdough pizza dough
Shaping sourdough pizza dough into 290g balls.

There are a few ways to do this, but my favorite way is to pick up the ball and, using both hands, tuck the dough back and into itself as you rotate it around in your hand (see the upper-left image above). Work your way around and around, stretching and tucking, then flip the ball over and pinch the bottom to close the seam. From there, I place it onto the bench and lightly tug it towards my body one or two times to ensure things are sealed, and it's perfectly round. When finished, tap the top of the dough with your hand, so it sticks in place on the bench.

sourdough pizza dough balled up

You can see a video of me doing this balling technique over at my Instagram feed.

The ball should be smooth all over and on the bottom — try not to have creases, seams or holes. Transfer to your lightly oiled proofing vessel.

5. Proof – 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

fully proofed sourdough pizza dough

Once the balls are shaped and onto the proof vessel, cover with plastic wrap, so they do not dry out during proof (this is why a high-walled dish works well, it keeps the wrap off of the dough). The balls will proof on the counter, around 75°F (23°C), for about 6 hours. At the end of this period, the dough should be puffy to the touch and should have relaxed out from its tight ball into more of a disc shape (see above image).

If you'd like to use the dough right away be sure to start preheating your oven, as described below before the dough finishes its proof. Alternatively, when the dough is finished proofing you can place the dough into the refrigerator and it will hold for several hours, even overnight.

6. Preheat oven at 4:30 p.m., Bake at 5:30 p.m. and onwards

Preheat oven on Bake setting for one hour at 550°F (285°C) (or the highest your oven will go). Gather your handheld water mister and place by your oven, you will use this to lightly spritz the pizza once you've placed it into the oven (more on this below).

TIP: Thirty minutes before you plan to bake the first pizza toss your entire proofing vessel with dough into the refrigerator. It's so, so much easier to shape out the dough when it's cold from the fridge and I find that there is no need to let the dough warm to room temperature before baking. This is optional but recommended.

Home oven setup for pizza with Baking Steel

I use a Baking Steel in my oven to bake my pizza, and, as I mentioned before, it does one heck of a job of staying super hot and transferring massive heat to the sourdough pizza dough. You can see below how I have things set up: the Baking Steel is a few rungs down from the top broiler element and below the baking steel is another rack with a regular pizza stone. The bottom pizza stone is not necessary; I keep it in my oven all the time and never move it to save some extra masonry mass in there for heat retention.

In early pizza trials, I placed the Baking Steel as close as I could to the top broiler with the thought that when I turned that broiler on to superheat the steel, it would get insanely hot—and it sure did. However, that residual heat from the boiler sticks around, so when you launch your pizza on the steel, it cooks the top of the pizza a bit too fast in relation to the bottom. I found this extra top-heat to harden off the crust prematurely, stunting dough spring. As you can see, I like it a little lower, just low enough to still get significant heat from the broiler when it's kicked on but not too close to overdoing the top of the pizza.

flipped sourdough pizza dough

While your oven is preheating, gather your pizza toppings and get them ready. Make the pomodoro sauce (see recipe below), cut mozzarella into cubes 10, and so on. It's important to set up your pizza toppings in a logical layout on your kitchen counter, so you have things streamlined — it makes the whole process much more fluid.

shaping sourdough pizza disc

Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit your pizza peel and place it on top. Lightly flour your bench and the top of a single sourdough pizza dough ball from the fridge. Using a dough scraper, gently remove the dough ball from the proofing vessel and place top-side down on your bench (place the remaining ball back into the fridge). Flour your hands and the side of the ball facing up and begin shaping. Using two hands shaped like an inverted letter “V,” press down the dough in a uniform fashion, starting at the side of the dough farthest from you, working toward your body. You want to keep your hands flat with the dough. Try not to press out any gas at the rim of the dough where the edge will form—you want this to rise as high as possible.

While pressing, it's easy to turn the disc from time to time and press from top to bottom in different orientations. You'll feel yourself slightly pressing the gasses from the dough's interior out to the edges as the center flattens and the border becomes more and more pronounced. If you find the dough sticks too much to your hands and the bench, use more flour, but I find this rarely to be the case. The dough's cold retard just before shaping really helps strengthen the dough and the light dusting of flour takes care of any residual stickiness.

shaped pizza disc
Shaping out sourdough pizza dough into a 12″ circle.

Once pressed out several times, you have a choice: you can transfer the disc to the parchment paper on the pizza peel and finish stretching the dough out on the parchment if that's more comfortable, or you can lift the disc off the bench and using the back of your hands stretch the dough out as you work around (imagine an Irish-style boxer with their fists up, knuckles pointing away from the body with the dough draped over them). Another method would be the Naples style “slap,” where you hold the disc on the bench with one hand and stretch the dough outwards with the other, then lift the disc and rotate to work around the entire dough. Each method takes some practice, and if you're starting out shaping on the parchment paper is a great way to get a feel for the process before exploring more shaping methods.

Once your dough is on the parchment paper and shaped, switch your oven over from Bake to Broil (high). This will get the broiler engaged, which usually takes a minute or two, while you top your pizza. When you have the dough on the parchment you can relax a bit and focus on working your oven and topping your pizza.

topping sourdough pizza

If using my tomato sauce recipe listed below, grab a ladle and scoop out a medium amount of tomato sauce. Pour onto the dough and, using the back of the spoon, spread out circularly. Top with the remaining items called for in the recipe.

Once topped, slide the parchment paper and dough into your oven. The pizza will bake on the parchment paper in the oven (even though my picture above doesn't show this, sometimes I do it without parchment). Quickly grab your handheld water mister and carefully spray in your oven to slightly wet the dough all around. I've played with misting and not misting. I find it helps give the dough a little moisture (which, if you recall, is a problem with a home oven: we lose moisture before the pizza is cooked, drying out the crust) at the beginning to rise high and prevent overly drying out the crust. If you do not want to use a handheld mister, by all means, skip this step.

The broiler should still be active at this point, and your dough will get an initial blast of the bottom and top heat. Bake with the broiler on for 1.5-2 minutes until you see the dough slightly color, then switch your oven from Broil back to Bake (at maximum temperature). Bake for an additional minute, then using your pizza peel, carefully rotate your pizza 180º in the oven to even out the baking.

Continue baking until done to your liking. I like to underbake these ever-so-slightly, so they are still very soft. Remove from the oven using your pizza peel and transfer to a plate. Top with remaining items (basil, a little more olive oil, etc.), cut, and serve. Repeat for remaining dough balls.

In a nutshell, here is my sourdough pizza dough baking process:

  1. Take a 290g dough ball out of the fridge and shape out to a disc on parchment paper
  2. Turn oven from Bake setting (hopefully at 550°F (285°C)) to maximum Broiler setting
  3. Top dough disc with toppings
  4. Open oven and slide in the pizza dough on top of the parchment paper
  5. Quickly spritz all sides of dough with a handheld water mister and then close the oven door
  6. Bake for 1.5 to 2 minutes (broiler should be on)
  7. Turn broiler off and set oven back to Bake at 550°F (285°C)
  8. After 1 minute rotate the dough 180° using a pizza peel and carefully grabbing the corner of the parchment paper
  9. Bake for an additional 4-5 minutes or until done to your liking

Sourdough Pizza Ideas

Below are a few suggestions for pizza I often make; chances are one of these will be in any batch of sourdough pizza dough I make. I like to dress my pizza lightly, using only small amounts of cheese and light sauce. You’ll see that in the recipes below and my images throughout — it’s just my preference. If you like a whole pizza, by all means, pack it on. And of course, feel free to modify these to your heart’s content — use whatever is fresh, local, and in season. If you have special dietary restrictions, many modifications can be made. For example, my wife cannot eat (most) dairy, so I’ll always sub out the mozzarella for goat cheese with a light shaving of aged parmesan (for some reason, she can eat this).

Basic Pomodoro Sauce

Bianco DiNapoli tomatoes

This is my go-to tomato sauce for just about every pizza I make (with a few exceptions, as outlined below).

  • One 28oz. can whole peeled tomatoes (Bianco DiNapoli or San Marzano)
  • 1.5 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano

Drain the whole peeled tomatoes reserving the liquid for another use (pasta, described in the tip below). Place tomatoes, olive oil, salt, and oregano in a blender and blend until desired consistency (I like it very smooth). Taste the sauce and adjust seasoning if necessary. It will last about a week in the fridge.

TIP: To make a simple and delicious weeknight pasta sauce recombine the leftover sauce with the reserved tomato liquid and cook with kalamata olives and sliced garlic on the stove until reduced significantly (it should sort of coat the back of a spoon), about 30-40 minutes. Top pasta with basil/parsley, freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, and extra virgin olive oil.


Sourdough Pizza with Pomodoro, Mushrooms, Peppadew, and Padrón Peppers

sourdough pizza with mushrooms

I accidentally discovered peppadew at the market one week, and I can’t get enough of these sweet and tangy little peppers. They’re my secret weapon. They are fantastic on pizza (when used sparingly) as they give an unexpected, but not overpowering, burst of sweetness that pairs incredibly well with the savory and salty flavors of this pizza.

  • One 290g ball Sourdough Pizza Dough
  • 1/3 cup Basic Pomodoro Sauce
  • 35g mozzarella cut into cubes or torn by hand
  • Several padrón peppers with stems removed
  • Handful peppadew “sweet drop” peppers
  • 2-3 medium-sized white mushrooms
  • A handful of kalamata olives (optional)
  • Several basil leaves
  • Drizzle olive oil

Spread the pomodoro sauce evenly around the pizza in a circular fashion while keeping a 1” border clean around the dough's outer edge (this will be the crust). Then place the padrón peppers, peppadew, mushrooms, and olives in an even distribution over the pomodoro sauce. Bake. When finished baking, place basil on top randomly and drizzle a few “circles” on top of all with the olive oil.

Sourdough Pizza with Spinach, Feta & Garlic Confit

sourdough pizza dough with feta and spinach

I based this recipe on a pizza from the Gjelina cookbook (one of my all-time favorite cookbooks), and it has just the right balance of flavors. There’s no tomato here at all, so it’s a good break if you are kind of tomato-ed out. I like to add a pinch of red chile flakes to this one after I finish cooking the pizza.

  • One 290g ball Sourdough Pizza Dough
  • 2-3 cloves garlic confit (roasted garlic will work also), chopped
  • 2 cups whole spinach leaves
  • 35g feta cheese
  • 35g mozzarella cheese cut into cubes
  • Pinch red chile flakes (optional)
  • Pinch of dried oregano
  • A drizzle of olive oil

Scatter the chopped garlic over the dough and then pile the spinach leaves mainly in the center but a few, reaching out to the crust here and there. On top of, and occasionally below, the spinach, scatter the mozzarella and feta cheese (try not to break the feta into tiny pieces) throughout. When this pie is baked, the cheese will melt on top of and below the spinach, which is just delicious. Drizzle a few “circles” of olive oil over the top and bake.

Sourdough Pizza with Pomodoro Crudo, Mozzarella, Basil and Oregano

sourdough pizza with tomato

I love this pizza. I’ve had a variation of this in Italy, and each time I see it on the menu, it’s my first choice. This pizza's flavor is lighter than one with a traditional tomato sauce, and I think this is what I like so much about it. The taste of oregano, olive oil, and slightly roasted cherry tomatoes is pretty out of this world.

  • One 290g ball Sourdough Pizza Dough
  • 35g mozzarella cheese cut into cubes
  • 2 handfuls of multicolored cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • Scattered kalamata olives (optional but tasty)
  • Dried oregano
  • Several basil leaves
  • Drizzle olive oil

Scatter the mozzarella cheese on the dough while leaving a 1” border from the edge clean. Starting at the dough center, place cherry tomatoes cut side down, radiating outwards in a random fashion (these look awesome mixed and matched with the highest density in the middle). Drizzle a few “circles” of olive oil around and bake. When finished, sprinkle the dried oregano on top and place the basil leaves on top of all.

This pizza would also be awesome with a pinch of red chile flakes or Calabrian chile oil.


Nowadays, I find myself heading to my Dad's restaurant a little less frequently, but at least when I can't make it out there during the week, I can get some pretty darn good pizza right at home utilizing my ever-giving sourdough starter. It seems lately I always have one or two dough balls ready and waiting in my fridge for that impromptu “let's do pizza tonight,” and you'd be surprised at how often that does pop up. Also, who says it's bad to have homemade sourdough pizza at home during the week and then head to the restaurant for more pizza on the weekend? I love that idea.

As I mentioned earlier, I hope to push the whole grain percentage (check out my more whole-grain sourdough pizza dough next!) with future bakes, and I'll be sure to post about that as I experiment. But a nice thing with this formula is there is a little wiggle room for playing with whole grains built right in: swap out that 10% for whatever you might have on hand to experiment with. This formula really is a versatile and flexible one that can be retarded in the fridge for extended periods if necessary, and I enjoy the light and airy crust it produces with little to no sourness.

Whew, that was a hefty post! Lots of process photos, pizza photos, and comments on how I've been honing my sourdough pizza dough making skills at home. I hope you do not feel overwhelmed by the length of this post, but rather, come away feeling like you have a single place to go back to for all the tiny details that sometimes get lost with making pizza at home. 

If you'd like a different direction with pizza, have a peek at my rectangular sheet pan pizza recipe, it's a winner just the same!

Pizza Tools

I've decided to round up all the tools shown here in this post for those wondering what I'm using. I've found each of these to be pretty great for their purpose, and I've finally collected everything I need to make pizza consistently each week.

  • Baking Steel – a highly conductive slab of steel to bake your pies on instead of stone (no cracking, higher temp, etc.)
  • Pizza Peel – for sliding the sourdough pizza dough (and bread!) into the oven.
  • Pizza Cutter – simple and effective pizza wheel cutter
  • Calabrian chili – these are so, so good. Perfect as is or to cook down into an oil for a spicy kick to your sourdough pizza.
sourdough pizza
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sourdough pizza with mushrooms

Sourdough Pizza Dough

  • Author: Maurizio Leo
  • Prep Time: 24 hours
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 24 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: Two 12-inch pizzas


A versatile sourdough pizza dough recipe for the home oven. 


  • 288g Type 00 white flour (or all-purpose flour)
  • 32g whole wheat flour
  • 215g water
  • 2g diastatic malt (optional)
  • 6g salt
  • 48g ripe sourdough starter


  1. Mix (9:00 a.m.)
    Add the ingredients to a mixing bowl or stand mixer. Mix until medium development (the dough should be smooth, but still a little shaggy, and elastic. Transfer the dough to a bulk fermentation container and cover.
  2. Warm Bulk Fermentation (9:15 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.)
    This dough will need 3 sets of stretch and folds during bulk fermentation, at 30-minute intervals.
  3. Cold Bulk Fermentation (Overnight, 11:45 am to 11:00 a.m.)
    Remove the dough from the bulk fermentation bowl and lightly oil the interior with olive oil. Tighten the dough on the counter into a ball and transfer back to the oiled bowl, seam side down. Cover the bowl and transfer to the refrigerator overnight.
  4. Divide and Ball (11:00 a.m.)
    Divide the dough into two 290g pieces. Shape the dough into a very tight ball with no seam on the bottom. Transfer to a pizza dough tray or baking sheet and cover.
  5. Proof (11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.)
    Proof the dough out on the counter at around 75°F (23°C) for 5-6 hours. When fully proofed, the dough will have relaxed outward and be soft to the touch. If using the dough soon, preheat your oven, alternatively, you can place the dough back into the fridge until the next day.
  6. Bake (5:30 p.m.)
    Preheat your oven with Baking Steel inside, one or two rungs from the top, to 550°F (285°C). Shape a dough piece into a large circle on a piece of parchment paper. Switch oven to Broiler setting, top your pizza dough, and slide the dough onto the Baking Steel. Spritz the inside of the oven a few times with a handheld water sprayer. Bake for 1.5-2 minutes with the broiler on, then turn the oven back to Bake setting at 550°F (285°C). After 1 minute, rotate the pizza in the oven. Bake for another 4-5 minutes until done to your liking. Repeat for the other piece of dough.

If you use this recipe, tag @maurizio on Instagram and use the hashtag #theperfectloaf so I can take a look!

  1. By the way, it was a pretty terrible “pizza” if you even want to call it that—but hey, what can you expect?

  2. The action of breaking down starches into sugars that yeast can utilize for fermentation

  3. This hydration takes the water in the 100% hydration starter into account.

  4. A little extra added to the recipe to ensure enough dough is made to cover the number of pizza called for

  5. Keep in mind the smaller the blocks of cheese you make, the faster they will bake (and burn); there's a sweet spot to find

  6. By the way, it was a pretty terrible “pizza” if you even want to call it that—but hey, what can you expect?

  7. The action of breaking down starches into sugars that yeast can utilize for fermentation

  8. This hydration takes the water in the 100% hydration starter into account.

  9. A little extra added to the recipe to ensure enough dough is made to cover the number of pizza called for

  10. Keep in mind the smaller the blocks of cheese you make, the faster they will bake (and burn); there's a sweet spot to find

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