I know, I know: pizza gets a terrible rap in America. It’s a big ol’ disk of greasy cheese and possibly a meat-like substance that your parents got when they didn’t want to cook dinner that night. Or what your high school or college got in order to lure unsuspecting students to an event. You can get good pizza, but it involves going to a restaurant somewhere and spending a bit more than you probably want because it’s a pizza for crying out loud (this is not to say that pizza from fancy restaurants is not delicious–we just have a stigma). And don’t even get me started on the whole “artisanal” pizza thing.
But I have seen the light. Today, I am here today as a pizza-missionary, seeking to cure our starved pizza-culture. Believe it or not, you can make good pizza at home. I am by no means a pizza-expert–nay, merely an amateur–but I have learned this: it all starts with the crust.
Pizza is one of my favorite meals to make. It’s easy to transport, and if it’s made right it’ll last your average college student for three or four meals (I cannot stress how important this is). It can be eaten hot or cold. Plus, it’s straight up delicious.
I make my crust with sourdough starter. I know, starter is weird and archaic and looks gross.
Yet I love it. I have professed my love of sourdough before, but it bears repeating: my little self-sufficient colony of bacteria and yeast is really great. Sourdough appears to be going through a bit of a revival right now, and it’s easy to see why: in terms of health, sourdough is much better than bread made with baker’s yeast. It breaks down starches and gluten and contains quite a bit of protein.
Also, it makes a dang good pizza crust. Unfortunately, it is necessary to make the dough a day in advance, but it is also possible to make some crusts and then freeze them for when you want them.
I like to top my crusts with a red sauce (I would recommend Classico–it’s delicious and comes with a reusable glass jar) and mozzarella and parmesan cheese. In terms of other toppings, I like to go with some sort of combination of mushrooms (usually crimini, but oysters or lion’s mane is good too), onions, whole garlic cloves, spinach and/or sausage.
Go forth, and help me bring back the good name of pizza!
- --2 cups whole wheat flour
- --1/2 cup all-purpose flour (or any white flour, really)
- --1 tsp salt
- --1/2 cup hot tap water
- --1 cup sourdough starter, preferably fed the previous day
- --Whatever you want, go crazy
- Combine flours, salt and water and mix together
- Add sourdough starter
- Continue mixing until everything is combined. Add more water if necessary. Dough will be quite stiff.
- Knead by hand for 5 or 10 minutes
- Let dough rise in greased bowl for 10-12 hours, or until doubled in size
- Divide dough in half and roll into disks
- Let dough rise until desired thickness (you can always press it back down if it gets too thick)
- Pre-bake crusts at 350 degrees F for about 12 minutes on one side, then turn them over and cook for another 4 or so minutes
- Top with pizza toppings, or let cool and freeze for another day!