Oh, my ongoing sourdough saga continues. I still haven’t managed to create a proper loaf despite having 3 different starters, but I did successfully make some sourdough crackers last week that built my confidence a bit. My next step was to make something a bit more bread-like and try a pizza dough.
One of the best Christmas presents I ever bought for my husband was The Pizza Bible by Tony Gemignani – he read it, absorbed it, and we’ve been having the most incredible pizzas at home regularly. I have made pizza before, but there’s really been no comparison. Today I was determined to give him a bit of competition and win the battle of the pizzas where there really is no loser.
I followed the Bread Ahead sourdough pizza recipe, in which you do most of the work the day before you cook, stretching and folding before leaving overnight in the fridge. The one and only time I’ve made pizza before, it was a same-day kind of deal, so this was really different. I’m still getting used to the longer times on the sourdough bakes, but I enjoy being able to take my time and luxuriate in the process.
I split the dough into two, 200g balls, and formed the remainder into two mini-loaves. I’m never happy with frozen dough, so I thought I’d try and experiment a bit. Whilst the dough was proving I tried my hand at the New York Times’s marinara sauce: something I’ve been meaning to try for a long time. We’ve not been able to nail the sauce down yet, so I was intrigued to try this.
Forming the pizza on my baker’s peel was ok, if a little sticky, but transferring it to the baking stone was a whole other ball-game – I basically needed half a box of semolina to get it to move at all. Miraculously I managed to get it onto the peel, fully dressed and with minimal damage, and I then took up watch at the oven to watch the most appetising show in town.
I’ve got to say, I was quite impressed when I pulled the pizza out: it wasn’t too thick, was cooked evenly, and smelled incredible.
The taste test proved me right – it was delicious. The sauce was a little underwhelming given its rave reviews, but the dough was light and tasty with that lovely sourdough tang. Honestly, I don’t think it beats my husband’s pizza, his dough is a lot lighter and bouncier (for anyone interested I think this is down to the biga, and then the bulk fermentation process – we plan ahead if we want pizza), but it really came close. I was so satisfied with my sourdough pizza that I would definitely make it again as a slightly healthier alternative.