The Best Sourdough Pizza (Skillet Pizza from Josey Baker)

March 27, 2017  •  Pasta & Pizza, Technique

I’ve been on a quest to figure out how to make great pizza at home for years now – and really, although it hasn’t been bad, it also hasn’t been the very best I’ve been shooting for. That is until now. I thought it was the flour I was using. I thought it was the way I made the dough. I thought it was the technique for actually making the pizza. It turns out it was all of those things. When trying to figure out things to make with my sourdough starter, a friend recommended the sourdough pizza crust recipe from Josey Baker Bread. I found the recipe on Chowhound, so I won’t repeat it here. I will tell you I didn’t find it really necessary to do all of the tedious kneading and rises that he suggests, but I found that out by accident. The dough requires a sourdough preferment, and I kept screwing up the time calculation of when I’d start the ferment in order to make pizza the next day. I made ended up making that one morning, but only kneaded it once by hand before covering it to refrigerate because I didn’t have time to deal with it. The next day I let it come to room temperature, then put it through about 3 rounds of kneading in my mixer with the dough hook, covering and letting it rest in between each. Then I portioned off enough for one crust, shaped it and covered it to rest for a final time before making my pizza dinner. The dough is the easiest pizza dough I’ve ever handled and I found I could very quickly shape it and stretch it into the size I needed. Beyond the sourdough pre-ferment, what really makes this pizza great is the initial cooking time in a skillet on the stove. Heat it until it’s really hot with some oil in it, plop in your stretched out dough, and you have about 3-4 minutes to get all of your toppings onto it before it’s ready to remove from the stove.The final 3-4 minutes of cooking time are under a scorching hot broiler, right up close to the element. Remember, that pan is going to be blistering hot when it comes out so be careful.Just slide the pizza out and let it rest a few minutes before slicing and digging in. I told myself I was only going to eat half of this, but a little voice in my head kept reminding me of what the Italians ask every time I question the size of their pizzas in the pizzerias there. Normale!”, meaning a pizza in Italy is always about this size, they use a fork and knife to eat it, and this size is intended for one person. Who am I to mess with tradition? I ate the entire thing, oohing and aahing the entire time about the fabulously crispy, chewy crust that finally I figured out how to make. You can freeze extra dough, but portion it first and wrap each individually. To use the dough later, just let it thaw on the counter and rest awhile before shaping into your crust. If you overhandle the dough, it’s going to pull back, so only gently stretch it once!

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