What Is Sourdough Pizza? Is It Better Than Traditional Pizza?
Are you curious about sourdough pizza and its delicious flavours? Sourdough pizza has been around for centuries and is now becoming a popular alternative to traditional yeast-based pizzas.
Unlike regular pizza dough which uses instant or dry yeast, sourdough pizza is made using an active starter culture. This complex process gives the crust of a sourdough pizza its unique flavour, texture, and benefits over traditional pizzas.
And in this post, we will take a closer look at this interesting type of pizza. Let’s get started.
Understanding Sourdough Pizza
Difference Between Sourdough And Traditional Pizza
Sourdough pizza is fast becoming the preferred classic Italian dish for those who want a richer flavour and a more satisfying experience. The key difference between sourdough and traditional pizzas lies in their leavening process, textures, and flavours.
The sourdough pizza uses a fermenting starter while regular pizza utilizes commercial yeast or other types of instant leaveners.
The texture of a sourdough crust can be described as denser than traditional yeasted pizzas with more crunch due to the slower rise times caused by lower activity levels from wild yeast compared to commercial ones.
This helps provide the true depth found in classic sourdough pizza once it is perfectly cooked through at high temperatures set out on an oven top like stone hearth baking systems used throughout Italy since antiquity.
Sourdough Starter: What Is It And How Does It Work?
A sourdough starter is a living culture of microbes that help the dough to rise and develop flavour. It consists of bread flour, water, and wild yeast which has been caught from the air and tamed by fostering. This process takes between 2-4 hours depending on the vigour of the starter.
During this time frame, microscopic organisms called lactobacilli are produced during fermentation as natural leavening instead of using traditional commercial yeast. This gives sourdough pizza its unique texture and taste due to lactic acid making it softer but also more digestible than other types of pizza dough.
Sourdough starters not only act as a raising agent but also give the dough extra hydrostatic power when kneaded resulting in a supple foundation for topping combinations like pepperoni or margherita.
The Process Of Making Sourdough Pizza
The process of creating sourdough pizza involves a few extra steps compared to making traditional pizza dough. Firstly, you need to make the sourdough starter, which is a mixture of flour and water which ferments over time.
This serves as a base for your dough, providing it with its distinctively tangy flavour.
Once the starter is ready, it can be mixed with the rest of the ingredients including more flour and salt in order to form an incredibly sticky dough that needs to then be left in a warm place covered so that it can expand over a period of several hours or even overnight!
During this proofing stage, there are many tips and tricks for achieving an optimally stretchy and elastic texture that forms the basis for the perfect sourdough pizza crust.
For example, you can use bread flour instead of all-purpose flour here. Keep it hydrated at every step by adding enough water when kneading the mixture through endless manipulation until optimal consistency is achieved.
Temperature also plays an important role in successful fermentation with lower temperatures causing longer fermentation times. Once fully proofed, baking sourdough pizza requires no additional shaping. You can simply stretch it out on a lightly floured surface before being transferred onto a preheated surface like a stone oven or pan if choosing the stovetop option.
For toppings, you can choose whatever toppings according to personal preference while taking care not to overload the pie which results in drying out the bottom due to fat content released during the cooking process.
Benefits Of Sourdough Pizza
Health Benefits Of Sourdough Pizza
Sourdough pizza is widely recognised in the culinary world for its distinct taste and texture, but what many people don’t realise is that it has numerous health benefits over traditional pizza.
The lengthy fermentation process makes sourdough pizza easier to digest than regular pizza and provides a boost of good bacteria to the gut, making it beneficial for digestion.
This is due to the production of lactic acid during fermentation which helps break down proteins, carbohydrates and starches more easily in the stomach. Furthermore, sourdough dough releases nutrients such as iron and zinc into each slice while significantly lowering the glycemic index compared to traditional pizza.
For those looking for a healthier alternative while still enjoying their favourite cuisine at home, sourdough is an ideal choice – though be aware that unfortunately, probiotics are not present in cooked sourdough as they do not survive high-temperature baking.
Texture And Taste: How Sourdough Enhances Pizza
Sourdough pizza is a delicious departure from the traditional and well-loved taste of regular pizza. Sourdough pizza has been gaining popularity due to its unique taste, texture, and health benefits.
What creates this delectable combo?
It all starts with the natural fermentation of the sourdough dough starter that gives it its defining characteristics.
Through the process of fermentation, a light and airy structure is created within the crust. All while ingredients such as yeast break down gluten, producing lactic acid which in turn contributes to additional complexity of flavour in both aroma and taste.
This essentially makes way for an incredible blend of tastes that enhance each other perfectly!
Additionally, sourdough provides superior digestion compared to most pizzas because essential vitamins are unlocked during fermentation. Furthermore, bacteria naturally occurring on wheat grain help promote the growth of beneficial bacteria colonies inside your intestines.
Nutritional Value Of Sourdough Pizza
The nutritional benefits of sourdough pizza are vast, as it is made with a starter that ferments over the course of 8-18 hours. During this process, essential minerals and trace elements such as iron, zinc, copper, manganese calcium and phosphorous are released in higher concentrations than regular pizza crusts.
In fact, research has indicated that these micronutrients found in sourdough may double or even triple compared to unfermented white flour bread. Furthermore, notable amounts of phenols (powerful antioxidants), carotenoids (vitamin A derivatives) and folates can be found in sourdough due to its increased phytate content.
Additionally Sourdough also contains more vitamins – particularly B vitamins – due to the fermentation process which activates their release from the grains used for making it.
How To Make Sourdough Pizza
Creating A Sourdough Starter
A Sourdough Starter is an important component of making a sourdough pizza crust. To begin, you need flour- ideally 100% white bread flour or ‘00’ Italian style for best results.
Mix 80g with 200ml warm water in a non-metallic bowl and stir thoroughly until fully combined and no lumps remain. Now cover the bowl with a muslin cloth or clingfilm (plastic wrap) to maintain moisture content, temperature and oxygen levels –the ideal combination required for successful fermentation should be between 23°C/73°F & 35°C/95°F as well as around 50%-70% humidity.
This mix needs to ferment over 24 hours before being added to more flour to create more yeast cells needed for dough creation, which can take up to 72 hours— depending on the experience and preference of the baker.
The finished starter should have light bubbles and look slightly stiff yet creamy in consistency; this is when it is then ready to add to your dough mixture along with extra water & sea salt if desired.
It can also be kept alive by feeding every couple of days with equal parts fresh flour & water weight until ready for use.
Mixing The Dough And Letting It Rest
Creating the perfect sourdough pizza dough involves patience, skill and a few specialist ingredients like high-protein flour. To make the ideal pizza crust for your wood-fired masterpiece, you must first mix the dough using water, salt and yeast or starter culture.
The fermentation process is key; during this time both gluten proteins (glutenin and gliadin) break down into smaller chains of polymers which makes them more accessible to water molecules.
This hydration helps form strong bonds between those polymers known as gluten network which translates into excellent chewiness once cooked – giving your pizza its all-important elasticity! But don’t forget about rest time: letting your dough mature yields better flavour, since enzymatic activity intensifies over time resulting in the additional complexity of taste when combined with cheese and toppings afterwards.
As far as exact timing goes, experimentation is king here – depending on factors such as temperature and humidity different recipes may call for 4-12 hours or even up to 72 hours if extended slow cold fermenting is what interests you most! Finally, add some oil so that the lining doesn’t stick when stretching out the circles by hand onto parchment paper rather than a rolling pin.
Sourdough pizza is unique from traditional pizza in the way it creates a light and crisp cracker-like crust, due to the use of a sourdough starter. Toppings for this type of pizza should be chosen carefully, to provide an overall taste sensation that will complement but not overpower its delicate base.
Cheeses are perhaps one of the most important components when it comes to picking toppings as they offer creaminess and saltiness which perfectly go together with tartness provided by other ingredients such as vegetables like roasted peppers or artichokes.
Fresh herbs and greens add flavour while thinly sliced mushrooms, onions, olives and cherry tomatoes bring warmth, sweetness and additional layers of textures to each bite.
Finally, garlic acts wonderfully here too providing pungent accents – either added before baking or after it’s cooked (such as in chimichurri sauce).
Baking The Pizza
Creating the perfect sourdough pizza is an art form in itself. Baking it to get the perfect crust and flavour balance requires several key techniques. To achieve a chewy yet crisp texture, use the right oven temperature with your preheated baking stone or steel before setting in your pizza.
Preheat at least half an hour for best results so that your dough does not cool too fast, setting it off-centre within the oven to allow even cooking as well as space between other pizzas you may be preparing.
Pizza typically needs 12 minutes of baking time, depending on how thick your dough is; keep a close eye while watching for signs of golden browning throughout and a light char on the edges of your crust to reassure you when it’s done!
To avoid over-topping, only use enough sauce, cheese and toppings required – any excess will weigh down your lovely bubbly crusty goodness by weighing sagging while baking and therefore making it difficult to remove from the stone/steel without sticking.
Sourdough pizza has so much to offer compared to its traditional counterpart. Not only is it easier to digest, thanks largely to the natural fermentation process employed which produces a naturally occurring yeast and lactic acid, but it also has an unrivalled taste thanks to the crisp yet airy crust that can be achieved with this technique.
On top of all of this, sourdough pizza does have some nutritional benefits as well; due in part that when making the dough you don’t need heaps of commercial or instant yeast, resulting in fewer calories.