Sourdough discard gives this pizza dough so much good flavor! And since it uses just a touch of dried yeast, it can be ready in as little as 3 hours.
Favorite thing to do with sourdough discard? Make pizza dough!
If you're like me and love making sourdough but don't love all the waste that comes with feeding your starter, use it to make this delicious pizza dough instead of throwing it away.
I keep a jar of discard in my fridge and once I have enough, we make pizza. Because pizza night is always fun and if you do it this way, it's basically like you're throwing yourself a pizza party after lots of sourdough baking.
This is a pizza dough recipe that I always come back to because it's so simple but so GOOD. One of those recipes that is prone to having extras thrown in (like oil, sugar, etc.), and here it is with just 5 simple ingredients and no less delicious.
Any portion of your sourdough starter that you don't feed or use in a recipe is called "discard." It's generally thrown away to thwart your starter's natural trajectory of straight exponential growth and taking over your whole life.
But! You can also use it for recipes (like this one!). Sourdough discard has spent all its leavening ability and has no more to give, so it won't do much to make your dough rise, no matter how much time you give it. But it imparts so much delicious sourdough flavor that we love it anyway.
Oh, and if your starter has been in your fridge, take it out a couple hours before making your dough so it can come to room temperature.
Since sourdough discard has little to no leavening power, this recipe calls for a touch of yeast for a bit of a boost. You can omit it if you like, but you'll have more of a cracker crust result.
You have options with this recipe! You can either:
- start it the same day you plan to eat it with a 2-4 hour rise time, or;
- start it the day before, shape it, and let it rise in the fridge for 8-24 hours.
I typically go with option #1 and the routine goes as follows:
1 pm: Nap time commences. I mix up a batch of dough, cover, and set aside. While it rests, I feed my starter and clean up the ingredients.
1:20: Knead, divide, and shape the dough. Cover and let rise for 2-4 hours.
Sometime between 4-5: Nap time is over. Everyone is excited about pizza. The oven is getting HOT. We start shaping pizzas and topping.
5 - 5:30: Pizzas are baked and eaten.
Making Good Pizza At Home
The key to making really good pizza at home in a regular oven is to start it on the lowest rack. Doesn't matter if you use a sheet pan, a pizza stone, or a cast iron skillet - bake it on the lowest rack and you'll get perfect crust.
If you want your cheese a little bit browner once the crust is done baking, you can move it to the top rack and bake a few minutes longer.
- Don't keep your discard waiting too long or it will get too sour. Be sure to give it a whiff before you use it!
- Don't use a rolling pin to shape pizza! Rolling pizza dough squishes all the air out of it and will flatten any potential HIGHLY DELICIOUS light and airy bubbles in the final product. Just press out with your fingers, then stretch.
- Top your pizza right before baking. Letting unbaked pizza hang out with the toppings on can result in a soggy crust.
- My starter is 100% hydration. If yours is a different hydration level, you may need to adjust the flour/water slightly for this recipe.
- Use parchment paper! It makes transferring your topped pizzas so easy, and makes clean up a breeze. I love the pre-cut sheets.
Assembling a Pizza:
I have developed some VERY strong preferences in the pizza making department from all this... well... pizza making. Here's how I do it:
- Make and shape your dough according to the recipe.
- Drizzle with olive oil (sometimes flavored with garlic if I'm really feeling like going the extra mile) for increased browning.
- Use your hands to crush whole, canned roma tomatoes onto the oiled pizza dough. Don't overthink it. Big chunks are fine. Juice is good. 1-2 tomatoes will do it.
- Scantily sprinkle cheese over the tomatoes, and all the way to the edge of the crust. That crispy cheese crust is what dreams are made of.
- Add any additional toppings + bake.
- When it comes out of the oven, drizzle with olive oil, grate some parmesan on top, and sprinkle with red pepper flakes if you want. Let it cool a couple minutes before slicing.
Sourdough Discard Pizza Dough
- 280 grams lukewarm water
- 200 grams sourdough discard, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon dry active yeast
- 580 grams all purpose flour
- 20 grams salt
- In a large bowl, combine the water, discard, and yeast. Add the flour and salt and mix by hand until well combined. Cover and set aside to rest for 15 minutes.Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for 3 minutes. Divide dough in quarters and shape each quarter into a ball. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature for 2-4 hours, or 8-24 hours in the refrigerator. (See note if refrigerating)Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Shape each ball on a piece of parchment paper by pressing from the center to the perimeter with your fingertips, then stretch into a roughly 10-inch round. Cover with desired toppings. Use the parchment paper to transfer to a baking sheet or a preheated pizza stone and bake on the lowest rack of the oven for 10-12 minutes, until crust is brown and cheese is bubbling. Cool slightly before cutting. Continue topping and baking pizzas in batches.