Find yourself with some Crust Worthy Sourdough Bake-at-home Pizza Dough? Read on to learn how to make the pizza of your dreams!
Note: Please read all of the instructions BEFORE you plan to bake! You’ll feel much more prepared, and will have better pizza success when the time comes.
Warming the Dough & Preheating the Oven
If your dough is frozen, plan to defrost overnight in the fridge. If that’s not possible, take it out day-of 2 hours before baking. Allow it to thaw in the bag, on the counter, until malleable.
If your dough is refrigerated, plan to take it out 30 minutes before baking. Allow to warm in the bag, on the counter.
At least 30 minutes before baking, turn on your oven to preheat on the highest setting (but not on the broil setting). For most ovens, this is about 500. If you have a pizza stone, place it into the cold oven to preheat, too. If not, just skip this step – this recipe works well baking the pizza on a room-temp (not preheated) baking sheet pan.
Using all-purpose or bread flour, sprinkle about 2 tablespoons onto a clean countertop. Remove the dough ball from the bag, and place it onto the floured surface. Sprinkle more flour onto the dough, and smooth the flour gently over top.
With floured fingers, begin pressing firmly into the middle of the dough. Continue pressing the middle of the dough, thinner and outward, leaving about 1-2 inches of the outer rim undeflated (for the crust). Occasionally, lift your dough from the counter, to ensure it isn’t sticking – if it is, just slide a butterknife underneath to free it, and toss a bit more flour underneath.
Once your dough is stretched to about 10” (see photo to the left), stop pressing and allow the dough to rest. You may use this time to gather ingredients, and any additional toppings you’d like to use.
After about 10 minutes of resting, grab either a pizza paddle (if using a pizza stone)** or a parchment-lined baking sheet pan. Whichever you use, sprinkle the cornmeal liberally over the surface.
Using both hands, gently lift your pizza dough and place it onto the prepared cornmeal surface. Continue to press your fingers, working from the middle of the dough outward, and still leaving 1” of crust (photo to the right). Once the desired shape and size is achieved, you’re ready for toppings! If using a paddle, you may want to give the handle a little wiggle to make sure the pizza is moving freely (not sticking) over the cornmeal base.
**If you have a stone but no paddle, you may use the flat underside of a baking sheet pan to transfer your pizza into the oven. You will probably want to use a sheet of parchment to ensure that the parchment and shaped dough will slide easily onto the stone. If you have a paddle but are nervous about the transfer, parchment may still be used for easier sliding onto the stone.
Toppings & Baking
Add your sauce by spooning about half of it onto the middle, and use the back of the spoon to spread the sauce outward (photo to bottom left). Add more sauce as needed, until the sauce coats all but the 1” crust of the dough. (photo to bottom right).
Add any of your own veggies, spices/dried or “woody” herbs (rosemary, thyme, oregano), cheese, or other toppings you’d like to cook onto the pizza crust. Hold off on adding any fresh leafy herbs (basil, parsley, cilantro), until after baking.
Slide your pizza directly onto the pizza stone (or place the pizza on the parchment-lined baking sheet into the oven) and cook for about 10 minutes, to start. Try to refrain from opening the oven during this time, as the dough will rise better with the most heat possible! After ten minutes, check your pizza, and rotate if needed, for more even baking. Every oven is different, so you may need to watch your pizza closely the first time, and take notes for future bakes.
Continue cooking for another 5 minutes, and then check again – look for a golden crust with spots of dark brown. Using the pizza paddle or a stiff oven-safe spatula, your crust should lift up easily, keeping a fairly sturdy base. I recommend being patient, giving the crust plenty of time to develop. If you’re unsure about doneness, give it just a few more minutes.
Remove your pizza when done, and set it aside to cool and “settle.” Sprinkle on your fresh herbs, and serve with chili oil, if desired. Remember to wait at least ten minutes before taking your first bite, lest you burn your mouth…ENJOY!
More Tips for Delicious, Stress-free Pizza!
- Have a clean workspace – Pizza production can get messy with all of the flour and toppings. It really helps to clear off the counter and try to stay organized. Think ahead about what you’ll need to measure and touch.
- Have your ingredients out before you start – You’ll have less room for mistakes and a much easier time following the instructions if everything is in place for you while in the baking process.
- Get Creative – Once you feel comfortable with this process, feel free to try a new shape, or different toppings or fillings! You can try your hand at calzones, focaccia, garlic knots, mini pizzas…Any way you choose, it’s so much fun to play with the dough, personalize it, and make it yours.
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