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Best Sourdough Pizza Crust

Crispy Sourdough Pizza Crust (No Steel or Stone!)

  • Author: Emilie Raffa
  • Prep Time: 14 Hours
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 14 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6
  • Category: Sourdough Pizza
  • Method: Oven-Baked
  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

No pizza stone? No problem! Learn how to make THE BEST sourdough pizza crust with bubbly, active sourdough starter in a standard 9×13-inch baking pan instead. Tips shared for make-ahead options, plus a simple “no-cook” pizza sauce that takes 1 minute to make!


Ingredients

For the Sourdough Pizza Dough:

For the Pizza Toppings:

Notes & Tips:

  • Please watch my video for visual instructions. It’s really helpful when dimpling the dough!
  • This is the non-stick baking pan I use. You’ll get perfect, golden pizza crust every time. If using a different pan, especially if it’s not non-stick, line the bottom with parchment paper to fit the inside dimensions of the pan (no overhang). Dark pans are best for heat conduction and crust color.
  • I bake my sourdough pizza @ 450 F. I know my oven. However, if you prefer to bake at a lower temperature, approximately 425 F, you can. Increase the bake times to 18-20 minutes, for both the par-bake and actual pizza bake.
  • Please use quality whole-milk mozzarella cheese (block cheese, not bagged shredded). Bagged shredded cheese contains too many anti-caking agents which will wreck your pizza. The cheese will taste dry and plasticky. Cube any small chunks that are too small to grate, and stick in the corners of the pan for extra crispy edges.
  • Use room temperature ingredients. No cold sauce! This will ensure a crisp, pizza crust crust. It will also keep the oven temperature hot and stable, not steamy.

Instructions

Make the Dough

Before you begin: refer to my pizza baking schedule in the blog post above. This will give you an idea of when to start the dough. Below, I do a long, overnight rise @ 68F.

  • In the evening, combine the sourdough starter and water in a large mixing bowl (I use a fork to mix). Add the flour and salt.
  • Continue mixing, and then finish by hand to fully incorporate the flour. Cover with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and let rest for 30 minutes at room temperature.
  • After resting, return to the bowl and fold the dough over itself several times, similar to the stretch and fold method, to create a rough ball. The dough is now ready to rise.

Bulk Rise

  • Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled high-sided 2 qt. dough tub.
  • Cover and let rise overnight at room temperature, about 68 F for 10-12+ hrs. The dough is ready when it has almost doubled in size. If your ambient temperature is warmer /colder than 68 F, the dough will take shorter/longer to rise, respectively. Watch the dough and not the clock. Rise times will be different for every baker. (see Note #1).

Get Ahead Tip: While the dough is rising, use this resting time to make the pizza sauce, grate the cheese and gather any additional toppings for your pizza.

Dimple the Dough {2 Times}

  • Coat a non-stick 9×13-inch baking pan with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Use your hands to rub the bottom and sides of the pan.
  • Remove the dough directly into the pan. With oiled fingertips, gently dimple and stretch the dough to reach the corners and sides of the pan- that’s the end goal. If the dough is relaxed, it will naturally spread out. If it’s tight, which is normal after a long rise, the dough will resist. Simply take note of your dough at this stage. Don’t force it. Watch my video for visual instructions. 
  • Cover the pan with an inverted baking sheet and rest in a warm spot, such as a proofing box set to 78F or a turned off oven with the light on, for 30 minutes.
  • After 30 minutes has elapsed: return to the pan and dimple the dough again, just like you did before, gently lifting and stretching it as you go. Cover and rest for another 30 minutes. Preheat your oven to 450 F now. 
  • After the second 30 minutes has elapsed, you’re ready to par-bake the pizza crust.

ParBake Pizza Crust

  • Place the baking pan on the bottom rack. Bake the dough @ 450 F for 15-18 minutes, or until the surface is set and the bottom crust is light golden brown. Use tongs to peek underneath the dough to double check. The bottom crust color depends on the type of pan you’re using; adjust the time or oven rack as needed. 
  • Remove the pan from the oven. You are now ready to assemble and bake pizza (see Note #2).

Assemble & Bake Pizza

  • To Make Sourdough Pizza (now): Top the par-baked pizza crust with tomato sauce. I spread it all over the surface including the crust. Season with salt and pepper. Add the basil leaves, a fresh grating of Parmesan cheese and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese taking it to the corners and sides for crispy edges. Tuck any remaining cheese cubes into the corners. Bake @ 450 F, middle or top rack this time, until the cheese is melted and broiled in some spots, about 12-15 minutes. You can even stick it under the broiler to really crisp it up.
  • To Make Sourdough Pizza (later): Transfer the par-baked pizza crust to a wire rack to cool. You want to aerate the underside so the crust doesn’t get soggy. Once completely cool, cover tightly in plastic wrap and store at room temperature for up to 6 hours. When ready to bake, return the pizza to the same baking pan (don’t bother cleaning it; any leftover oil is fine), assemble and bake as directed above.

Notes

Note #1: Refrigeration Option. after the bulk rise is complete, the pizza dough can be stored in the fridge for up to 1 day if you run out of time. This is optional. To do so: shape the dough into a ball and place into an oiled, non-stick 9×13-inch baking pan. Cover tightly with lightly oiled plastic wrap and chill overnight. When ready to continue, the dough must rest in a warm spot (I use a proofing box set to 78 F OR a switched off oven with the light on) until it comes to temperature and no longer looks dense- this will take a few hours. Then dimple the dough following the directions in the next step.

Note #2: How to Store Par baked Pizza Crust: Wrap cooled par-baked pizza crust at room temperature for up to 6 hours. Or keep in the freezer for up to 3 months. Defrost at room temperature.

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