Friday, March 29, 2013

Sourdough Pizza

What a bad blogger I am!

It has been almost two… TWO whole months since my last post!

But then again, I am not a professional blogger; I am merely a hungry woman with an unhealthy love for book shopping.  Denial aside, when you’re an Indonesian and your sister in law is to be married with wedding banquets, yup plural there for the word ‘banquet’, held in different cities in the same month, you are simply allowed to be a little cuckoo for a period of time. You'd understand what I mean. 

Apart from the dark skies, heavy rain, and my mood that is so foul it deserves 3 red cards in a row, I still manage to make something that packs a punch. 

In a good way.

There is a saying: ~Do not attempt to cook if your heart is not in it~

Not only it is true for fancy food that requires you to focus and to be in the mood, like decorating a cake or freezing raspberries using liquid hydrogen Heston Blumenthal style, just a simple stir-fry will taste bad when you're angry while cooking it. I was totally tired and hungry, that made me grumpy, and as much as I wanted to call for some pizza, I wanted none of that 30 minutes pizza with just a so-so taste. So no phone calls, no heart for cooking, and it was plain sunny side egg with a little rice and lots of sambal belacan on the side for me. It took care of the hunger, gave me energy and some time to browse a good pizza recipe. 

Holding back my saliva and saving it for the next day, I saw a gem.

A pizza using unfed sourdough.

You can find the original recipe in King Arthur Flour's website and make it or you can upscale it using my adaptation. The original recipe calls for some Pizza Dough Flavor. Hmm.. Not only I'm not sure I can find it here, I'm not too fond of using spice mix which I can't guess what's in it. So I was thinking, hard actually, what in the name of melted butter on whole wheat toast is the flavor of pizza dough?

Oh what the heck, pizza is Italian so I'll just add some ingredients that are typically used in Italian cuisine; garlic and cheese.

Let's Prep!
1 cup sourdough starter, unfed (straight from the fridge)
1/2 cup warm water
280 gr All-Purpose Flour
20 gr wheat bran
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
3 tbs grated hard Italian Cheese, I used Grana Padano.
1 tsp garlic Powder

Let's Knead!

Mix the dry ingredients together, put in the starter, and pour in warm water. Knead until it feels just right. I cannot tell you how right is right because I strongly advise you to know your starter. Some people have wet starter, Bonnie is quite thick. So it's wise to add the water gradually and have a water spray bottle in case you need to incorporate more water to make a smooth and slightly sticky dough.

Place the kneaded dough in a lightly greased container, and allow it to rise till it's just about doubled in bulk. This might take 2 to 4 hours; it might take more. A lot depends on how vigorous your starter is. For a faster rise, place the dough somewhere warm (or increase the yeast). To slow it down, put it somewhere cool.

I used a really big pyrex pizza pan here, about 15-16 inches in diameter.

Drizzle the pizza pan with olive oil until it's coated well. Place half the dough in the pan. Cover with cling wrap, and let rest for 15 minutes. Gently press the dough towards the edges of the pans; when it starts to shrink back, cover it, and let it rest again, for about 15 minutes. Finish pressing the dough to the edges of the pans. Cover the pan with cling wrap and let the dough rise about an hour.

Towards the end of the rising time, preheat your oven to 225°C. 

Bake for 4 to 5 minutes, then top and bake for an additional 8 to 10 minutes, or till toppings are as done as you like. Remove from the oven, and loosen the edges of the pizza with a table knife or heatproof spatula.


I could not STOP SMILING like an Italian that hadn't eaten pizza for 10 years!

I truly made the right decision to incorporate cheese and garlic powder.

The crust was FANTASTIC!

It's a pizza crust that pleases my love-to-complain taste buds: Far from plain tasting crust that complements even the simplest toppings, thin but not papery, not crackly, and not breakable like crackers but still has a bit of crispness at the bottom, crust that I'd happily eat even if there's no topping on it.

I only spread some thawed homemade far-from-meaty bolognaise sauce that I stocked for Amiko, scattered lots of shiitake mushrooms that I've stir-fried for just a minute or so to soften and moisten them a bit, and grated mozzarella cheese on it. No fancy stuff here.

My only tip is, I hope you will not be bored because I shall repeat it again; Get to know your starter. For example, mine is fed with rye flour and thick in consistency so it's tangy. But Bonnie, even thick, is Super Starter. It rises all purpose flour in no time. So just be aware of some sourdough dynamics here. Using a starter that hasn't been fed for weeks will yield a pizza crust that rises slowly. 

There are no hard-and-fast rules here; it all depends on the vigor of your starter, and how you like your crust. I just happen to like my crust thin. You can have it thick if you prefer. Do remember to adjust the baking time aaaannd... 

Get to know your starter. 

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