Last night was my BEST pizza night. For a long time I used a yogurt dough recipe (from Nourishing Traditions) for my pizza crust with good success and it tasted good, but later I came across this sourdough recipe from Dom’s Kefir Site. I’ve used this recipe a few times with good results (for pizza and bread), but last night the pizza was PERFECTO!
The crust was chewy, soft, thick, sweet and sour… just melts in your mouth. I used freshly ground spelt flour, but you can use whole wheat or unbleached white flour. My toppings were homemade pesto, red onions, garlic, bell peppers, little tomatoes, fresh basil, fresh thyme, fresh rosemary, fresh raw mozzarella cheese and raw goat cheese with olive oil drizzled on top. FANTASTIC!
First step involves preparing the kefir-sourdough starter. The sourdough starter is a natural leavening, used to rise the pizza dough. This starter can also be used to make sourdough bread (sooo yummy!).
1 cup Kefir (either milk-kefir or water-kefir)
1 cup plain whole wheat, spelt or unbleached white flour
Mix ingredients together in a quart jar to make a smooth wet paste. Cover jar with cloth or paper napkin and leave at room temperature until dough doubles in volume. This may take one to three days depending on temperature. Stir once daily. When ready it should be bubbly with a sweet-sour yeasty aroma.
(NOTE: I only had to leave my starter out for a day, then it would be ready. Best to start it in the early afternoon and let it sit through the night.)
Makes about 4 small 8″ or two to three larger size pizza.
500 gm (1.1 lb) [about 4 cups] whole wheat, spelt or unbleached white flour
1 tsp. sea salt
1/3 cup olive oil
1 cup warm water
Mix well with a strong wooden spoon, ladle or clean bare hands. If the dough is too thick (firm and not sticky), add a small amount of warm water and mix for 2 minutes until the dough is moist and sticky with elasticity. The dough should stick to the fingers when touched and should stretch quite easily (it should be wetter than conventional dough).
For the next step, to stop the dough from sticking to your hands. Wet fingers and palm of hands with olive oil. Pinch off 1/4 of the dough. Make a round ball by rolling the dough in your hands. Place dough in a pre-greased cast iron skillet or pizza pan (OR what I used… big cookie sheet). Press the dough with fingers and stretch an even layer over the bottom of the pan right up to the edges. Form a thickness of no more than about 3/4″ thickness. Do this with the rest of the dough in other pans.
(NOTE: I used the whole dough for my pizza in a big cookie sheet. Worked great!)
You can add your toppings on the crust and then let it rise OR you can let it rise than put your toppings on. I put my toppings on after I let it rise, but I don’t think one way is better than the other. After you put your toppings on make sure you drizzle olive oil (about 2 Tbsp) over everything, then sprinkle with sea salt and pepper.
Place in a warm spot and leave to rise for about 2 to 6 hours (8 hours is best) until the base almost doubles in height. Bake in a hot oven set to 450 F and bake for 15-20 minutes. To determine if the pizza is ready, lift an edge of the pizza to reveal the base. It should be golden brown.
(NOTE: If you don’t have a warm place in the kitchen. Turn on your oven light while you are preparing the dough, it will get nice and warm. Then put your pizza in there to rise and leave the light on. To make sure your pizza gets cooked evenly, turn the pizza half way through the baking time.)
Kefir Sourdough Bread
The above dough recipe will make one loaf of delicious kefir-sourdough bread!!
I really like adding 2 Tbsp of whole flax seed to my sourdough bread. You can add herbs, chopped olives, sunflower seeds or maybe even sun-dried tomatoes. Just about anything (except garlic… it will kill the yeast) can go into your sourdough bread. If you have spare milk kefir grains, blend 1-2 Tbsp and add it to your dough. This will produce a moister bread with an extra crispy crust… thanks to the natural reaction between the kefir grains, oil and starch.
Tips of the fingers to the lips… kiss MUWAH!