I’ve finally perfected my pizza dough to taste so close to wood-fire oven style pizza with a light, crispy and blistered crust. The trick is to make a high hydration dough and cooking the pizza on a searing hot cast iron pan before finishing it off under the grill.
The dough needs to ferment for at least 10 hours and up to 24 hours, so make sure you feed your sourdough starter in advance. I fed my starter before going to bed, and made the dough first thing in the morning, making the pizzas for dinner.
- 150g active sourdough starter (mine is wholemeal)
- 350g plain flour or bakers flour
- 150g wholemeal flour (I used atta flour – finely ground wholemeal flour)
- 2 tsp salt
- 30ml olive oil
- 375ml water
- Mix all ingredients in a big bowl into a shaggy dough. Leave to rest (covered with a plate) for 15min.
- Carry out a series of 3-4 “stretch and folds” with 15min resting time in between.
- Leave dough to ferment (covered) at room temperature for at least 10 hours. If you’d like a more sour taste, you can ferment the dough in the fridge for up to 24 hours.
- Two hours before forming the pizzas, separate the dough into 4-6 pieces (depending on size of your cast iron pan), and form into balls. Leave dough balls to rest covered with a tea towel for another 2 hours.
- Prepare your preferred pizzas sauce and toppings.
- Before forming the pizza, pre-heat your cast iron skillet on a medium-high flame and your grill on high. Place your oven rack as close to the grill as possible.
- Sprinkle some semolina on your board so the dough can easily slide into the skillet. Form your pizza by gently stretching out the dough. There are lots of videos on how to do this online, so look one up.
- Spread a thin layer of tomato sauce on the dough, then gently slide the pizza onto the cast iron skillet. Place cheese and other toppings on top.
- Once the bottom of the pizza has browned and is crispy, place pan under the hot grill for 5mins until the dough has blistered and toppings are cooked. The cast iron pan will get hot so be careful!
Tip – if you like mushrooms on your pizza, pan fry them first with some olive oil, garlic and thyme before topping the pizza.