Sourdough Bootcamp Day Seven
Updated: May 21
Sourdough Pizza Dough, and maybe a bit of bubbling going on
We are indeed making pizza today, but first, how is your starter doing?
My Day Seven starter has gone from smelling like cheese or nail polish remover to a tangy, yeasty-smelling beast, the kind that I am used to. And it’s bubbling, too. This makes me inordinately happy.
Day Seven sourdough starter, before the first feeding
My Day Four starter, on the other hand, still smells like nail polish remover, and during the night it separated. The liquid on top is distinctly yellowish. (That liquid can range in colour from yellow to dark brown to purple, even. And it's still just fine.)
Day Four sourdough starter, before the first feeding
But I’m not worried. Day Four Starter will find its path.
Yours will too, if it hasn’t already.
Day Six Results
On Day Six, you fed your starter twice in one day, for the first time.
How did it look this morning, the morning of Day Seven?
Did you notice a change in the smell? Less nail polish-y, more yeasty and tangy?
Is there a bit more bubbling action throughout the starter?
Is there evidence on the side of your container that your starter may have expanded and then deflated—that is, risen and then fallen?
If any or all of the above, your colony of lactobacilli and yeast is beginning to establish itself in a healthy symbiotic relationship.
If you don’t notice much change from Day Six, don’t worry. Your colony is still working towards establishing itself.
The best way to help it is to continue feeding it twice daily, and to keep it warm.
The oven with the light on is your friend. But remember to put a sticky note on the oven door to remind you the starter is in there.
K, let’s get to it.
Day Seven of Sourdough Bootcamp
Stir your starter. Remove all but 80 g (about ½ cup) of starter.
Measure or weigh what you've removed and transfer it to a clean, medium-sized bowl.
This is the beginning of your pizza crust. (If you can’t make pizza today, pour the starter into a container, label it with the date and put it in the fridge. Use it within 3 or 4 days.)
As usual, to your remaining 80 g of starter add:
80 g flour (about ½ cup)
80 to 100 g warm water (1/3 cup or 1/3 cup plus 2 Tbsp)
Cover loosely and return starter to its warm spot.
Don’t forget to repeat tonight: remove all but 80 g and feed starter before you go to bed. Pour the removed starter---let's call it "discard" starter, even though we're not throwing it out---into your jar in the fridge.
This is your reserve, and can be used to augment the starter in a recipe if you don't have enough from the day.
Jar of removed starter ("discard" starter) from the evening of Day Six.
And now, to pizza.
Sourdough Pizza Dough
This dough makes a beautiful, thin-crusted pizza.
Sourdough Pizzas, ready for the oven
250g to 375g sourdough starter (about 1 to 1½ cups) *See Note at end of ingredients list)
Use some of the starter you might have put in the fridge last night if you don’t quite have enough
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sea salt
150g to 275g (1 to 1½ cups) all-purpose flour (use the same volume of flour as starter)
Warm water as necessary
*Note: Here’s one of the peculiarities of sourdough starter. It’s tricky to accurately express the weight of a cup of sourdough starter because of the bubbles. More bubbles=more volume=less weight. An unfed starter will weigh more than a fed, bubbly, active starter. So I’m just kind of winging it when I tell you the weight of a cup of sourdough. For seven days it has been different every day, within a range. For this recipe, just use the same volume of flour as you have starter, and add a bit of warm water to the dough if it’s too stiff.
Whisk olive oil and salt into starter until thoroughly incorporated.
Stir flour in with a wooden spoon, making sure that all the flour is fully hydrated. Add warm water a teaspoon at a time if necessary.
The dough will be quite shaggy and rough. Turn it on to a lightly floured counter and knead until smooth—just 2 or 3 minutes should be all you need.
Oil the dough, return it to the bowl, cover with a plate and allow to rest for at least 30 minutes.
Transfer the dough to the counter and cut into four equal pieces. Form each piece into a ball, and allow to rest for another 30 minutes.
Use the resting time to prepare your pizza toppings.
Preheat oven to 400F (200C).
Line two to four baking sheets with parchment paper and sprinkle with cornmeal, semolina, or all-purpose flour (depending on the size of your trays you might be able to fit two pizzas on one tray)
Roll each piece of dough out to a rough oblong 16 to18 inches long and about 6 inches wide. Take a rest during the rolling if the dough is bouncing back to a smaller size---even a couple of minutes will help.
Transfer each piece of dough to baking sheet as it’s ready. You can just use your hands for this job, and give the dough an extra stretch on the tray to encourage it to keep its size.
Spread sauce, if you use it, and scatter your selected toppings lightly over top without overloading. Mix it up a little. Get the roommates or the family to each design their own. Finish each one with a combination of melty and sharp cheeses
Bake for 16 to 18 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and cheese is bubbling and beginning to brown.
Slice into strips and serve
Makes 4 pizzas, enough for 4 hungry people.
Sourdough Pizza Dough: just mixed; kneaded and oiled: divided; rolled. Oblongs make a nice change.
Some Suggested toppings
Pizza toppings can be just whatever you happen to have in the fridge
2 Tbsp minced garlic and 4 Tbsp olive oil mixed together and brushed over top of each pizza (I begin all my pizzas with this mixture, and rarely if ever use tomato sauce.)
¼ to ½ cup pesto
Grated Parmesan and Cheddar, or Swiss and Cheddar, or mozzarella, or slices of brie
2 plum tomatoes, chopped
1 cup roasted cauliflower florets
½ small jar of artichoke hearts
Your favourite salami or cured sausage
Two medium-sized onions, caramelized
1 red pepper, sautéed
½ lb sautéed mushrooms
Anything you like.
Enjoy your pizza tonight.
Don’t forget to feed the starter.
Thank you for coming on this journey!