Here is my guide for making sourdough pizza crust at home.

As far as sourdough pizza recipes are concerned, this one is as simple as it gets — it’s made with all-purpose flour and there is no autolyse or preferment. Everything gets mixed together at once and you are on your way!

Ready? Wake up your starter! Let’s do this ???

Just baked sourdough pizza crust topped with tomato sauce and mozzarella.

One of the most frequently asked questions I’ve received these past few weeks is: “Have you ever replaced the yeast in “X” bread recipe with sourdough starter?”

And specifically: “Could I use sourdough starter in your pizza dough recipe?”

Yes! And today, I’m going to show you how. The process is very similar to how I make yeast-leavened pizza, and the resulting pies are similar: ballooned and blistered edges with crisp but pliable crusts. In the recipe below, there are instructions for making three favorite pizzas ???:

Simple Sourdough Pizza Crust: The details

This sourdough pizza crust is …

  • Basic! Given supply constraints, I didn’t get creative with the flour mix here. This dough is made with 100% all-purpose flour. You absolutely can use bread flour or tipo 00 flour (read more about tipo 00 flour here) if you can get your hands on either. If you have been having a hard time finding flour, Baker’s Authority is a great option — great prices, too, even with shipping tacked on.
  • 75% hydration. This is a classic sourdough formula: 375 g water, 500 g flour.
  • Simple! As with all of the sourdough recipes on this site, there is no autolyse or preferment or levain. I do call for some stretches and folds, which build strength in the dough. I like to do 4 stretch and folds, but even if you can only perform one stretch and fold, your dough will benefit.

Can you Freeze Sourdough Pizza Dough?

Yes. In my experience, the pizzas made from frozen dough do not spring as high upon being baked, but they still taste delicious.

To freeze sourdough pizza dough: make it through step 4 in the recipe below or until after you transfer the portioned rounds to quart containers. At this point, transfer the quart containers to the freezer for as long as 3 months. To thaw, remove a container (or more) and let thaw in the refrigerator for 1 day or thaw at room temperature for 8 hours. Then, proceed with the recipe.

5 Keys to Excellent Pizza Every Time

Regardless if you are using yeast or sourdough, these (for me) are the keys to making excellent pizza at home every time.

  • High-hydration Dough: When handled properly, doughs with a high proportion of water relative to the flour bake into beautiful, ballooned-pocketed crusts.
  • Refrigerator time: After the first rise, time (at least 6 hours, but up to 3 days) in the fridge further develops flavor and improves the texture of the pizza dough.
  • 1 hour at room temperature: If time permits, letting the dough come to room temperature an hour before baking, allows for easier shaping — room temperature dough will more easily stretch into a round than cold dough.
  • Minimal handling of dough: Using a delicate hand to shape the dough, preserves the air pockets created during the fermentation process. I learned this from Jim Lahey. (Read more about this here.)
  • Baking Steel: As you might know, I am a huge fan of the Baking Steel. In sum: steel is a better conductor of heat than stone — i.e. it transfers heat to the dough faster — which promotes great oven spring which translates to glorious bubbles throughout the dough. (Read more about the Baking Steel here.)

To be clear, I do not think you need to use a sourdough starter to make excellent pizza at home. A high hydration dough + leavening of choice + proper handling will give you excellent pizza every time, including that baked in a skillet: How to Make Excellent Skillet Pizza.

Here’s my guide to making yeast-leavened pizza dough at home: How to Make Pizza {*New video added*}

PS: If you are new to sourdough, I have a free email course that covers the basics: Sourdough: Demystified.

Here’s the simple sourdough pizza crust play-by-play: As always a scale is essential for best results. You need water, flour, salt, and sourdough starter.

Ingredients for sourdough pizza dough.

Combine 375 g water, 100 g sourdough starter, and 10 g salt in a bowl.

A bowl filled with water, sourdough starter, and salt on a scale.

Stir to combine; then add …

A bowl on a scale with a spatula and water, sourdough starter, and salt.

… 500 g all-purpose flour.

A bowl of unmixed sourdough dough.

Stir until you have a sticky dough ball.

Sourdough pizza dough, just mixed, in a glass bowl with a spatula.

Transfer to a straight-sided vessel (if possible) and let rest for 30 minutes. Then, “stretch and fold” the dough (see video for guidance) 4 times at 30 minute intervals. Cover the vessel. Let it rest for 6 to 12 hours (see recipe notes for timing) or until the dough…

Sourdough pizza dough just mixed.

… has about doubled in volume. (This is a little bit more than double.)

Sourdough pizza dough after bulk fermentation.

Turn dough out onto a work surface. Use flour here as needed.

Sourdough pizza dough on the bench.

Portion into 4 equal pieces, again using flour as needed.

Portioned sourdough pizza dough aside a bench scraper.

Ball up and transfer to quart (or other similar-sized) containers (I love these deli quart containers). Transfer to the fridge, ideally for at least 6 hours and up to 3 days.

Sourdough pizza in 4 quart containers.

An hour prior to baking, remove a round (or more) of pizza dough, and place it on a floured work surface. If you have a Baking Steel, place it in the upper third of your oven, and heat the oven to 550ºF. (See recipe for other options.)

Sourdough pizza round ready to be shaped.

Delicately stretch the dough into a round, trying as best you can to preserve those air pockets.

Stretched round of sourdough pizza on parchment paper.

Top as you wish. This one is spread with tomato sauce and topped with fresh mozzarella, parmesan, olive oil, and sea salt.

Stretched and topped sourdough pizza round.

Transfer pizza, parchment paper and all to a preheated Baking Steel or stone in a 550ºF oven. Bake 5 to 6 minutes or until cooked to your liking.

Just baked sourdough pizza crust on a cutting board.

Slice and serve.

Just baked sourdough pizza crust cut into slices.

A little fresh basil is always nice.

Just baked sourdough pizza crust, topped with tomato sauce, mozzarella and basil, and cut into slices.

This is the beauty of the Baking Steel: oven spring!

A crumb shot of sourdough pizza crust, just baked.
Two crumb shots of sourdough pizza crusts, freshly baked.
A crumb shot of a sliced sourdough pizza crust.

Another favorite: kale + crème fraîche:

Sourdough kale and creme fraiche pizza on a board, cut into pieces.

Another favorite: “naked” + spicy scallion (or ramp) oil:

A just-baked sourdough pizza crust topped with sizzling ramp oil.