Homemade Pizza School

Updated: August 2, 2023

Reading Time: 5 Minutes

How To Make Sourdough Pizza Dough

Sourdough pizza crust has that tangy sourdough flavor and is a game changer in homemade pizza. If you have never made sourdough bread or pizza dough, we will walk you through how to get a sourdough starter going and everything you need to know about how to make sourdough pizza dough.

how to make sourdough pizza dough
Photo from spurekar on flickr

Sourdough pizza crust is a pizza crust made with sourdough starter instead of yeast. Sourdough starter is just flour and water that has captured naturally occurring yeast in the air and fermented. And there are plenty of additional ways to add flavor to your homemade pizza dough.

The sourdough pizza dough is mixed with a starter, flour, olive oil, and salt to make this natural dough. It is different than yeast-free dough and basic dough manipulation since it does have wild yeast.

What is Sourdough?

sourdough pizza crust going in the pizza oven
Photo by Grant Ritchie on Unsplash

Sourdough is characterized by a tanginess that is due to the bacteria and fermentation process. The starter will capture and create a community of wild yeast and lactic acid bacteria in the starter.  It’s the same bacteria that gives yogurt and sour cream their signature taste.

Sourdough bread and pizza dough start with a sourdough starter. A sourdough starter is a living organism that needs to be cared for and fed, yes, fed. Once you have a starter going, you can use it for all kinds of sourdough baking.

Starting a sourdough starter is easy, but it does take about a week to get your starter active. And once it’s active, you need to maintain it. Every day you will need a few minutes to tend to your sourdough starter, and by the end of the first week, you will be ready to use it.

How to Make a Sourdough Pizza Dough Starter

You can buy a sourdough starter kit, or you can DIY a sourdough starter on your own. You will need a couple of things to get started on a starter.

You want to start with organic whole wheat because it hasn’t been stripped of naturally occurring wild yeast and bacteria. Add 1 cup of organic whole wheat flour and ½ cup of filtered water.

Place in your glass jar. You want the jar to be bigger than the starter because it is going to rise and fall after each feeding. And using a glass jar lets you see it growing, and if it is rising, it should be, so you can see when it’s hungry and needs to be fed.

Cover it and leave it in a warm dark place. Check it every day, and when it bubbles, usually after one to three days, it’s time to feed it.

Next, take out ½ cup of starter, discard the rest (when it’s activated in a week, you can use the discard but not yet), and add 1 cup of flour and ½ cup of water mix and let sit. 

Check the starter every day, and if it is bubbling and has risen and fallen, it’s time to feed again. Save ½ cup of starter, discard the rest again and feed by adding 1 cup of flour and ½ water.  You will repeat this for about 5-7 days, and your starter will be ready, and you can enter maintenance mode.

Maintenance mode is just keeping the starter alive and active. Feed your starter every day around the same time and check for signs of hunger which means a watery starter.

To feed it, save ½ cup of starter and discard the rest to make pizza dough, bread, pancakes, focaccia, calzones, or whatever you like. At this point, when your starter is active, you can use the discard, and the ½ cup becomes the mother. And add 1 cup of flour and ½ cup of water. 

The temperature in your home will play an important role. In warmer climates, the starter needs less time, and in colder climates, it takes more time.

If you bake a few times a week, you should feed your starter daily and leave it on the counter. If you bake infrequently, you can leave your starter in the refrigerator and feed it once a week. Make sure it has been fed eight hours before you plan on using it.

Why Choose Sourdough?

Ok, we know this sounds like a lot of leg work taking care of a sourdough starter, so you might be wondering why people choose to invest time and energy into it. Well, the answer is that sourdough is easier to digest for many people.

And sourdough is more nutritious and is filled with probiotics that are good for your gut. And then there is the taste; it’s really good.

Some families have a mother starter that has been in the family for generations others name their starter like a pet. It’s healthy and tastes great, and you can make pizza dough and lots of other things, too, like pancakes, waffles, breads, pretzels, cinnamon rolls, and the list goes on and on.

How to Make Sourdough Pizza Dough

baked sourdough pizza with peppers
Photo by georgia z on Unsplash
  • ½ cup sourdough starter
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 ⅓ cups of bread flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt

Ok, you have a sourdough starter, and it’s time to make sourdough pizza dough. Mix everything together but the flour. Then slowly add the flour and mix. It will be kind of a shaggy mess. Let it sit covered for thirty minutes. Then knead and fold again and wait another thirty minutes. You will repeat this four times. Then, cover and leave out for four hours. 

Next, cut into two and form two dough balls and let them rise in separate bowls for three to four hours. Now you can make pizza. At this point, either make pizza or put the dough in an airtight container or pizza dough proofing box in the refrigerator. 

Pro Tips

  • Store sourdough pizza dough in the refrigerator for up to five days.
  • Freeze sourdough pizza dough for up to four weeks.
  • Always use an activated sourdough starter, meaning it was fed within the last 8 hours.
  • Opt for bread flour rather than all-purpose for a perfectly crispy and chewy crust with fewer gas bubbles.
  • Temperature is going to affect how it rises. If your house is cooler or warmer will determine if you need more or less rise time.
  • Use a Pizza Dough Calculator to get your exact percentages on measurements

Now you know how to make sourdough pizza dough for your next pizza night. It’s a lot of work up front but can last your family for generations.

What’s your favorite way to use sourdough?

One of our Favorites

If you’d like a jumpstart on getting your sourdough starter made to begin making delicious homemade pizzas with sourdough crust, buy a handy dandy artisanal sourdough starter kit. You can really make bakery-style sourdough from the comfort of your own home without spending tons of money on expensive equipment.

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DK & Eliana

DK & Eliana

Thanks for reading about our homemade pizza journey! We're a young married couple who started making pizza at home on our wedding night and haven't looked back yet. We've learned over countless attempts of trial and error how to make the perfect pizza sauce, pizza dough, and exactly which pizza accessories to buy for your home setup...

FYI When you make a purchase or, sometimes, carry out some other action as direct result of clicking on a link at Homemade Pizza School, we will receive a small commission. Gratzie!

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