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I have pizza withdrawal. I have not made pizza since I started making sourdough bread.

I drove to the farmer’s market at La Cigale and picked up fresh basil and some fantastic fior di latte and scamorza made locally by Italian Cheeses.

My first try making sourdough pizza dough…

I made a 2kg batch of sourdough, same as I do for my Tartine Basic Country Bread. After bulk fermentation was complete, I shaped 400g portions of dough into balls and let them bench rest for 40 minutes, whilst the oven came to temperature and I prepared the toppings.

I reserved enough dough to make two more pizzas and stored it in the fridge for a longer, cold ferment. I would normally have let the whole batch ferment for two or three days, but I really wanted to make some pizza the same day, purely for testing purposes…

The cornicione had good flavour. I may have to play around a bit to get the bulk fermentation timing right. The dough balls had good extensibility, but lacked some elasticity, perhaps due to too short a bulk fermentation or too long a bench rest. The dough may have benefited from a second shaping and bench rest to make up for a short bulk fermentation.

The cornicione showed decent oven spring, but I need to work out proper temps and timing with my oven, cooking on a terracotta paving stone. The electric home oven I currently use does not hold a high temperature very well. I may need to move the stones to a lower position in the oven. It is also difficult to get the stone to a high enough temperature to get much colour on the bottom of the crust.

The oven is set at the highest temperature setting and allowed to warm up for 1 hour. Just before I start to stretch a dough ball, I switch the oven to broil. These pizzas were in the oven for between 6-8 minutes.

I may make a couple more pizzas tonight to see how the dough handles after a 36 hour fermentation.

For my next batch, I may turn the dough every 1/2 hour for the first two hours, then store the dough in the fridge for 1-5 days.

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