No-knead deep dish sourdough pizza crust

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Like many people, I have recently acquired a sourdough starter while in quarantine. I promise it’s not as intimidating as it sounds. If you haven’t started one, Zero Waste Chef has all of the resources for you.

This is an easy way to use up the discard, with a little additional “lift” from commercial yeast. The result is a flavorful, not-too-sour crust that has all of the characteristics of your favorite restaurant deep dish: the shatteringly crisp, nearly fried bottom and caramelized cheese edges with an abundance of air bubbles throughout.

Let’s get to it!

No-knead deep dish sourdough pizza crust
Yield: Two 12-inch round deep dish pizzas

1 cup (227g) unfed/discard sourdough starter
1 cup (226g) lukewarm water
2 1/2 cups (298g) unbleached all-purpose or bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon instant or active dry yeast

For greasing the pans: 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil

With a clean hand, combine all ingredients (except for the olive oil) in a medium glass or ceramic bowl to form a very wet, sticky dough. If needed, add additional water to moisten any dry bits of flour. Mix well, scraping the sides of the bowl to clear any loose bits.

Why mix with your hand, rather than in a stand mixer or with a spatula? In recipes using sourdough starter, you’ll want to be able to feel where your starter has not been properly incorporated with the flour and water. It can be difficult to tell without feeling the dough, as wet dough and actual sourdough look similar…but sourdough has a much slicker feel to the touch.

Cover the bowl and let it rise in a warm place for about one hour, or until very puffy and doubled in size. I like to do this in my oven, TURNED OFF with just the pilot light on. You should be able to see bubbles on the surface of the dough once the dough is ready for the next step.

Grease a 12-inch cast-iron or oven-safe nonstick skillet with a generous amount of olive oil. With your still-greased fingers, release the dough from the mixing bowl and onto a well-greased cutting board. Using a bench scraper, divide the dough in half. Press one half of the dough into the greased pan, spreading it to cover the bottom of the pan.

Dimple the dough all over with your fingertips, and drizzle with additional olive oil. Let it rise and expand for a second time, uncovered in a warm place for 30 minutes to an hour.

Repeat with remaining dough for a second pizza, or cover and refrigerate for future use, up to 4 days.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. While you wait, top your pizza all the way to the edge of the pan (hello, crispy cheese edge!) with about half of your desired toppings WITHOUT the sauce.

Why without the sauce? With a pizza crust this thick, you don’t want to trap the dough with excess wetness. Topping it on the shy side lets the dough fully cook, without risking burnt toppings or soggy crust.

Bake the pizza for 15 minutes, or until the dough appears lightly golden. Remove, and top with sauce and any additional desired toppings. Return the pizza to the oven, and bake an additional 10-15 minutes or until fully golden and crisp.

Using a spatula, loosen the edges of the dough — which should release pretty easily thanks to that delicious olive oil — and cool slightly on a cutting board before serving.

You will still have a great cheese-pull pic for your Instagram after waiting 5 minutes to cut into your pizza! I promise.

What do you like on your pizza? Do you need more ideas on how to use your sourdough discard? Let me know. Stay healthy, friends!

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My pizza was topped with mozzarella, cheddar, a layer of tomato sauce, additional cheese, a few strips of roasted red bell peppers and ribbons of fresh spinach and basil

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