How to Make the Best Sourdough Pan Pizza | A Step-by-Step Guide.

Last updated on September 18th, 2023 at 12:23 pm

Introduction to Sourdough Pan Pizza

I have a deep affection for crafting sourdough pan pizzas. Although I embrace and savour various pizza styles (especially when the dough is a sourdough base), this one holds a special spot in my heart as the quintessential comfort food that invokes nostalgia.

They often say that the finest pizza is the one you were raised on. While I didn’t get to devour sourdough pan pizzas as a kid, my neighbourhood pizzeria did offer a delightful pan-style pizza.

Making pizza is a skill on its own. I often try to use techniques derived from bread making and dough making to enhance my pizza skills. While there are some differences, this pan pizza is a great place to start learning how to make sourdough pan pizza. The recipe is forgiving and easy to mix by hand. Even if you don’t nail the dough temperatures or the timing it will still result in a delicious pizza every time.

This recipe focuses on the dough and not the toppings, as my hope is to provide a base and inspire you to create your own awesome pizzas at home.

Flour Specs:

    • 50% organic strong bakers flour
      • 12.4% protein, 0.54% ash
    • 50% organic all-purpose flour
      • 11.7% protein

If you’d like to incorporate 00 flour instead of all-purpose flour in your recipe, you can easily make a one-to-one substitution. However, it’s important to note that there are various types of 00 flour on the market, so it’s crucial to select a specifically labelled pizza 00 flour for the best results. One of the reasons I stopped using 00 is that most of the larger brands import wheat grown in Canada, mill it, then ship it back to Canada. I really enjoy using some of the smaller mills that are growing wheat in Italy and producing high-quality 00 but they can be a bit trickier to find.

  • 00 flour is a finely milled type of wheat flour that is commonly used in Italian cuisine, especially in pizza and pasta making. It has a distinct texture and composition that sets it apart from other types of flour.
  • The “00” designation refers to the fineness of the grind, with 00 being the finest grade available.
  • The fineness of 00 flour makes it ideal for certain baking applications such as pizza making, pasta or panettone. In pizza making, it helps create a delicate and thin crust with a slightly chewy texture. The flour’s fine texture also allows it to absorb less water during mixing, resulting in a dough that is easier to work with and shape.

Sourdough Pan Pizza Specs

Yield 1 x 1100g pizza
Total dough weight 1100 grams
Pre-Fermented Flour – 8.7%
Levain % in Final Dough – 30%
Total Hydration – 84.3%

Total Formula

WeightIngredientBakers %
431 gramsBread Flour77.27%
127 gramsAll-purpose flour or 00 flour22.73%
466 gramsWater83.64%
13 gramsSalt2.3%
13 gramsOlive oil 2.3%
51 grams Levain9.09%

Sourdough Pan Pizza Dough Schedule

To help you bake this at home I have created a suggested timeline for each step of the process. This schedule is meant to be a guideline but by no means do you have to stick to it. Feel free to adapt the recipe or timing to best fit your baking schedule.

Mix the Sourdough Pan Pizza Dough Levain – 10:00 am

This sourdough pan pizza uses a levain fed at 100% hydration that has been rising for about 4 hours. If you’d like to adjust the levain feeding to fit your schedule the easiest and fastest way is to use my sourdough pan pizza dough calculator.

You can also use this free resource to help you scale your baking. Increase the dough quantities at ease to suit your baking (or whatever pan size you’ve already got!) using the dough calculator.

If you are new to sourdough and want to learn more about feeding and maintaining your starter, you can check out my guide on how I’ve kept the same starter around for almost 20 years here.

  1. Mix all the ingredients until well combined. This build should take about 3.5 to 4 hours at 28°C/82.4°F.

Teachable Moment – If you do not have a proofer you can adjust your water temperature to achieve the final temperature you want for your starter. For example, if your kitchen is cold you could use 30-32°C/86-89.6°F water to kick start your fermentation and allow the starter to stay warm during the time it takes to reach maturity.

WeightIngredientBakers %
71 gramsBread Flour100%
71 grams Water at 28°C/82.4°F100%
71 gramsLevain100%
213 gramsTotal 300%

NOTE: This yields an extra 60 grams so that you a) don’t have to scrape out your jar for every last bit and b) have some extra sourdough starter to keep your starter alive.

Mix the Dough – 2:00 pm

  1. Add the levain and the water to the bowl. Use your hand or a spatula to mix the levain into the water a bit.
  2. Add the flour to the bowl and using your hand mix the flour, water and leavin together until there are no dry bits. Allow the dough to rest for 20 minutes.
  3. Add the salt along with the water 2. Use a wet hand like a claw to pinch through the dough and mix until the salt is fully incorporated. Use your fingers to feel for any salt remaining in the dough. If you can still feel the salt, keep mixing scraping down the sides of the bowl with a wet dough scraper when done. Rest the dough for 20 minutes.
  4. Pour the olive oil on top of the dough and mix it until fully combined.
WeightIngredient
380 gramsBread Flour
127 gramsAll-purpose flour or 00 flour
395 gramsWater 1
20 gramsWater 2
13 gramsSalt
13 gramsOlive oil
152 grams Levain

Bulk Fermentation 3:00 pm – 5:00/6:00 pm

Bulk ferment the dough for 2-3 hours. If you are in a cold environment, keep the dough in a warm place during the bulk fermentation.

  1. Bulk ferment the dough for 2-3 hours.
  2. Give the dough 2-4 folds during the bulk fermentation.
  3. After the last fold, put the dough in the fridge for 24 to 48 hours.

Stretch the Dough – 2:00 pm (1 to 2 days later).

If it’s your first time using the pizza pan, use a bit more oil than you think is necessary. This will prevent your dough from sticking in the pan which is a really bummer after all the work put in to get here.

  1. Take the dough container out of the fridge and allow the dough to come to room temperature for about 1 hour.
  2. Lightly oil the pizza pan by splashing it with some oil and rubbing that around with your hand or a paper towel. Remove the dough from the container using lightly oiled hands and begin to stretch it into the pizza pan.
  3. Stretch the dough as far as you can by putting your fingers under the dough and lightly pulling it outward, being careful not to tear the dough. When the dough is feeling elastic and resists your stretching stop and allow it to rest for 20-30 minutes. Repeat this until the dough has been stretched to the outside of the pan and does not shrink back in anymore.

Note: It is much better to start the stretching process EARLY when you are planning dinner. That way if the dough is a little elastic you have no problems stretching it before dinner. If you’d like to stretch it really early you can also stretch the dough then place it into the fridge and par bake it from cold.

Par Baking with Tomato Sauce – 5:00 pm.

Par-baking your sourdough pan pizza really helps the toppings cook at the same time as the dough. If you put all the toppings on from the beginning your toppings will be very overcooked when the dough is baked. You can par-bake the pizza with just the sauce well in advance of the time you’d like to eat. This is really helpful for dinner parties where you might want to make several sourdough pan pizzas

  1. Preheat your oven to its max setting. For most home ovens this is about 260/288°C-500/550°F.
  2. Use a ladle to spoon the sauce onto the dough starting from the middle. Then using the back of the ladle and starting from the middle spread the tomato sauce evenly over the entire dough surface and all the way to the edges.

Note: You can make a Bianco sourdough pan pizza base (white base) by omitting the tomato sauce and drizzling some olive oil and a sprinkle of salt onto the dough. Dimple the surface of the dough and make sure it is evenly covered with olive oil.

Baking – 5:30 pm.

Baking your sourdough pan pizza will take a little bit of trial and error. All ovens are different and everyone likes a different degree of doneness for their pizza. The bake times are meant to be a guide to help you dial in your oven settings for this pizza.

  1. Cook the pizza at 260/288°C-500/550°F for about 10-12 minutes.
  2. Remove the pizza from the oven and place it onto a cooling rack or heat-proof surface. A few signs that your sourdough pizza is ready are that it will have a few dark spots, be fully risen and the tomato sauce will no longer look wet.
  3. Top the pizza as desired and place it back into the oven for another 8-12 minutes.

Teachable Moment: It’s easier to remove the pizza from the pan if you take a spatula and make sure it is not sticking to the pack after the par bake. It gets a lot harder if you wait for it to be covered with cheese and other toppings.

Sourdough pan pizza with various toppings.
This is a full-size Lloyd Roman Pizza Pan and fits a double recipe of sourdough pan pizza dough.

Sourdough Pan Pizza Topping Ideas

While the possibilities and combinations are endless here are a few cool ideas for your sourdough pan pizzas:

  1. Classic pepperoni: Use low-moisture mozzarella and pepperoni. This is not very Italian but it is definitely delicious and nostalgic for me.
  2. Prosciutto e Rucola: A classic combination, the Prosciutto e Rucola pizza showcases the marriage of delicate, thinly sliced prosciutto (Italian cured ham) and fresh arugula leaves. The prosciutto’s saltiness and the peppery bitterness of arugula create a delightful contrast of flavours.
  3. Burrata: After par-baking the pizza, add a thin layer of tomato sauce on top, ensuring an even distribution. Resume baking until the pizza is fully cooked. Once out of the oven, generously place whole burrata balls on the pizza’s surface( 2-4 depending on the size of your pizza). Gently cut open the burrata and use the knife to spread the creamy center over the pizza. To season the burrata, drizzle a luscious coat of olive oil over the cheese and sprinkle a pinch of fleur de sel for a touch of delicate seasoning.
  4. Potato and Rosemary: For this one, I usually use a white base but you could do it with tomato also. Thinly slice the potatoes and boil them in salted after until tender. You want them to be pierceable with a knife but not falling apart. Drain the potatoes and spread them evenly over the pizza. Sprinkle with fresh rosemary leaves, a drizzle of olive oil, and a sprinkle of sea salt. The combination of creamy potatoes and aromatic rosemary creates a delightful flavour profile.
  5. Fig and Gorgonzola: Using a white base, spread a thin layer of creamy Gorgonzola cheese on par-baked pizza dough. Top with sliced fresh figs, a drizzle of honey for a touch of sweetness, and some crushed walnuts for added texture. This unique combination balances the sweetness of figs with the savoury and tangy notes of Gorgonzola.
  6. Zucchini and Ricotta: Using a white base, thinly slice zucchini into rounds. Spread a layer of ricotta cheese on the pizza crust, followed by the cooked zucchini slices. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese. The combination of mild ricotta, tender zucchini, and nutty Parmesan creates a light and flavorful pizza.

Sourdough Pan Pizza: Final Thoughts

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Description

I have a deep affection for crafting sourdough pan pizzas. Although I embrace and savour various pizza styles (especially when the dough is a sourdough base), this one holds a special spot in my heart as the quintessential comfort food that invokes nostalgia. 


Ingredients

Weight Ingredient Bakers %
431 grams Bread Flour 77.27%
127 grams All-purpose flour or 00 flour 22.73%
466 grams Water 83.64%
13 grams Salt 2.3%
13 grams Olive oil 2.3%
51 grams  Levain 9.09%

Instructions

For the Levain:

Weight Ingredient Bakers %
51 grams Bread Flour 100%
51 grams  Water at 28°C/82.4°F 100%
51 grams Levain

100%

1. Mix all the ingredients until well combined. This build should take about 3.5 to 4 hours at 28°C/82.4°F.

Mix the Dough 

Weight Ingredient  
380 grams Bread Flour  
127 grams All-purpose flour or 00 flour  
395 grams Water 1  
20 grams Water 2  
13 grams Salt  
13 grams Olive oil  
152 grams  Levain

  1. Add the levain and the water to the bowl. Use your hand or a spatula to mix the levain into the water a bit.
  2. Add the flour to the bowl and using your hand mix the flour, water and leavin together until there are no dry bits. Allow the dough to rest for 20 minutes.
  3. Add the salt along with the water 2. Use a wet hand like a claw to pinch through the dough and mix until the salt is fully incorporated. Use your fingers to feel for any salt remaining in the dough. If you can still feel the salt, keep mixing scraping down the sides of the bowl with a wet dough scraper when done. Rest the dough for 20 minutes.
  4. Pour the olive oil on top of the dough and mix it until fully combined.

Bulk Fermentation

  1. Bulk ferment the dough for 2-3 hours.
  2. Give the dough 2-4 folds during the bulk fermentation.
  3. After the last fold, put the dough in the fridge for 24 to 48 hours.

Stretch the Dough

  1. Take the dough container out of the fridge and allow the dough to come to room temperature for about 1 hour.
  2. Lightly oil the pizza pan by splashing it with some oil and rubbing that around with your hand or a paper towel. Remove the dough from the container using lightly oiled hands and begin to stretch it into the pizza pan.
  3. Stretch the dough as far as you can by putting your fingers under the dough and lightly pulling it outward, being careful not to tear the dough. When the dough is feeling elastic and resists your stretching stop and allow it to rest for 20-30 minutes. Repeat this until the dough has been stretched to the outside of the pan and does not shrink back in anymore.

Par Baking with Tomato Sauce

  1. Preheat your oven to its max setting. For most home ovens this is about 260/288°C-500/550°F.
  2. Use a ladle to spoon the sauce onto the dough starting from the middle. Then using the back of the ladle and starting from the middle spread the tomato sauce evenly over the entire dough surface and all the way to the edges.

Baking

  1. Cook the pizza at 260/288°C-500/550°F for about 10-12 minutes.
  2. Remove the pizza from the oven and place it onto a cooling rack or heat-proof surface. A few signs that your sourdough pizza is ready are that it will have a few dark spots, be fully risen and the tomato sauce will no longer look wet.
  3. Top the pizza as desired and place it back into the oven for another 8-12 minutes.


Notes

The levain yields an extra 60 grams so that you a) don’t have to scrape out your jar for every last bit and have some extra sourdough starter to keep your starter alive.

It is much better to start the stretching process EARLY when you are planning dinner. That way if the dough is a little elastic you have no problems stretching it before dinner. If you’d like to stretch it really early you can also stretch the dough then place it into the fridge and par bake it from cold. 

You can make a Bianco sourdough pan pizza base (white base) by omitting the tomato sauce and drizzling some olive oil and a sprinkle of salt onto the dough. Dimple the surface of the dough and make sure it is evenly covered with the olive oil.

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