Revision: 0.21, 23.Sep.07 08:34
[Caution: This recipe is still under construction--steal at your own risk!]
This is a simple, sourdough Pizza recipe. The key to success is to over-proof the dough in the final rise. The slack dough is easier to form and shape. You'll be pleasantly surprised at the thin, crunchy yet richly bronzed crust.
Yield: A single, thin, 14 inch pizza.
Mix the ingredients with a whisk, cover, and place in a warm (~85F) place for 6-10 hours. Let ferment until bubbly and vibrant. The time needed for that varies with your culture and the temperature. Cooler is slower, warmer is faster (and too warm is deadly to sourdough!).
Either by hand or with a mixer, combine the flour, oil, and salt. Add the sponge created in the previous step and mix until smooth and elastic. Add flour, about a tablespoon at a time, as needed, to get the dough to just not stick to everything in sight.
When done mixing, turn out on a floured surface. Using just enough flour to keep things from sticking to the surface, and shape the dough into a short, elongated loaf. Let it rest for 10 minutes. Then stretch (stretch&fold) it to about double its length, fold it into thirds, forming it into approximately a square, turn the seam-side down, and wait 10-minutes. Repeat 5 more times.
TIP: This final build is a bit different than your typical sourdough bread build. Normally you'd form your loaf and let it rise, baking it when done rising. SD for pizza is best when done like this: form the dough into a flat circle. For the amount of dough made by a single iteration of this recipe, that circle would be about 5-inches in diameter and about 1/2 an inch thick. Cover (I use an inverted glass bowl on my work table) or put into a draft-free place at room temperature and allow to do its final rise.
The exact size of the circle made above isn't important, the point is that you want to get the dough into approximately its final shape and then allow it to rise, OVER RISE actually, and start to go slack (too much rise). The slack dough made this way is much easier to form into the final pizza shape & thickness. Depending on the temperature and your culture, that would be 1-5 hours, with about 2-3 or so being typical. If you're running a little late, you can speed up that final rise by putting dough into a warmer place (~85F) to speed things up.
Since I want the pizza ready for dinner, I almost always do that final rise at or near 85F. Then I flatten the dough unto the peel and get it ready for toppings. We like to let the grandkids do that part. So even if they're not ready yet, that dough can safely lay around like that for hours...
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 500F [this is one of the few recipes that I do into a hot oven]. Even though slack and over-proofed, the dough will rise just the right amount to make a tender, crispy, chewy, yet fragrant and flavorful crust.
While the oven is heating, assemble your pizza. As with most things, Pizza, although simple to make, requires a certain "assembly order!" In the words below, you'll learn the fine art of proper pizza assembly.
Bake until the cheese topping is bubbly and the crust gently browned. I like it slightly scorched on the bottom.
Enjoy your pizza with red pepper flakes, extra parmesan, and a good hearty beer.