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  • Writer's picturetheruralcreative

Cast Iron Cooking - Sourdough Pizza Crust

Lately we have been making a fair amount of homemade pizzas. I love super thin cracker like crust and of course my husband loves thick bread like crust. We have been on a search for the perfect mix and I think this hits the mark!

Sourdough Crust Pizza Cooked in 6qt Cast Iron Dutch Oven

Baked in a cast iron pan the crust is crunchy on the outside and chewy and flavorful on the inside. The best of both worlds!

This dough takes a bit of planning ahead but it is certainly not difficult. I used the this recipe from In Jennie's Kitchen. I made the whole recipe but in the future would half the recipe as it was WAY too much dough for my 6 qt cast iron dutch oven. Even using half the dough was almost too much.

I started out with some nice bubbly starter:

Bubbly Sourdough Starter

I did weigh all of my ingredients and they worked out well to create a nice shaggy dough with about 60 seconds of stirring. It's okay if your dough is not completely mixed together. It is better if you don't over mix at this point. Let this mixture rest for about 30 minutes (Autolyse). The resting allows the glutens in your flour to build a bit of strength before kneading.

Dough After about 60 seconds of Mixing

The next step is to "knead" the dough to form a nice smooth or smoothish dough ball. I find it is easiest to using the folding method for the kneading process. (I could not photograph this as I needed both my hands for this (no pun intended lol!) ) While the dough is still in the bowl put one hand (I use my knuckles) on the dough near the 6 o'clock position to hold it in place. Take your other hand and grab a good bit of the dough near the 12 o'clock position and pull the dough stretching up then folding towards the center of the dough pushing it together. Turn your bowl 90 degrees then repeat the folding process all the way around the dough. For this recipe I had to go through 2 rounds to begin getting a nice ball.

Dough beginning to build strength

I let the dough rest covered in my bowl for about 20-30 minutes then repeat the folding process one more time. This usually gives you a nice dough that is soft and elastic. At this point I like to shape the dough. This video shows a nice simple way of shaping your ball. The shaping itself is not super important for a pizza crust as we will be flattening it out later but I like to use it to practice my skills! It also lets me know that the dough is the correct consistency.

On seedling mat after first bulk rise & reshaping

I put my pizza dough in a clean lightly oiled bowl with a plastic wrap cover it and leave in the fridge for 12-36 hours (first bulk rise) until about 3 hours before I want to make my pizza. You can see that the dough is more of a ball instead of so flat and has a smoother surface. I leave this in a warm place (like my seedling mats) and wait for about an hour until the dough comes to room temperature and begins to puff up a bit. After an hour I transfer to my cast iron dutch oven for the rest of the rising period.

Pizza dough transferred and stretched into dutch oven

Before transferring to the dutch oven I drizzled a liberal amount of olive oil into the pot. I put the dough in upside down to coat the "top" of the dough then flip right side up. At this point both sides of the dough should be coated liberally in olive oil. Flatten out your dough using your finger tips to press and stretch the dough towards the outer edges. Sometimes the dough springs back a lot. If this happens stretch as much as you can then let it rest for 15 minutes then stretch again and repeat until the dough is up to the edge of the pan.

Soft Pillowy Dough

The final step for the dough is to wait about another 2 hours until the dough looks soft and pillowy. I usually use this time to prep all of my toppings (next post to come!). I also use a paper towel to remove the excess olive oil that will pool on the top of the crust because I don't like it quite that greasy.

As you can see I have modified a few of the processes from the original recipe. This dough seems very forgiving and gave a great airy crust that was a bit chewy, had amazing flavor, and a nice crunchy exterior created by the olive oil and cast iron pan!

The construction of the pizza is also critical to its success of this pizza which I will be writing about in my next post! But for now back out to raking the garden to get it ready for tilling later this week.

Back to pizza soon...


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