For Chef Doug and The Ecology Center culinary team, Peace Pizza starts every Tuesday morning when they feed our sourdough starter. Gifted to us by a chef friend who brought it over from his family home in Italy, this starter has been feeding people for over 100 years—needless to say, it’s a lively little culture. And with the addition of wild yeasts from our Regenerative Organic Certified peach grove, this starter is a beautiful blend of the traditional culture of the past and the transformative culture of the present.
Once the starter is fed with a fresh mixture of flour and water, it’s covered and left to sit for about 4 hours. This fresh culture, known as levain, grows steadily over that time as the yeasts within the starter wake up and begin feeding on the newly added flour, meanwhile drawing in additional wild yeasts from the air around it. When it has doubled in size, the levain is added to a larger mixture of water and two types of flour—mainly organic malted whole wheat flour, with a touch of organic all-purpose flour added to lighten the texture. This will become the dough for our woodfired pizza crust.
After continuing to rise and ferment in the refrigerator for another 40 hours, the dough is ready to be baked. After being portioned, proofed, and left to rise one final time, the dough is punched, stretched, and formed into rounds. If you’ve ever caught the show during Peace Pizza prep, you know how much fun it is to watch our culinary team twirling and tossing great wheels of pizza dough on their hands. When the crust is stretched to just the right size, it’s just a matter of topping it with the day’s mixture of artisan ingredients and sliding it into our wood-fired oven. The 900-degree heat takes only 2 minutes or so to turn the raw dough and ingredients into a beautiful, bubbling, piping-hot pizza, drizzled with the savory juices of roasted vegetables and covered with crisp blisters of sourdough crust.
Want to make your own sourdough pizza crust from scratch?
|300 g||Whole Wheat Flour|
|200 g||All Purpose|
|40 g||Whole Wheat Flour|
|40 g||Starter, ripe|
Yield: Three 10 oz. balls
Before starting, be sure to read the entire recipe. Begin with making your levain. This is a consistent ratio of starter, flour and water. Combine ripe (feed within 24 hours) starter, flour and water and allow to rest at room temperature for 4 hours, or until doubled in size. 40g starter, 40g flour, 40g water.
Once levain has doubled in size, scale remaining ingredients. Combine 100g levain with 350g water and mix well. Add both flours and salt to a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment. Mix for 1 minute. Once flour and salt are mixed, steadily pour in the levain/ water mixture. This requires a bit of practice, too fast and flour may clump at the bottom of the bowl, too slow and the dough will have dry clumps throughout. When all the levain has been added, continue mixing for 9 minutes to develop gluten. Remove the dough from the mixing bowl and store in an airtight container. From here we have two routes, a quicker room temp ferment, or slower refrigerated ferment:
Room temperature: Bulk ferment the dough for 10 hours in ambient room temperature. 69-72ºF
Refrigerated: Bulk ferment the dough for 40 hours in a refrigerated environment.
After bulk fermentation, remove dough from the container and portion into three, 10oz portions. Shape these portions into rough rounds, flour the tops and cover with a tea towel. Allow to bench rest and proof for at least 2 hours. Preheat standard oven to 500- 550ºF with a baking stone, or pizza oven to 800ºF. Once rested, it is time to shape and bake the dough. Shape the dough by pressing all the air out towards the edges, maintaining a pocket of air around the edge for the crust. This is easiest done by using the fingertips to press the ball down in the center and working your way towards the edge. To stretch the dough after punching out, lay the flattened dough over the back of the hands and allow gravity to stretch the dough from the edge, turning the dough as it reaches desired thinness. Ensure to use the back of your hands, and not your fingertips to avoid puncturing the dough! Once the dough has been stretched to about 10”, lay it on a floured peel. Add desired toppings and bake!
For standard home ovens, bake for 10-12 minutes or until dough has properly browned.
For pizza ovens, bake for about 10-12 seconds, turn about 120º, bake for another 10-12 seconds, turn 120º again, and bake for a final 10-12 seconds.