Sourdough Pizza

Pizza cut into pieces

Untraditional in every sense, this sourdough flatbread is a tasty delight: smoky, tart, spicy and cheesy with sweet notes. With a teff sourdough starter, a dough spiced with abundant black pepper, and a topping of cheddar cheese, bacon, and pear juice, (among other ingredients) it references multiple countries of origin and gratifies in unexpected ways. This recipe will yield two, 12-inch flatbreads or one, 20-inch one. If baking for two persons, you can par-bake and freeze one of the 12-inchers per the instructions below.

Yield: Two small (serves 2), or one large (serves 4), flatbreads 

Time to make: Starter: 3 days at 5 minutes per day. Dough preparation  20 minutes. Proof: 2 hours at 72 F. Baking: approximately 45 minutes.

Equipment needed:   Measuring spoons and cups or kitchen scale. Stand mixer with paddle attachment or large bowl and sturdy spoon. Bakers parchment. Silicone spatula. Box grater. Cutting board and sharp knife. Frying pan or skillet. Piece of plastic wrap. Small bowl. Plant mister to spritz plastic wrap. Pizza peel or stiff cardboard sheet. Pizza stone or steel (optional).

For The Dough

Coarse buckwheat flour for dusting parchment (see note)
1/2 cup unpacked, unsifted (76 grams) potato starch
short 1/2 cup unpacked, unsifted (52 grams) tapioca starch
1/3 cup (65 grams) dark teff flour
1/2 cup (65 grams) brown rice flour
2 Tablespoons (22 grams) steel-cut oats
2 Tablespoons (22 grams) coarse buckwheat "meal" (see note)
2 teaspoons (8 grams) xanthan gum
2 teaspoons (8 grams) salt
1 1/2 teaspoon ( 3 grams, about 80 peppercorns) coarsely-crushed black pepper
one-shot starter using teff flour (@ 155 grams) (see note)
1 1/4 cup (300 Ml) water

For The Topping

3 strips of thin bacon cut into squares (turkey bacon is OK)
1/2 medium green and 1/2 medium red sweet bell peppers, sliced into thin strips
2/3 well-packed cup coarse grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese,
1/3 well-packed cup coarse grated aged manchego cheese
generous pinch salt
2 Tablespoons heavy cream
1 Tablespoon pear juice
1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika

Notes:
 

Unbolted buckwheat meal is made by processing buckwheat groats in a spice grinder or coffee grinder. It takes about 30 seconds of grinding, interrupted every 10 seconds or so with a good shake to the grinder. Processing buckwheat in this way yields a fresher, deeper flavor.

Follow the instructions for a 3-day starter HERE, but use teff flour, not brown rice flour.. 

Procedure:


1) Prepare two 12 inch X 16 inch pieces of bakers parchment (for the 12-inch flatbreads) or one 24 inch X 16 inch bakers parchment (for the 20-inch flatbread) by dusting well with buckwheat flour or coarse buckwheat meal. Measure the potato starch, tapioca starch, teff flour, brown rice flour, steel-cut oats, buckwheat meal, xanthan gum, salt and crushed black pepper into the bowl of a stand mixer or large hand-held bowl. Mix until ingredients are consistently distributed - about 1 minute at medium speed. Add the starter and water and mix at medium-low speed until consistent. Let dough rest 2 - 5 minutes, then mix again on medium-high for 1 minute.

2) Turn dough out, dividing into two for the smaller flatbreads, onto the prepared parchment. Using  a well-wetted silicone spatula that you dip frequently in water, shape dough into a very thin disc with rimmed edge. Dough can be as thin as 1/16 inch, but is less likely to tear if about 1/8 inch thick. Spritz a piece or two of plastic wrap and cover the dough. Proof for 2 hours at 72 F. Dough will not rise.

3) Meanwhile, using a small skillet or frying pan over medium heat, slightly fry the bacon. You want it to be just short of cooked-through. Reserve, drain fat from skillet, return skillet to medium-high heat, and sear the pepper strips. When lightly flecked with black, remove from heat and sprinkle with salt. In a small bowl, mix pear juice and cream and set aside.

4) At end of proof time, blend the grated cheeses and distribute across pizza dough. Distribute pepper slices and bacon slices over the cheese. Place an oven rack in a high position (2 slots from the top) and place a pizza stone or steel, if using, on the bottom-most rack. Use a pizza peel or sheet of cardboard to position the pizza(s) on the upper rack in a cold oven. 

5) Turn oven on to 450 F. Once temperature is reached, set timer to 10 minutes if using the stone or steel and 15 minutes if not. At end of time, use the peel to remove pizza(s) and separate from the parchment. You should notice that the pizza rim is fully risen. If making two, 12-inch pizzas and planning to freeze one, remove the one to freeze at this time and allow to cool on a rack.

6) For the remaining pizza(s), carefully pour the cream/pear juice mix across the surface(s) and sprinkle with the paprika.  Return pizza(s) to the oven, placing directly on the stone/steel, if using, or the bottom rack if not. Bake until the cream/juice mix is solidified and light brown, about 7 minutes. Remove to a cooling rack for about 15 minutes before cutting and serving.