This is the pizza I make when I have limited time, when I decide just hours in advance that I want to make pizza for dinner. Generally, I do not enjoy a quick pizza dough for the simple reason that it lacks flavor. Pizza dough obtains more flavor when it ferments for a longer period of time. This Sourdough Discard Pizza dough, however, is the exception. This is truly the best pizza dough when you have limited time because it is loaded with amazing flavor and takes less than a few hours to make, much of which time is hands-off.
Ingredients for Sourdough Discard Pizza
Let’s talk about the ingredients for this quick pizza:
- Sourdough Discard. Obviously, you can not make a sourdough discard pizza dough without sourdough discard. I keep mine in the refrigerator, so I like to weigh out what I need first and then gather the rest of the ingredients so the discard can start to come to room temperature. If you are new to sourdough, check out my Sourdough Starter Guide.
- Bread Flour. The higher protein content of bread flour helps give the pizza dough that classic chew. In a pinch, you can substitute all purpose flour, it’s best to stick with bread flour.
- Semolina Flour. A small amount of semolina in this dough adds flavor and further helps to strengthen the dough with its high gluten content.
- Water. Make sure to warm the water to the recommended temperature of the brand of yeast you use.
- Yeast. I prefer instant yeast, but active dry also works here.
- Olive Oil. A little olive oil in the dough helps add to the dough’s elasticity and browning.
- Salt. A constant in any bread recipe, salt provides flavor and helps the yeast develop.
- Tomatoes. There is no need to spend time making a sauce. Open a can of tomatoes and you’re good to go! My personal favorite is Tuttoroso San Marzano Hand Crushed Tomatoes, which is already seasoned with basil and sea salt. You can certainly use any brand of crushed tomatoes. If they are watery, you might want to drain them a bit. I usually add approximately 1/4 teaspoon of pizza spice to the tomatoes. I’m a big fan of Penzey’s pizza seasoning.
- Cheese. Mozzarella, of course, is the go-to. Do yourself a favor and buy a block that you can shred yourself. Pre-shredded can be dry. Or use fresh mozzarella. Or a combination of the two. I also like to toss on a little fresh grated parmesan.
- Fresh Basil. Cut up some fresh basil to toss on top of the pizzas when they come out of the oven.
How to Make Sourdough Discard Pizza Dough
The dough for this pizza comes together very quickly. I like to make the dough by hand, but you can certainly use a mixer with the dough attachment. When making it by hand, I love to use a Danish dough whisk. A bowl scraper also comes in handy here.
Start by mixing the salt with the water. Dissolving the salt ensures that it gets fully incorporated into the dough. Next, and this is contrary to most bread making, add the yeast. (Nerd alert: On direct contact, salt can actually kill or slow down yeast.) Mix in the flours until you have a shaggy dough. Then mix in the discard and olive oil. Knead for just a few minutes until you have a smooth, tacky dough. Don’t be tempted to add flour if the dough seems sticky. It will come together as you knead. You can also let it sit for a few minutes in between kneading to allow the flours to absorb some of the water.
After bulk fermentation of about one hour (the dough should double in size), divide the dough into 4 equal portions. Without deflating the dough, fold it over onto itself, joining the seams together. Turn it 180 degrees and fold it again. Keep repeating 5-10 times until the dough forms a smooth round. (You can see the video on this post for a visual.) Place in a lightly oiled round container (use olive oil and use your fingers to coat it up the sides of the containers) to rest until doubled in size, about one hour. I love Ziploc twist and lock food prep containers for this — they are the perfect size for this dough. Just place the lids loosely on top, as you want air to circulate, but you don’t want the tops of the rounds to dry out.
How to Shape Pizza
Drop a tiny bit of olive oil on the countertop and allow the dough to slide out of the container. Use your fingertips to press down on the dough to spread it out without completely deflating the dough. Gently lift it up, using the backside of your hands/knuckles, and carefully stretch it out while rotating it. Keep the edges a drop thicker. You can see how I do this in the video in this post. Place on a pizza peel coated with semolina flour. You can stretch the dough out a drop more, and make sure that the dough easily moves around. If it is stuck anywhere on the peel, toss more semolina under the dough. Some people use corn flour for this, but I prefer semolina because it does not burn as quickly as corn flour. Don’t have a pizza peel? Use the backside of a baking pan or a large cutting board.
The Order of Pizza Toppings
To prevent the bottom crust from being soggy, sprinkle the mozzarella onto the dough, then add the tomatoes on top of the mozzarella. Sprinkle lightly with parmesan. I like to have some parmesan on the edges of the crust because it looks pretty and delicious when cooked.
It should take about 6-9 minutes to cook the pizza at the highest temperature of your oven, on a pizza stone or pizza steel. Don’t have a pizza stone or steel? Use a baking sheet turned upside down and preheat it in the lower part of your oven.
Once the pizza is out of the oven, top it with some fresh cut basil. Allow to cool a couple of minutes before slicing and serving.
Looking for other sourdough discard recipes? Try:
- Sourdough Discard Garlic Knots
- Sourdough Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Sourdough Discard Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels
- Sourdough Blueberry Muffins
Frequently Asked Questions About Making Sourdough Discard Pizza
Can I make the pizza dough in advance?
If you want to make the dough ahead of time, you can place it, covered, in the refrigerator immediately after kneading it iso that it bulk ferments overnight in the refrigerator. The next day, divide the dough into 4 equal portions and continue as directed. It will likely take an additional hour for the dough to rise before you shape the pizzas. Alternatively, you can refrigerate the dough immediately after it is divided in four separate containers. The next day, continue with the next step, and it will likely take an additional hour for the dough to rise before you shape the pizzas.
Sourdough Discard Pizza
- 305 grams water (warm to 90℉-115° following the instructions of the brand of your yeast)
- 15 grams fine sea salt (1 Tablespoon)
- 475 grams bread flour (4 cups)
- 35 grams semolina (¼ cup)
- 7 grams instant yeast (2¼ teaspoons)
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 113 grams sourdough discard (½ cup)
- Olive oil (for coating surfaces)
- semolina flour (to prevent dough from sticking)
- 312 grams mozzarella, shredded (11 ounces)
- 794 grams tomatoes (28 ounces)
- ¼ teaspoon pizza seasoning (optional)
- 28 grams parmesan (1 ounce)
- fresh basil
- In a large mixing bowl, mix salt into the warm water until salt is dissolved. Stir in yeast.
- Stir in bread flour and semolina flour until mostly combined. Add olive oil and sourdough discard. Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, approximately 3-4 minutes. The dough should be slightly tacky but not sticky.
- Shape dough into a ball and place in a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and allow it to rise at warm room temperature until doubled in size, approximately 1 hour.
- Very lightly coat the bottoms and sides of round bowls or plastic containers with olive oil. Divide dough into 4 equal balls. Place each ball in a prepared bowl or container and cover loosely with plastic wrap or plastic container covers. Allow to rise at warm room temperature until doubled in size, approximately 1 hour.
- Preheat oven (with pizza stone or pizza steel in oven) to 550℉ or to the highest temperature.
- Prepare the sauce by pouring the tomatoes into a bowl. Add any spices, such as salt, Italian seasoning, oregano, or pre-made pizza spices.
- Lightly coat the countertop with a drop of olive oil. Carefully pour one of the doughs onto countertop. Starting from the center of the dough, use your fingertips to press into the dough working your way out towards the perimeter of the circle. Lift the dough up, stretching it with your knuckles, so that most of the dough is very thin and the edges more doughy. Place dough onto a pizza peel (or backside of a baking sheet or a cutting board) well coated with semolina flour.
- Top with mozzarella cheese, then with tomatoes. Add parmesan, if desired.
- Use the peel to deliver the pizza onto the pizza stone or pizza steel. Cook for 6 minutes. Rotate the pizza 180°, and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.
- Top with a splash of olive oil (if desired) and fresh basil. Allow to cool for 1-2 minutes before slicing.
- If you want to make the dough ahead of time, you can place it, covered, in the refrigerator immediately after kneading it in step 3 so that it bulk ferments overnight in the refrigerator. The next day, divide the dough into 4 equal portions and continue as directed. It will likely take an additional hour for the dough to rise before you shape the pizzas. Alternatively, at the end of step 4, cover each of the 4 container tightly and place them in the refrigerator. The next day, continue with the next step, and it will likely take an additional hour for the dough to rise before you shape the pizzas.
- This recipe is really about the dough. By all means, feel free to top your pizza however you like! No cheese, no sauce, potatoes, veggies, meat ... cater to your personal preferences!