Step-by-Step Sourdough Margherita Pizza Crust Recipe

Last Updated on July 11, 2024 by TheFarmChicken

sourdough pizza slices on board

Crispy on the outside with a bubbly and tender inside, this Step-by-Step Sourdough Margherita Pizza Crust Recipe will make you feel like you are eating at an authentic Italian restaurant but in the comfort of your own home. With only 6 ingredients it is simple to mix up and so good!

This recipe took some trial and error. I had some questions about if it was going to turn out in a home oven or if I just didn’t have what I needed to make it work. (A pizza oven.) Then I got it, the right fermentation time, the right ratios and technique. You know when they talk about core memories? I think I created a core memory when I first saw this pizza as a success! It was so exciting…the pizza slid off the pan onto the stone well, it was super bubbly and when we cut into it, the crust was crisp but the inside…so soft! So, grab your sourdough starter and let’s make some bomb pizza crust for your next pizza night! This is definitely a Fancy Farm Food!

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fresh mozzarella cheese and basil with tomato sauce

The Ingredients for this Sourdough Pizza Crust:

Active Sourdough Starter

You will need an active and bubbly sourdough starter. You want it to be at least doubled and full of bubbles. I love working with sourdough and the natural fermentation process.

If you don’t have a sourdough starter you can learn all about making your own sourdough starter with Learning Sourdough with Agnes.

The extra work of having a sourdough starter is worth it for sourdough pizza dough and all the other sourdough goodies you can make!

Bread Flour

You want to make sure you are using a bread flour for this recipe. You want a higher protein flour and that is exactly what bread flour is. The higher protein flour gives the pizza the strength to really bubble up and create the beautiful texture we are looking for! I wouldn’t recommend all-purpose flour if you want the best results.

You could also experiment with “00” flour.

Whole Wheat Flour

Partly for the aesthetic and partly for the flavor I added a little whole wheat flour into the ratio and I love the result!

Water

Distilled or a filtered water works great. Just remember that tap water has chlorine and that is a killer of yeast.

Olive Oil

I added a little olive oil to the recipe. You can also use olive oil for a drizzle on top of the baked pizza.

Salt

I like using kosher or sea salt for this recipe. It is added after the autolyse. The salt is also used in the sauce.

San Marzano Tomatoes

We have come along way with experimenting with different homemade pizza sauces and you know what we discovered? Simpler is better. I plan to share my other favorite pizza sauce recipe for my other pizza crust recipe soon but below is perfect for this Margherita Style Pizza!

This sauce is literally Cento brand San Marzano Tomatoes with salt and garlic. So good!

The simple sauce makes a huge difference in the end product of the pizza!

Why San Marzano Tomatoes?

San Marzano tomatoes are authentically grown near Naples Italy in the Sarnese-Nocerino district in Campania, Italy. They are sweet, with fewer seeds, and low in acidity. So good!

Mozzarella Cheese

Traditionally Margherita pizza is made with fresh mozzarella cheese. We made it with both fresh mozzarella and shredded. While both were good, we actually preferred the shredded mozzarella…shh don’t tell anyone. To get that classic margherita-style pizza be sure to use fresh!

We love the thick shredded whole milk mozzarella cheese from Sam’s club, seriously the best we have found!

Fresh Basil

It just takes about 5-6 leaves per pizza. You can either grow and use your own basil or buy some fresh basil in the store. If you are in a pinch, you could use dried basil too. I have done that before and though not as good it still works.

basil, mozzarella and cheese

The Techniques to Making the Best Margherita Pizza:

Push…Don’t Stretch. At least not until the very last thing…

  • The reason behind this is because you want to preserve the air in the dough as much as possible. Pushing the dough out from the center of the dough gives you more control over this!

Oven temperature:

  • You want a very hot oven! A home oven usually goes to at least 500 degrees but if your oven does, use 550 degrees.
  • The other option… if you happen to have an outdoor pizza oven and that works even better! Just be sure to lessen the cooking time.
baked margherita pizza on baking stone

The difference between a Margherita Style Pizza and a Neapolitan Style Pizza:

The biggest difference between a Margherita style pizza and Neapolitan is the thickness of the crust. Neapolitan pizzas generally have a thinner crust where Margherita pizzas a thinner crust.

The History behind the Margherita Style Pizza:

It is said to be named after the visiting Queen Margherita asked to have a pizza made in her honor. It was called Pizza Margherita and created by pizzaiolo Raffaele Esposito.

Other non-traditional toppings to try on this pizza crust recipe:

  • Any of your favorite pizza toppings
  • Hamburger
  • Onion
  • Peppers

If you are looking for a more pan style pizza, check out my recipe for Sourdough Pizza Crust. Simple and perfect for making in a cast iron or the more Americanized pizza.

Bubbly dough

The Process of Making Sourdough Margherita Pizza in Pictures:

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Step by Step Sourdough Margherita Pizza Crust Recipe

Pizza Crust Ingredients:

  • 70 g sourdough starter, active
  • 290g water, distilled or filtered
  • 400g bread flour
  • 25g whole wheat
  • 10g olive oil
  • 5g kosher or sea salt

Pizza Sauce (amounts are enough for all 3 crusts):

  • 1 can Cento San Marzano Tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2-3 fresh garlic cloves, minced
  • Mozzarella, fresh(sliced) or shredded
  • 5-6 fresh basil leaves, chopped or ripped
  • Cornmeal for the bottom, to prevent sticking

Instructions to the Step-by-Step Sourdough Margherita Pizza Crust Recipe:

  • In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, with a gram scale, measure out the sourdough starter, water, and mix with a Danish dough hook or by hand.
  • Next weigh out the flours, and olive oil and mix until you have a shaggy dough.
  • Let autolyse (rest) for 30 minutes and then add the salt and knead by hand or with the dough hook on the stand mixer for 7 minutes.
  • After the knead, transfer to a lightly oiled bowl. Let rest and then perform a coil fold, do 3 total coil folds with 30-minute rests in between.

How to do a Coil Fold:

  • Using both hands start in the center of the bread and pull the dough up. Be careful not to rip the dough. Once it won’t stretch any more set it down. Turn the bowl a quarter turn and repeat until you have done that around the whole bowl.
  • After the coil folds are complete cover the bowl with plastic wrap and transfer to the fridge.
  • To get the best result you want to do a minimum of 16 hours for the cold ferment. It is good for up to 5 days. This bulk fermentation is very important in getting those great results.
  • When you are ready to make the sourdough pizza take the dough out of the fridge and transfer to a clean work surface.
  • You want to be sure to be gentle with the dough as you don’t want to deflate it.
  • Gently divide the pizza dough into 3 equal pieces with a bench scraper or sharp knife.
  • Gently take and form three balls from the crust.
  • If you aren’t making all three crusts, you can place the ones you aren’t using in a shallow container-like a baking sheet with a little oil on the bottom. Place the balls about 4 inches apart. When you are ready to make it, you will divide the dough again and continue with the recipe.

The Pizza Sauce:

  • To make the pizza sauce take the can of tomatoes and put in a glass container. With your hands, take and rip the tomatoes into smaller pieces.
  • Add the salt and garlic and stir together.

Making the Pizza:

  • Preheat your oven to 550 degrees or 500 degrees if it doesn’t go that high. Make sure your baking stone is preheating at the same time.
  • Prepare a pizza peel or a baking sheet with no edges (you can also use the back of a baking sheet) that has been generously sprinkled with cornmeal. Don’t be afraid to use plenty of cornmeal. That is what will help the pizza crust slide nicely onto the baking stone/steel.
  • Taking a ball of dough, place it on the cornmeal and gently push on the dough starting in the center and pushing the air to the edges/crust (don’t stretch). Be careful not to deflate the bubbles.
  • Once you have it about 10 inches in diameter take and place your sauce, then basil and cheese on top.
  • At this point if you would like the pizza a little bigger you can take an edge at a time and gently stretch the pizza a little bigger.
  • Once the oven is preheated, gently slide the pizza onto the pizza stone or steel. If it seems to be sticking some then place a little bit more cornmeal under the pizza crust in the spot that is sticking. You can test if it will slide well by shifting the baking sheet/pizza peel before opening the oven.
  • Bake for 10-11 minutes until browning and bubbly.
  • Remove from the oven with the pizza peel or baking sheet cool slightly, drizzle of olive oil if desired, cut and enjoy!

Step-by-Step Sourdough Margherita Pizza Crust Recipe

Simple ingredients make for the best pizza. Easy to put together this pizza crust is fluffy and soft in the inside and so crispy on the outside. Enjoy!
Print Recipe
a square piece of pizza

Ingredients

Pizza Crust Ingredients:

  • 70 g sourdough starter active
  • 290 g water distilled or filtered
  • 400 g bread flour
  • 25 g whole wheat
  • 10 g olive oil
  • 5 g kosher or sea salt

Pizza Sauce (amounts are enough for all 3 crusts):

  • 1 can Cento San Marzano Tomatoes chopped
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2-3 fresh garlic cloves minced
  • Mozzarella fresh(sliced) or shredded
  • 5-6 fresh basil leaves chopped or ripped
  • Cornmeal for the bottom to prevent sticking

Instructions

Instructions to the Step-by-Step Sourdough Margherita Pizza Crust Recipe

  • In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, with a gram scale, measure out the sourdough starter, water, and mix with a Danish dough hook or by hand.
  • Next weigh out the flours, and olive oil and mix until you have a shaggy dough.
    flour and olive oil in bowl
  • Let autolyse (rest) for 30 minutes and then add the salt and knead by hand or with the dough hook on the stand mixer for 7 minutes.
  • After the knead, transfer to a lightly oiled bowl. Let rest and then perform a coil fold; do 3 total coil folds with 30-minute rests in-between.

How to do a Coil Fold:

  • Using both hands start in the center of the bread and pull the dough up. Be careful not to rip the dough. Once it won’t stretch any more set it down. Turn the bowl a quarter turn and repeat until you have done that around the whole bowl.
  • After the coil folds are complete cover the bowl with plastic wrap and transfer to the fridge.
    ready to proof and in a bowl with plastic wrap
  • To get the best result you want to do a minimum of 16 hours for the cold ferment. It is good for up to 5 days. This bulk fermentation is very important in getting those great results.
  • When you are ready to make the sourdough pizza take the dough out of the fridge and transfer to a clean work surface.
  • You want to be sure to be gentle with the dough as you don’t want to deflate it.
  • Gently divide the pizza dough into 3 equal pieces with a bench scraper or sharp knife.
    dough divided into 3 equal pieces
  • Gently take and form three balls from the crust.
  • If you aren’t making all three crusts, you can place the ones you aren’t using in a shallow container-like a baking sheet with a little oil on the bottom. Place the balls about 4 inches apart and in the fridge. When you are ready to make it, you will divide the dough again and continue with the recipe.

The Pizza Sauce:

  • To make the pizza sauce open the can of tomatoes and put in a glass container. With your hands, take and rip the tomatoes into smaller pieces.
  • Add the salt and garlic and stir together.

Making the Pizza:

  • Preheat your oven to 550 degrees or 500 degrees if it doesn’t go that high. Make sure your baking stone is preheating at the same time.
  • Prepare a pizza peel or a baking sheet with no edges (you can also use the back of a baking sheet) that has been generously sprinkled with cornmeal. Don’t be afraid to use plenty of cornmeal. That is what will help the pizza crust slide nicely onto the baking stone/steel.
  • Taking a ball of dough, place it on the cornmeal and gently push on the dough starting in the center and pushing the air to the edges/crust (don’t stretch). Be careful not to deflate the bubbles.
    pressing the dough out from the center
  • Once you have it about 10 inches in diameter take and place your sauce, then basil and cheese on top.
  • At this point if you would like the pizza a little bigger you can take an edge at a time and gently stretch the pizza a little bigger.
  • Once the oven is preheated, gently slide the pizza onto the pizza stone or steel. If it seems to be sticking some then place a little bit more cornmeal under the pizza crust in the spot that is sticking. You can test if it will slide well by shifting the baking sheet/pizza peel before opening the oven.
  • Bake for 10-11 minutes until browning and bubbly.
    sourdough pizza on baking stone baked and ready to eat
  • Remove from the oven with the pizza peel or baking sheet cool slightly, drizzle with olive oil if desired, cut and enjoy!
Servings: 3 crusts

I hope you enjoy making this sourdough crust recipe. It truly is an art. It is different somewhat, but I found this YouTube video very helpful when learning the technique of making a more artisan crust! Make sure to drop any questions or comments below. Our entire family loves sitting down to enjoy this sourdough pizza dough recipe. Thank you for being here!

Mariah | TheFarmChicken
Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.
Jeremiah 33:3
Sourdough pizza in squares

Other Sourdough Recipes to Try:

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Frequently Asked Questions:

Does Neapolitan pizza use sourdough?

It can but it isn’t always. It can be made with commercial yeast or a combination of both.

Is sourdough good for pizza crust?

Yes, so good!

What ingredients are in a Margherita pizza?

Traditionally, a Margherita pizza consists of a bubbly crust, crushed San Marzano sauce, fresh mozzarella and basil.

Can I use flour for the bottom instead of cornmeal?

Yes, I prefer the cornmeal, but a light amount of flour should work too!

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