Anthony Dao's Sourdough Pizza al Taglio

Anthony Dao's Sourdough Pizza al Taglio

Pizza al taglio (pizza by the cut) was invented in Rome, Italy. It’s often baked in rectangular trays and sold by the weight. There are many variations of pizza al taglio throughout Italy and the world. This is a very flexible version that utilizes a sourdough starter as opposed to commercial yeast. This dough requires no refrigeration and can be mixed in the morning and baked off for dinner. Toppings can be applied pre- or post-bake, depending on what you want to do…there are no rules! - Anthony Dao

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Here’s a (bad) riddle:  What takes 10-12 hours to grow but vanishes within seconds?  Sourdough pizza!   It’s chewy, it’s crunchy, it’s flavorful, but it does take some pre-planning.  Here’s your tutorial to have pizza for dinner Saturday night (or another night when you plan to take it easy at home during the day)!

Timing overview:

10:00 a.m.  FRIDAY Receive your Kinfood bag -- keep your starter on the counter top at room temperature.   If you won’t be making pizza on Saturday, you’ll need to feed your starter every day (with some exceptions ... watch the video on maintaining your starter below).  Guess what?  You have a new pet. 

8:00 a.m. STEP 1 make a starter / flour mixture

8:10 - 8:40 a.m.   STEP 2 let the mixture rest for 30 minutes

8:40 a.m. STEP 3 add salt, transfer dough to a new oiled bowl

8:50 a.m. STEP 4 let sourdough rest one hour (with salt and in the new bowl)

9:50 a.m. STEP 5  perform 1st stretch and fold (video here) and then rest and hour

10:50 a.m. STEP 6 perform 2nd stretch and fold (video here), transfer to baking tray, and then rest and hour.

11:50 a.m. STEP 7 form the dough to the sheet pan.

12:00 p.m. STEP 8 cover the dough and let it rest for 5-6 hours.

5:00 or 6:00 p.m. STEP 9 get ready to bake and top your pizza!

Ingredients

330g AP Flour 
264g tepid water
66g of ripe sourdough starter that was fed 4-5 hours prior*
9g fine kosher or sea salt
Extra virgin olive oil

*see below for how to maintain your sourdough starter

Equipment

2 large mixing bowls
Digital kitchen scale
Bowl scraper
Bench knife
1 9”x13” quarter sheet tray, preferably with a lid
Pastry brush
Wire cooling rack

(yields 1 (9”x13”) 1/4 sheet tray pizza)

Method

Start with the sourdough starter in a mixing bowl. In the same bowl, add the water and using your fingers or a whisk, break up the starter in the water so that it’s one homogenized solution with few, if any chunks. Add the flour to the water/starter mixture and mix thoroughly so that everything is well incorporated, use both hands if you need to. Using the bowl scraper, scrape down the sides and the bottom of the bowl to make sure you haven’t missed anything, you can also use it to get any extra dough off your fingers. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rest for 30 minutes. 

After 30 minutes, add the salt to the dough and thoroughly mix it in, breaking up any chunks of salt. Lightly brush the other mixing bowl with olive oil and transfer the mixed dough into the greased bowl. After one hour, perform a stretch and fold (video here). After another hour, perform another stretch and fold. While the dough still has some tension from the folds, transfer it to a generously greased quarter sheet tray. Let the dough rest for another hour. 

After the dough rests, lightly oil your fingertips and gently press down the middle of the dough and gradually begin pushing the dough outwards towards the edges of the sheet pan. Be mindful of not using your nails or puncturing it in any way. Don’t worry if the dough begins to fight back before it reaches the edge. Let the dough rest in the sheet tray, covered, in a spot of the house that ranges from room temperature to slightly warmer for at least 5-6 hours. If you don’t have a proper lid for the sheet tray, find a container that can fit well over the whole thing. If you’re really in a pinch, just keep it in a cold oven. 

When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 450F. If you left your dough in the oven, you’ll definitely want to take it out before you do this. Again, lightly oil your fingertips and gently dimple the dough, working your way from the middle out to the edges. This is ensuring that the bottom of the dough is in full contact with the sheet pan so that it bakes evenly and also so the gas is evenly dispersed.The finesse here is not deflating any of the precious CO2 that’s accumulated. If there are any egregiously large bubbles, use your index finger and thumb to lightly pop them. Once the oven is preheated, you can start baking your pizza.

When deciding whether or not to add toppings pre-bake or to add them after the pizza has been par-baked, it’s helpful to understand the dryness levels of your toppings. Applying too much sauce or adding toppings that are particularly wet could compromise your dough or make the topside soggy. A workaround would be to par-bake your dough so that it’s fully cooked but still not brown. Add your toppings and allow them to cook but keep in mind that the un-topped edges of your dough will continue to darken. When the pizza comes out of the oven, take it out of the pan and let it cool on a wire rack.

Cut with a traditional pizza cutter or scissors. 

Maintaining a Sourdough Starter

Sourdough bread making can often be frustrating from the start because keeping your starter alive and thriving can be a daunting task. Remember, when feeding your starter, you only need 3 ingredients: flour, water, and the culture aka starter. For all intents and purposes, we will be feeding our starter a 1:1:1 ratio, 1 part flour, 1 part water, and 1 part culture. 

When a recipe calls for 70 grams of sourdough starter, be mindful that we’re going to need more than 70 grams because we’ll want some leftover for future baking endeavors. Say we want 84 grams of sourdough starter total, with our 1:1:1 ration in mind, we would feed 28 grams of starter with 28 grams of flour and 28 grams of water (28+28+28=84). Once we use your 70 grams of starter for our recipe, we will have 14 grams of starter left over for your next feed. 

Also, the internet is a great resource for learning about how to manage a sourdough starter. Here is a great video on all things starter related. - Anthony Dao

Ingredients

Sourdough starter**
Flour, preferably a 50/50 blend of white and whole grain
Water

Equipment

Small mixing bowl
Rubber spatula

Method

To feed your starter, pour 25g of the starter into a mixing bowl. Discard any additional starter. In the mixing bowl, add 25g of flour and 25g of water. Mix until well incorporated. Store in a clean container. 


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