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Recipes,  Sourdough

Cast Iron Whole Wheat & Herb Sourdough Pizza Crust Recipe

Pizza has always been a bit of a guilty pleasure for us. I’m sure we aren’t alone here, right?! But it is something we have very, very rarely. We prefer not to eat out, plus most bread products hurt my belly. If you feel the same, I have breaking news for you – You don’t have to feel guilty anymore! Enter: sourdough pizza.

This homemade sourdough pizza crust is not only soft, chewy, and delicious – it’s also hearty and nutritious, made with half whole wheat flour! Like other classic sourdough, the pizza dough is naturally-leavened and fermented to perfection, making it more comfortable on your gut and far easier to digest. And then when you top this bad boy off with some organic or homegrown sauce and veggies to boot? It really can’t get much better. 


Before we get started, a few notes:


If you are an avid sourdough baker, the steps in this recipe will not be all that foreign for you. However, if you aren’t yet actively working with sourdough, you may need to take a step back for a moment. The recipe calls for active sourdough starter. If that isn’t something you have on hand – don’t worry! I have an easy-to-follow tutorial on how to make your own, using just three ingredients. Or, if you aren’t up for making a starter from scratch, feel free to pick up a dry (but alive!) organic sourdough starter the Homestead and Chill shop. All it needs a little water, flour, and few days to get active again.

You’ve probably already gleaned by the title that we bake our sourdough pizza crust in cast iron. To be precise, we use our favorite large 14-15″ Lodge cast iron skillet. Yeah, it looks neat – but it also provides an extra oomph of heat! Lodge also makes a pretty badass cast iron griddle/pizza pan. We have not tried this recipe using a classic pizza stone, but I imagine it would work out just fine. Be sure to preheat it, and report back to let us know how it goes!

Finally, please note that we suggest allowing your pizza dough to proof (meaning, sit out at room temperature) for several hours after mixing, before rolling out and baking. You could rush this step and do a shorter proof time, but it may result in a less fluffy (and less nutritious) crust. Just giving you a heads up so you can plan your day accordingly! 


Okay, are you ready to make some killer pizza?


INGREDIENTS


  • 1.5 cups sourdough starter – it should be active, unfed, and hungry, in a similar state you’d add it to your bread recipes.
  • 1.5 cups flour – we use 3/4 cup bread flour (or white all purpose) and 3/4 cup whole wheat. For an extra hearty sourdough pizza crust, you can increase the whole wheat ratio, though it will likely be more dense. For a super fluffy crust, go lighter on the whole wheat and heavier on the white. 
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil 
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp honey – this isn’t absolutely essential, though it helps feed the yeast for a nicer rise, and also adds a welcome tiny touch of sweetness. Did you know that most pizza shops add cane sugar to their dough?
  • Up to a 1/4 cup of warm water
  • Optional, but delectable – 1/2 tsp onion, 1/2 tsp garlic powder*, and 2 heaping Tbsp of chopped fresh oregano. Substitute fresh oregano for 1 Tbsp dried.
  • Your choice of sauce and toppings


*Check out our tutorials on how to make your own garlic powder, and also how to make onion powder! These fresh homemade seasonings are so versatile, and have unbeatable flavor!


An image looking down on two bags of flour on a dark brown wood table, with a glass jar of bubbly sourdough starter in the middle. One bag reads Unbleached Organic Bread Flour by King Arthur Flour, and the other is 100% Stone Ground Whole Wheat Organic Flour from Bob's Red Mill.
Our active, hungry sourdough starter. She’s a tad brown because we often feed her with part whole wheat or rye flour. The two flours shown are the ones we used in this recipe, and also our go-to flours for making loaves of sourdough bread!


INSTRUCTIONS


1) Mix Dough


In a large mixing bowl, combine the called-for flour, active sourdough starter, olive oil, honey, salt, chopped herbs and seasonings. Lightly mix.

Next, slowly add up to a quarter cup of warm water – you may not need all of it! Pour in small amounts of water at a time, mixing and assessing the consistency of the dough as you go. I typically mix my sourdough with clean bare hands. It doesn’t need to be heavily kneaded. Form the finished pizza dough into a ball, and leave it in the bottom of your mixing bowl.

If you’re accustomed to making sourdough bread, keep in mind this dough shouldn’t be quite as wet or gooey. However, it shouldn’t be crumbly and dry, like when you make sourdough crackers either! The amount of water needed will vary depending on the hydration and consistency of your sourdough starter. The last time we made this, I added the whole ¼ cup of water but found I needed to add just a pinch more flour afterwards to get it how I like it. 


A four-way image collage, showing the process of mixing the sourdough pizza crust dough. First, a hand holding several sprigs of fresh garden oregano, hovering over a white bowl of flour. Next, two glass jars of homemade seasoning power. One is more white in color, labelled "garlic" and the other more green, labelled "onion". The same bowl of dough ingredients is in the background. The third image shows the same white bowl, a close up of the ingredients inside but not yet mixed together: piles of flour, chopped green herbs, sourdough starter, and a drizzle of olive oil. The final image is a ball of mixed dough with green specs from the herbs, sitting in the bottom of the bowl



2) Let It Proof


After mixing, cover the bowl and dough with a tea towel. A damp tea towel will help it maintain even more moisture. Allow the pizza dough to proof for at least 30 minutes, up to several hours. We opt for a longer proof (about 3 hours) for a better rise! You can go beyond this if you wish. The more fermentation time, the healthier it is and easier to digest too. 


3) Preheat


Once your dough has proofed for the desired amount of time, go ahead and preheat the oven to 450°F. Place your cast iron skillet inside the oven, preheating it as well. Again, a pizza stone could be used here instead. 

Cast iron cooking brings the heat! While this is desirable for the most part, it also means things can accidentally get a bit crispy sometimes. We recently learned a trick to help prevent burning the bottom of our bread loaves or pizza: Place a spare baking sheet on the empty oven rack below the one your cast iron is sitting on. This helps absorb some of the heat before it gets to your pan. No more burnt bottoms!


4) Roll & Rest


Lightly flour a piece of parchment paper, cut to a size that is a tad larger than the bottom of your pan. I suggest doing this on a cutting board for added mobility – making it easier to transfer your pizza dough into the hot cast iron later. Also very lightly dust the top of the dough ball and rolling pin with flour. Gently roll out the pizza dough into a circle to your desired size and thickness with a rolling pin. Avoid over-rolling or smushing too hard.  

Using a fork, lightly poke the top of the pizza dough evenly across the surface in about a dozen places.

Next, let the rolled-out pizza crust sit at room temperature for a final 15 minutes – not yet in the hot cast iron. This will allow it to fluff back up. Ours usually form nice air bubbles during this time!

Note: If you only have a petite cast iron skillet on hand, you’ll either end up with a really thick crust, or may want to split your dough into two smaller pies.


A four way photo collage first showing the formed dough ball sitting on parchment paper, dusted with flour with a rolling pin next to it. The next image shows the dough once it has been rolled out. Three fingers are lifting the edge of the dough to show the thickness. The following image shows the whole piece of dough all rolled out to the desired thickness. The final image shows the same rolled out dough after it has be poked with fork tines and it is now sitting in a cast iron skillet.
*Note that the bottom right image was taken after the rolled pizza crust rested for 15 minutes, and is transferred into the hot cast iron as described in Step 5 below.


5) Par-Bake

After the pizza dough has its final period of rest, remove the cast iron skillet from the oven. Carefully slide the parchment paper and pizza crust into the center of the hot pan.

Bake the naked pizza crust for 8 minutes with no toppings.


6) Dress It Up & Bake Again


Remove the crust from the oven, and smear on a layer of your favorite pizza sauce. We personally love making sourdough pizza with our homemade garden “besto pesto” as the sauce! You can find that recipe here. That, or our simple roasted tomato sauce we make every summer. They both make for a killer pizza! In lieu of sauce, you could brush on a very light coating of olive oil instead.

Next, add your toppings of choice. Our toppings shown here include thinly sliced garden zucchini, various tomatoes, pieces of colorful swiss chard stalks, a combination of organic sharp cheddar and parmesan cheese, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Bits of fresh homegrown basil were added once it was finished cooking. 

Finally, bake your dressed pizza for another 12-15 minutes, until the cheese melts and the crust turns golden brown. 

You may find it best to rotate your pan halfway through to promote even browning. We do!


A four way picture collage, the first being the dough after the initial par bake, it is still sitting in the cast iron skillet and is sitting atop a wooden cutting board. The next photo is the crust with a layer of pesto sauce spread evenly across its surface, leaving about 3/4 of an inch uncovered for the pizzas "crust." The third image is the pizza crust topped with white sharp cheddar cheese, sliced zucchini rounds, sliced tomato rounds, and slices of chard stems spaced evenly across the pizza surface. The final image is after the pizza has been baked, the crust has browned to a dark, crispy state, the cheese has melted, and the vegetables are slightly shrunken in size due to the bake.


7) Enjoy!


Pat yourself on the back, slice up your pie, and stuff your face. You did great! Okay, maybe skip the last part…. Or don’t. I won’t judge.

I hope you enjoy this healthy, scrumptious sourdough pizza crust as much as we do! Please come back and let us know, and share this recipe with all your friends!


A close up photo of the finished pizza. The parchment paper is poking up from around the crust, and there is now chopped basil lightly spread across the pizza surface with a sprig of basil sitting in the middle. You can now see some of the tomatoes have blackened from the bake and the edges of the pizza crust look crispy brown.
A two way close up image collage. The first is a close up image of 1/3rd of the pizza, it shows the beautiful brown crust, and perfectly baked veggies and melted cheese. The second photo is the pizza after it has been sliced, a hand is holding a slice of the pizza showing the top and side/bottom of the crust. The rest of the pizza is in the background but is blurry due to the slice of pizza being in focus.
A final image of the finished pizza, it has been sliced into six slice and is still sitting on parchment paper atop a wooden cutting board that has various knots and wood grain. One of the slices is slightly pulled away from the rest, breaking the perfect circle of a typical pizza.


Are you drooling yet?


If you love this recipe, you may be interested in checking out some of our other sourdough, pesto, and garden-to-table vegetarian recipes:


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4.91 from 11 votes

Cast Iron Whole Wheat & Herb Sourdough Pizza Crust

This homemade sourdough pizza crust is not only soft, chewy, and delicious – it’s also hearty and nutritious, made with half whole wheat flour! Like other classic sourdough, the pizza dough is naturally-leavened and fermented to perfection, making it more comfortable on your gut and far easier to digest. This sourdough pizza crust recipe can also be cooked on a pizza stone instead of a cast iron pan, and you can also make it more white than whole wheat if you prefer.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Proofing Time (up to)3 hrs
Course: Main Course, Snack, Sourdough
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Pizza, Sourdough Pizza, Sourdough Pizza Crust, Whole Wheat Pizza
Servings: 1 large pizza

Equipment

  • Large cast iron skillet (14-15") or Pizza Stone – otherwise, split dough into two smaller pies
  • Rolling pin

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups Sourdough starter – it should be active, unfed, and hungry, in a similar state you’d add it to your bread recipes.
  • 1.5 cups Flour of choice. We use 3/4 cup bread flour (or white all purpose) and 3/4 cup whole wheat.
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/4 cup warm water (maximum)
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder, optional
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder, optional
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh oregano, or 1 tbsp dry
  • choice of sauce, cheese, and toppings

Instructions

  • Thoroughly combine the flour, active sourdough starter, olive oil, honey, salt, chopped herbs and seasonings as well as up to ¼ cup warm water. Start with half the water, mix, and slowly add more as needed to get a thoroughly mixed, soft dough – but not gooey and wet. The amount can vary based on how wet your sourdough starter is.
  • Once combined allow the dough to proof from 30 minutes to 3 hours (or longer). Keep the dough in a mixing bowl covered with a tea towel. The longer the proof time, the more light and airy the crust will be!
  • When your chosen proofing time is nearing an end, place your cast iron skillet or pizza stone in the oven and preheat at 450 degrees.
  • Lightly flour the parchment paper, top of the dough ball, and rolling pin and roll out the dough to your desired size and thickness.
  • Once rolled out, use a fork to poke the surface of the dough evenly in about a dozen places and allow the dough to rest at room temperature for another 15 minutes.
  • Once the dough has finished resting, place it on your skillet or pizza stone and par bake the naked crust for 8 minutes.
  • After 8 minutes, remove the crust from the oven and dress your pizza any way you desire. Once your pizza is dressed to your liking, put it back into the oven for a final 12 to 15 minute bake.
  • Once finished baking, slice your sourdough pizza and enjoy!

Notes

*Note: When first mixing the dough, start with half the called-for water, mix, and slowly add more as needed to get a thoroughly mixed, soft dough – but not gooey and wet. The amount can vary based on how wet your sourdough starter is.



26 Comments

  • Parrish in Alabama

    This pizza looks amazing! Thank your for sharing. I would love to make it but I am not a bread maker. This seems like an intimidating recipe to start with…..

  • Katie

    Hello! When you say active, unfed, and hungry – do you mean discard? I don’t consider what is used in bread to be discard, so I’m confused! Thanks! 🙂

    • DeannaCat

      Hi Katie! Sorry for the confusion. I will need to update that to make it more clear… Yes, in the state you’d use active starter in bread, several hours after feeding and when it is at peak activity. I guess I meant not JUST fed when I said “unfed”. Enjoy the pizza!

  • Ellen

    5 stars
    I’ve made lots of homemade pizza dough, this is the easiest to eat. Flavorful and the texture is perfect. I am already thinking of what to put on it next time. Delicious!

    • DeannaCat

      Hey there! We usually just leave it out at room temperature. If it will be out for an extended period of time (e.g. overnight) then I would put it in the fridge. Happy baking!

  • Dawn

    5 stars
    I’ve only just started down the sourdough path (thanks to the COVID-19 lockdown), so really don’t know what I’m doing. But I *do* know pizza crust… and this recipe made phenomenal crust. My whole family enjoyed it and there are no slices left from dinner. This has been bookmarked and printed, and I’m sharing it with other ladies who also started sourdough recently. Thank you!

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