For my birthday this year, my sister-in-law Sharon gave me the gift of bacteria: sourdough starter that is. As someone who dabbles in bread baking every now and then, I found sourdough to be daunting. I feared accidentally killing someone if I made my own starter with bacteria that had gone lethally awry. So some sourdough starter was a great gift for me, breaking down the one irrational obstacle that kept me from baking some of the tastiest kinds of bread.
I’ve since used the starter to make a white sourdough loaf (which I probably messed up as the dough was super wet, over inflated, and not very sour in flavor), sourdough pancakes (super success!), and my favorite of the sourdough recipes so far: sourdough pizza crust. Taking a mere 4 hours from mix to final proof, with an almost focaccia like crispness, and that wonderful sourdough flavor… I may never go back to regular pizza crust again.
Instead, I find myself playing around with pizza toppings worthy of this delicious crust. Here, I roasted a variety of mushrooms with some garlic, rosemary, and olive oil until crisply caramelized at the edges. These were then spread out over my crust which was topped with tomato sauce and a mix of mozzarella and provolone cheese. For a bit of acidic taste, I added quartered artichoke hearts and for a hint of smoke– bacon. Luckily, my sourdough hasn’t been lethal, but I could definitely die a happy camper with this pizza.
Note: No sourdough starter? You could still make this on regular pizza crust, whether you make it from scratch, pop it out from a tube, or get it from an Italian bakery or your favorite pizzeria. Use a damp paper towel to wipe off mushrooms rather than rinsing them in water which will just make them soggy. Want to keep this vegetarian? Skip the bacon as the roasted mushrooms and artichokes are a pretty tasty combo on their own.
- One recipe sourdough pizza crust
- 3 slices thick cut bacon, diced
- 4 oz shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and cut into halves or thirds, depending on how big the caps are
- 8 oz crimini mushrooms, stemmed and cut into 1/4 inch thick slices
- 1/2 oz dried porcini mushrooms, reconstituted
- 4-6 medium garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- salt and pepper
- 2-3 rosemary sprigs, leaves removed and chopped
- olive oil
- 14 oz can artichoke heart halves, drained, rinsed, and cut in half so you have quarters
- 2 cups pizza sauce
- 3 cups shredded mozzarella and provolone cheese
- 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat then add bacon. Cook until crisp then remove from skillet with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate to drain. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. On a foil lined baking sheet, combine the shiitake, crimini, and porcini mushrooms with the garlic, rosemary, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and about 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 a teaspoon of black pepper. Roast on the top shelf of your oven for 15-20 minutes or until mushrooms are crispy and brown around the edges. Remove from oven and set aside.
Prebake crust, brushed with olive oil for 8-10 minutes. Spread pizza sauce evenly over crust then top with cheese. Sprinkle mushrooms, artichoke heart quarters, and bacon pieces evenly over the cheese then return to oven and bake for another 10-12 minutes or until cheese is melted and browned slightly. Top with basil before slicing and serving.
Makes 1 full size baking sheet pizza or two 12-inch round pizzas.