A seasonal and rustic sourdough pizza

Posted · 38 Comments

It’s Fall, and the weather in Iowa has been absolutely divine.  Temperatures ranging in the mid 70’s and dropping to crisp, cooler evenings in the 50’s.  It’s been the driest that it has been for nearly a year.  My Fall gardens are flourishing and outdoor nature adventures with my boys are bringing the realization of homeschool to fruition.  
Fall in Iowa
Photo taken by Nehemiah on his first photo trip, Capturing Fall Colors.
When Foodbuzz announced that the recipe remix for challenge #5 would be pizza, I was absolutely excited.  It’s the perfect time of year to pick up seasonal ingredients, start your ovens and enjoy a rustic sourdough pizza outdoors overlooking the beauty of His creation.  For my recipe, I created an artisanal roasted heirloom Lakota Sioux squash sourdough pizza with bacon and caramelized onions, braised slowly in local apple cider, and topped with local chevre.


I’ve been making my own pizza for awhile now and I’ve found that the secret to a great pizza is in the dough.  It’s about creating the right balance in texture, weight and most importantly, simplicity in the toppings.  One must not overpower the other.

Making pizza is another step in bread making.  It takes time, failures and learning through methodology and technique how to feel and work with your dough.  Fortunately there are great resources. I’ve been inspired by the GNOWFGLINS sourdough e-course and the one and only Peter Reinhart, author of the Bread Baker’s Apprentice.

One thing that I have learned through both of these resources is that the art of making bread is in the fermentation of the dough.  According to Peter Reinhart

Fermentation is the single most important stage in the creation of great bread.  No matter how good your oven is, or how perfect your shaping technique, if the bread is not properly fermented, it can never be better than average.  It is in this, the primary fermentation stage that dough is transformed from a lifeless lump of clay into a living organism.

I love that!  A living organism.


It makes me excited to know that my own sourdough starter is alive and has been producing the best artisanal pizza I have ever made.  What I enjoy about using my sourdough is that when it starts to ferment and consume the sugars naturally present in the wheat, the wild bacteria, specifically lactobacillus, starts to create lactic acid which helps our body to absorb enzymes and aids in digestion.  Not only does it taste wonderful with a slight tang but it goes to work within us.

The following pizza dough recipe is based on the methodology of Peter Reinhart using a wild yeast sourdough starter.  To mix my dough I used my kitchen aid mixer.  However, before starting on my bread making endeavors I kneaded my dough by hand.  This allowed me to understand the complexity of dough.  I wanted to learn what to look for when a recipe called for an elastic or a wet dough.  I wanted to know what it felt like when a dough was fully kneaded.  I would encourage you to familiarize yourself with this process because there are so many variables when making bread.  The unique temperature, humidity and ingredients used can alter the recipe.  It’s important to understand if your dough is too dry or too wet.  Also, don’t be discouraged.  It’s not difficult once you dive in.  Making a sourdough pizza dough doesn’t take that much more time.  Just planning and additional days for proper fermentation.

Day 1: Make the Sourdough Pizza Crust Dough
– Adapted by Peter Reinhart

The following dough is a Pizza Napoletana recipe.   Simple, thin crusted, and baked fast and crisp.  A Neapolitan Pizza from Naples.


  • 1 cup sourdough starter
  • 6 oz whole wheat flour (hard red wheat)
  • 6 oz whole wheat pastry flour (soft white wheat)
  • 2 tbls extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbl raw honey
  • 1 tsp celtic sea salt
  • 3/4 cup warm water
Freshly milled, hard spring wheat and soft white wheat.
When you grind your own whole wheat berries, your dough is considerably lighter and not as “wheaty.”
In a mixer, add the whole wheat flour (hard red wheat), sourdough starter, honey, olive oil and water.  Mix with the paddle attachment on medium speed for 3 minutes.
Switch to your dough hook. Add the whole wheat pastry flour (soft white wheat) and salt.  Combine and let rest for five minutes.  I’ve learned from the GNOWFGLINS sourdough e-course that when mixing whole wheat, the flour takes time to absorb the liquid.  In order to adjust how much more flour to add in the following steps, it’s pertinent to let the dough rest for five minutes before proceeding.

For this style of Neapolitan pizza, we are creating a wet dough.  Add 1 tbls of whole wheat pastry flour (soft white wheat) at a time until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl but continues to stick to the bottom.  If the dough ends up pulling away and forms a ball, add a tsp of warm water back to the bowl until it starts to stick to the bottom.

Once the dough is ready, pull it out and place on top of a slightly floured work surface.  Divide into two pieces and roll into two individual balls.  Line a dish with parchment paper and oil.  Place the dough balls on top of the parchment paper and roll to cover the balls with oil on all sides.  Dab the dough balls with additional oil.
Cover the dish with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator overnight or up to three days.  According to Peter Reinhart, resting the dough overnight allows the enzymes to go to work, pulling out subtle flavors trapped in the starch.  It also relaxes the gluten, allowing you to shape the dough easily.

On the day you plan to use the dough, take the dish out of the refrigerator and allow to rise in room temperature anywhere from 2 to 4 hours before tossing to shape.

Day 2:  Making the rustic, seasonal topping and “tossing” the dough


For my topping, I decided to create something rustic and seasonal.  At my farmers market, I was able to find a unique heirloom squash that I had never cooked with before.  A Lakota Sioux Squash.  A native American Indian squash that Lewis and Clark discovered from the Plains Indians.

The vibrant colors and streaks of green caught my attention.  The flesh is a stunning yellow orange and not stringy at all.  It has a slightly nutty flavor and is sweet as a pumpkin.  This squash would make a perfect pumpkin soup or sweet pumpkin pie.


To round out the flavors in my topping, I decided to use my pastured Berkshire bacon from Stamps Family Farm and it’s rendered fat to add complexity and savor.  To complement the sweetness in the pumpkin I included caramelized onions and to infuse all of the ingredients, I braised them in a locally produced apple cider.  To top the pizza, a local soft chevre.  A perfect combination of sweet, savory and comforting Fall flavors.

Roasted heirloom Lakota Sioux squash sourdough pizza with bacon and caramelized onions, braised slowly in local apple cider and topped with local chevre.


  • 1 recipe sourdough pizza dough from above
  • 1 2lb Lakota Sioux squash or pumpkin, cut in half.
  • 5 pieces local, farm fresh bacon
  • 1/2 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup local apple cider
  • Local Chevre


Pull out the sourdough pizza dough from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 2-4 hours. One hour before you are ready to toss your dough, slice the Lakota squash in half and roast at 425 degrees for 40 minutes.  Reserve the other half for a different use.

While the squash is roasting, cut the bacon into strips and brown in a cast iron skillet or pan until browned and the fat has rendered. Remove the bacon from the pan and set aside.

In the same cast iron skillet or pan, on medium/low heat, add the sliced onion to the rendered bacon fat and caramelize until browned and sweet.
At about this time, the roasted Lakota squash should be done. You can test by inserting a fork into the flesh.  If it goes in without too much pressure, it’s done.  Cut the flesh from the skin and slice into small pieces.

To the cast iron pan, add the bacon along with the roasted Lakota squash.  Mix the ingredients together and add 1/2 cup of local apple cider.  Braise over low heat until all of the liquid has evaporated and the rich flavors have been infused.

Once the mixture has finished braising, turn off the heat and set aside.  Preheat your oven to 550 degrees fahrenheit or as hot as you can get it.  The secret to a crispy crust is pre-heating a baking stone in the oven in as high a temperature as you can get it.
It’s now time to toss your dough!  To get an airy, flaky, light and crispy crust, the dough needs to be tossed.  It takes some practice and I’m still trying to perfect my toss but it’s so much fun to do and the results are amazing.

Before tossing, cover a second pizza stone or pan with parchment paper.  Dip your hands, including the backs of your hands and knuckles, in flour and lift 1 piece of dough.


Very gently lay the dough across your fists and carefully stretch it by bouncing the dough in a circular motion on your hands, carfelly giving it a little stretch with each bounce.  If it begins to stick to your hands, lay it down on the floured counter and reflour your hands, then continue shaping it.  Once the dough has expanded outward, move to a full toss.  If you have trouble tossing the dough, or if the dough keeps springing back, let it rest for 5 to 20 minutes so the gluten can relax, and try again.  You can also use a rolling pin but this method isn’t as effective as the toss method.

Nehemiah and I took turns taking pictures and tossing dough 😉
Once the dough is stretched out to your satisfaction, place it on the parchment paper lined baking stone.  You do not need to curl the edges.  As you toss and stretch the dough, it allows the edges to remain thicker than the rest of the pizza dough forming a natural crust.
Brush the the pizza dough with extra virgin olive oil.  To that add the squash mixture and sprinkle with chevre cheese.
Slide the pizza, with the parchment paper, onto the hot pizza stone in the oven.  Bake on the parchment paper and hot pizza stone for 10 minutes.

To your delight, once the pizza is done cooking you will have a perfectly crisp, light and airy artisanal pizza!

And to complement your pizza… an urban wheat ale.  Buen Provecho!
If you like this post, feel free to cast a vote for me on Project Food Blog.

38 Responses to "A seasonal and rustic sourdough pizza"
  1. Belinda @zomppa says:

    Great crust! Love the photos, and happy you are still in the running! Would love to eat this.

  2. Fuat Gencal says:

    Hayırlı haftalar, Çok leziz ve iştah açıcı görünüyor. Ellerinize, emeğinize sağlık. Her pazartesi yayınladığım "bloglardan seçmelerde"bu hafta yemek bir aşk isimli blog yazarının"milföye sarılı tavuk baget ve karışık sebzeli garnitür" isimli tarifi yayınlandı.

  3. girlichef says:

    Absolutely gorgeous post, Diana. I am rooting for you all the way!!

  4. Winnie says:

    I am just in awe, Diana. You did this post so perfectly…I love everything about it. I love your ability to stay true to yourself with each challenge- love to see you shining through each delicious post.

  5. Fresh Local and Best says:

    This is a very unique spin on the traditional pizza. I like how you integrated a bit on lacto-fermentation, a bit on trying new local produce such as the squash and a how to on creating a good crust.

  6. Mexico in my kitchen says:

    I love the toppings, the mix of onions, bacon and squash sounds mouth watering. Great creation, So happy to hear you are still on the run at Foodbuzz.


  7. My Little Space says:

    Oh I'm ddrooling here! Just made some pizzas yesterday. Hope you're having a wonderful day.

  8. Simply Life says:

    oh my gosh, I am drooling over this pizza and great photos documenting the process!

  9. Diane@Peaceful Acres says:

    Looks delish!!!

  10. Daydreamer Desserts says:

    Loved that shots of you and your son tossing the dough, so cute! Oh… and your pizza, se ve SUPER deliciosa!

  11. FOODalogue says:

    Delicious looking pizza and really nice entry. Good luck, Diana.

  12. juliecache says:

    happy to hear that you're finding success in home schooling. blogger love to you.

  13. Tiny Urban Kitchen says:

    Fantastic instructional! Ha ha, I couldn't really master the tossing of the dough at all! Hee hee . . your pizza loves soooo good. If only I lived a few thousand miles closer, lol, I'd be knocking on your door for a slice!

  14. Chow and Chatter says:

    yep so hope you win, you totally deserve it amazing pizza

  15. Amelia PS says:

    such depth of flavors!!! lovely post.

  16. Cookin' Canuck says:

    I agree that the crust is the key to a really good pizza but, as you mentioned, finding that perfect recipe take s a lot of trial of error. The combination of flavors on this pizza are so enticing!

  17. Sippity Sup says:

    Great job with the crust. I have followed a similar path in trying to perfect that "simple" element of good pizza. GREG

  18. Brie: Le Grand Fromage says:

    beautiful pizza! i love seeing dough made from scratch with sourdough. you've got my vote again – good luck!

  19. Ambika says:

    That pizza dough is a killer recipe!!! Will try this real soon!!!

  20. Molly On Money says:

    The recipe sounds delectable! Good luck in the next challenge!

  21. Marie says:

    Your dough is beautiful and you get bonus points for going seasonal on this one. Still one of my favorites! Good job and I don't even wish you luck because I know you'll get far! :)

  22. Random says:

    Beautiful blog post, and your pizza looks amazing!

  23. Peggy says:

    Oh my gosh! This pizza looks absolutely amazing! I love the combination of flavors and that beautiful sourdough crust! You've got my vote for sure!

  24. Jacob's Kitchen says:

    Wow. This pizza looks incredible. Not only are the photos beautiful, but the sourdough crust, and all those delicious toppings. Dang. Really, really well done. I voted for you yet again!

    Best of luck! hope to see us both in round 6!! =)

  25. Lana says:

    Diana, great post, as usual:) The simplicity of your toppings just features each tasty ingredient. I am so intrigued with this whole living organism renting my fridge space.
    One of these days I'm gonna get me a starter…
    Good luck! My vote is with you!

  26. Isabelle says:

    One of these days, I'm going to have to try hand-tossing a pizza dough again… the last time I tried, I kept dropping the dough and finally gave up in frustration. 😛
    Your combination of toppings sounds delicious. I used pumpkin on mine too… it's my new favourite pizza topping for fall.
    Good luck! You've got my vote.

  27. Mama Podkayne says:

    That's my pork! :) So happy you like it.

  28. City Share says:

    That looks fabulous. Thanks for the step-by-step instructions on the dough. I have never made sour dough anything, but I think I'm working up the courage to do it. I just voted for you. I'm so happy that you are still in the running.

  29. Artistta says:

    Diana, I continue to love your posts and Todd and I both think yours is one of our favorites for this challenge. I knew you'd do sourdough! 😀 I'd love a bite! Your pizza looks wonderful and delicious. I hope I get to join you in challenge 6!!! -Therese

  30. bakinginlisbon says:

    The pizza look absolutely delicious! I would love to have a slice!

  31. Lori Lynn says:

    Terrific seasonal pizza! Love the tossing the dough pics.

  32. Foodessa says:

    I've just recently discovered the Lakota squash. I really appreciate how it's been used in this terrific looking pizza.
    Wonderful post ;o)

    Flavourful wishes,

  33. Danny says:

    Pizza looks really great. Can't wait to try this recipe!

  34. zoliepup says:

    We actually did this pizza tonight and it was fabulous. We did the crust from homegrown starter, the bacon was fresh off my parents Montana ranch, organic Kabocha squash, local organic apple cider, and homegrown yellow onion. I'm dairy free for my baby right now, so we sadly skipped the goat cheese… but didn't really miss it :)

  35. Diana Bauman says:

    Zoliepup – Thank you so much for the review! It's always great to hear when others find my recipes successful 😀 Have a great week :)

  36. Scratch.Love says:

    Diana- This was the post that actually led me to your blog! I think I am going to try this soon. It looks delicious! If only I could find my pizza stone. Hummm.

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