Thyme Enough at Last

Sourdough Pan Pizza

Sourdough Pan Pizza

Sourdough Pan Pizza
Total Time
11-27 hours
Active Time
45 minutes
2 pizzas

This is based on Kenji’s pan pizza recipe over at Serious Eats, but adapted to use sourdough starter instead of commercial yeast.

The first proof can take as long or as short a time as you want, but I often find it convenient to start the dough late the night before I intend to bake it and just let it go overnight.

I also usually only make one pizza at a time and let the other dough ball mature further in the fridge. The flavor gets better over time, but I’ve never stretched it longer than a week.

As for toppings, you can use just about anything, but I like reserving herbs for right at the end. I’ve also tried using pulled pork, pickled onions, and some homemade barbecue sauce; sliced heirloom tomatoes; or pesto and assorted vegetables that needed to get used. The sauce recipe here is just the simplest pizza sauce not from a jar—there’s also a bunch of room for experimentation in that.



  • 200g mature 100% hydration sourdough starter
  • 300g bread flour
  • 175g water
  • 10g salt
  • 8g olive oil


  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
  • a handful of fresh basil


  • 12 oz grated low-moisture mozzarella cheese (full fat)
  • fresh basil


  1. Combine dough ingredients in a large glass bowl and mix with a wooden spoon until no dry spots remain (after a certain point it may become easier to use your hands).
  2. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap or enclose it in a proofing bag, and proof at room temperature for 8-24 hours.
  3. Flour the top of the dough and turn it out onto a floured work surface. Divide the dough into two portions and roll each into a ball by tucking it under itself until the surface is smooth and tight.
  4. Each of the two balls of dough can now be either placed in a cast iron pan for a secondary proof before baking or refrigerated for up to a week before use:
    • Panning the dough: pour about a tablespoon of olive oil into a 10-inch cast iron pan. Place a ball of dough in the pan and roll it around to coat with oil. Using the palm of your hand, flatten the dough ball and spread it out. It won’t reach the edges of the pan yet. Cover the pan tightly with plastic wrap or re-use the proofing bag from earlier.
    • Refrigerating the dough: pour about a tablespoon of olive oil into a glass bowl or zip-top bag. Place a ball of dough inside and roll it around to coat. Seal well and refrigerate. When you’re ready to bake the dough, take it out of the fridge and let it warm up for 20 minutes or so, then follow the panning instructions above and proceed from there.
  5. Proof the panned dough for 2 hours. During the last 30 minutes or so, set a rack in the middle of your oven and preheat it to 550ºF (or if your oven won’t go that high, as high as it will go).
  6. While the dough is proofing, make the sauce:
    1. Melt the butter in a saucepan.
    2. Smash the garlic cloves with the flat of a knife and add them to the butter once it’s foaming.
    3. Once the garlic is fragrant, add the can of crushed tomatoes and the handful of basil.
    4. Simmer until reduced a bit, then pick out the garlic and basil.
  7. After the two hour proof, use your fingers to make sure the dough is spread throughout the whole pan. Lift up the edges and let them drop back down to ensure there are no large air bubbles under the dough.
  8. Spoon a bit of the sauce onto the crust and use the back of a spoon to spread it all the way to the edge. Be conservative, as you can always add more sauce. There should be a thin layer over the whole pizza.
  9. Top with mozzarella and any other baked-on toppings.
  10. Bake in pan until the cheese is golden and bubbly and the bottom is crisp—12 to 15 minutes in a 550ºF oven, but possibly longer in a lower oven.
  11. Remove the pan and carefully transfer the pizza to a cutting board. Cut into 6 or 8 slices, tear some basil over the top, and serve immediately.

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