Recipe: Sourdough Levain Flatbread Pizza!

We’ve gotten back into bread making recently, with last weekend’s bakes resulting in a huge batch of sourdough pizza dough and a delightful sourdough loaf.  With all of this sourdough around, we had plenty of leftover levain to work with.  Levain is often the first step in sourdough bread baking that starts to activate the starter in some water and flour, some of which is used to make the final loaf, the rest of which is typically discarded.  I’ve always used my leftover levain to make a delightful flatbread, until Chrissi from the site Heart Shaped Cake tagged me on Instagram with her version of Sourdough Levain Flatbread PIZZA that I absolutely had to try.

Quick aside, nothing makes me happier than seeing people make and share my recipes.  And this share was bringing my humble recipe to a whole new level, and I am obsessed with that creativity.  Although this idea was technically not mine, I tried it, enjoyed it, and I wanted to share the process.  This recipe resulted in a perfect weeknight pizza that came together in about an hour.  The crust is the traditional flatbread, so it’s very thin and whole wheat, which made for a lighter pizza than our normal sourdough crusts.  The flatbread baked up nicely to have a firm bottom and thin, bready chew, and any toppings can be added for a fully customizable pizza (click here for some pizza inspo!).  I added pepperoni and rosemary ham, along with tomato sauce and mozzarella for a traditional meat lovers pie, but feel free to go full veggie or vegan (the flatbread is fully vegan!) to match your lifestyle!

This recipe sparked my brain to think of more flatbreads for the future – nacho flatbreads, Mediterranean style, Thai tofu?  The list could go on and on!  While I still adore the original recipe for Sourdough Levain Flatbread and I honestly do make it whenever we have levain in the house, this pizza take was absolutely awesome and transformed this flatbread into a fun dinner all its own.

Recipe down below, photos up top and below!  I wrote out the recipe for the flatbread again for ease of use in this recipe.  This was enough for two people to have a big pizza dinner, with enough for leftovers (maybe?) if some restraint is involved (we have no restraint when it comes to pizza – no leftovers here!).

Sourdough Levain Flatbread Pizza

Ingredients:

  • For the Flatbread:
    • 1- 1 ½ cups sourdough levain
    • ¾ – 1 cup whole wheat flour
    • 2 tbsp olive oil
    • 1 tsp Salt
  • For the Pizza:
    • 1 cup of tomato sauce
    • 1 cup of mozzarella cheese, diced or shredded
    • 1 cup of toppings of choice

Method:

For the Flatbread Crust:

  1. Add ¾ cup whole wheat flour to the bowl with the levain.  Reserve remaining ¼ cup for the kneading process, and to adjust dough if it seems too wet.
  2. Add olive oil and salt to the bowl with the levain.
  3. Using your hand, incorporate all ingredients into the levain and begin to knead the dough until it forms a cohesive ball.  Add additional flour if the dough seems sticky or too wet.  Dough should feel hydrated but not stick to your hands during the kneading process.  Knead in the bowl for about 3-5 minutes.
  4. Leave dough ball in the bowl to rest for about 30 minutes.  Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel during the resting period.

For the Pizza:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Place a Silpat or a piece of parchment paper large enough to fill an entire baking pan (half-sheet size) on the counter.  Sprinkle with whole wheat flour. 
  3. Remove the flatbread dough ball from the bowl and place in the middle of the prepared Silpat or parchment paper.  Flatten slightly and sprinkle the top of the dough ball with more whole wheat flour.
  4. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out to fill the entire area of the Silpat or parchment paper.  The dough should be about a ¼ inch thick after rolling.
  5. Transfer Silpat or parchment paper with dough to a clean baking pan.
  6. Top with tomato sauce, cheese, and any desired toppings.  Cover the entire area of the surface of the flatbread with sauce, cheese, and toppings, leaving about 1 inch around the perimeter bare to form a crust.
  7. Place the sheet pan with the flatbread in the oven and bake at 400F for 20 minutes.
  8. Check for doneness by ensuring the crust has formed a crispy bottom and the cheese is fully melted and the toppings are all hot.  Remove from the oven and allow to rest for about 2 minutes before cutting into the pizza.
  9. Transfer rested pizza to a big cutting board and slice into desired pieces with a sharp chef’s knife or a pizza cutter.
  10. Grab a slice and enjoy!

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