• 1/3 cup 50g wholemeal flour
  • 2 ½ cup 400g white flour (wheat or spelt)
  • 1 rounded teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup 100g bubbly sourdough starter, fed 6-8 hours earlier
  • OR ½ teaspoon dried active yeast + 1/3 cup natural yoghurt
  • 1 cup 250g water
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil


  • The evening before cooking the pizza, prepare the dough. In a large bowl combine the flours, salt, sourdough starter, or yeast and yoghurt, and water. Use a tablespoon to bring the ingredients together into a "shaggy" dough. Cover with a plate and set aside to rest for 30 minutes.
  • After this time use wet hands to briefly knead the dough in the bowl until it comes together into a smooth-ish ball. Drizzle over the olive oil, tossing to coat. Cover and set aside at room temperature for one hour to give the yeast a headstart, then place the covered dough into the fridge overnight. During this time the dough will slowly rise and roughly double in size.
  • When ready to cook the pizza, remove the dough from the fridge and set aside while preparing the toppings.
  • If using the barbecue (with a lid), preheat to 240 degrees Celsius with a hot plate in position – this doesn't work on a barbecue grill as the pizza base cooks too fast. Alternatively use the oven set to 240C with a pizza stone on the bottom shelf.
  • Prepare chosen toppings. Once the barbecue or oven is hot, tip the dough on to a floured bench and divide in half. Roll one half out into the shape of the hot plate or pizza stone, about 5mm thick. Slide on to a well-floured pizza peel (or a cookie tray works well) and quickly spread with blanc sauce (see above), toppings and grated cheese. Immediately transfer to the hot barbecue or oven.
  • Cook for 12-15 minutes until the cheese is bubbly and the pizza base golden. Repeat with the remaining dough.
  • Serve immediately, cut into squares or wedges.


Tip – try using long-bladed kitchen scissors to cut pizza, it works a treat!

I have a love affair with sourdough – bread, cakes, pastry, crumpets and, today, pizza dough. My sourdough starter is like my third child, it even comes on holiday with us – seriously, it does. Please don’t be put off by the overnight factor for this pizza base. Yes, it does necessitate planning ahead but the actual hands-on time is minimal. And the slow rise equals loads more flavour compared to pizza dough risen in an hour.

If you haven’t got a sourdough starter on hand (it is relatively easy to make from scratch in four to five days, find directions HERE), this pizza base can easily be made with baker’s yeast. I have included a variation in the recipe. This dough is mostly no-knead, letting time do the work, utilising a slow rise in the fridge for a longer period of time. The result is a pleasingly chewy crumb and a crispy thin crust. The other notable difference is the flavour.

A sourdough starter is a combination of wild yeasts to give rise, and bacteria for taste. The bacteria kick in about 12 hours into the rise, so without using the fridge to slow the rise it is tricky to make the most of the delicious goodness these microbes can bring to the dough. If using the yeast option, the addition of natural yoghurt provides the bacteria to deliver the flavour, which is difficult to replicate using yeast alone.

Recently I have been enjoying experimenting with Pizza Blanc, or white pizza. The base is spread with a white sauce rather than ubiquitous tomato puree.

To make blanc (white) sauce I combine 350g ricotta, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, a large handful of grated parmesan, and salt and cracked pepper to taste. Spread generously on to the pizza base, and top with seasonal offerings such as zucchini ribbons and thinly sliced red onion.

*Recipe & text first published 20 December 2017 on Stuff.co.nz

Join the Conversation

  1. jessica matta says:

    Would this work without the yogurt mixed in? Thank you ?

    1. Hi Jessica, that would be fine, replace the yogurt with milk of choice, it just give the dough more richness and food for the yeast.
      Enjoy, Nicola

  2. Would it be ok to use all white flour instead of whole meal + white?

    1. Hi Emily, yes that will be fine. You may find the dough is a little sticky as the wholemeal fibre absorbs more liquid. If needed add 1 -2 tablespoons extra white flour to the dough once mixed. Enjoy 🙂

  3. I am fairly new to sourdough, and I was so excited to find a longer fermenting pizza dough recipe. This worked great, and was delicious! I love how you talk about taking your sourdough on holiday! It’s so much like an extra child! Thank you!

    1. Hi Aubri, thanks for the message. I’m glad you enjoyed the recipe, I love the flavoursome crust this recipe makes from the slow ferment. Ah yes, it is like an extra child that needs to be cared for daily 😉

  4. Hi there! This recipe brought me to your blog recently. I’m dabbling in long-fermented sourdough baking and happy to find great information from you about this! I made this pizza dough a few days ago and it turned out very well, but it never fully doubled even after leaving out od the fridge for hours, it was just a bit dense. I am wondering if it is because my starter is all whole wheat flour, 100% hydration. Would it help if I added more water next time, or replaced the whole wheat from the recipe with white flour? Thanks again for the great recipe, my hubby and I liked it so much and found it surprisingly easy- we’re hoping to do weekly pizza nights after discovering how easy and delicious this is!

    1. Hi Heather, lovely to have you here. To answer your question the wholewheat starter can be quite heavy but is a great way to keep your starter active. As you suggest adding a little more water, 20-30g, will lighten up the dough. Flour really can vary so it is worth playing around with recipes to find the best hydration for you. I like my pizza dough light and not too sticky when I roll it. Happy pizza making!

  5. Hello and thanks– I use your recipe for the flour/water/starter ratio which I have found to be perfect. I never knead this concoction or add any oil or salt. I simply mix the flour and starter and water until a ball forms and then stick it in the fridge for 3-7 days. Then when I need it, I pat it out on a silicon baking insert to about a quarter inch thick and bake at 400 for eight to ten minutes to let it begin cooking without the weight of sauce. Then I pull it out and punch holes in it with a fork to deflate a bit, brush with olive oil and then sauce,, bake another 7 minutes and then add toppings and cheese for another 7-10 minutes, checking the bottom of the crust. Incredible pizza. Doing these steps removes any soggy factor that might occur from wetter toppings such as pineapple. A fast simple sauce is 1/2 can of tomato paste mixed with two teaspoons of honey, four tablespoons water, tablespoon dried basil and tablespoon of freeze-dried or fresh garlic. This will top one 14 x 8″ wide pizza baked in a sheet pan, like I do mine.

    1. Hi Angie
      Thanks for sharing this. I find if I use a preheated pizza stone the base and toppings cook perfectly but if a pizza stone is not available this is a great option to ensure the base is properly cooked before adding the toppings. The simple sauce sounds perfect as you don’t want it too wet, more of an umami spread on the base for flavour.
      Happy cooking!

  6. Hi, how long exactly does the mix need in the fridge? If you’re preparing the dough the night before, will it be ready in the morning or the following evening? Thanks!

    1. Hi Sally, you can leave the mixture in the fridge for up to 24 hours, in fact the longer the better for flavour and a thin crispy crust.

  7. Tracey Hemley says:

    Hi Nicola,
    I’ve just got your book and looking to go GF for my son with thyroid issues. Any chance you’ve had success with a gluten free recipe for this pizza. I noticed your book doesn’t have the GF option for it. My brown rice starter is just ready, waiting to dive in sourdough baking too.


    1. Hi Tracey
      Thanks for checking. I have used the gluten-free bread dough spreading out thinly onto oiled baking paper (makes 2 pizzas). Rise for 1-2 hours until a little puffy then bake the bases until golden. Add toppings and cook until cheese melted. It is a bit different to wheat flour pizza but still works well for a pizza meal.

      1. Tracey Hemley says:

        Thanks so much Nicola. I’ll give that a try.

  8. Hi Nicola,

    Just wondering why we need to use a starter that was fed 6 hours prior? If it was 24 hours prior would it make a huge difference?


    1. Hi there, because that is when the yeast in the starter is most active if you wait 24 hours most of the active yeast has died off and it will be very sour resulting in sour pizza dough that won’t rise well. Hope that helps 🙂

  9. I see there are a couple of variations in between this recipe and the one in your book. Is this one an updated version? Or what would the difference be in the result (by adding milk to water and kneading closer to cooking time)?
    Thank you 🙂

    1. Hi there, this is a different pizza dough recipe to the one in my book. They do result in pretty similar doughs, with this one being a little more lighter with the smaller amount of wholemeal flour.
      I hope that helps to explain.

  10. Following the ferment in the fridge overnight, I put this dough in the freezer. I removed it to use, let it defrost and it was great.

    1. Great to hear, this dough does freezer well. I often do this with half of the dough.
      Happy baking 🙂

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