Friday, April 24, 2009

Kefir Sourdough Pizza

Last night was my BEST pizza night. For a long time I used a yogurt dough recipe (from Nourishing Traditions) for my pizza crust with good success and it tasted good, but later I came across this sourdough recipe from Dom's Kefir Site. I've used this recipe a few times with good results (for pizza and bread), but last night the pizza was PERFECTO!

The crust was chewy, soft, thick, sweet and sour... just melts in your mouth. I used freshly ground spelt flour, but you can use whole wheat or unbleached white flour. My toppings were homemade pesto, red onions, garlic, bell peppers, little tomatoes, fresh basil, fresh thyme, fresh rosemary, fresh raw mozzarella cheese and raw goat cheese with olive oil drizzled on top. FANTASTIC!

First step involves preparing the kefir-sourdough starter. The sourdough starter is a natural leavening, used to rise the pizza dough. This starter can also be used to make sourdough bread (sooo yummy!).

Kefir-sourdough Starter

1 cup Kefir (either milk-kefir or water-kefir)
1 cup plain whole wheat, spelt or unbleached white flour

Mix ingredients together in a quart jar to make a smooth wet paste. Cover jar with cloth or paper napkin and leave at room temperature until dough doubles in volume. This may take one to three days depending on temperature. Stir once daily. When ready it should be bubbly with a sweet-sour yeasty aroma.

(NOTE: I only had to leave my starter out for a day, then it would be ready. Best to start it in the early afternoon and let it sit through the night.)

Makes about 4 small 8" or two to three larger size pizza.

500 gm (1.1 lb) [about 4 cups] whole wheat, spelt or unbleached white flour
Kefir-sourdough starter
1 tsp. sea salt
1/3 cup olive oil
1 cup warm water

Mix well with a strong wooden spoon, ladle or clean bare hands. If the dough is too thick (firm and not sticky), add a small amount of warm water and mix for 2 minutes until the dough is moist and sticky with elasticity. The dough should stick to the fingers when touched and should stretch quite easily (it should be wetter than conventional dough).

For the next step, to stop the dough from sticking to your hands. Wet fingers and palm of hands with olive oil. Pinch off 1/4 of the dough. Make a round ball by rolling the dough in your hands. Place dough in a pre-greased cast iron skillet or pizza pan (OR what I used... big cookie sheet). Press the dough with fingers and stretch an even layer over the bottom of the pan right up to the edges. Form a thickness of no more than about 3/4" thickness. Do this with the rest of the dough in other pans.

(NOTE: I used the whole dough for my pizza in a big cookie sheet. Worked great!)

You can add your toppings on the crust and then let it rise OR you can let it rise than put your toppings on. I put my toppings on after I let it rise, but I don't think one way is better than the other. After you put your toppings on make sure you drizzle olive oil (about 2 Tbsp) over everything, then sprinkle with sea salt and pepper.

Place in a warm spot and leave to rise for about 2 to 6 hours (8 hours is best) until the base almost doubles in height. Bake in a hot oven set to 450 F and bake for 15-20 minutes. To determine if the pizza is ready, lift an edge of the pizza to reveal the base. It should be golden brown.

(NOTE: If you don't have a warm place in the kitchen. Turn on your oven light while you are preparing the dough, it will get nice and warm. Then put your pizza in there to rise and leave the light on. To make sure your pizza gets cooked evenly, turn the pizza half way through the baking time.)

Kefir Sourdough Bread
The above dough recipe will make one loaf of delicious kefir-sourdough bread!!

I really like adding 2 Tbsp of whole flax seed to my sourdough bread. You can add herbs, chopped olives, sunflower seeds or maybe even sun-dried tomatoes. Just about anything (except garlic... it will kill the yeast) can go into your sourdough bread. If you have spare milk kefir grains, blend 1-2 Tbsp and add it to your dough. This will produce a moister bread with an extra crispy crust... thanks to the natural reaction between the kefir grains, oil and starch.

Tips of the fingers to the lips... kiss MUWAH!


  1. Couple questions:
    1. I don't have a mill for freshly grinding grains...can I use spelt from the store?
    2. Do you think that fil mijolk (sp?) would work just as well as kefir?

  2. Yumm! I'll have to try my hand at kefir first. This recipe seems like a weekend project, lol!!

  3. Emily- you can use spelt from the store no problem... it will still taste deelicious. I have no idea if fil mijolk would work, you can try!

    Diana- Making kefir is so much EASIER than making yogurt. Once you've done a few times, it will become a part of your routine. The recipe did seem a bit overwhelming, but I wanted to try something new. I was surprise on how EASY it was to make it! Once you've done it, you'll know how to make it better next time. Took me 2 tries before I got it just right. Practice makes perfect!

  4. this looks so yummy!! Right now, I'm in Israel without my normal access to raw milk, so I don't have any kefir (except really really strong, lemon water kefir). Do you think that yogurt would do the trick!! Love your site :-)

  5. This looks so incredible! I can't wait to try it. I'm a complete beginner, so it may be a little out of my league, but I'm gonna give it a try. Thanks for sharing this recipe. I've been on Dom's site, but it was a bit overwhelming and I didn't see this recipe. So glad to have found you site! :o)

  6. I would like to try making this bread. Have you made the bread or just the pizza? Should I bake the bread at the same temperature and for the same amount of time? How many loaves will it make? And Is the rise time the same? Thanks!!

  7. If making this into bread, what temperature and for how long would you bake it?

  8. Hello! So sorry I didn't write sooner. Like I said above in the bottom of the post... Yes, you can make this into one loaf of bread. I've done it a few times and like it, but prefer it for pizza. The temp is the same and the time roughly the same. That's how I've done it. Hope you have good success with it! Let me know if you made any changes :o)

  9. Thanks so much for answering!! I tried making the bread last night but used the baking temperature and time from my usual homemade bread recipe. This was my first attempt at any kind of sourdough. I liked how simple it was but will definately try the hotter temp. next time. I love your blog, thank you so much!

  10. This recipe worked wonderfully! I've used raw milk kefir for several years, so this seemed a natural thing to attempt. In fact, I'm familiar with Dom's site and meant to try his recipe...but, alas didn't get around to it. Then I found Marillyn's site and her streamlined recipe. I just had to do it! My starter was ready after one day--our temps have been running around 90° which helps.
    I didn't have time to grind flour and used unbleached bread flour. I added sun-dried tomatoes and Italian seasoning. I let the dough set for 8 hours, which (I'm convinced), adds so much to the flavor and texture. I used an inch deep 10-1/2" x 15-1/2"baking stone and spread the dough to the edges. When the rise was complete the dough was at the top edge of the stone.
    I put my toppings on just before baking. Oh My Goodness, what an incredible outcome. My husband, loves pizza and said, "this is the best I've ever eaten".
    You must try this recipe. It is so worth the time and effort put into it. Thank you Marillyn!
    This morning, I had a piece of cold pizza for breakfast! YUM! Today, I'm making a loaf of kefir sourdough bread, just to see how it turns out.

    1. i am living up north and am using my last cup of raw goat kefir for the starter. How long can I keep this starter going? How do I do it?

  11. Oops, I forgot to mention. I baked my pizza at 450° for 20 minutes.

  12. The sourdough bread turned out fantastic. Baked it 25 minutes at 450° in a stone bread pan. Beautiful crumb, dense without being doughy, rose high and had a powerful sourdough aroma. I will be using this recipe from now on--both for pizza and for bread.

  13. RonnieJ - Awesome! I am so glad it turned out good for you! Yes, this pizza is so good. Thank you for sharing your testimony!

  14. I LOVE this simple recipe! Thank you for sharing :) will try it ASAP!! xx


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