Sourdough Mozzarella Grandma Pizza Pie

This is a sourdough version of one our favorite pizzas. When we order a pizzeria pizza, it is almost always a Grandma pie. The sauce makes it extra delicious.

This pillowy crust is absolutely perfect for a Grandma pie. I have made it several times now, and have used the crust for classic homemade pies as well. I was able to shape the dough into either form extremely easily just using my fingertips.

The crust recipe was adapted from King Arthur Flour. I incorporated white whole wheat flour and modified the technique and baking temperature. The sauce is from Bon Appetit, contributed by Alfia Muzio, and is included in my Classic Grandma Pie post. According to the original recipe, this crust is also delicious with bold toppings and well-aged cheeses.

I included some active dry yeast in the crust, but plan to try it without, using fed sourdough starter instead of unfed, now that my sourdough starter is really active. The crust can also be made with sourdough discard.

I have made the dough two hours prior to baking the pizza, but the dough can be made a day in advance and put in the refrigerator to rise overnight. I also doubled the recipe on a few occasions to try various toppings (and to have leftovers!).

Yield: One Grandma Pie (half sheet pan) or Two 12-inch round Thin-Crust Pies

(Double the recipe to make Two Grandma Pies or Three 14-inch round Classic Pies)

For the Pizza Crust & Toppings:

  1. Stir any liquid on top of your refrigerated starter back into it before measuring 1 cup (241g) into a large mixing bowl. Note: This is a good opportunity to feed the remainder of your starter, if necessary.
  2. Add the warm water, flours, salt, and yeast. Mix to combine, then knead for about 7 minutes in a mixer with the dough hook, until the dough wraps itself around the hook and cleans the side of the bowl.
  3. Place the dough in a greased container, cover and let rise until almost doubled in bulk. Depending on the vitality of your starter, this will take between 2 and 4 hours. For a faster rise, place the dough in a warm spot, or double the yeast. (I placed my dough in a warming drawer and it doubled in about 2 hours.)
  4. Towards the end of the rise time, preheat your oven to 500°F. (I heat a baking stone in the bottom of the oven.)
  5. For a thicker, large pizza- a Grandma Pie, oil an 18″ x 13″ half-sheet pan. Place the dough in the selected pan and press it out to the edges, again giving it a 15-minute rest before continuing if it starts to snap back. (For two thin-crust pizzas, divide the dough in half, and shape each into a flattened disk. Drizzle two 12″ round pizza pans with olive oil, and brush to coat the bottom. (I used a pizza peel and pizza stone to make classic pizzas instead.) Place the dough in the pans, cover, and let rest for 15 minutes. After this rest, gently press the dough toward the edges of the pans. If it starts to shrink back, cover and let rest for 15 minutes before continuing.)
  6. Cover the pan(s) and let the dough rise until it’s as thick as you like. (It will rise quite a bit in 30 minutes. I just let it rest while preparing the toppings.)
  7. While the dough is rising, make the sauce. (see recipe below)
  8. Once dough has risen on baking sheet, top with mozzarella, and dot pie with tomato sauce; sprinkle with salt and red pepper flakes, if desired. Add any additional toppings, if desired.
  9. Bake the Grandma Pie until golden brown and crisp on bottom and sides, 15–30 minutes. (Bake traditional pies for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the cheese is lightly browned.)

Note: Store leftover pizza covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

For the Fresh Tomato Pizza Sauce:

  • 1 28-oz. can whole peeled tomatoes, drained (I used San Marzano)
  • 2 anchovy fillets packed in oil, drained
  • 2 cloves garlic cloves
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ cup fresh basil leaves, packed
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Pulse tomatoes, anchovies, garlic, oil, and basil in a food processor or blender until mostly smooth (some texture is okay).
  2. Season with salt and pepper.

Spaghetti Pizza

I loved that this recipe equated the choice between making spaghetti or pizza for dinner to choosing a favorite child! 😉 Such a paralyzing decision! 🙂 A spaghetti pizza “crust” was too genius of an idea for me to pass up. I made it for my kids one night when my husband couldn’t join us for dinner- it seemed like the ultimate KID-friendly dinner. They gobbled it up!

This recipe was adapted from Tasting Table.com. I used whole wheat spaghetti, Trader Joe’s Tuscano Marinara Sauce, and Grana Padano instead of Parmesan. (I would have also added tons of garlic if it was for my husband and me! 🙂 ) Easy, tasty, and FUN!

Yield: Serves 4

  • 1/2 pound whole wheat spaghetti
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan or Grana Padano, separated
  • 1-2 cups tomato or marinara sauce, to taste (I used Trader Joe’s Tuscano Marinara Sauce)
  • 1 cup coarsely grated part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • fresh basil, for garnish
  • additional pizza toppings, to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, preferably on convection.
  2. Precook the spaghetti in salted boiling water for 6 minutes; cool slightly.
  3. Toss the noodles with the eggs and 1/4 cup Parmesan.
  4. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Form a crust with the noodles on the pan. (I made a rectangle.)
  5. Bake it for 5 minutes.
  6. Remove from the oven and spread the tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, and the last 1/4 cup of Parmesan over the top. Add any additional toppings as desired.
  7. Bake for an additional 15 minutes, or until the cheese begins to brown.
  8. Garnish with fresh basil, slice into wedges, and serve.

One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

Three Years Ago:

Classic Mozzarella Grandma Pizza Pie

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My true (pizza) love is a thin-crust margherita pie- AMAZING. This pizza is the complete opposite- yet absolutely delicious too! The crust is thick, fluffy, and tender. The top is loaded with fresh mozzarella and a special tomato sauce. I have enjoyed a “Grandma” slice from a pizzeria in the past, but this version was exponentially better. This recipe was adapted from Bon Appetit, contributed by Alfia Muzio.

Yield: 1 pie, about 6 servings

This pillowy crust dough proofs for 24-hours prior to baking. I was able to use my fingertips to form it into the 18×13-inch rectangle with ease.

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For the Grandma-Style Pizza Dough:

  • 1 envelope active dry yeast (about 2¼ tsp.)
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for bowl
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour, divided, plus more for surface (I used 1/2 white whole wheat flour.)
  1. Combine yeast and 1½ cups warm water (105–110°) in a large bowl; let stand until yeast starts to foam, about 10 minutes.
  2. Mix in 2 Tbsp. oil, then salt and 2 cups flour. Add another 2 cups flour, a cup at a time, mixing until incorporated and a shaggy dough forms.
  3. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until soft, smooth, and elastic, 10–12 minutes. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Chill 24 hours.
  4. Coat an 18×13” rimmed baking sheet with remaining 1/4 cup oil. Gently and gradually stretch dough until it reaches the edges of baking sheet. (If dough springs back or is stiff to work with, let it rest 10 minutes before continuing. You may need to let it rest more than once.)
  5. Cover dough on baking sheet tightly with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm place (but not too warm!—about 70° is ideal for yeast to grow) until it is puffed and full of air bubbles, 30–40 minutes. (I used the proof setting on my warming drawer.)

 The anchovies give the sauce something special. SO good!

For the Fresh Tomato Pizza Sauce:

  • 1 28-oz. can whole peeled tomatoes, drained (I used San Marzano)
  • 2 anchovy fillets packed in oil, drained
  • 2 cloves garlic cloves
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ cup fresh basil leaves, packed
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Pulse tomatoes, anchovies, garlic, oil, and basil in a food processor or blender until mostly smooth (some texture is okay); season with salt and pepper.

To Assemble the Pizza:

  • Grandma-Style Pizza Dough
  • 12 to 16 ounces fresh mozzarella, grated (about 2½ cups)
  • 1½ cups Fresh Tomato Pizza Sauce
  • coarse or flaky sea salt (such as Maldon) and crushed red pepper flakes, for serving, optional
  1. Place a rack in lower third of oven and preheat to 500° or as high as oven will go.
  2. Once dough has risen on baking sheet, top with mozzarella, and dot pie with tomato sauce; sprinkle with salt and red pepper flakes, if desired. Bake pie until golden brown and crisp on bottom and sides, 20–30 minutes.

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One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

Pizza with Escarole, Fontina, & Walnuts

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Oh, escarole…. Why does every recipe for escarole involve some sort of white bean soup? I’m sure it is all delicious, but I don’t want to eat that sort of dish in July!

I am usually stumped when I receive a GIGANTIC head of escarole in my farm share. I have sautéed it as a side dish and enjoyed it in Escarole, Feta, & Shrimp Pasta. This recipe was a new application and I really enjoyed it. The greens were wonderful with the fontina. I used my new favorite pizza dough recipe, 24-Hour Pizza Dough, as the base.

This recipe was adapted from The Greens Cookbook: Extraordinary Vegetarian Cuisine from the Celebrated Restaurant by Deborah Madison. It was a fun change for Movie Night Pizza. (This week was Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory!)

If someone has a favorite escarole recipe to share- please let me know…

  • 24-hour pizza dough
  • 1-2 T chopped, roasted walnuts
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 head escarole, washed and cut into 1-inch ribbons
  • coarse salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 T red wine vinegar, or to taste
  • 1-2 pinches red pepper flakes
  • 5 oz Fontina cheese, grated
  1. Prepare the pizza dough. If using 24-Hour pizza dough, remove from refrigerator and bring to room temperature.
  2. Heat 1 1/2 T olive oil in a large skillet, and sauté the onion for 3 to 4 minutes, until it begins to soften.
  3. Stir in the garlic, add the escarole, salt lightly, and cover. Let the escarole cook down for 3 to 4 minutes. Adjust the salt and season to taste with freshly ground black pepper, vinegar, and chili flakes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. If using a pizza stone, warm it for 20-30 minutes.
  5. Shape the dough, place it on a cornmeal-dusted pizza peel, and brush it with olive oil.
  6. Distribute all but a couple of tablespoons of the Fontina cheese over the dough. Cover with the escarole, walnuts, and then the rest of the cheese.
  7. Slide the pizza onto the stone and bake for 8 to 12 minutes, or until the edges are nicely browned.

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One Year Ago:

Margherita Pizza with 24-hour Crust

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This is the PERFECT pizza, a classic, and my favorite. Every version has subtle differences- the key to this Brooklyn pizzeria recipe is the crust for which I included the link below. It is proofed in the refrigerator for a minimum of 24 hours before being used. The result is a more tender dough. Wonderful. It is made with a combination of refined 00 flour and all-purpose flour.

The pizza sauce recipe is from the same pizzeria. It is pure and simple, San Marzano tomatoes pureed with a touch of olive oil and salt. I titled it “Perfect Pizza Sauce #2” in the link below as it is slightly different from my original “Perfect Pizza Sauce!” It is perfect! 🙂

This is my second entry in the Fiesta Friday Challenge #1 at The Novice Gardener: to post a dish made with both herbs and yeast. This recipe was adapted from Roberta’s Cookbook by Carlo Mirarchi, Brandon Hoy, Chris Parachini, and Katherine Wheelock, of Roberta’s in Brooklyn, NY.

  1. Preheat the oven to the highest temperature possible. (At my house the oven is set to 500 degrees on “Stone”.) Place a pizza stone on the lowest rack if a stone setting is available, otherwise place the stone on the middle rack. Let the oven heat up for 1 hour.
  2. Put the sauce in the center of the dough round and use the back of a spoon to spread it evenly over the pizza, stopping about half an inch from the edge.
  3. Drizzle a little olive oil over the sauce and scatter the basil on top.
  4. Break the mozzarella into several large chunks and distribute it over the pizza, covering the basil so that it is protected from the heat of the oven.
  5. Bake the pizza until the crust is golden brown and bubbly, about 5 minutes.
  6. Turn on the broiler. Broil the pizza for an additional 1-2 minutes- keeping a close watch so that it doesn’t become too brown. Serve.

One Year Ago:

fiesta-friday-challenge-badge4

Perfect Pizza Sauce #2

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I thought that my original perfect pizza sauce could not be topped. This sauce is essentially identical… except for one important difference: the ease of its preparation. My original sauce utilizes a food mill to remove the tomato seeds. This method simply purees the strained whole tomatoes, and then the remaining ingredients are added. Simple, perfect, FABULOUS! This recipe was adapted from Roberta’s Cookbook by Carlo Mirarchi, Brandon Hoy, Chris Parachini, and Katherine Wheelock, of Roberta’s in Brooklyn, NY. I froze the leftover sauce, rationed into pizza (4 T) portions, in an ice cube tray for later use. Truly perfect!

Yield: enough for approximately 8 pizzas

  • 1 28-ounce (794 gram) can of San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • coarse salt or fine sea salt
  1. Drain the tomatoes and discard the juice.
  2. Use a food processor or blender to puree the tomatoes until almost smooth.
  3. Add a splash of olive oil and a pinch of salt, blend until smooth, and taste. Add more oil and salt to taste, if needed, but keep in mind that the sauce will reduce a little bit when it’s baked on a pizza, so it will only get saltier.

Note: The sauce will keep in the refrigerator for up to a week, and up to 6 months in the freezer.

If you like this you may also like:

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24-Hour Pizza Dough

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I rarely vary my pizza dough recipe. I make a whole wheat crust, in the bread machine, and it takes 1 hour 40 minutes- completely unattended. After reading the information about making homemade dough in this Brooklyn pizzeria cookbook, I felt like I was shortchanging myself and I had to try a new dough recipe.

I pretty much knew this already, but rolling out the dough using a rolling pin is criminal as well! I always had trouble really stretching the dough to achieve my desired size without rolling it. This recipe has very specific instructions regarding stretching the dough- which worked PERFECTLY! No more rolling pin for me! 🙂

This dough was more labor intensive and had to be planned in advance as the crust is made at least 24 hours in advance, but it was very tender and tasty! This recipe was adapted from Roberta’s Cookbook by Carlo Mirarchi, Brandon Hoy, Chris Parachini, and Katherine Wheelock, of Roberta’s in Brooklyn, NY.

Yield: Makes 2 rounds of dough, enough for 2 (12-inch) pizzas

  • 153 grams (1 1/4 cups) 00 Flour
  • 153 grams (1 1/4 cups) King Arthur All-Purpose Flour
  • 8 grams (scant 2 teaspoons) fine sea salt
  • 2 grams (scant 1/2 teaspoon) active dry yeast OR 4 grams (scant 1 teaspoon) fresh yeast
  • 4 grams (scant 1 teaspoon) good olive oil
  • 202 grams (1 cup minus 1 T) lukewarm water

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To Make the Dough:

  1. In a bowl, thoroughly combine the flours and salt; make a well in the center.
  2. In a separate bowl, thoroughly combine the yeast, olive oil, and lukewarm water.
  3. Pour the wet mixture into the well in the dry mixture and begin mixing the two together with your hands, gradually incorporating the dry into the wet. This process will be more like mixing than kneading.
  4. After about 3 minutes, when the wet and dry are well combined, set the mixture aside and let it rest, uncovered, for 15 minutes. This allows time for the flour to absorb the moisture.
  5. Flour your hands and the work surface. Gently but firmly knead the mixture on the work surface for about 3 minutes. Reflour your hands and the surface as necessary. The dough will be nice and sticky, but after a few minutes of kneading it should come together into a smooth mass.
  6. Divide the dough into 2 pieces, shape them gently into balls, and wrap them tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough for at least 24 and up to 48 hours before using. This process, called proofing, allows for the fermentation that gives the dough structure- which results in a chewy, pliable crust with great flavor.

To Make the Pizza:

  1. Preheat the oven to the highest temperature, ideally at least 500 degrees F. (My oven has a “Stone” setting as well.) Place a pizza stone on the lowest rack of the oven, if set to “Stone”, otherwise place a pizza stone on the center rack of the oven. Let the oven heat for 1 hour.
  2. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature.
  3. Lightly flour your hands and the work surface.
  4. Using your fingertips, push down any bubbles in the dough. Then use your fingertips to push down on the round of dough, from the center out to the perimeter, to encourage it to spread out.   Notes: Don’t push the dough out- any pushing or pulling you do to it will cause it to toughen, which is something to keep in mind throughout this process. Be gentle with the dough. If you push it too hard or over stretch it, you can’t just re-form it into a ball and reshape it. It will become stiff and hard to work with and you’ll have to toss it out and use a new ball of dough. So take your time. spend a minute or two gently flattening the dough ball into a disc shape before you move on to the next step. The goal is a round 12-inches in diameter, no less than 1/8-inch thick in the center. The edges should be slightly thicker than the center. (It will be thicker than pizzeria pizza dough because it will cook at a lower temperature for longer.)
  5. Now the dough is ready to be “Slapped Out” (another term for letting the crust form itself). It lets gravity do the stretching and shaping of the dough. Pick up your disc of dough and hold your hands parallel to the floor. Then squeeze your fingers together and curve them so that your hands are like paddles. Drape the dough over one hand and flip it over to the other hand in a smooth motion. Continue moving the dough slowly back and forth, rotating it 90 degrees every few seconds so that you end up with a circle. It will start to stretch. After 1 to 2 minutes, you should have a round of dough that’s about 12 inches in diameter.
  6. Transfer it to a floured (I use cornmeal) pizza peel- preferably a metal one- and gently push out any edges that need pushing to make a better looking circle.
  7. Top the dough immediately after transferring it to the peel so that it doesn’t start to stick, and pop it in the oven the moment it’s topped; it will get soggy otherwise.
  8. Carefully slide the topped pizza onto the stone and bake it for 5 to 7 minutes (watch closely!), until the crust is bubbling up and beginning to turn golden.
  9. Turn on the broiler and broil the pizza for 1 to 2 minutes, checking to make sure the cheese doesn’t get too brown, until the crust is golden and starts to char in a few places.

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