Time to plan your next pizza party? Scrap the delivery and try your hand at this pizza dough recipe, courtesy of Osso & Kristalla and Potente‘s pastry chef/baker David Berg. Note: This recipe isn’t for the casual home baker. You really will need to plan your party in advance in order to grow your own “starter” for the dough. Toss the idea around with your friends – it might be a fun group activity to share care and feeding of the starter.

Berg’s recipe calls for a mother starter – or sourdough starter – that is used in place of (or in addition to) fresh yeast. Bread starters typically combine water, flour and a leavening agent (in this recipe, a culture made from water and apple peel). Like we said, you’ll need to plan ahead, as this starter recipe needs about two months to ferment and grow before you can use it. The bonus is that you can also use this starter as a base for other baked goods, including rolls and breads.

If it all seems a bit extreme, you can always head to Osso & Kristalla or Potente and taste Berg’s freshly baked breads, and then you’ll understand why he goes to all this trouble. For the record, he’s been nurturing his mother starter for years.

Pizza dough recipe courtesy of David Berg

Mother Starter
Recipe courtesy of David Berg

1 apple (Berg uses Red Delicious)
flour (bread flour is a popular choice, but any protein flavor will do)

METHOD: Peel an apple and place the peelings into a 1-quart plastic container. Add 20 grams of water and let ferment for 1 month. After a month, drain and squeeze the liquid culture from the apple skin. (Discard the apple skin.) Whatever the weight of the liquid – it should still be around 20 grams – add equal parts, or 20 grams each, of flour and water for 60 grams total weight. Stir the mixture, lightly cover with plastic wrap and let rest overnight.

The next day, begin “feeding” the starter equal parts water and flour twice a day, 8 hours between each feeding. Since you are now at 60 grams of starter, you will add 60 grams flour and 60 grams of water, for a total weight 180 grams. Lightly cover and let sit for another 8 hours. After 8 hours, feed the starter 180 grams of water and 180 grams of flour and let rest. The total weight is now 540 grams.

Since you really don’t need more than a cup of starter sitting around your house (a cup is just 225 grams), you are going to discard some of the starter every day before feeding. Save back 1 cup/225 grams of the starter and feed it one cup water and one cup flour. Let rest and then repeat. Continue this for the rest of the month in order to develop the starter’s distinctive flavor. After a month, your starter is ready to use in a variety of ways, including pizza.

Note that the recipe below lists measurements by weight rather than volume, as this is how professional bakers do it.

Pizza Dough
Recipe courtesy of David Berg

920 g water
1.600 kg 00 flour
140 g starter
55 g salt

METHOD: Mix the first three ingredients together for 20 minutes on low speed. Then add salt and continue mixing on low for 2 minutes. Mix on medium speed for 3 more minutes, or a total of 25 minutes of mixing. Let the dough rest for 20 minutes and then cut into 9 oz. balls (for a 13 in. pizza). Place dough in an airtight container and refrigerate overnight. Yield: approximately 2 13-inch pizzas

The Pizza
Recipe courtesy of David Berg

tomato sauce
fresh basil
chopped herbs (Berg uses a mixture of oregano, thyme, sage and parsley)
chopped garlic
chopped shallot
grated parmesan

METHOD: Remove the dough from refrigerator 3 hours prior to baking. At this time, also turn the oven on and set to 500°F. Let a pizza stone heat in the oven, positioned about two racks down from the top. After the dough has come to room temperature, dust with a light layer of flour and begin to form into a 13-inch pizza. Don’t use a rolling pin! Once the pizza crust is formed, top with a light base layer of tomato sauce and add the ingredients of your choice. Berg built his pizza with the ingredients listed above. Brush the crust with olive oil, transfer to the pizza stone and bake for 12 to 18 minutes (or to desired crispness).