Driftless Foodie: For the love of Pizza Part 1 the dough

By Jessica Woodward

My husband always tells me these stories about how his grandma often made scratch pizza for him and his cousins. Fresh dough, homemade sauce (or gravy if you’re Italian), and the most delicious mozzarella cheese. He has vivid memories of her throwing dough in the kitchen and hot crispy pizza coming out of the oven.

I, on the other hand, boycotted pizza for the better part of a decade after getting sick once from “fast food” pizza (yes, just once). I regret this every day and don’t want to talk about it! Just know that I have newfound love and am trying to make up for lost time.

My tiny sous chef also happens to love pizza. He does the good food dance on pizza nights. You know when the food is just so good it just makes you want to dance.

We’ve taken this energy and decided to start our own tradition. We make homemade pizza every other weekend, all from scratch. The dough, the sauce and some fun toppings, too! But we all make it together. I repeat, we do it together.


I’ve said this a hundred times before. Food brings us together. Food has a way of transporting us back in time to memories of long ago. And it can imprint lasting memories to pass down over and over again.

So, in this three-part series, you will learn how to make the perfect pizza, and how to put your own spin on it to start something new in your home, too. Or, how to amp up your current pizza night. The most important thing is that you do it and gather together to create memories. We’re never promised tomorrow. So, enjoy every single slice of pizza.

Part one: The dough. 

It starts with a good dough. Without a good dough, a pizza just, well, falls flat.

If you’re a sourdough girlie, use recipe one. If you want to make the same dough that my husband’s grandmother did, see recipe box two. I inherited her handwritten recipes and recall them from time to time. This recipe is tucked in her recipe box for easy recall when needed.

Stay tuned for the next column on how to make the perfect pizza sauce to go with the dough!

(Jessica Woodward photo)


Sourdough Discard Pizza Crust 

172 grams warm water at 115°F (3/4 cup)

1 packet of instant yeast

25 grams of honey (2 tsp)

240 grams of sourdough discard (1 Cup)

15 grams of salt (1.5 tsp)

30 grams of olive oil (2 tbls)

22 grams of corn meal (2 tbls)

360 grams of bread flour (2 3/4 cups)

In a large bowl or the bowl to a stand mixer pour in the water and honey and sprinkle the yeast over top. Let sit 5 minutes.

Dump in salt and discard and stir.

Add the remaining ingredients and stir together into a shaggy dough.

Knead by hand for 15 minutes or on the lowest speed of the stand mixer for 10.

Let proof for 1 hour.

Makes one large or two medium size pizzas!


*I use a scale when measuring these, but I put the approximate measurements in parentheses for those without a kitchen scale!

**I have used gluten free King Arthur one for one flour as a substitute for regular flour and gluten free sourdough discard.

Heirloom Pizza Dough Recipe 

3 cups of flour

1 packet active dry yeast

2 cup warm water

1 tablespoon of oil

Dissolve yeast into 1/4 cup of warm water.

Mix together yeast, water, and oil and knead well. About 10 minutes.

Let rise 1.5 hours. Punch down. And let rise again.

Makes one large pizza.

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