Sourdough Pizza with Broccoli Pesto

, from Issue #77. March, 2018
Photography by Kelly Gibney.
Sourdough Pizza with Broccoli Pesto

This recipe requires a week’s lead-in to make the sourdough starter. The wholesome and delicious pesto makes a lovely change to a tomato base.


150 grams sourdough starter (see recipe in method)
100 grams wholemeal flour
150 grams plain flour
150ml warm water
1 teaspoon sea salt
Broccoli pesto
½ medium head broccoli, cut into florets
1 cup (tightly packed) fresh basil leaves
1 small garlic clove, finely diced
¾ cup finely grated parmesan
Pizza toppings
2 medium zucchini, cut into ribbons using a vegetable peeler
1 red capsicum, diced
200 grams fresh mozzarella, sliced
2 handfuls baby spinach or baby kale
small handful fresh thyme leaves
handful fresh basil leaves
sea salt and black pepper


Broccoli pesto: Place all the ingredients into a food processor. Blitz until relatively smooth. Taste and season generously.

Dough: Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and bring together into a rough ball using your hands. Leave the dough to sit on a floured bowl for 25 minutes. Knead for 5–10 minutes until smooth. Divide into 3 even balls and place on a small tray. Leave at room temperature for 1 hour before placing in the fridge for 12–24 hours.

Preheat the oven to 220°C. Heat the tray or pizza stone that you will be using also.

Roll each base out until about 5mm thick. Spread each with approximately ½ cup pesto. Follow this with a topping of zucchini ribbons, capsicum, mozzarella, spinach and fresh thyme. Bake for 10–12 minutes until the base is golden and the cheese is bubbling. Top with fresh basil leaves and more fresh thyme, if desired. Serve immediately. Repeat this process with the remaining bases. Makes 3 medium pizzas.

Sourdough starter: A sourdough starter captures the wild yeast that exists all around us. It is a simple mix of flour and water left at room temperature until it becomes bubbly and active.

  • Start by mixing ¾ cup organic plain flour with ½ cup of pure water in a large bowl. Whisk vigorously until smooth. This process will get air through the mix, which is important. Cover with a tea towel and leave on the bench.
  • Each day feed it with ½ cup flour and ⅓ cup pure water, whisking well each time. Around day 5 (fermentation happens faster in warmer weather) there will be active bubbling and a yeasty/sour smell – this is your starter. Once your starter is active and established, keep it in the fridge.
  • Feed it once a week (at the quantities above). To keep the size manageable, you can discard some before each feeding. I like to have 2½ cups of starter on hand at all times. Remove from the fridge and feed it 6–8 hours before you wish to bake with it (leaving it on the bench for this duration).