Over the past few months I've started experimenting with sourdough pizza. I bought the Italian sourdough cultures from sourdo.com---I've only used Ischia so far, but if anyone has any comments on the Camaldoli and how it compares to the Ischia I'd love to hear them! At any rate, I really enjoy the taste. I tried going back to regular pizza dough and was rather off-put by how plain it is in comparison!
But I've come across a couple of issues.
First, when mixing/kneading the dough (I use something along the lines of Jeff Varasano's wet kneading, but over a period of around half an hour), I usually go until the dough ball leaves very little residue in the bowl (I have a CuisinArt stand mixer). This is relatively dry, I feel---I can provide proper percentages when I get home if anyone wants them---and then I let the dough rise in the bowl for four hours or so (in the oven with the light on and the door slightly ajar). I then ball the dough and let one rise for another 3-4 hours and then cook with it; the other balls go in the fridge right after being balled. Usually one is used the next day and two are used one week later. I'm finding that the first dough ball rises well and has good puff, but the others do not rise nearly as much (when taking them out of the refrigerator, I let them sit at room temperature for a couple of hours covered with a wet towel to keep them from drying out). The two balls that I use one week later rise the least. I didn't really see this problem with the non-sourdough version which was otherwise made identically---does anyone have any tips for dealing with this? Even the one that I use the next day doesn't have as much puff. I'm also finding that they lose their flavour somewhat after having been in the fridge.
The other issue is that, despite how relatively dry the dough feels after mixing/kneading, after the rises it becomes rather wet. Not to say that this is necessarily bad, but I'd like to try to make it drier to see how that changes the final result. I did not find this significant difference in apparent hydration using non-sourdough. I'm going to experiment with making the dough even drier, but I'd love to hear others' opinions on this.
Many thanks in advance! I love this forum!