Ya know, I gotta chime in here.
I have learned to cook over a long time. Much of it has been seat-of-the-pants; sure, I had recipes to get me pointed in the right direction, but almost never has a recipe worked the way I wanted it to.
When I started to make Barbecue, I read all I could find on the subject, which at the time was a few cookbooks. I spent years getting it down. Right now on the Web there is so much information available that I could have cut years off the learning curve had I been able to use it.
Pizza has been much the same. I know what I have always considered to be a good pizza, and that's pretty much what I have always strived (?) to acheive. Sauce? It was fairly easy to get that down, but mine has improved greatly
from ideas and information I found on this site. Ingredients? simple, really: get the best ones you can. Dough? Heh. dough. That was the one thing that has kept me from making what I think of as a truly great pizza. I tried every recipe and technique I could find or think up....and they all fell short. It was just never quite there. Until.
Until....sourdough. The real stuff, the stuff that bakers have used for centuries.
I tell ya, this stuff is truly magic. It makes the perfect deep-fry breading, too....the one I tried for years to recreate. and many other things.
It makes a perfect dough every time with very little trouble:
I do weigh 2 lbs of flour but could easily just fill the bowl "up to about right there".
Add a palmful of Kosher salt.
"That much" starter: about two cups.
Same amount of water.
Mix it all up until it's a little bit too wet. Don't really knead it unless I want to use it right away: plenty of structure will develop from the long rise.
Dump it into a bowl and cover it with plastic. Leave it at "coolish room temp" for 6-8 hours at which time it's looking like dough and not just a lump of flour and water.
Then I like to form it into a log and just cut off hunks 6-8oz for a small pie 12-16 ounces for a large or deep-dish. More if it's a large, deep-dish.
Hand toss, place on a corn-mealed peel and go at it.
This makes the best dough or bread I have had anywhere. Just by itself it's a great appetizer. Put a few ingredients on it and it's even better.
I've been using it for a couple years now and I am still amazed every single time.....I would put this dough up against any other one, anytime.
Some folks I know love the prcess an really get into weighing and measuring and taking notes and keeping track of every variable; nothing wrong with that but it's not for me. This dough is as flexible as I am, and twice as easy.
EDIT: The flour I use is a hard red winter wheat at around 14% protein.