Wednesday, 18 April 2012


Sourdough pizzas are quick and easy to make. They have a crisp, chewy texture well-suited to pizzas, especially for moister toppings such as this leek and labneh mixture. Leeks fried slowly in olive oil become softly supple, with a sweetness that combines and contrasts so well with the sour, creamy labneh (see below for more on labneh, which is available in Middle Eastern shops; substitute with ricotta or mozzarella if preferred). 

First, begin the sourdough pizza base.  Prepare this in the morning, leave it in a warm place to rise, and it will be ready in the evening for cooking.

Combine all the pizza ingredients to form a very moist dough. 

250g    plain white flour
150g    sourdough starter (50% flour, 50% water)
1          beaten egg
70g      runny yoghurt
20g      olive oil
5g        sugar
5g        salt

Turn the dough out onto a work surface and knead for at least ten minutes; it is quite wet and sticky initially, but will get smoother as the gluten develops.  Return the dough to an oiled bowl with plenty of room for expansion, as it is very vigorous, cover and leave in a warm place for at least six hours or until needed.

An hour or so before you wish to eat, turn on the oven to a high heat: 250 degrees (or 500 degrees F, Gas Mark 10).  Place a baking tray or cloche into the oven to heat.  This amount of dough makes two 25cm pizzas.
6         large leeks
2tbs    olive oil 
1tsp    salt 
200g   labneh 
Now prepare the leeks. Wash them thoroughly and cut into  coins (not too thick; keep plenty of green leaf as well as the white stems). The leeks should be softened gently in olive oil over a very low heat; stir frequently to avoid burning or browning.  
Only add the salt at the end of the cooking time to prevent the leeks becoming mushy and colourless. This should take 20 - 30 minutes, but may take longer.

Knock the pizza dough down.  Divide the mixture in half and turn out the first half onto a well floured surface, adding more flour on top of the dough.  Gently shape it into a round and place it on the heated tray.  Spread half the cooked leeks across the surface of the pizza and than plop teaspoonfuls  of labneh on top of the leeks.  
Bake for 20 - 30 minutes or until the base is crusty and brown.  Eat while still hot or warm.

Labneh (or labne) is a Middle Eastern salted, strained yoghurt with the sourness of yoghurt, but more like cream cheese in texture.  The word labneh meaning "white" is from the same root as the name for Lebanon. Unlike other cheeses, it doesn't melt when baked, which suits this particular pizza.


  1. Wow, this looks and sounds totally delicious. And I love an excuse to seek out a new ingredient. Although my brother cooked a similar Middle Eastern style flatbread/pizza thing last night and used Greek yoghurt instead of the labneh, adding it after cooking - and that was pretty damn good. Might have to make this to check out how good a substitution it was!

    1. You can find it on Mill Road at Al Amin. It's also good with Middle Easter salads. Thanks for the comment