New York-Style Sourdough Pizza Cubano

In this fun, innovative recipe, sourdough aficionado, cookbook author, and blogger Bryan Ford gives the classic Cuban sandwich a pizza treatment. The recipe yields enough dough for eight pizzas, so if you’re not feeding a lot of mouths we recommend parbaking whatever topped pizzas you won’t immediately eat. You can freeze them and be comforted knowing that the best frozen pizza of your life awaits you.

Prep
45 mins
Bake
10 to 15 mins
Total
1 day 10 hrs 5 mins
Yield
8 pizzas
New York-Style Sourdough Pizza Cubano

Instructions

  1. To build the levain: Combine all the ingredients in a tall jar or medium bowl. Cover and leave in a warm place (72°F to 75°F) for 3 to 4 hours, or until doubled in size. You can use your levain immediately or refrigerate it up to 12 hours (or overnight) to use the next day.

  2. To make the dough: In a large bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer combine the water and salt, stirring until the salt’s completely dissolved.

  3. Stir in 400g of the levain you built. You’ll have some left over; discard or save for another use. Slowly incorporate the flours; adding flour a bit at a time allows it to hydrate fully, shortening the rest (or autolyse) before you start kneading.

  4. Once you’ve added all the flour, cover the bowl and let the dough rest for 10 minutes.

  5. To knead the dough by hand: Place the dough on a clean unfloured work surface and use the palm of your hand to push it in a forward motion to the point that it’s almost tearing. Pull the dough back onto itself, rotate it, and push with your palm again.

  6. Once you get to the point where the dough is coming together and getting tight, you may need to let it rest for 5 minutes before continuing to work it. Remember that the key to making dough is to watch it. If you feel you need to add more water or flour, add a tablespoon at a time.

  7. You'll know your dough is ready once it’s smooth and bouncy. You should be able to squeeze it and pull it without any tearing. This will take about 20 minutes.

  8. To knead the dough in a stand mixer: Fit your mixer with the dough hook attachment and turn the mixer to medium-low speed. Knead until the dough becomes smooth and bouncy, about 10 minutes.

  9. Let the dough rest (bulk ferment) until nearly doubled, about 4 hours.

  10. To make pizzas: Divide the dough into eight pieces (225g to 235g each) and use your palms to round them into balls. Place the balls on a parchment paper-lined tray, baking sheet, or into a large lidded container. Cover the balls loosely and let them rest (proof) at room temperature for about an hour.

  11. Wrap the balls of dough well with plastic, or put the lid on the container. Place the dough in the refrigerator for 24 to 48 hours.

  12. About 2 hours before you’re ready to bake pizza, remove the dough from the refrigerator and leave it at room temperature.

  13. About 1 hour before you’re ready to bake pizza, place a rack with a baking or pizza stone in the top third of your oven and preheat the oven to 500°F.

  14. Flour your work surface liberally (semolina is a good choice here, but any flour will work) and place one of your dough rounds in the center. With your fingertips, push from the middle to the outer edge of the dough. There are various techniques you can use after you've done a preshaping on the work surface. The simplest is to take the dough and hold the edge with your fingertips. Gently press toward the outer edge and rotate in a circle, making sure you’re stretching it out as you go along, until the circle is 10” to 12” in diameter. 

  15. Place the shaped pizza onto a piece of parchment, or a semolina or cornmeal-dusted baking peel. 

  16. Spread a thin layer of mustard onto the center of the pizza, avoiding the outer crust, then add the cheese, followed by the pork and ham. 

  17. Transfer the pizza to the hot stone and bake until the crust is as dark as you like and the cheese is bubbling, 10 to 15 minutes.

  18. Remove the pizza from the oven, top with the pickles, and enjoy.

  19. Alternatively, bake the topped pizzas for 5 minutes, remove them from the oven, and allow to cool completely before wrapping well and storing in the freezer. 

Tips from our Bakers

  • If you prefer to add mustard to the pizza after it's baked, don't spread it on the base of the pizza.  Instead, squirt mustard from a squeeze bottle over the pizza after you've pulled it out of the oven.

  • Bryan develops his recipes by metric weight, so for best accuracy we recommend measuring by weight. That said we recognize that some bakers prefer to work with volume measurements, so here are the volume (and imperial weight in some cases) approximations for the ingredients in this recipe:  

    Levain  
    - 7 tablespoons ripe (fed) sourdough starter 
    - 1 3/4 cups King Arthur ‘00’ Pizza Flour 
    - 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons water  

    Dough
     
    - 2 cups + 7 tablespoons water, warm
    - 5 teaspoons salt
    - 1 3/4 cups levain
    - 8 1/4 cups King Arthur ‘00’ Pizza Flour
    - 1/4 cup medium rye flour
    - 3 tablespoons King Arthur Premium 100% Whole Wheat Flour 

    Topping 
    - 3 tablespoons spicy mustard
    - 3 tablespoons Swiss cheese, shredded or thinly sliced
    - 3 1/2 ounces cooked pork, chopped or shredded
    - 3 1/2 ounces ham, chopped 
    - 1 dill pickle, diced 

  • You can buy precooked pork or use up any leftover cooked pork you might have in the refrigerator (tenderloin, chops, shoulder, etc...). Otherwise, Bryan suggests the following method for cooked pork: 

    - In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup (50g) olive oil with 1/4 cup chopped garlic and 3 tablespoons each chopped rosemary and sage. Set aside 
    - Set a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Salt and pepper a 3 to 4-pound pork shoulder as desired, then rub it with the olive oil mixture.
    - Sear each side of the pork (3 to 5 minutes per side) to get a nice brown color on the outside. Add mojo Criollo (to taste) and water to cover the pork. Chop a whole onion with the skin on into 4 pieces and add to the pot, along with 4 bay leaves.
    - Bring the liquid to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and cook the pork for 6 to 8 hours. Check every 30 minutes or so to see if you need to add more liquid during the process.