I've been trying my hand at using a sourdough starter instead of yeast. A lot of the artisan pizza joints and mobile set-ups seem to have gone this way.
I've only tried it a few times, but it certainly gives the base a good flavour and texture. I already have sourdough starter available as I use it in my weekly bread bake. If you haven't got any, make your own, or there's a guy on Ebay that sells it for about £2.50. At that price it's hardly worth messing to make your own. My current starter came from him (after my last one got tired)and it works well.
Here's my recipe, based on Craig's at pizzamaking.com, but tweaked a little:
Start about dinnertime of the day before you're making pizzas.
550g water at 28C 1000g 00 pizza flour Mix in an electric mixer on slow with dough hook until no dry bits, cover and rest 10 mins Add 30g active starter and mix in. Now add 27g salt and mix that in. Speed up mixer a bit and knead until dough is developed - maybe 6 mins? Transfer to a bowl, cover and store at 18-20C
Dough should have risen a bit and bubbled slightly.
Cut off dough pieces of a weight of your choice. I use 185g to make smallish pizzas. Shape into balls, dust with flour and store covered, either singly or in boxes/trays. Store at 24C until pizza making time - usually late afternoon/early evening for us. By then the balls should be quite soft and plump. Shape into pizzas as normal.
Note that my hydration is pretty low at 55%. This suits the Italian Dallari 00 flour I am using. If you are using UK milled 00 flour you might need to up this to 60-62%.
I found that a good sourdough freezes and comes back very well. It seemed logical since a lot of yeast goods and breakfast goods are available frozen to the catering trade and produce a good product when cooked, so why not sourdough?
I made a very large batch of dough (about 30 Kgs)for a party and had 60 x 200 gram balls of dough left in the fridge so we put them on trays between cling film and froze them, when they were frozen we took them off the trays and put them in plastic bags. Then we could take out the number we wanted, defrost and use. The end result was brilliant.
On a similar vein; I've always had trouble with dough management with the interior of my (domestic) fridge looking like something from Quatermass. While I've managed some 60+ pizza evenings I've never been too happy with bulk processing dough, until I went to assist a friend who is more commercially scaled. His dough sat in perfect balls in a pre-cooled polystyrene box until it was needed, no merging, no forcing off the lid, just ready to use. Turns out he made the dough up three days earlier and let it rise, knocked it back and then let it rise until the yeast was exhausted before balling it up, whereas I've always balled it up after the first knock back, simple when you think about it.
Yes, it was a WFO, a Mezzo76, from the Stone Bake Co, it was a lot of pizzas, although about 15 were just garlic butter and parmesan flats, a couple of balls got trashed but the rest were brilliant, this happened at the end of last year, started at lunchtime and went on into the early hours. we let everyone make their own (with a bit of guidance), but the cooking was the "Chefs" job which we took in turns. Good party. (and a lot of wood).