Joshua Knight, one-half of the pizza-making duo behind the new Long Beach, California eatery, Pizza Parlor LB, believes in the power of sourdough. “It’s like masa and a good tortilla are to a taco,” he told the Long Beach Post recently. “Naturally leavened sourdough pizza crust is a vessel for everything put on top of it.”

Knight and his Pizza Parlor LB partner, Chef Mike Ortiz, first met at Little Coyote, another Long Beach pizzeria. The circumstances were a tad awkward at first—Ortiz, the restaurant’s manager at the time, had to break the news that Knight’s pizza had been stolen as he sat there waiting for it. Knight, a seasoned restaurateur who also owns COPA, a scratch-based kitchen and specialty coffee shop in Long Beach, took the setback in stride. And the two men ended up bonding over a beer while another pizza baked up in the oven.

Knight and Ortiz eventually went on to found Modern Patina, a restaurant group, and launched Pizza Parlor LB on December 29, 2023. The night of their soft opening was so busy, they sold out and had to take a break over the weekend to make enough dough for the following week.

Related: Michael Kalanty explains how to create a sourdough starter

That’s the kind of effect a sourdough crust pizza, done right, can have on hungry people.

This photo shows a white-sauce pizza topped with fresh mozzarella, potatoes, sausage, rosemary and hot honey

Pizza Parlor LB / Instagram

Earlier this week, Pizza Parlor LB debuted a new weekly special, the Authentica (pictured above), featuring a housemade white sauce, fresh mozzarella, potatoes, sausage, rosemary and hot honey. Menu mainstays include the Blanco Sin Salsa, topped with fresh mozz, fresh mozzarella pearls, ricotta, olive oil and salt and pepper, and the Chef Mike, a seasonal red-sauce pie boasting fresh mozz, red and green peppers, Kalamata olives, dehydrated Roma tomatoes, mushrooms, pickled red onions, organic spinach, basil and tomatoes.

In a mid-December 2023 post on Instagram, Knight detailed what makes sourdough a super-powered base for any pizza. At PMQ’s request, he generously agreed to share that post with our readers. If you’re an aspiring pizza chef/restaurateur looking for a crust that will make your pies stand out in a crowded field, here’s why you should keep naturally leavened dough in mind.

This photo shows Chef Mike Ortiz tossing dough at Pizza Parlor LB.

Chef Mike Ortiz is co-owner of Pizza Parlor LB (Pizza Parlor LB / Instagram)

1. Flavor: Sourdough fermentation produces a complex, slightly tangy flavor that’s distinct from yeast-leavened doughs. This depth of flavor enhances the overall taste of the pizza.

2. Texture: Sourdough pizza crust is known for its chewy texture and crisp exterior. The natural fermentation process helps develop gluten, contributing to a desirable texture.

3. Digestibility: Sourdough fermentation breaks down gluten and other components, making the dough easier to digest for some people compared to regular pizza dough.

4. Nutritional value: The fermentation process increases the availability of nutrients and reduces the presence of phytic acid, which can inhibit nutrient absorption.

5. No added yeast: For those who prefer or need to avoid commercial yeast, sourdough is a natural leavening agent, relying on wild yeast and bacteria for fermentation.

6. Artisanal quality: Making sourdough pizza involves a traditional, hands-on approach, often associated with artisanal quality and craftsmanship.

In summary, Knight says, “Sourdough pizza stands out for its unique flavor, improved texture, better digestibility, enhanced nutritional value, natural leavening, and artisanal appeal.”



Food & Ingredients