A Cheesemongers Pizza: Goat Cheese

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As the seasons change, so do the styles of my pizzas. Warmer weather calls for lighter crusts and toppings that are more refreshing than heavy winter meals. For this week’s pizza I have decided to celebrate the warmer weather with a lighter crust focused on goat’s milk cheeses, olives, oil and baby greens.

I knew I wanted to use a fresh goat cheese and an aged goat cheese, both had to have the flavor profiles I sought but would be affordable too. Enter Capricho de Cabra and Pantaleo Sardo, fresh and aged goat milk cheeses, respectively, but more about those in a moment.

To make the dough:

  • Proof 7 g yeast in very warm water for 5 mins
  • Sift 4 cups all purpose flour in a large mixing bowl
  • Add approx. 2 tsp salt and mix into flour
  • Make a crater in center of flour, add .5 – 1 oz Di Bruno’s Classico EVOO
  • Add yeast and water to center
  • Mix ingredients, adding water as needed until dough is sticky but holds together
  • Put ball of dough into oiled bowl, cover with damp kitchen towel, let rise for 2 hours
  • Kneed dough, cut into two pieces, return to oiled bowl, cover, let rise for an additional hour
  • Kneed dough and stretch into a very thin crust, add toppings!!

Now that we know how to make the dough, we need to discuss the toppings I used and why. As I mentioned, I wanted to use a fresh and an aged goat milk cheese, this way I would have a variance in texture and flavors. The Pantaleo is salty with a very mild tang. It burns faster than the Capricho (read: lower moisture content) and grates well when chilled. The Capricho de Cabra is very creamy in taste and consistency and is also very tangy, though not as salty as the Pantaleo. I found it difficult to portion this soft, fresh cheese because it smears instead of cutting into pieces. I recommend working with this cheese when it is chilled and with a wet knife.

I rolled out my dough and drizzled on more of my favorite staple EVOO in place of sauce, then added the portioned cheese. Before baking, I put some sliced, brined Kalamata olives on top. I recommend using these olives sparingly because of the high salt content, but as with all these proportions, you must follow your heart and taste buds to find the perfect combination.

Transfer your pizza onto a preheated pizza stone, stretch the dough again by pulling the sides of the crust outwards and bake at 550°F for about ten minutes. As soon as the pizza is brought out of the oven, sprinkle freshly washed baby arugula on top; I like a lot of greens on a pizza but again, proportions are flexible here. The heat of the pizza will wilt the greens slightly, providing a perfect texture and consistency.

The best way to enjoy this pizza is to share it with close friends and generous amounts of pilsners and light wheat beers; Ouzo and Sambuca are also great matches here, if available. Keeping the crust and toppings light and refreshing is to me, the key to making satisfying summer time pizzas.