Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Cheeseboard-Style Sourdough Pizza

The Cheeseboard is one of my all-time favorite pizza spots here in Berkeley, and so I was excited to see that Peter Reinhart had a recipe for their pizza in his new pizza cookbook. This one really hits the spot, especially if you top the pizza as the Cheeseboard does (un-sauced, lots of tasty cheeses, and vegetarian toppings). Since the recipe makes four pizzas, we did a few variations. The most authentic followed a topping recipe from Reinhart's book (recipe below): I layered the eggplant-tomato-lemon topping with Gruyere, sheep's milk feta, and mozzarella cheeses for a truly fantastic pizza that you could definitely find at the Cheeseboard! I also made pepperoni with basil and fontina; roasted banana squash with sauteed kale and creamy goat cheese; and a combo pizza with the eggplant-tomato-lemon topping and pepperoni. Yum! Check out other yeast-y goodies at YeastSpotting.

Here's the eggplant-tomato-lemon-topped pizza.

Sourdough Pizza Dough
(adapted from American Pie by Peter Reinhart)
Makes four 10-ounce dough balls

1 cup fed sourdough starter
4 cups (18 ounces) unbleached bread flour
2 tsp table salt or 3 1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 T honey or 3 T sugar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 to 1 1/4 cups lukewarm water or milk

1. Stir together the starter, flour, honey, olive oil, and 1 cup of the water in the bowl of your stand mixer. Fit the mixer with a dough hook and mix on low speed for about 4 minutes, until the dough forms a coarse ball and clears the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add more water or flour as needed.
2. Let the dough rest for fifteen minutes in the bowl, and then mix again on low speed for an additional 2-3 minutes, or until the dough is smooth, supple, and tacky but not sticky.
3. Form the dough into a ball and place it in an oiled bowl. Roll the dough in the oil to coat. Cover the bowl and let sit at room temperature for 3-5 hours, until the dough has risen by 50-100%. You can be flexible here to time things with when you'd like to make the pizza (mine rose for 8 hours in a cool room).
4. An hour or two before you plan to make the pizza, divide the dough into four equal pieces. Gently round each piece into a ball and rub each ball with olive oil. Place the balls on a large cutting board (or another flat surface), cover, and let rest until you are ready to make the mizza.
5. About 15 minutes before you shape the pizzas, gently stretch the dough balls into thick disks. Return to the cutting board. Preheat the oven to it's highest setting (500 degrees on my oven).
6. To make the pizza, gently stretch one dough ball into a large circle, working slowly and giving the dough a chance to rest if you need it. You can make smaller, thicker pizzas or larger, thinner pizzas. I make very thin pizzas with crunchy and delicious crusts.
7. Place the pizza crust onto the pan, top with your chosen toppings, and cook in the oven for about 10 minutes, until the crust is nicely browned and the cheese is bubbling. Enjoy, and repeat with the additional pizza crusts!

Roasted Eggplant, Tomato, and Lemon Topping (adapted from American Pieby Peter Reinhart)
Makes about 2 cups

1 small eggplant, cut into 1/3 inch thick slices
1 medium yellow onion, cut into thin strips
2 large tomatoes, seeded and cut into 1/2 inch strips
15-20 Kalamata olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
Finely grated zest and juice of 2 Meyer lemons
1/2 cup olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil.
2. In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients except the pepper. Mix thoroughly. Spread the mixture evenly onto the baking sheet.
3. Place the pan in the oven and roast the mixture, stirring every 5-10 minutes to ensure even cooking. When the eggplant is very tender and the vegetables are browned and caramelized, remove from the oven and scrape into a large bowl.
4. Mash the filling lightly with a rubber spatula or the back of a large spoon. Add the freshly ground pepper to taste.

This one is topped with banana squash, crispy kale, and goat cheese.


  1. I could eat pizza everyday, and your combinations sound wonderful. Great pictures!

  2. Hi, love the idea of a sourdough crust, do you buy the starter or make it yourself?

  3. Just stumbled across your blog - we love making pizza, but never thought of adding kale - creative idea!

  4. @ Tasty Table:
    I bought sourdough starter from King Arthur Flour (it's about six bucks), and it's been living happily in my fridge for a couple of months now. :)

  5. Love the idea of sourdough pizza, and your toppings sound so delicious!!

  6. I've heard gooooood things about that book!

  7. @ How to Eat a Cupcake: Yes, this is a terrific book! I've made about 4 different pizza crusts from this book and they have all turned out perfectly. :)

  8. Beautiful! I love this dough! Your pizzas look perfect!



  9. Wow, all those topping combinations sound so excellent and the pizza looks just perfect. I'm wondering if you have ever been to Pizzaiolo in Oakland? I never have but I have heard great things about it.

  10. @ Susan/Wild Yeast:
    No, I've never been, but thanks for the recommendation! I will have to get some folks together to check it out. :-D

  11. Gorgeous pizza, I love the kale topping idea :)

  12. Those are delicious-looking pizzas. I wonder though, how the heck can you measure one cup of starter? All my sourdough recipes are weighed; I can't imagine scooping it into a measuring cup--any tips?

  13. Nice looking pizza! I like the sound of a sour dough pizza dough!

  14. @ Sarah:
    Your comment made me interested, so I went back and double checked the recipe...it does just give the 1 cup measurement. :) I just scooped it out, but I think in weight it's about 8.5 ounces (though this might vary if you have a wetter or drier starter).

  15. Hi Sarah ... I've found that it helps to wet your measuring cup before measuring out sourdough starter (just run some water in, swish it around and pour it out). Hope that helps.

  16. I second the love of kale on pizza - so so yummy! I'm in Oakland for the next 3 months and really want to try Cheeseboard (and Pizzaiolo!) and keep forgetting. Thank you for the reminder.

  17. oooh yay I have a bunch of sourdough starter in the fridge! Thanks for this! Your pizzas look excellent!

  18. Thanks Sara and anonymous! I may just fiddle around till I can get the proper weight for it. :)