My family has a new holiday tradition that we’ve enjoyed the last couple years – Christmas pizza! This year we took some inspiration from the famous Trappist beers of Belgium and the Netherlands. Here’s a little recap from the Mother Sponge holiday baking laboratory…
Instead of a wild yeasted sourdough starter (A.K.A. the “mother sponge”), I infused the dough with some Trappist Ale Yeast from White Labs.
A lazy pizzaiolo’s best friend, the stand mixer.
Shaping the dough balls. We made three 10″ pies per the Cheeseboard Collective Works recipe… gotta make sure we had plenty of leftovers.
The dough was more dense than my usual sourdough mix… the yeast probably needed more time to get the dough to rise. Next time I’ll make a new starter with the Trappist yeast and give it plenty of time to reach full strength.
Tossing the pies! The dough may have not risen as much as I would have liked, but it made stretching and tossing the dough really easy.
Our favorite family recipe is a “New Mexican” pie, with roasted poblano chiles, corn, pine nuts, goat cheese, mozzarella, and cilantro. Nothing like 70 degree San Diego weather for a camp stove session on the front porch!
We don’t have a wood fired oven (yet!), but a pizza stone helps to finish the bottom of the pie to get a nice balance of crispy and chewy. If you were curious, that beautiful tea kettle was designed by Sori Yanagi, and you can get one at Halcyon Tea in South Park (it’s our workhorse for tea & coffee).
The Cheeseboard usually tops their pizzas with Italian parsley, but the New Mexican pizza calls for something more complimentary to roasted chiles, and cilantro delivers.
Here’s one of the pies, fresh outta the oven. Much thinner and mild than my usual tangy sourdough, but still incredibly tasty. That bottle of Chimay Grande Reserve snuck into this meal through mere coincidence as a stocking stuffer, but rounded out our Trappist inspired Christmas feast beautifully.
The finishing table, where the pies were showered with fresh chopped cilantro, avocado oil (from Bella Vado), and kosher salt.
A big thanks to White Labs for providing the yeast for this experiment! If you brew beer at home (or wine), check them out. We’ll report back when we try a few of their liquid yeasts for more baking and homebrewing adventures in 2012.
From our family to yours… we hope you’ve had a scrumptious holiday thus far. Cheers to a tasty New Year!
Photos courtesy of Stacy Kelley.