Pizza & Hard Cider: Veggie Edition

You may have noted that my pizza and cider posts have slowed down. That is not because I don’t like pizza and cider or that I stopped making sourdough. It’s mostly because we discovered another great option for sourdough discard: crackers. Yes, I will post some recipes because sourdough cheese crackers and hard cider are exceptional together. However, we do still make some exceptional pizzas that I pair with some pretty good homemade ciders. Craft pizza and craft cider, what more could anyone want. How about craft veggie pizzas. Don’t get scared, with these pizzas, you won’t even realize they are vegetarian .

I am also still exploring alternative flours. They add different textures and flavors to the pizza dough and make some exceptional crusts for pizzas. All my crusts are based on my standard recipe, which I include for easy reference, I simply augment this recipe by adding various adjuncts or replacing the flour with another variety.

Sourdough Pizza Dough

Servings: 10-12 Inch Pizza

Ingredients:

  • 210-230 Grams Sourdough Starter
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil 
  • 1  Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 Cup Organic All-Purpose Flour
  • Water as Required

Steps:

  • Mix starter, oil, salt, and flour in a large mixing bowl by hand.  
  • Knead the dough for 5 minutes.  If too dry, add teaspoon of water.  This dough should be relatively dry.  
  • Cover and let set for 1 hour.  
  • Use or freeze.  If freezing, set the dough in the refrigerator the day before you plan to use it and on the counter 1-2 hours before you use it.  

Here are my three standard crusts depending on thickness and crunch.

  • Crumpet Crust: Add 1 teaspoon each of baking powder and baking soda to this crust along with 2 ounces of water. This creates a bulkier crust that has pretzel flavors. It’s great for heartier pizzas. Add additional flour to maintain the consistency.
  • Cracker Crust: Replace the regular flour with semolina flour, which creates a thinner and cracker-like crust. I have also found the replacing the all-purpose flour with rye flour will create a thinner crispy style crust.
  • Standard Crust: Make as outlined above for a medium thickness with some crunch and some chew.

Here is a list of the last 4 pizzas that we have made as well as the hard ciders we paired with them. For reference, we homemake most of the ingredients as well as use organic so I don’t specifically call this out. You can find many of these ingredients at your local grocery or specialty shop as well.


Espeto Pizza & Bubbles Cider

  • Barley Fennel Sourdough
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Roasted Fennel (olive oil, salt, pepper, and balsamic vinegar)
  • Sun Dried Cherry Tomatoes
  • Boneless Skinless Sardines, Wild Caught
  • Baby Arugula, Chopped
  • Parmesan Cheese, Shredded
  • Espeto Pizza
  • Bubbles Hard Cider

I found some organic barley flour so I substituted that for the all-purpose flour in my standard crust. I also added a teaspooon of smoked paprika. So what goes with a crispy and slightly licorice flavored crust? Don’t espetos pop into your mind? What are espetos? That is Portuguese for sardines. Having lived in Brazil, we have have an affinity for things linked to the Portuguese language. Learning that sardines, espetos, are a staple in Portugal, we set out to pay homage to them. Also, we couldn’t remember ever having sardines so we thought the best way experience them in the American Southwest was on a pizza with some hard cider. It didn’t disappoint. I went with one of my lighter ciders that is more like a white wine. It was the perfect reason to break out a bottle of my Bubbles Cider. You might remember that it is an experiment gone awry but in a good way. More details can be found in my post on experiments in sweetness. This is a dry champagne style cider that is bottle aged on fine lees. Find a French brut cider from Normandy or Brittany as a replacement.


Sicilian Street Pizza & Heirloom Cider

  • Double Sourdough (Use twice the oil and flour and let it rise)
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Basil, Chopped
  • Locatelli Cheese, Grated (Parmesan as a substitute)
  • Sicilian Street Pizza
  • Heirloom Cider

If it seems like we are traveling along the Mediterranean, that is because we have been staying home watching too many travel shows. During one of them on Sicily, we saw this pizza. It was quickly added to our next pizza idea list. It’s basically focaccia bread covered in homemade tomato sauce with some fresh basil and grated locatelli cheese. Yes, we found real locatelli cheese from Italy here in America. The pizza is pretty simple but, it’s pretty wonderful. I was debating what hard cider would go well with this pizza and I settled on my Heirloom Cider. Like this pizza, it’s a straight forward and simple cider. It blends a variety of American heirloom apples together to create a wonderfully complex and fruity aroma. It’s a pizza you can just keep eating along with a cider you just want to keep drinking. I would put both of them in the comfort food category.


California Veggie Pizza & Rock’n Raspberry

  • Barley Sweet Heat Sourdough
  • Olive Oil
  • Mozzarella Cheese, Shredded
  • Avocado, Diced
  • Red Pepper, Diced
  • Sun Dried Cherry Tomatoes
  • Cilantro, Chopped
  • Chipotle Ranch Dressing
  • Crushed Red Pepper
  • California Veggie Pizza
  • Rock’n Raspberry Cider: A craft cider you can make at home.

I substituted half of the all-purpose flour with barley flour and added some smoky paprika and a touch of honey. The barley gives the crust a little more crunch. The base is olive oil. The cheese goes down next and we used a good amount. We prefer to always bake our ingredients so we added the avocado, red pepper, sun dried tomatoes, cilantro, ranch, and crushed red pepper flakes in that order. The ranch is drizzled over the top. It’s a light and crispy pizza with some sweetness and some heat. There are a lot of flavors and textures happening. It’s a wonderful veggie option and you won’t miss the meat. If you do, I’d recommend a little diced bacon. As for ciders, my Rockin’ Raspberry Cider is a great refreshing pair with this pizza. Both are fresh and flavorful. I love a cider with a hint of raspberry on the nose and on the finish. If you are looking for a commercial cider, most berry adjunct ciders will go well with this pizza.


Pesto Sun Dried Tomato Pizza & Cider Lite

  • Basil Sourdough
  • Pesto Sauce (we made one from walnuts)
  • Pine Nuts
  • Sun Dried Cherry Tomatoes
  • Mozzarella Cheese, Shredded
  • Fresh Basil, Course Chop
  • Parmesan Cheese, Shredded

  • Pesto Sun Dried Tomato Pizza
  • Cider Lite Hard Cider Label

I made a basil pizza dough and so my wife started looking for pizza that would work well with that crust. She settled on this pesto, sun-dried tomato option and it didn’t disappoint. The sun dried tomatoes are sweet and the pine nuts are earthy and add a wonder texture to the pizza. It’s another example where you won’t even realize there is no meat. My wife used organic walnuts to make the pesto, which increased the depth of flavors. I paired it with my Cider Lite, which is made with Galena hop and I find to be slight earthy. Like the sweet of the tomatoes balanced against the pesto and pine nuts, the Cider Lite balances the acid of the apples with the earthiness of the hops. It cleanses the palate while melding with the complex flavors of the pizza. Even your biggest meat lover will enjoy this pizza and cider combination.


You might remember that I cook my pizzas at 500F (260C) on a pizza steel. This allows me to get a nice crunch and chew combination. It also means the pizzas cook rather quickly. You don’t need a steel or stone but if you have a sourdough starter, they make a great additional to the kitchen for all your bread baking needs. If you haven’t tried hard cider, I strongly encourage you to pair it with your next pizza. You might enjoy it enough to try making it. My book explores my cider journey and while it is focused on how to make hard cider, it also covers apples, cider history, and food. However, check out the recipe “My First Cider” located in my recipes section if you want to take a first step along your own cider journey.

I hope this post inspires you to make your own pizza and cider pairings. If you enjoy reading about cider and how to make and enjoy it, follow me.

If you are wondering, I’m not going to sell your information or bombard you with requests to buy things. It’s simply a way for me to get you copies of my blogs on weekly basis and respond if you have questions you want to ask me. As always, stay safe and drink cider!


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