Fresh Curd Pizza

Fresh Curd Pizza

I am always looking for new and creative ways to cook with cheese.  The opportunities seem to be endless for this wonderful food.  Once in a while though, a new idea simply blows my mind.  I am continually in awe of the wonderful creativity people have in cooking, and art, and life.  Sometimes these ideas can be so simple and delightful that I wonder why I never heard of it before.

John brought an idea to my attention recently that was ingenious in it’s simplicity.  One of the guys working on some construction here at the farm asked for a couple of pounds of Squeaky Cheese so that he could make pizza crust.  John’s reaction was “Pizza crust? Are you kidding?  Ruth needs to try this!”  So John ran over to tell me about it.  My reaction was, “Pizza crust? Are you kidding me?  I need to try this!”  You can tell we’ve been married a long time.

Fresh Curd Pizza

Heath came to our little kitchen at the Cheese Shop and made Fresh Curd Pizza for us. Heath is the tallest person ever to be in our kitchen.  I had a difficult time paying attention to his cooking because I was focused on making sure he didn’t hit his head on the oven hood.  He just laughed at me as I fussed like a mother hen.

Heath cooking fresh curd pizza
Heath is focused on the cheese frying while I am worrying about how close his head is to that oven hood.

He never did hit is head, and he made a delightful pizza.  An added benefit for those who are watching their gluten intake, it’s gluten free.

Fresh Curd Pizza

Recipe compliments of Heath’s wife Fawnda!

  • 1 lb squeaky cheese (more or less depending on the size of your pan)
  • Pizza toppings of your choice
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spread the cheese curds in an even layer in a nonstick pan, break up the larger pieces if necessary.  Cook on medium high heat until the bottom is golden brown and the curds are starting to meld together.
  3. CAREFULLY flip the cheese over and continue to cook until both sides are a deep golden brown.
  4. Slide the cheese onto a pizza stone and cover with sauce and toppings of your choice.
  5. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until the toppings are done.

A couple of tips to help with a successful pizza experience:

  • Cheese curds, at their freshest, have a higher melting point so they take longer to cook.  I found that 3 to 5 days old was optimal for melting.
  • For even melting, use a nonstick pan that is smaller than the burner.
  • Blotting off the excess oil with a paper towel keeps the pizza from being greasy.
  • Eat it while it’s still warm.  It becomes chewy as it cools.
Melting cheese curds
Make sure that the cheese cooks evenly, all the way to the edges.

Stuffed Crust Pizza with Grilled Vegetables

Grilled Pizza

We love to grill at our house.  We grill all year round but at our old house, the patio wasn’t covered so it was usually John’s job.  John would stand out in the rain, sleet, or snow (okay, maybe not sleet) and manage the grill.  I am more of a fair weather griller.  We recently moved and now we have a covered patio so I will go out anytime to fire up the barbecue.  My mother-in-law thought it was pretty funny that I was out on the patio grilling while the manure spreader was spraying an aromatic concoction of fertilizer a few yards away.  I considered it part of farm life.

Grilled Pizza is so easy, quick, and flexible that it’s my go-to dinner in a hurry.   We always have something kicking around the kitchen that I can throw on a pizza.  We also ALWAYS have cheese in the house!   If I’m not in a rush, I make my pizza extra special with a crust stuffed with cheese.  The more cheese the better!

Stuffed Crust Pizza with Grilled Vegetables

Pizza Dough (below)

  • 1 cup Italian Blend Gouda (more if you like it extra cheesy)
  • 1 cup Mozzarella
  • Pizza sauce of your choice
  • Assorted vegetables suitable for grilling.  Our favorites are:
    • Red Onion
    • Peppers
    • Zucchini
    • Eggplant
    • Mushrooms

After the pizza dough proofs, divide it in two equal portions.  Roll one portion out to approximately 10 inches in diameter.  Spread Italian Gouda over the center, leaving about 2 inches around the edge free of cheese.  Roll out the second portion of dough to 9 inches in diameter.  Place the smaller round over the cheese, wet the outer edge of the bottom round and roll over the top round.  Crimp to form a tight seal.

Stuffing the crust with Gouda

Slice the vegetables of your choice and place on the grill over medium heat until browned (use a grilling grate for the mushrooms or you may lose them to the fire).  Grills will vary, ours takes about 10 minutes to cook the veggies so I prepare the crust while the vegetables grill.  Turn the vegetables over, turn the heat down to low, and place the pizza, upside down, on the grill, over indirect heat.  I use a pizza paddle to get the pizza on and off the grill without burning myself.  Our grill has three burners so I cook the vegetables over the two outside burners and leave the center burner off, that’s where I cook the pizza.  Cook about 10 minutes or until the vegetables are done and the pizza is starting to brown.  Flip the pizza over (a pizza paddle works best for this, but a flat cookie sheet works well).  You may need to poke a few holes in the dough to release the steam.

Pizza on the Grill

Spread the sauce on the pizza and spread with mozzarella.  Move the vegetables from the grill to the pizza, I recommend long handled tongs for this.  Grill over indirect heat set to low for 10 – 15 minutes or until the bottom of the pizza is brown and the cheese is toasted.

**Timing on this is critical to get the right amount of browning on the vegetables without overcooking.  If you have trouble controlling the temperature of your grill, you can oven roast the vegetables and just grill the pizza.

Stuffed Crust Pizza
Grilled Stuffed Crust Pepperoni Pizza is wonderful too!

Pizza dough
(from Food Network)

  • 2 to 2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 -ounce package fast acting yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

In a large bowl whisk together 3/4 cup of flour, yeast, sugar, and 2/3 cup hot water (130 dgrees F). Stir in the oil, 1 1/4 cups of the remaining flour, and the salt and blend the mixture until it forms a dough. Knead the dough on a floured surface, incorporating as much of the remaining 1/4 cup flour as necessary to prevent the dough from sticking, for 5 to 10 minutes, or until it is smooth and elastic.

Alternatively, the dough may be made in a food processor. In a food processor combine 3/4 cup of the flour, yeast, and sugar. With the motor running, add 2/3 cup hot water (130 degrees F), and turn the motor off. Add the oil, 1 1/4 cups of the remaining flour, and the salt and process the mixture until it forms a ball, adding more water, 1 teaspoon at a time, if it is too dry, or more flour, 1 tablespoon at time, if it is too wet. Knead the dough by processing it for 15 seconds.

The dough, prepared by either method, may be used immediately, but for better flavor it is best to let it rise once. Put the dough in an oiled bowl and turn it to coat it with the oil. Let the dough rise, covered with plastic wrap, in a warm place for 30 minutes, or until it is double in bulk, and punch it down.