Monday, March 15, 2010

Emily's Kitchen in Seattle: Beer, Pizza and Meditations on Yeast

While living in Jerusalem I got into pizza making because there is not a good pizza to be found in that city. Now that a pizza stone has been introduced to my cookware family, I have been in a bit of a pizza frenzy. That, combined with an inherited bread machine, means I could make the stuff every night. Next project: making my own mozzarella. Stay tuned.

I have two pizza crust recipes that, so far, bring down the house. The first one is a winner because it doesn't need kneading or rising time - perfect for instant pizza gratification. The second one is my new favorite because it calls for beer. I swear, I am going to market it as a dating tool for women looking for husbands. What is closer to a man's heart than pizza and beer? And the two combined into one dish, topped with inches of melty cheese? Before you know it we'll all be saying, "E Harmony who...?" Top that baby with some fresh garlic and, voila, insta-aphrodisiac.

For another very delicious-looking version, check out Sasha's pizza and pizza commentary.

Instant Gratification Pizza Dough
Makes one thick crust or two thin crust pizzas

1 cup warm water, about 110 degrees
1 package yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
1 tsp. sugar/honey/agave

2 1/2 cups flour (I mix white and wheat, but do not use all wheat)
2 Tbs olive oil
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. of any or all of the following: garlic powder, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes...use your imaginative taste buds

Preheat the oven to 450.

Add yeast and sugar to the warm water, stir and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes.

If you get nervous, like I do, about getting your yeast water to be the perfect lukewarm temperature, mix 1/2 cup cold water with 1/2 cup boiled water. The yeast should proof, meaning that you should see the top layer of the mixture turning foamy and rising. If the mixture does not do this in 10 minutes, start over. It is important, when dealing with yeast, to maintain a positive attitude. I tell you, yeast knows when you're not in a mood to cook and it won't rise just to spite you. It's like a teenager: tend to it, care for it, and let it go its own way. When you turn back to it it will have met all your expectations and your heart will be warmed. If not, well, there was nothing you could have done anyway.

While ignoring the yeast, mix the flour, salt, olive oil and spices.
Add the proofed yeast mixture to the flour mixture and stir to combine. Add more flour if the dough is too wet.
For best results, let the dough sit for about 10 minutes. But if you have no patience at all, just go ahead and roll it out. Divide it into two for a thin crust result. Top with desired toppings. I like to make an improv sauce of tomato paste, crushed garlic, red wine, sugar, salt and spices and mozzarella rounds, or a white pizza topped with crushed garlic, spinach and feta.

Bake for about 12 minutes, or until the edges are crispy and the cheese is starting to brown.


Beer-and-Pizza-Lovers' Beer Pizza Dough
Also known in my house as "What am I going to do with this case of Miller High Life? Pizza Dough"

This recipe is made for bread machines, but I propose directions for a manually made crust below. However, I have not made it yet, so please, someone try it and let me know. Based on this recipe on recipezaar.

1 cup flat beer (room temperature)
1 tbs. olive oil
1 tbs. sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 3/4 cup flour (all purpose or a white-wheat blend) + about a 1/4 cup
1 package yeast (or 2 1/4 tbs.)
Spices, as desired

Enter the ingredients into the bread machine mixing bowl according to the manufacturer's instructions (with the paddle already inserted - not like the time I thought I made a whole round of dough without remembering to put it in).
Set the machine to the pizza dough cycle and go on with your day.
When dough cycle is complete, set the oven to 450. The dough may be sticky, so knead a little flour into it until it is nice and flexible. Roll it out onto the pan, top with desired toppings and make for 10 to 12 minutes, or until crust is crispy and cheese is starting to brown.

Alternatively, mix instant dry yeast in with the flour, sugar, salt and spices. Add the beer and oil, stir to combine. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for, say, 7 minutes or until the dough is pliable and not sticky. Add enough flour to sticky dough to make it smooth. Place dough in a bowl, cover and let rise for an hour in a warm, draft-free place. After an hour, or after dough has doubled in size, turn out onto the pan, top and bake. **Note: I have only tried the breadmaker version, not the manual version. Make pizza at your own risk.**


  1. No one could ever resist this one here! Love all the ingredients in there. mmm....

  2. I'm in love! ...With this pizza crust recipe!

  3. flat beer? never heard of one lasting long enough...


Related Posts with Thumbnails Share