Who needs yeast when you have a bottle of beer in the fridge?! This beer pizza dough comes together in less than 30 minutes and will wow you with its soft, chewy texture and delicious flavor.
My mother forced me to stay in Girl Scouts all the way through junior high school, and though it may have put a strain on my social status at the time (she made me wear my uniform to school on meeting days—sash, beret, and all), it definitely prepared me for nights like tonight, when I opened the fridge to discover I was out of yeast. Normal people might have dropped everything and shlepped over to the store . . . or given up on pizza night all together.
But for better or for worse, my mother's voice was loud in my head: "Figure it out, Peg! Girl Scouts are always prepared!" I rummaged through the pantry and then returned to the fridge, and that's when I saw it. All the way in the back corner, obscured by a few bunches of kale, was a single bottle of home-brewed beer that one of John's friends had given us over a month ago.
Beer is made with yeast, I reasoned, and the amount of water I use in my regular dough recipe is about the same volume as a bottle of beer, so why not sub it in and see what happens? I did a quick Internet search, and before long I stumbled upon this recipe on Food.com, which verified my hunch. Mix together bread flour, baking powder, and salt, stream in some beer until it forms a ball, and you're all set. Just let it sit for 15 minutes (or up to 2 hours), stretch it out, and top it to your heart's content.
I tweaked the Food.com recipe slightly, adding more salt and using room temperature beer, and to test it thoroughly I baked one pizza on a baking sheet and broiled the other on the baking steel. The crust wasn't as light as those made with yeast, but it had a nice chewiness to it with just the faintest hint of beer flavor, and it crisped up perfectly in the oven, both on the baking sheet and on the steel. If I had to choose, though, I'd say that the baking steel/stone is the way to go with this crust, since it is more dense and seems to benefit from a quick, super-hot blast in the oven.
So what's the moral of this story? As long as you've got a stocked pantry and at least one bottle of beer in the fridge, you'll always be prepared . . . for pizza night, at least. Thanks, Mom. It seems you taught me well.
No-Yeast Beer Pizza Dough
- Large bowl
- Sturdy wooden spoon or dough whisk
- 3 cups bread flour dipped and leveled, plus more for dusting
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 (12-ounce) bottle or can light-colored beer (such as pilsner) at room temperature
- In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt with a wooden spoon, whisk, or dough whisk. Pour in the beer and continue mixing until a sticky dough forms and begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl.
- Dust a work surface generously with flour. Scoop the dough onto your work surface and knead it until it is smooth and elastic and no longer sticks to your hands, sprinkling with more flour as needed. Divide the dough into 2 equal pieces and form each one into a ball. Cover the dough balls with plastic wrap or a large upside-down bowl. Let rest for at least 15 minutes or up to 2 hours before using.
- Roll or stretch the dough as you would any other pizza dough, transfer it to an oiled baking sheet or floured pizza peel (if using a baking stone/steel), and top it with whatever toppings you like.
- If you're using a baking sheet, bake the pizza at 500°F for 10 to 12 minutes or until the crust is golden. If using a baking stone/steel, place the stone or steel in the bottom third of the oven, preheat to 500°F or as hot as your oven can get, and then turn on the broiler. Shimmy the pizza from the peel to the stone and broil the pizza for 5 to 7 minutes, until the crust and toppings have begun to blister.