Thursday, April 14, 2011

Pizza - Beer and Brats with details on a Beer Bread Pizza Dough Formula

Look close...

Can anyone see the subtle subliminal product placement in the pizza?

Does it help if i tell you that the crust is a modified beer bread pizza dough recipe?

10 extra points if you can name the product... Anyone???

Maybe this picture helps, a little clearer view of the subtle subliminal product placement...

OK, maybe this will help... A couple of weeks ago, the very good folks at FOODBUZZ sent me an offer I could not refuse.  One of my favorite beer producers offered a few select bloggers the opportunity to create a recipe using their product.  Since I have cooked more than once with beer, as well as already being a fan of this particular brand, it was a no brainer.  So, thanks to Foodbuzz and...

The good people at New Belgium Beers, makers of a personal favorite drinking beer of mine, Fat Tire Amber Ale, I decided to make me a beer themed pizza!

Now do you see the subtle product placement???

See the strips of mozzarella with the hub in the center???

Maybe it helps if you squint a bit, down a couple of bottles of Fat Tire, and you can picture that FAT bicycle TIRE embedded in the pizza!  I figured it was the least I could do considering that (here comes that legal disclosure part) The good folks at New Belgium Beer (along with the equally good folks at Foodbuzz for setting the "deal" up) reimbursed me for the beer I used and served the day I made my specialty pizza.  That's right, under the heading of, "It's Good to be ME!", FREE BEER!

This would be a wonderful opportunity to test something I have been reading lately.  That is that a beer in the dough will add great body, flavor and a wonderful crunch to pizza dough.  And sure enough, it did.  I adapted a recipe I read on the King Arthur Flour Website.  It came out WONDERFUL!  Actually, this is the best tasting crust I have made for the Pizza 2011 Project.  That's right again... It took a fourth of the way through the year, but I honestly have a new favorite "go-to" pizza dough recipe.  It comes together fast, the rise time is comparatively short (only 1 hour when in a warm place) and the distinctive flavor adds a nice kick.  As always, when you cook with alcohol, the actual alcohol cooks out.  So even your Friends of Bill or my Baptist mother can enjoy the taste without the guilt.  If you want to argue, did you know that cooking Vanilla actually has a higher alcohol content than scotch.  So, if you ever add vanilla to your frosting that does not get cooked, you could be serving your Baptist mother a shot of booze in every cupcake (well, I exaggerate, but you get the idea... more actual alcohol in a vanilla frosted cupcake than in this pizza dough with a full bottle of beer added (and the alcohol cooked out))

OK... let's see what I did...

Here's the details on the Beer Pizza CRUST

2 1/2 cups all purpose Flour
1 1/2 cups Semolina Flour (can substitute 3/4 cup yellow Corn Meal and 3/4 cup "regular" flour)
1 TBS Smoked Paprika
2 tsp Instant Yeast
1 tsp Baking Powder
2 TBS Olive Oil
1 1/2 cups BEER!
NOTE: the beer needs to be warmed to @100 degrees.  This starts the yeast doing what it does during the rising (proofing) stage.

And, could not be easier...

  1. Mix the dry ingredients.  I use a stand mixer, but of course, mixing by hand has it's zen like charms.
  2. Add the Olive Oil and the entire 12 ounce bottle of beer
  3. Mix and need well for at least 5 minutes.  Longer if mixing by hand.  the dough will be slightly tacky, but not so wet that it does not hold it's shape.
  4. The dough needs to rise (proof) for at least an hour, possibly 2.  It depends on where it is set.  I like to pre warm my oven on it's lowest setting.  Then I open the door and allow the initial heat to leave.  When I put the bowl with the dough in the oven (turned off now), it is the perfect environment for any dough to proof.  Slightly warm, no breeze.
  5. So, form the dough in a ball, put in a large bowl, coat the dough with just a slim layer of Olive Oil, cover with plastic wrap and pop in that now about 100 degree oven for 1 to 2 hours.  Until the dough has doubled in size.
  6. These amounts will make 2 thin crust pizzas, 3-4 cracker thin crust pizzas or in this case, one LARGE thick crust Sicilian style pizza.  The dough will freeze, or if you plan to make more pizzas within the week, it will keep in the refrigerator.  Be sure to allow the dough to warm to room temperature prior to making the next pizza.

And a note on the beer...

When I went beer shopping, I saw that New Belgium has introduced a new beer (to me).  Here's what their website says about their MOTHERSHIP WIT... "organically-produced beer, Mothership Wit Organic Wheat Beer elevates the zesty Wit or White beers of Belgium. Our far-flung Beer Rangers affectionately refer to our Fort Collins brewery as the Mothership, a name that conjures images of earth shot from space and the interconnectivity of it all. Mothership Wit is brewed with wheat and barley malt, as well as coriander and orange peel spicing resulting in a balance of citrus and sour flavors held in suspension by a bright burst of carbonation."  Did you read that carefully?  Not only the usual wheats and barley found in beer, but also Coriander (Cilantro) and citrus.  Sounds perfect to flavor almost anything when you cook with beer.  So, I saved my much loved Fat Tire bottles to drink while eating my pizza and used the Mothership Wit to make and flavor the dough.

OK... While the dough is rising, I work on the sauce, the sweetened caramelized onions and slice the brats...

About 2 hours before serving time, I start on the sauce...

2 can (14 ounces) diced tomatoes
1 small can tomato paste
1 cup shitake mushroom buttons, cut into thin slivers
1/2 cup red wine
4 cloves garlic
1 cup Pecorina Romano cheese (melts great on liquid)

Combine everything in a sauce pan and simmer for 30 minutes. Then take your handy hand mixer and blend to a thick paste.

Next up is to caramelize the onions...

I just rough sliced one sweet onion and separated the rings. I then cut all those rings in half. I melted 2 TBS of butter in a small saute pan, added the onions and 2 TBS Brown Sugar, mixed well with the butter and allowed them to simmer on medium heat for about 30 minutes (stirring occasionally).

And now... time to make the pizza...

 First up, the dough... Punch down the dough.  If making a thin crust, divide in half and save a portion (or make 2 pizzas)!  If you are making a cracker thin, divide in 3 or 4.  Today I am making a thicker Sicilian style.  I spread the dough by hand (on a piece of parchment paper).  I made sure there was a thick edge.  Added a couple tsp of Extra Virgin Olive Oil and brushed that around the dough, making sure the thick edge is well covered.  Salt and pepper the pizza now.  Allow this to proof for 30 minutes in this form before adding any toppings.  During this 30 minutes, preheat the oven and a large pizza stone to 500 degrees.

 And now, time for the BRATS!  Honestly, what's the logical topping for a beer dough pizza than brats... beer and brats, just rolls off the tongue.  I used a flavored brat, cheddar and jalapeño.  I sliced them very thin.  A Sicilian pizza has more sauce and more toppings than it's thin crust Neapolitan cousin.  I used 5 precooked, sausages, plenty to fill the pizza with this topping!

 OK... finally time to make it look like a pizza...

I want to brag on a cheese find.  Cappiello Scamorza cheese is an excellent pizza cheese. easy to slice thin, low moisture content (one of the reasons my crusts crisp up so nice), mozzarella combined with a hint of provolone for a stronger cheese taste. I add the cheese first, a thin layer between the crust and the brats. If you do not line your pizza with the slices of cheese, the grease from the brats will make your crust soggy.

 And now, time for the sauce.  Again, Sicilian style has more sauce than you might think is correct.  So, 2 cans of tomatoes, makes plenty of sauce.nice and thick, flavored with wine and sweet shitake mushrooms.  Just layer it over the cheese!  



Brats and 

More brats...

Lay em on thick!

 And onions... 

I chose to use caramelized onions (sweet) for this pizza to contrast with the jalapeño infused brats (heat).  It is rarely a good idea to have just a heat or just a sweet item in your pizza.  It's always better to try to balance the heat and sweet tastes.

See... toppings, toppings and more toppings over a thick bed of luxurious sauce and cheese!

Add a bit of decoration.  The Cappiello Scamorza Cheese is perfect, as it is not a runny melting cheese.  It melts, but it does mostly stay in one place.  You can use the cheese to write a message (Happy Bar Mitzvahs, Irving (make a BIG pizza if you want to write a lot).  Or, in this case, make a FAT TIRE! 

Slide in the oven for 10 minutes at 500 degrees.  After 10 minutes, drop the temperature down to 350. and cook for another 10 minutes.  The stone stays HOT (500 degrees), continuing to cook the thick crust, while the toppings stay hot but do not over cook.

Beer, Brats and Pizza - A natural fit!

Thanks New Belgium.  You can send me free beer anytime you like!



  1. Of course you made my blog roll cut! As one pizza whore to another - I love your style of cooking, sense of humor and will look the other way at your excessive use of onions!

    Bookmarked - I am going to be making a brat beer pizza this weekend - thanks for the inspiration Dave! :D

  2. Love this! I'll be posting a pizza venture I done recently, mixed mushroom with tallegio garlic and thyme, simple but way tasty!!

    Keep up the good work!

  3. I've always been a firm believer in beer WITH pizza, no reason why one shouldn't have beer IN pizza - and a gorgeous looking fat tire it is! Now I need pizza!

  4. Oddly enough, I'm not a Fat Tire fan (I know, I must be weird). However, I always appreciate free beer of good quality and that is New Belgium. Lucky you! I'll be making your pizza crust tonight. Thanks for the inspiration!

  5. I think that you have just made a lot of college students really really happy. And medical students. That crust sounds AMAZING!

  6. Ok, I was staring too hard at the details of the pizza to see the tire at first. I was thinking something was in the pizza when the image WAS the pizza, lol. Cute one.

    I like Fat Tire and have used it a few times for cooking, it has the perfect body for that. And beer bread dough? One of those, "Why didn't I think of that?!" type ideas. Nice pie, dude.

  7. Yum! Just found your amazing blog and am a new follower!
    - Jessica @

  8. Aside from the pics of that pizza looking fantastic, I love the joy you get out of trying new things and the excitement with which you share them. I'm definitely going to have to try this!