Quick Beer Pizza Crust: do you dare to be different?

“Great taste – less filling.”

We can only make half that famous Miller Lite claim for this tasty pizza crust.

Great taste? For sure.

Less filling?

Well, depends what’s on top, doesn’t it?

The crust itself is wonderfully light-textured. A deep-brown, crisp bottom quickly gives way to an interior filled with air pockets and tunnels.

Perhaps it’s the fact that beer steps in for the usual lukewarm water in the recipe. Like most of us, yeast enjoys a touch of alcohol.

But whatever the reason, this crust is something special – whether you make it “lite” by topping with fresh tomatoes and a touch of part-skim mozzarella; or go whole-hog with pepperoni, Italian sausage, and a blizzard of three-cheese pizza blend.

My theory is, you can never have too many pizza recipes. Like chocolate cake, or dinner rolls, or oatmeal cookies, the variations are endless. And this particular beer-based crust is just plain tasty.

Plus, let’s face it – it’s a great way to use up that can of beer your brother-in-law brought over and left in the fridge, since inevitably it’s a kind of beer ONLY he likes, and it’ll sit there in your fridge forever or until the BIL makes a return visit, whichever comes first…

With fresh tomatoes coming in, the time is ripe for Quick Beer Pizza Crust.

Here’s an ingredient I always turn to when making pizza crust: Pizza Dough Flavor. A little bit of garlic, a little bit of cheese, and a whole lot of flavor… Just 1 teaspoon per cup of flour enhances the flavor of any pizza crust.

That’s our favorite flour, King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose, on the left; golden semolina on the right.

My favorite crusts use both these flours, in tandem; the semolina adds a certain crispness, and a touch of color.

As for the beer: totally up to you.

Be aware that the more assertively flavored the beer, the more beer flavor you’ll have in your crust.

Can you make this crust without beer?

Sure. Try our Now or Later Pizza Crust, which is basically the same thing, sans alcohol.

Place the following in a mixing bowl:

2 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 1/2 cups semolina*
1 tablespoon Pizza Dough Flavor, optional
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons olive oil

*Substitute unbleached all-purpose flour if you don’t have semolina.

Add 1 ½ cups room-temperature beer.

Mix to combine.

See how rough the dough is? You could actually let it rise just like this, so long as you gave it a good, long time; dough continues to develop its gluten as it ferments (rises).

FYI, that’s pretty much the story with no-knead dough; a long rest in the fridge substitutes for kneading.

However, in the interest of time, I’m going to knead this dough. About 7 minutes using an electric mixer equipped with its dough hook should do it.

Your goal is a soft, smooth dough, one that just barely sticks to the bowl.

It’s not so sticky that it’s difficult to round into a ball, though.

Isn’t that beautiful? Looks like a full moon.

Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl or container – I’m using an 8-cup measure here – and let it rise anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours.

It hasn’t quite doubled here, but good enough; you can see the air holes. Yeast at work!

Gently deflate the dough, and divide it in half.

I’ll bake one half on a pizza stone, the other in a pan. That way, they can both bake at once, if you choose; most stones are only large enough for one pizza at a time.

Shape the dough into a round…

Then gently press and pull it into a larger round, about 10″ to 12″, depending how large/thick you want your pizza.

If you’re baking in a pan, lightly grease the pan with non-stick vegetable oil spray; then drizzle with olive oil, if desired. The oil will crisp the crust’s bottom as it bakes.

Press towards the edges of the pan. There’s not a doubt in my mind that between the elasticity of the gluten and the slipperiness of the oil on the pan, the crust will fight you as you press, shrinking back as soon as you take your hands off it.

That’s OK; just walk away.

Come back 10 minutes later, and finish pressing. The gluten will have relaxed enough that it won’t fight back.

If it does, give it another rest.

Preheat your oven to 450°F.

Now, for thin crust, you can bake immediately, as soon as the oven’s hot.

I prefer a thicker crust, so I’ve let the dough rise for about 45 minutes.

Here it is, going onto the stone.

Untopped? That’s right. I like to bake the crust a bit before adding toppings; the toppings have less chance of drying out or burning.

Bake for 5 minutes.

Remove the crust from the oven, and add your favorite toppings. I’ve opted for a simple layer of tomatoes; the cheese will come later.

Bake for an additional 15 minutes or so, until the bottom crust is crisp and the top crust is beginning to brown nicely.

Now add the cheese (mozzarella, in this case), and return the pizza to the oven for a minute or two, just until the cheese melts.

Get out any dried herbs you might like to sprinkle on top; Pizza Seasoning is always a good choice.

Remove the pizza from the oven, and IMMEDIATELY scatter a bit more cheese over the top; this will create a pretty look.

Sprinkle with dried herbs or Pizza Seasoning, if desired.

Nice looking pizza, eh?

See how that final layer of cheese adds visual appeal? Along with flavor and melty cheesiness, of course.

And here’s that light texture I was trying to describe. Sometimes a picture is worth many words…

Dig in!

Read, bake, and review (please) our recipe for Quick Beer Pizza Crust.

Print just the recipe.

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!

comments

  1. Heidi

    I have made pizza for a long time with the same recipe except the liqiid is water and there is no baking powder. What is the chemical function of the bp in the recipe when using beer? Thanks.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Baking powder adds a bit of lightness and crispness to the crust, and will have this same effect in any pizza crust recipe. Baking powder reacts with a liquid and then with the heat in the oven (hence, the moniker “double-acting”). The beer is there for flavor, and doesn’t have a specific chemical reaction with the baking powder. Happy baking! Laurie@KAF

  2. cassiesue125

    Just made this last night and it was so very easy and so good! I always use my old 10 or 12 inch cast iron skillet, heat it in the oven while I rolled out my dough. I oiled and sprinkled a little cornmeal in my hot skillet and placed my dough in with some holes poked and baked for 7 minutes, then removed and put on my toppings AND my cheese and placed my LID on my skillet, baked for 15 minutes, removed the lid and baked for 5 more minutes, cheese is ALWAYS perfect doing it this way. Then I let my pizza cool and ‘set up’ for about 5 to 8 minutes. Made a traditional pizza last night and have made a Bar-B-Q beef and cheddar cheese pizza also (the beef was leftover), Chicken is good also. So many possible combinations. Thanks, KAF for another wonderful recipe!

    Using your cast iron skillet is such a great idea. I always use mine for corn bread and scones, but never thought to use it for pizza. Thanks for the tip.

    Reply
  3. rochelle_keefer

    I just made this pizza exactly as the recipe goes and it is amazing! A great use of the tomatoes I hauled in this morning. Used a Sam Adams Octoberfest and it is so flavorful! My husband and I prefer dark beers, so I’m looking forward to experimenting with some of our favorites since so much of the flavor carries over. I’m thinking something amazing could happen with a double chocolate stout and go for dessert toppings- like chocolate ganache and salted caramel?

    Ooooh, I like the way you think, Rochelle. I made a dessert pizza awhile back with various candy bars (Reese’s cups, Snickers) chunked up and melted on top. It was quite decadent. And with a beer crust? Well, let us know how it goes – you could be onto something! 🙂 PJH

    Reply
  4. ALZCAB

    My son loves beer bread and when he saw this on FB this morning he said that’s what he wanted for supper 🙂 I was just making the dough and couldn’t get it to be “not sticky”. It is quite humid here today so I added a bit of extra flour. Also, I used bread machine yeast. Is there a difference between that and instant? Can it be mixed too much? Lots of questions, I have never made “yeast” anything with my mixer(always bread in the machine). I am off to run a couple errands……we’ll see what it looks like when I get home. I hope it turns out because it smells too good to have to do something else :/
    Sounds like it is the perfect time to check out our great yeast information page. That should answer all of your instant/active/dry/bread machine yeast questions. While you can’t overmix yeast, you can overmix dough. If your bread machine has a dough cycle, that is great for making pizza crust. By hand, about 10 minutes of kneading should do it. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  5. marjross5

    I was wondering if you can add beer to the thick crust recipe that uses Sir Lancelot Flour?
    Sure, you could try that, too! That topping looks great, too. Elisabeth

    Reply

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