Sunday, December 16, 2007

Stout Pizza for the Ultimate Pizza Party Joy

Stout? Say what?!? Yes, stout. The rich, dark, chocolatey beer—the kind I actually make from scratch from time to time. Add stout beer to your homemade pizza dough instead of water, and you—and the lucky loved ones you serve your stout pizza to—will be amazed. Wow, that's delicious crust, they will exclaim. The stout is the secret ingredient no one will be able to place, but it lends a savory yumminess that makes the crust irresistible.

Last night, my four-year-old and I made stout pizza dough and then had a "pizza party" and each composed our own small pizza. Hate to tell you, but it was the best darn pizza I have ever tasted. And believe me, I have made plenty of not-so-great pizza before in my life. In fact all of it—until now. Here's the secret recipe:

Stout Pizza Dough

1 cup stout beer (drink the remaining few ounces from the bottle while you are prepping the dough!)
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons turbinado sugar (or brown sugar, if you don't have it)
1 teaspoon salt (I prefer Vege-sal--it has less sodium and plenty of veggie flavor--it's more like vegetable broth powder)
2 1/2 cups unbleached wheat flour
2 teaspoons yeast

If using a bread machine, toss all the ingredients in and be sure to choose the Dough cycle. After two hours, your dough will be finished.

If making by hand, pull out a couple of tablespoons of the stout beer and warm it up lightly in the microwave (it should be warm to touch and not at all hot). Mix in the yeast until it dissolves. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl, kneading for about 15 minutes or until the flour is well-mixed and the butter is harmoniously spread throughout the dough. Let rise until double in bulk.

Oil your baking pan or pans with olive oil. Sprinkle some flour over the dough before handling. Work the dough lightly between your hands to spread it out into the shape of the pan. Lay the pizza dough onto the pan, and spread it to the edges. Let it rest for 15 minutes, and then drizzle on a bit of olive oil to coat.

Pizza Party
  1. Assemble your ingredients in different small bowls
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit
  3. Put a spoon into the marinara sauce
  4. Be sure to grate plenty of mozzarella cheese (4 cups or more).
  5. Let each party participant add sauce, leaving a rim around the pizza for the crust
  6. Each persons composes their own toppings
  7. Lastly, cover the pizza with cheese
  8. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and slightly brown

Suggested Toppings
  • Sliced bell peppers
  • Pickled jalapeno peppers (raw jalapenos are great, but may be too strong for most folks)
  • Mango chunks (you will not believe how FANTASTIC mango is on pizza)
  • Pineapple chunks
  • Ham strips
  • Pepperoni
  • Ground beef
  • Fried tofu
  • Sliced portobello or white mushrooms
  • Artichoke chunks
  • Ripe olive slices
  • Sundried tomatos
  • Fresh tomato slices