Sunday 7 February 2016

Cooking with Beer: Beer Pizza

I spent last summer in the kitchen cooking with beer for my next book, the unambiguously titled Cooking with Beer. The first copies came back from the printers last week and that inspired me to cook a favourite recipe from it.

This beer pizza puts black lager in the dough and in the tomato sauce, where it gives a slightly sweet caramelised depth in the dough and some added richness in the sauce – other good beer choices include hefeweizen or dunkelweizen plus a smooth not-too-bitter porter or stout (I used Asahi Black Dry and that’s one delicious dark lager!). I topped this one with loads of mozzarella, roasted aubergine, mushroom, sun-dried tomato and basil, but the toppings are yours to pile on.

This makes four pizzas

Beer Pizza Dough
500g Tipo ‘00’ flour or strong white bread flour (plus extra for dusting)
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1 x 7g dried yeast sachets
1 teaspoon caster sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil
150ml lukewarm water, plus extra if needed
150ml Black Lager, at room temperature

1.     In a jug, combine the water, sugar, yeast and olive oil, stirring it together to get it activated. Leave for a few minutes and then add the beer – ideally you’ll have poured this out in advance to let it lose some of its fizz
2.     Pile the flour and salt onto a clean work surface and make a large well in the middle. Gradually pour the yeasty beer mix into the well, using a fork to bring it together until you’re able to hold it in your hands (add a little more water or beer if required). Knead it for a few minutes then place in a large flour-dusted bowl. Put cling film over the bowl and leave for 60-90 minutes in a warm place – it should roughly double in size.
3.     Dust a clean surface with flour. Place the dough on the surface and knead it for a few minutes. Divide into four, cover and leave for another 30 minutes in a warm place.
4.     When ready to cook, turn your oven as hot as it’ll go – around 250C – and ideally use a pizza stone or pizza tray. Then on a floured surface, roll out a dough ball until it’s about 10-12” across. Place a layer of beer tomato sauce (see below) on top and then the rest of your toppings
5.     Place in the oven for around 8 minutes or until golden and crisp.

Beer Tomato Sauce
Pretty easy, this: take two tins of good chopped tomatoes and put them in a wide frying pan. Add 4-5 whole cloves of garlic, a teaspoon each of salt, sugar and black pepper, a couple of splashes of beer, a tablespoon of olive oil and a small bunch of basil with the leaves torn. Simmer is all together, stirring regularly, until it’s reduced and thick – this’ll take around 15 minutes. Remove the garlic and set to one side and allow to cool (this can be done in advance).

Cooking with Beer is due to be released late March or early April. It has over 65 different recipes all using beer in at least one way. It’s definitely the best-looking book I’ve written – see these images below, which you can also see on Amazon – and I’m excited for it to be on bookshelves soon.

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