I was struck through the heart by one of her entries for Project Food Blog: "Sweet, Smokey, and Spicy Pizza on a Bock Beer Crust." Imagine a Heather-shaped hole in the wall as I ran to my nearest grocery store upon reading that recipe. I actually did not act upon that impulse for nearly 2 months, a fact which shames me greatly. The important thing is that, at Greg's behest, I did make the crust this weekend. While we love Bock beer, we did not have any to put into the pizza crust (and I dunno if you've looked around this weekend, but it's not worth going outside in IL). So, I used Sam Adams, which is flavorful enough to pretend like it's a Bock beer (it flounces around in Bock beer's petticoats, acting like it's a fancy lady and everything. On second thought, I might need to get out of the house...).
I want to give my verdict on this crust now and not at the end of the post. Ready? Okay.
THIS CRUST IS ABSOLUTELY FRIGGIN' AMAZING.
But for serious. It is everything a pizza crust should be and more. Even the dough before being cooked is perfect. It stretches exactly like pizza dough in the movies (like, I'm pretty sure I could've hand tossed it). It smells like yeasty perfection. The cooked crust is the perfect texture--crisp and chewy, dense and airy, and so flavorful. I cannot even put into words how pleased I am with this crust. Did I mention how easy it is if you have a stand mixer?? Well, it is. It takes no effort from you, the crust maker. But you come up smellin' like roses. It is a little yeasty miracle that you can keep in your freezer and pull out whenever you want professional tasting pizza (which, if you are me and Greg, is quite often).
Evil Shenanigans' Bock Beer Pizza Crust (from the lady herself)
For the Bock Beer Crust:
-3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
-1/2 cup semolina flour
-1 teaspoon baking powder
-2 teaspoons kosher salt
-1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
-2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast (or 2 teaspoons instant yeast)
-1 1/2 cups Shiner Bock, or any bock beer
-1/4 cup water (**or less--in my case, I didn't need any)
-Olive oil for brushing
For the herb sprinkle:
-1/2 teaspoon dry oregano
-1/2 teaspoon ground fennel
-1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
-1/4 teaspoon dry thyme
For our pizza toppings:
-1/2 thinly sliced and halved yellow bell pepper
-1/2 can of sliced black olives
-1/2 package of pepperoni
-A blend of shredded mozzarella, sharp cheddar, and parmesan
For our pizza sauce:
-1/2-3/4 of a 8oz can tomato sauce
-About 2 tablespoons tomato paste (depending on your liking for sauce viscosity)
-Salt & pepper to taste
-A mix of oregano, basil, marjoram, and granulated garlic to taste
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, with the hook attachment, combine the flour, semolina flour, baking powder, and salt.
2. In a small bowl proof the yeast, if using active dry, in 1/2 cup of beer. Once foamy, about ten minutes, add it to the dry mixture along with the remaining cup of beer and the olive oil.
3. Mix on low speed for three minutes. The dough should be fairly sticky but form a smooth ball. If the dough seems dry add the water one tablespoon at a time until no dry flour remains. Increase the speed to medium and mix for 5 minutes.
4. Turn the dough out on a lightly floured surface and form it into a smooth ball. Place in a greased bowl, turn once to coat, and cover with plastic until doubled in bulk, about 2 hours.
Look at how flippin' smooth and perfect that dough is. I wish computer monitors could be scratch 'n sniff, because the smell was incredible.
5. Heat the oven to 500 F with a pizza stone on the lowest rack of the oven for thirty minutes before you are ready to bake. (**NOTE: I don't have a pizza stone, so I just preheated the oven for 30 minutes. It was fine.**)
6. Once fermented turn the dough out on a lightly floured cutting board. Gently press the dough to degas then divide into four equal pieces (**OR, 2 pieces for a large, 'normal' sized pizza**). Round the pieces and let rest, covered, for ten minutes. (You can place any dough you don’t need in a freezer bag and freeze for up to two months at this time.)
7. Once rested form the pizza crust to your desired size and thickness by picking up the dough and gently stretching in a circle. (**NOTE: You may want to round the edges to prevent any sauce leakage.**) Transfer the dough round on a semolina dusted square of parchment on a pizza peel or the back of a baking sheet. Brush lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with the herb mixture.
8. Bake for two minutes, then remove the crust from the oven, discard the parchment.
9. Spread as much of the sauce as you desire over the pizza crust. Place your peppers first, then sprinkle with cheese. Repeat with olives, cheese, pepperoni, and your last cheese sprinkle.
10. Bake the pizza for an additional 8 to 10 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbling and the crust is crust is brown.