Quick Beer-Crust Pizza
Beer adds just a hint of fragrance and flavor to this quick pizza dough.
Weigh your flour; or measure it by gently spooning it into a cup, then sweeping off any excess. Mix and knead together all of the dough ingredients — by hand, mixer or bread machine — until you've made a smooth, soft dough.
Cover the dough, and allow it to rise for 30 minutes, or for up to 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 450°F with the pizza stone (if you're using one) on a lower rack.
Divide the dough in half. Shape each half into a 10" to 12" round.
Place the rounds on parchment paper, if you're going to use a pizza stone. Or place the dough on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. For thin to medium crust, bake the pizzas immediately. For thicker crust, let them rise for 30 to 60 minutes.
Transfer the pizzas, parchment and all, to the baking stone. Or place the pans in the oven.
Bake for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven, top as desired, and bake for an additional 15 minutes, until the bottom crust is crisp and the cheese is bubbly and browned.
Remove from the oven, and serve hot.
Want to experiment with different cheeses beyond the standard mozzarella? Choose those that melt well: Fontina, cheddar, Jack, provolone, brick, Gouda, and Muenster are all good candidates.
To freeze partially baked pizza crust: Bake the crust on the lower oven rack until it looks and feels set and is just beginning to brown around the edge of the crust, but is still pale on top. This will take about 8 minutes for thin-crust pizza; about 10 to 12 minutes for medium thickness; and 12 to 14 minutes for thick-crust pizza. Remove from the oven, cool to room temperature, wrap well, and freeze for up to 3 months. When you're ready to bake pizza, remove the crust from the freezer and allow it to thaw, loosely wrapped, at room temperature. Top and bake in a preheated 450°F oven until the crust is golden brown and the toppings fully cooked.