If you’re looking for the perfect homemade pizza dough, you’ve come to the right place. This make-ahead beer pizza dough gives you a crisp, thin crust with those delightful air bubbles and just the right amount of chew. The beer adds a depth of flavor, and who doesn’t look cooking with beer? Plus, you can make this dough three days ahead, and it freezes beautifully, so you’ll always have homemade pizza dough on hand for that impromptu pizza night or easy entertaining.
Now, if you’ve never made pizza dough, the process may seem intimidating, but I promise this recipe is plenty forgiving and simple for even the novice bread-maker. Matt and I are huge fans of homemade pizza nights, so I’ve made this beer pizza dough recipe many times over, and it always comes out perfect. I have no doubt anyone can successfully put together this make-ahead pizza dough.
A KitchenAid mixer makes the process even easier, but you can still make this beer pizza dough recipe without one and still get a tasty crust. You’ll just have to hand-knead instead, which is simple and actually therapeutic. As much as I love my mixer, sometimes I like to ditch the KitchenAid just to get my hands in there and really feel the dough.
I also highly recommend using a pizza stone when baking the crust. A pizza stone helps draw out moisture, and it gets much hotter than a sheet pan does. This results in a far superior crispy crust.
How to Prepare Make-Ahead Beer Pizza Dough
Let’s get started, shall we? We begin by mixing together chilled bread flour, salt and instant yeast. Why bread flour? Bread flour has more protein than all-purpose flour, which gives us more gluten power for a chewier crust. Now we add olive oil and cold beer and mix just until it all comes together and forms a shaggy dough. A lot of bread recipes call for a warm liquid, but because this crust slowly ferments in the refrigerator, we want cold beer in this case.
For the beer, I especially love using a good amber ale, like this Pretzel Assassin from Denver Beer Co. Amber ales are malt-forward beers with a bread-like quality and just a touch of sweetness, so they’re perfect for this make-ahead beer pizza dough. If you don’t have access to Pretzel Assassin, just about any amber ale should do. Fat Tire from New Belgium Brewing is widely available and a great option.
If you’re using a KitchenAid, attach the dough hook and knead on speed two for about five minutes. For those kneading by hand, flour your countertop or a pastry board and place the ball of dough on top. Now fold the dough ball in half and press down with the heels of your hands. Give the dough ball a quarter turn and repeat until the dough is elastic and tacky. This should take about seven minutes but judge by the state of the dough.
We now divide our dough into five even pieces — about half a pound each — and shape them into balls. I like to weigh my dough balls to make sure they’re the right size and definitely recommend it. A half a pound of pizza dough will give us a 10-inch pizza crust, which perfectly serves two people as an entree or about four people as an appetizer.
Cover each ball with plastic wrap and let them sit in the refrigerator for a minimum of overnight, but it’s ideal if we can give our dough three days to age. The flavor and texture improve if you give the dough more time to ferment, so try to plan ahead if possible.
How to Hand Stretch Pizza Dough
After we give our dough some time to ferment, we’re ready to start making pizza. About two hours before we plan to make our pizza, we take our dough out of the refrigerator, place it on a floured surface, gently press into a 5-inch circle and cover with plastic wrap. This not only makes the dough easier to shape but it also serves as the dough’s second rise, so don’t skip this step.
Once the two hours are up, we’re ready to shape our dough, add the toppings and bake. To shape our dough, we hand stretch it. Please do me a favor and don’t use a rolling pin to shape and flatten the pizza dough. That will push out all those delightful air bubbles. Hand stretching is easy and fun, so put down the rolling pin.
We start by using the beds of our fingers rather than our fingertips to press into the dough, working our way to the edge. Don’t press your fingers too much in the center. We really want to focus on working away from the center to the edge for a better structure. Otherwise, we’ll break down the middle of the crust and end up with limp pizza.
As we stretch the dough, we can also pick it up on the edge and let the rest of the dough hang down. That allows gravity to work its magic. We keep moving our hands along the edge to uniformly stretch the dough. Our dough is perfectly hand stretched once it hits 10 inches in diameter. You could keep going and stretch the beer pizza dough to 12 inches, but I find there’s more structure to the crust if you keep it to 10 inches. If any holes form in the dough, just pinch them back together.
How to Bake Make-Ahead Beer Pizza Dough
Now we move our crust to either a corn meal-dusted pizza peel or parchment paper on the back of a baking sheet. Despite making a lot of homemade pizza, I don’t have a pizza peel. Very sad. But corn meal-dusted parchment paper works well, so I’m not crying too hard.
We add our toppings, brush the edge of the crust with an egg wash and place the pizza on our stone that’s been preheating in a 500-degree oven. If you’re using parchment paper on the back of a baking sheet, I like to pull out the oven rack so that the baking sheet is even with the pizza stone, grab the edge of the parchment paper and smoothly glide the pizza over to the pizza stone and then bake it for two minutes.
After two minutes, we remove the parchment paper by holding the edge of the crust with an oven mitt while sliding out the parchment paper with the other hand. Parchment paper can catch on fire, and we’re using a blazingly hot oven, so we don’t want the parchment paper spending too much time in there.
After our pizza finishes baking, we give it a few minutes to cool and set and then dig in for one tasty homemade pizza night.
How to Freeze Make-Ahead Beer Pizza Dough
After the pizza dough has had a chance to age in the refrigerator for three days, you can freeze the dough balls you don’t plan to use right away. They should last in the freezer about three to six months. Simply wrap each dough ball individually with plastic wrap and store them in an air-tight zipper freezer bag. And that’s it. Easy, huh?
Typically, I thaw my pizza dough by placing it in an air-tight container with the plastic wrap in the refrigerator overnight. But sometimes I’m forgetful or those last-minute engagements come up. In those cases, you can leave the frozen pizza dough ball wrapped in plastic on the counter for an hour or two. Once it thaws, store it covered in the refrigerator until you’re ready for it.
If you need a quicker thawing method, you can also place the frozen pizza dough in an air-tight zipper bag and submerge it in a bowl of warm water. Your pizza dough should be ready to go in about 15 minutes. Just make sure water doesn’t seep into the bag. Honestly, I can’t tell you how many times having frozen pizza dough has saved me, and I’m sure you’ll find it as handy as I do. 🙌
Perfect Pairing for Make-Ahead Beer Pizza Dough
Ultimately, the perfect pairing for pizza really comes down to your toppings. If you asked my dad, he’d tell you pepperoni and sausage are the only acceptable pizza toppings, but he’s wrong. (Sorry, Dad! ❤️) Pizza is a beautiful blank canvas for so many toppings, and they all command their own pairings. That said, I’m happy to give some general pairing ideas.
- Pepperoni: Double IPA or American brown ale for beer; chianti or shiraz for wine.
- Sausage: Belgian pale ale or dunkel for beer; zinfandel or syrah for wine.
- Margharita: Hefeweizen or pilsner for beer; rosé or chenin blanc for wine.
- Vegetarian: American wheat ale or kolsch for beer; sauvignon blanc or unoaked chardonnay for wine.
- White pizza: Witbier or pilsner for beer; Champagne or pinot grigio for wine.
- Mushroom/truffle pizza: doppelbock or stout for beer; chardonnay or Burgundy for wine.
- Pesto and chicken: Biere de garde or tripel for beer; sauvignon blanc or vermentino for wine.
If you love pizza as much as I do, I hope you try your hand at this homemade make-ahead beer pizza dough. I’m sure you’ll find this recipe surprisingly simple yet delicious. Please let me know how you enjoyed this make-ahead beer pizza dough recipe in the comment section and don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter. You can also catch me on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter.
Looking for More Pizza Ideas? Try These Burrata and Bubbles Recipes.
- Prosciutto and grilled peach pizza with pesto
- Mexican beef pizza with corn and green chiles
- Coq au vin pizza
This make-ahead beer pizza dough gives you a crisp, thin crust with those delightful air bubbles and just the right amount of chew. The beer adds a depth of flavor, and you can make this dough three days ahead. This make-ahead pizza dough also freezes beautifully, so you’ll always have pizza dough on hand for that impromptu pizza night or easy entertaining.
4 ½ cups bread flour, chilled (see note)
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon instant yeast
¼ cup olive oil
1 ¾ cups cold amber ale, foam dissipated
Cornmeal for dusting
1 egg yolk (see note)
1/2 tablespoon water
- In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, salt and instant yeast until combined. If using a stand mixer, use the paddle attachment and mix in the oil and cold beer on a low speed until everything combines and forms a shaggy dough. If mixing by hand, lightly oil a wooden spoon and mix until you get that shaggy dough.
- For those using a stand mixer, attach the dough hook and knead on speed two for about five minutes to create a smooth, elastic, tacky dough. If kneading by hand, turn the dough into a ball shape onto a floured surface. Fold the dough in half and push down with the heels of your hands. Give the dough a quarter turn and repeat until it becomes smooth, elastic and tacky. This should take about seven minutes, but take as long as you need to get the dough to that smooth and tacky stage.
- On a floured surface, divide the dough into five even pieces. Each piece should be about 1/2 pound of dough. Round each piece into a ball and cover in plastic wrap. Store the dough balls in a zipper bag and place in the refrigerator at least overnight or up to three days for best results. Freeze the balls you don’t use in a freezer-safe zipper bag with the plastic wrap.
- Two hours from when you plan to bake the pizza, remove the dough ball from the refrigerator and place on a floured surface and gently press into a 5-inch flat circle. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for two hours.
- About 45-60 minutes before baking the pizza, place a pizza stone in a cold oven and set the oven to 500 degrees. You want to heat the pizza stone with the oven to prevent cracking. If you don’t have a pizza stone, though recommended, turn a large baking sheet upside-down and use that as your baking surface. For the baking sheet, preheat in the oven for only 30 minutes.
- Hand stretch the dough using the bed of your fingers rather than your finger tips to pat the dough outwards toward the edge. Don’t pat in the center of the dough, or you’ll get limp pizza. Really focus on staying outside of the center and work toward the edge. After you work the dough, grab the edge of the pizza and lift it in the air. Allow it to quickly hang down and keep rotating the pizza crust through your fingers to allow the rest of the pizza to have a chance to hang. Do not use a rolling pin to shape and flatten. The dough is stretched when it’s 10 inches in diameter. If any holes form, pinch the dough back together.
- Coat a pizza peel or the back of a parchment paper-covered baking sheet with cornmeal and place the hand-stretched dough on top. Adjust the shape if necessary. Add desired toppings. In a small bowl, beat together the egg yolk and water and brush onto the crust.
- If using a pizza peel, slide the pizza onto the stone and bake for eight to 10 minutes. If using a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, pull out the oven rack to make the baking sheet even with the pizza stone. Grab the edge of the parchment paper and smoothly glide the pizza over to the stone and bake it for two minutes. After two minutes, remove the parchment paper and bake for another six to eight minutes.
- When the crust is perfectly browned, remove from the oven and transfer to a cutting board. Let the pizza sit for three to five minutes to set and cool and cut. Enjoy!
- To chill, measure the flour and place in the freezer for 15 minutes.
- If you don’t want your crust more of a light brown rather than a dark brown, use the whole egg instead of just the egg yolk.
- To freeze the dough, cover in plastic wrap and store in a freezer-safe zipper bag for three to six months.
- Adapted from Peter Reinhart’s Napoletana pizza dough recipe.
- Category: Main Dishes
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: Italian
- Serving Size: Half of 10-inch pizza crust
- Calories: 240
- Sugar: 0
- Sodium: 1
- Fat: 3
- Saturated Fat: 1
- Unsaturated Fat: 1
- Trans Fat: 1
- Carbohydrates: 33
- Fiber: 2
- Protein: 7
- Cholesterol: 0
Keywords: make ahead pizza dough, beer pizza dough