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Homemade Pizza and Craft Beer Party for Less than $50

Posted: by in Culinary Delights, Culinary Trends

The pizza party is not just for kids. Talking, having a few beers or some wine and making pizzas together is a totally fun, anti-stuffy way to have a great get together. If you’re part of a couple and want to get your other couple-friends to know each other, nothing’s better at breaking the ice than some creative-pizza-making and a few craft beers. It’s also great thing to do for Girls’ Night In or Guys’ (insert sport) Night, just get a few snacks and drinks on the table for when everyone’s glued to the TV. If you’re wondering how to keep it under $50, it isn’t rocket science. As host and Grand Pizza Wizard, your job is the pizza dough and sauce and to have a just a few basic toppings on hand. Ask half of your guests to bring their favorite toppings, the other half their favorite beers (pilsners, IPA, wheat, Belgian) and they’ll be plenty of everything to go around. That’s what $50 will get you.

If you want to host for 6 people and don’t want have them BYO-anything, then plan on spending about $100. If you you’re a regular cook, chances are you’ll already have some of the stuff you need like olive oil and various things you can use for toppings, and a few baking sheets. Now if you’re dedicated and want really good pizza (and think you’ll probably make pizza again), pizza stones are a worthwhile purchase. They cost around $30-$50 each.

FYI—You’re going to have to make the dough the night before! Also, 00 flour can be hard to find in some areas, so plan on going to a specialty shop for that. Yes, you can use All-Purpose but 00 is significantly better at achieving a lighter crust with bite.

The Basics

The Dough

00 Caputo Flour $10
Yeast $5
Water $0

Pizza Dough Recipe
** If you’re doing pizza for 6, make 2 batches of dough. Make batches one at a time. Want good dough? Don’t over mix and don’t stress out! Relax and the dough will be your friend.

7.5 cups 00 flour (doppio zero)
1 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
3 tsp. sugar
4 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil

Heat 3/4 cup tap water to 85 degrees. Use a thermometer to check temperature. Slowly add the yeast and whisk until combined. Let mixture sit for 10 minutes.

Instructions for Stand Mixer

Use dough hook. Add 00 flour and sugar to bowl. Mix on low for 20 seconds to combine. Turn mixer on to low. Slowly pour yeast mixture into bowl. Add one teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil and 1 1/2 cups ice-cold water. Continue mixing on low until dough forms around hook, approximately 7 minutes. If mixture seems dry while mixing, add a teaspoon of ice-cold water. Add more if needed, one teaspoon at a time. Add 2 teaspoons kosher salt and mix for 1 minute, then add 2 more teaspoons salt and mix for one minute. Divide dough into six portions. Roll into tight balls (they should be about the size of your fist). Transfer balls of dough to a lightly floured baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Instructions for Dough by Hand

Heat 3/4 cup tap water to 85 degrees. Use a thermometer to check temperature. Slowly add the yeast and whisk until combined. Let mixture sit for 10 minutes.

Add 00 flour to bowl. Add measured sugar and combine dry ingredients with a fork or whisk. Once yeast mixture has set for 10 minutes, slowly pour into bowl while whisking. Add olive oil and 1 1/2 cups ice-cold water.
When dough starts to clomp together, you use your hand to combine the ingredients. You don’t want to overwork the dough, so squeeze and knead sparingly. Test the texture. If the dough seems dry add a teaspoon more ice-cold water. If it’s wet, add a pinch more flour. Add salt in two batches and now you can really knead to combine everything into a homogenous mixture, about 10 minutes.

Divide dough into six portions. Roll into tight balls (they should be about the size of your fist). Transfer balls of dough to a lightly floured baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

The Sauce

$8

The sauce is up to you. Trader Joes has some decent, cheap options that’ll work like a charm. If I go this route, I might doctor them up a bit, maybe make one spicy batch, one regular batch. My standard “homemade” recipe is none other than a couple cans of peeled Italian cherry tomatoes which I and throw into the blender with a bit of garlic and olive oil. You can throw one or two fresh, ripe tomatoes in there too for good measure since they give a nice zip to the sauce. Then heat that mixture on the stove and add 1 small can tomato paste and salt to taste. Reduce mixture until much of the water has evaporated. The texture is right when more of the sauce wants to stick to the spoon than run off of it.

The Cheese

Shredded Cow’s Milk Mozzerella (all-natural) $8

The Real Deal– Mozzarella Fior di Latte Ovaline or Mozzarella di Bufala $5 to $10 each

Sure you can do all fresh, authentic mozzarella but it’s got a high-moisture content that doesn’t work so well on pizzas with a lot of toppings. Nowadays you can find lots of good quality, all natural mozz that comes shredded in the bag. Save the real Italian cheeses for the pizza Margherita and the pizzas with fig or arugula. Provolone is said to work well too.

The Toppings

Going with more vegetables and only one or two meats is an easy way to achieve variety and stay within budget.  One of my favorite toppings are white potatoes I’ve sliced thin (about .5 centimeter) and sautéed with a little olive oil, cracked sea salt and black pepper. Arugula, onions and canned corn are other good, cheap options too. Oven-roasted garlic, feta and olives are nice Mediterranean options and Mexican chorizo is a great way to get some spice into the mix. Remember, all you have to do is pick three or four toppings and have your friends bring more. Don’t just do pepperoni, keep it creative.

Here’s a few ideas:

Muenster $7.00
Feta $5.00
Provolone a Favorite $8.00
Pepperoni $6
Mushrooms $3
Chorizo $6
Canned Corn (2 cans) $3
Roasted Peppers (bottle) $3.50
2 white potatoes $1.50
Sweet potato $1.00
Arugula $2.50
Onion $1.00
Carrot $3.00
Ground Beef $8.00
Sausage $6.00
Olives $5.00
Prosciutto $7.00
Honey $4.00
Sea Salt $4.00
Feta $6.00
Basil $3.00
Sage $4.00
Dried figs $6.00

Bake Time:

Heat oven to 500 degrees. Once hot you can start baking pizzas. Most bake in 13-15 minutes, when edges are dark golden brown. If you’re using stones, prepare them as directed by manufacturer. Have a few baking sheets and or metal pie pans available to keep the flow going. You can use baking sheets for pizzas with gooey ingredients like honey or figs and that’ll make clean up easier.

Forming the pizza is pretty intuitive stuff. Form pizza by pushing the center in and creating a 9″ plate shape with raised ridges. Have a little flour on hand and a workstation or two and that’s all you need to do.

Bring your dough out about 20-30 minutes before you use it. You want to temper it to room temperature. Plan on one dough per person for the first go-around. If there’s a line for the oven, pizzas can wait in a cooler area (not right next to the stove).

Other Stuff to Know:

You don’t need a pizza wheel. Place the pizza on a cutting board and use a sharp, serrated knife and wear gloves! I recommend either you or one trusty friend do all the pizza-slicing.

Beers that Pair well with Pizza: Pilsners are the obvious choice but IPA, Pale Ales, wheat beers and Belgian beers are great choices. Darker beers and stouts can be great but take them on a trial-by-error basis. I’ve found pizza + beer is much easier to pair than pizza + wine which is very OK for me.

Happy Eating and Cheers to a Successful Pizza Party!



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