Beer essentials


By Jan Bilton

There’s nothing like a long, cool beer for quenching the thirst during summer. But beer can also be eaten. It’s a great flavour enhancer for many dishes including marinades, stews, breads and even desserts.

Beer was first brewed from a variety of cereals such as wheat, oats, rice, millet and sorghum. It was used for braising and poaching as well as a leavener and flavour for breads and cakes.

Some recipes that incorporate wine can also be prepared with a beer. The flavour will be more malty and toastier. Just choose a beer that you enjoy — as with cooking with wine, you should never use a beer that you wouldn’t drink.

Beer dough pizza
Beer pizza with prawns


Beer adds deliciousness to the dough.

Beer Dough Base: 3 cups high grade flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoon sugar

1 cup ale

2 1/4 teaspoons all-purpose active yeast

3 tablespoons milk

1 tablespoon olive oil

Prawn Pizza Topping: 4 tablespoons tomato paste or onion marmalade

1 cup diced green capsicum or (thawed) peas

2 cups shredded tasty cheese

7-8 small-medium tomatoes, sliced

24 cooked shelled prawns

1/2 cup finely grated parmesan cheese

3 teaspoons dried oregano

drizzle olive oil

Place the flour, salt and sugar in an electric food mixer. Stir until well combined.

Warm the beer slightly then stir in the yeast. Stand in a warm place for 5 minutes.

Pour into the flour mixture and mix using a dough hook until it forms a dough ball.

Tip onto a lightly floured bench. Knead until smooth and not sticky. Place in an oiled bowl. Cover with film. Refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight to rise.

Punch the dough down and allow to rise until doubled in size. Divide the dough in half. (One half can be returned to the fridge overnight, if required.)

Pat or roll into two 30cm rounds and place in two lightly oiled pizza pans.

Preheat the oven to 220°C. (The dough will rise a little while preparing the topping.)

Spread the bases with the tomato paste or onion marmalade then top with remaining ingredients in the order listed.

Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the dough is golden and the base is cooked. Serves 6-8.

  • Jan Bilton is a Cambridge-based, professional food writer. For more on beer essentials see her website here.

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