Molasses? Sweet. Candied bacon? Sweeter. Combine the two with beer? Sweetest.
Steve Wilkes and I began our little adventure in molasses tastiness after I brewed a Belgian-ish beer substituting molasses for candi syrup. After an initial beer with a fairly small amount of molasses turned out very well, I upped the amount of molasses in the recipe, also adding table sugar (recipe below). I challenged Steve to pair something tasty to eat with the molasses beer, and he answered with an incredible pizza, featuring molasses-candied bacon.
It’s important to note that the molasses we used is “Original” molasses from a company called “Grandma’s.” It is not black strap molasses, and it hasn’t had sulfur added. The company’s Web site says, “Grandma’s Original Molasses is created by the manufacturing of raw sugar, where the juices are boiled to extract sugar after the cane has been harvested and mashed.”
I’ve read negative reports of using molasses in beer, and I’m wondering if a sulfured version of the product had been used.
5 gal (19 L) Batch
10 lbs (4.5 Kg) Belgian Pils 4 lbs (1.8 Kg) Malted Wheat
1 lb (453 g) Cane Sugar – added 15 minutes before end of boil
1 lb (453 g) Original Molasses -added with cane sugar
Mash rest at 150F (66C) for one hour
1.5 oz (42.5 g) Hallertau Pellet Hops – 60 min. White Labs WLP 500 – 2 Liter starter
OG 1.071 FG 1.008 ABV 8.4%
1 recipe Pizza Dough (see separate recipe)
About 1/2 to 2/3 cups (114 to 153 g) Farmer’s Cheese (see separate recipe)
Caramelized Red Onions (see separate recipe)
Six slices Candied Bacon, chopped (see separate recipe)
1 to 2 tablespoons (14 g to 24 g) of herb and spice infused Olive Oil (see separate recipe)
1 Roma Tomato, coarsely chopped Handful of Arugula and Spinach mix
Preheat oven to 425 F. or 218 C.
Lightly brush infused Olive Olive oil onto Pizza Dough. Add other ingredients in this order: Cheese, Onions, Bacon, Greens, Tomatoes.
Bake on lowest rack in oven for 15 minutes. Check at 15-minute mark. Bake two or three more minutes if needed.
Allow to cool for about five minutes. Slice. Enjoy!
Caramelized Bermuda Onions
1 Medium Bermuda Onion, thinly sliced 2 tablespoons (29 g) Olive Oil
1/8 teaspoon (.60 g) dried Thyme
1/8 teaspoon (.60 g) dried Sage
1 teaspoon (5 g) Brown Sugar
A few tablespoons Beer, preferably a malty lightly hopped style
Add all ingredients to a warm saucepan and allow to cook down slowly until onions are soft and caramelized, about 30 minutes. Set aside.
Farmer’s (Ricotta) Cheese
4 cups (.94 L) Whole Fresh Milk
2 cups (.47 L) Heavy Whipping Cream
1 teaspoon (14 g) Kosher Salt
3 tablespoons (43 g) White Wine Vinegar
Mix Milk, Cream and Salt together in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and gently stir in Vinegar.
Allow to sit for about 10 minutes. The curds will separate from the whey. Strain through a colander lined with a dampened cheese cloth. After the whey has strained and the cheese is to the consistency desired, move cheese into a storage container. Use warm or store cooled and sealed for up to four days.
About 2 cups (457 g) All Purpose Flour (1 cup plus about one cup worked in later as needed)
1 teaspoon (5 g) Kosher Salt
1 packet (21 g) Bread Yeast
1/2 cup (119 ml) Beer
1/2 teaspoon (2 g) Table Sugar 1 medium Egg
1 tablespoon (14 g) Olive Oil
Mix one cup (228 g) Flour and Salt in a large mixing bowl. Set aside. Heat Beer to 100 F. or 37 C. Pour Beer into a small mixing bowl. Add Yeast and Sugar. Allow Yeast to bloom for about 5 minutes.
Beat Egg and Olive Oil into Beer/Yeast mixture. 2 tablespoons (28 g) Corn Meal.
Add liquid mixture to Flour and Salt. Fold together until a sponge dough is achieved. No need to add any more flour or knead the dough at this point.
Transfer dough to an oiled mixing bowl and allow to rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Scatter about a 1/2 cup (114 g) flour on a clean surface. Transfer dough and begin kneading and working the flour into the dough. Add more until you achieve a good pliable dough.
Roll or push out and transfer to a pizza pan that has had cornmeal lightly sprinkled over it to prevent sticking.
Allow dough to rest for at least a 30 minutes It’s now ready for toppings, and it is ready to bake.
6 slices thick cut bacon
2 tablespoons (28 g) non-sulfured molasses
2 or 3 (28 to 43 g) tablespoons beer to thin the molasses 1/8 (2 g) teaspoon or to taste hot chili powder
Mix beer, molasses and chili powder in a mixing bowl. Dredge bacon in the mixture. Lay bacon in a single layer on a broiler pan or other cooking sheet that will allow fat to drain away during cooking. Bake in a 320 degree F. (160 C.) oven for 20 minutes. Remove and cool until needed.
Note: this bacon is slightly undercooked to allow for the time it will be cooking on the pizza itself. If you are making it to eat as is, bake for an additional 10 minutes.