Friday, May 7, 2010

Pizza on the Grill

I understand that when most people make pizza on the grill, they make pizza on the grill. With nothing between the pizza and the grill. You might think that if you're going to put a pizza stone on the grill, you could just as easily bake your pizza in the oven. And you're probably right. But there are two or three reasons that still convince me it's a good idea. Maybe you don't want to deal with the hassle of flipping the crust, but you still want a bit of that smoky, grill flavor. Put a stone on the grill. Say your boyfriend lives in a one-room cabin in the woods and doesn't have an oven and you're still determined to make pizza. Put a stone on the grill. Or if it's the middle of summer and it's a kazillion degrees out and you'd rather not fire the oven up to four-fifty. Put a stone on the grill.

Basic Pizza Dough

Adapted from Marcella Hazan

  • 3/4 tsp. active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup lukewarm water
  • 1 1/2 cups plus 2 Tbs. bread flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. olive oil
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • cornmeal for dusting the peel
  • Sprinkle yeast over 1/8 cup of the water and set aside for about 10 minutes, or until yeast is dissolved. Once the yeast has dissolved, add 1/2 cup of the flour and mix thoroughly. While still mixing, add the olive oil, salt, another 1/8 cup of the water, and 1/2 cup of the flour. Continue to alternately add the water and flour until a manageable, soft, but not sticky dough forms.
  • Knead dough for 10 minutes until soft and silky. Lightly grease a clean bowl with olive oil. Form the dough into a ball, place it in the bowl, cover, and allow to rise until it has doubled in volume, 2-3 hours.
  • Start heating the grill with the pizza stone on it about 1/2 hour before you're ready to bake.
  • Dust a peel or baking sheet generously with cornmeal. Punch down the dough and form it into a circle with a rolling pin or your hands or by any means that suit you. Place formed dough onto dusted peel or baking sheet. Put the toppings of your choice on the dough, leaving a bit of an edge.
  • If using a gas grill, turn off the fire that is directly below the pizza stone, leaving lit the fires to the sides. Using jerking movements and possibly a spatula, slide your pizza onto the stone. Close the lid and allow to bake about 20 minutes, or until the dough is a light golden brown.
This was my first attempt, naturally, and I learned one very important lesson. Make sure there is no fire directly below the stone once the pizza goes on it. If there is, the bottom is likely to burn. I'm happy to have burned a pizza so you don't have to so long as you get outside and put a stone on the grill.

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