Tonight, M and I each got to have our own 12-ish” pizzas, based off of recipes for dough and sauce, from Cook’s Country magazine (the same people who do America’s Test Kitchen on PBS on Saturdays). The issue is their August/September 2010 edition, which may still be on newsstands (I always see it most prominently displayed at Whole Foods), but we subscribe to it.
This recipe says the dough makes 4 nine-inch pizzas… but we like our dough a little on the thick side so keep that in mind.
2 (14.5 oz) cans of diced tomatoes. We like the brand San Marzano, or Cento if we are in a bind.
2 tablespoons of fresh basil, chopped
2 tablespoons of EVOO
2 minced garlic cloves
1/4 teaspoon of salt (not sea-salt, unless ground up finely)
about 2.5 cups of all purpose flour
1 cup of water, at 110 degrees
1 tablespoon of EVOO, plus extra set aside to brush dough on the grill (we use a silicone brush when brushing dough since it is so sticky at first)
1 tablespoon of sugar
1 envelope of rapid-rise, or instant, yeast (1 envelope = 2 1/4 teaspoons). We tend to use Fleischmanns. Also, make sure the date on it is good, otherwise it is a waste!
1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon of salt (not sea-salt, unless ground up finely)
2 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1. Make sauce: combine tomatoes, basil, oil, garlic, and salt in medium bowl. We like to place it in a small saucepan on the lowest setting to warm it up.
2. Prepare dough: Whisk water, 1 tablespoon of EVOO, sugar, yeast in large liquid measuring cup. Let it sit 5 minutes (this prevents the need to use baking powder, lightens the crust and prevents dough from being gritty). Pulse flour, Parmesan, and salt in food processor until combined. With machine running, slowly pour in the water mixture and process until dough starts to pull away from the sides and forms a shaggy/hairy ball (normally takes us about 1.5 minutes). If your dough is coming off sticky, gradually add flour in. Flour a clean work surface and take out the dough, kneading it 3-4 times until it becomes cohesive.
3. Shape pizza: Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and dust with flour. Wax paper is okay, but know that the dough will stick to it if not floured enough!!! Divide dough into 4 equal pieces (M and I did, again, two pieces). Work with one dough piece at a time, using a rolling pin, pressing dough into a small circle, and stretch out. Transfer to a baking sheet and dust with flour. Repeat with each dough piece, and you can just stack them on top of each other, divided by the floured paper.
4. Heat grill: Meanwhile, heat your coals. Or turn on your gas grill. We use a classic charcoal Weber dome grill. Just be sure to set your grate in place, and heat your grill -covered- with lid vent open completely for 5 minutes. You want there to be a cool spot on the grill and a hot spot for cooking. Also, be sure to scrape and oil cooking grate so dough doesn’t develop burn marks too charred, and prevent sticking.
5. Grill pizza: Brush tops of dough lightly with EVOO. Peel off of parchment and place, oiled side down, onto the cool side of the grill. Grill pizza covered until sides are spotted with a golden brown, which may be easily found by lifting the sides and finding firmness with your tongs. The tops may develop bubbles, which is normal, but be sure to poke the larger bubbles (but not enough to tear all the way through the dough!!). Brush the uncooked side facing up with EVOO and flip with tongs. Top each with sauce to taste, and the mozzarella cheese. If you want additional garlic like I do, this is where I added it. I added the sauce, then the crushed garlic, then the cheese. Cook for at least 1.5-2 minutes. At this point, feel free to move pizza over to the cool side while adding your toppings. Then you can move it to the hot side to crisp up to taste.
Tips from our experience:
*It is better to have a thicker pizza than a thin pizza when grilling. You can completely destroy a pizza in less than a minute if it was too thin when placed on the grill. Likewise with fire temperature. If cooking with coals, feel free to cook down the coals to a fine gray ash on the tops of them.
*M likes Boar’s Head pepperoni, which comes in 6-ounce containers. He got about 3 ounces on his pizza, because he likes to layer the edges together.
*Don’t move the dough until it starts to firm up on the grill, or it will tear, and then you have to deal with charring.
*I kept my pizza dough warm in the microwave. But for a crisp crust, a warmed oven may be a better bet.
*Make sure you have a plate, platter, or cookie sheet to set a finished pizza on while outside grilling, otherwise you may burn it just by running in to grab something!
*I enjoy my pizza with prosciutto, pineapple, crushed garlic, bacon leftover from this morning’s brunch, oregano and heirloom tomatoes.