Since the Fourth of July, pizza has been on the brain. Inspired by Clark at Full of Life Flatbread, I set out to create a wood-burning oven scenario at home without hitching a full oven rig to the family truckster.
At our last house, we had an outdoor fireplace that we retrofitted with iron racks where I tried my hand at pizza, mussels & even a pig roast.
But here at the new homestead, it’s just me and my BBQ~ and that’s o.k. by me, because with some fresh dough, a pizza stone and a few tricks you can make some kick ass pizza.
Fresh Pizza Dough
Makes 4 -16″ sized pizzas
If you have a specialty pizza place in your neighborhood, you might want to try and buy your dough directly from them. It’s usually amazing dough with no added ingredients or preservatives that you don’t have to wait for rise time, just roll, add toppings, then cook – easy breezy. On occasion, I will even grab a ball of whole-wheat pizza dough from Trader Joe’s.
1 1/4 warm water
1 packet of active dry yeast
1 teaspoon of sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt
3 cups bread flour, plus more fore kneading
1/2 cup dark rye flour (if you can’t find rye use whole wheat flour. This just gives the dough a little depth of flavor)
In a mixing cup combine warm water, yeast, and sugar and let sit for five minutes until bubbly. Gently whisk the salt and flour in a large bowl and stir in yeast mixture with a wooden spoon. Mix the yeast mixture into the bread and knead on a lightly floured surface for about five minutes…dough will be sticky, you will most likely need to add more flour from time to time. Cover bowl with a slightly wet towel (warm with hot water and ring out well) and place in the warmest part of your kitchen. For me, this is usually directly next to the stove. It will double in size in about 90 minutes.
You can also let it rise slowly in the refrigerator overnight. In the fridge, it will stay good for use up to three days. After the bread dough has doubled in size scrape from the bowl onto a lightly floured surface kneed for about 30 seconds (just to form into a nice round ball – give it a slap for good measure and then divide the dough into quarters with a knife or dough scraper.
Prepare a cookie sheet with a light dusting of flour and place the dough balls and cover with a dishtowel – I use the same one that I used for proofing the dough. Then one at a time roll out the dough into a desired shape and top as you see fit.
If you have any dough balls left wrap them in plastic wrap and store in the fridge. They should be good for up to 3 days. When you are ready to use it, pull it out of the fridge and onto the counter to bring to room temperature.
Pizza on the Grill Tips
Set you pizza stone in the middle of your grill and blast the burners on high, leave lid closed until you are ready to cook.
The hot surface area to crisp your crust is just as important as great dough and all the fixings. Preheat your pizza stone on your grill for at least 15 minutes.
Don’t assemble your pizza on the hot stone, prep it first on a pizza peel. If you don’t have a peel you can roll out the dough on parchment and then slide that right onto the hot stone. Just be sure to trim the excess paper so it doesn’t hang off the stone and burn.
Use a dusting of semolina flour on your pizza peel before putting the dough down and then slide the dough around a little before you start adding toppings to make sure it’s mobile. Semolina will also add a great crunch to the crust
Use cool or room temperature sauce and ingredients, if it’s hot the dough will get flaccid (yes, flaccid!) and be difficult to remove off your peel. Also, go light on the sauce; if your pizza gets too heavy it will turn into a goopy mess.
When sliding the pizza off the peel and onto the pizza stone it works best to use a snapping motion with your wrist (it’s all in the wrists!) this will help it slide onto the stone rather than the pizza folding onto itself.
Don’t forget that dusting of semolina or you can’t find semolina, you can substitute cornmeal, or just assemble on parchment paper, but I already said that didn’t I?
To cook, close the cover of your hot, pre-heated grill and check in at about three minutes. Rotate stone to ensure even cooking. It should take about five minutes- the crust should be golden brown.
Every grill is slightly different in temperature, so check on your pizza. Don’t leave to answer the phone or scroll through Instagram, it happens quickly.
If you don’t want to use the BBQ (but it does add great flavor!) just place the stone in your oven and crank-up the heat to 500 or whatever max temperature may be.