Grilled Pizza Dough

Save Time With Pre-made Dough or Crusts

Many customers came into my pizza shop to buy raw dough to grill or bake. Your local pizzeria might also sell dough for this purpose. Trader Joes sells terrific fresh pizza dough that grills up beautifully. Pillsbury sells decent pizza dough that tastes great grilled.

Frozen bread dough is a little different. It grills more like bread than pizza crust. It chars nicely with grill marks, but comes out softer because it has no cornmeal, and because the ratio of yeast is lower. I have also grilled pita bread, and used it as a small crust for pizza, which works well too. A prepared crust, such as Boboli, works if you grill both sides first to crisp it.


Thicker Crust Variation

Stir 1 tablespoons dry milk powder into the yeasted water. Adding dry milk powder creates a thick crust, more like those served at traditional pizza parlors. This Sicilian-style crust has a crisp outer layer when grilled, and will be softer than the thin-crust version. When you grill thicker dough, use a slightly cooler fire, and grill for a few minutes longer. This way the outer crust does not burn before the middle of the dough cooks through.
I prefer using unbleached flour for my pizza dough because bleached flour has chlorine agents that remove nutrients such as beta-carotene from the dough. These natural nutrients add flavor, color, and more nutrition to your pizza crust. A little whole wheat flour results in a more robust and chewy crust. It also makes the dough easier to handle on the grill. Up to 25 percent of the flour could be whole wheat. Any more than that, and the dough becomes too dense, heavy, and wont rise enough. This recipe is easily doubled.

Ingredients:
cup warm water
1 packet active dry yeast (about 2 teaspoons)
teaspoon sugar
1 cups unbleached flour
cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons cornmeal, preferably white, plus additional for the pan
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus teaspoon for the bowl

Makes: two 12-inch (30 cm) pizzas

  1. Pour the warm water into a small bowl or measuring cup. (If the water is too hot, the yeast will die. If too cold, it will not activate.) Add the yeast and sugar and stir until the yeast dissolves into a smooth beige color. Let it stand on your counter for about 5 minutes to prove that the yeasted water is active. A thin layer of foam will appear at the top, indicating that the batch is good.

  2. Kneading with a stand mixer: Add the flours, salt, and cornmeal to a 4- or 5- quart (4 or 5 liter) standing mixing bowl. Use the dough hook attachment on the lowest speed to mix the dry ingredients. Add the yeasted water and the 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Mix on the slowest speed to allow the ingredients to come together. You may need to scrape down the sides with a spatula. Then move to medium-high speed and knead for 2 minutes. The batter should form a ball, unless its too wet or sticky. If so, add only enough flour to prevent it from sticking. The dough should come off the sides cleanly and form a ball.

    Kneading with a food processor: Measure all of the ingredients into the bowl. Use the plastic blade made especially for dough. (The metal blade may tear the dough to pieces.) Use a pulse action until the dough comes together. Continue to pulse the dough in quick bursts for about 3 minutes. This technique keeps the dough from overheating.

    Kneading by hand: Measure the flours, salt, and cornmeal into a large bowl. Add the yeasted water and the 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Mix well, stirring with a strong spoon. Lightly flour a clean, dry countertop. Form a ball of dough, place it on the counter, and press down with the palm of your hand. Fold the dough over itself and press again. Continue to roll and press the dough for about 8 minutes until the dough is smooth. (You will feel the dough change. It will soften and become more elastic.) Add only enough flour to prevent it from sticking.

  3. Put the remaining teaspoon of olive oil in a medium bowl. The dough will be sticky, so flour your hands before picking it up, and place it in the bowl. Turn it over several times until it is coated in oil. This prevents a crust from forming on its surface as it rises.

  4. Cover with plastic wrap, and place in a draft-free, warm place, 70 to 80F (20 to 25C), for 2 hours, until it rises to almost double in appearance.

  5. Chill the dough in the refrigerator overnight, or for 1 hour to firm it up. Since this dough is slightly sticky, chilling the dough makes it easier to roll out. Chilling it overnight gives the dough more flavor and texture. Dough will keep in the refrigerator for 3 days.

Note: This recipe makes two crusts. If youre planning to prepare only one pizza, grill the second crust anyway, because it will keep better than dough. Crusts keep in the refrigerator for 3 days, or for up to 3 months in the freezer. Then youll be ready to grill pizza anytime. You can even cheat by cooking the pizza in the oven. Try 400 (200C) for 12 minutes, and check toward the end to avoid burning. Put the frozen crust right onto the grill. It will only take a minute to thaw. Or defrost it in the refrigerator or at room temperature; it will thaw quickly, within a half hour.

   
 
Copyright 2008 All Rights Reserved