I have seen people grilling pizzas on cooking shows for ages, but it seemed pretty intimidating... until I tried it. I've been making pizza at home for years, and always just used my oven and it would turn out okay. But not great. And then I grew some balls and decided to head out to the grill.
There are a ton of benefits to doing pizza this way. 1) You can get your grill way hotter than your oven, usually. Ovens don't like being 500- 600 degrees... but a grill will do just fine. 2) It cuts back on the cooking time by a lot, since you can cook it so much hotter. 3) You will not heat up your kitchen, which this summer especially, is a pretty big deal. Even if you make pizza in the winter, having your oven so high for so long makes you feel like you're in a sauna.4) Making your pizza yourself means that you can completely customize it to you... for example, I can't eat real cheese (I know, seriously, it's the worst.) so I can just make that substitution without some teenage kid on the other end of the telephone line messing it up. And kids love putting their own toppings on, too. They are way more excited to eat their veggies if they can add it to a pizza themselves. 5) (And most important) It gives your pizza a super amazing flavor that you just can't replicate. You get nice blackened grill marks, and the edges get a bit burnt and yummy... sounds weird, I suppose, for a pizza crust, but really is ideal. Trust me!!
Step 1: Start by making some dough.
Making your dough is awesome. But it is time consuming, so if you don't have that much time, totally buy either frozen balls of pizza dough if you can find it, or I bet if you went to your local pizza place and enticed them with some $$, they would give you some. But here's what I use:
- One packet of quick-rise yeast
- One cup of warm water, plus a few tablespoons as needed
- A pinch of sugar
- 3 1/3 cups of flour, either all purpose or whole wheat. Both work. (In the pictures, I used whole wheat)
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 Tablespoons Olive oil.
- Pour your packet of yeast into the warm water. Add a pinch of sugar (the yeast feeds on this, it sounds silly, but the happier you make those little yeasty friends, the more bubbly and good your dough will be) and let it sit for about 10 minutes, until it's foamy. Make sure that your water is not too hot, usually I just get it as close to body temperature as I can.
- In a large bowl add your flour and salt. Add in your oil and yeast/water, and mix it with a hand mixer until it's totally combined and starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl and clump together into one big clump. If it seems a bit dry, add some water little by little... don't go crazy. It's easier to add a little more water than somehow take it out.
- Roll it out onto a floured surface and knead for about 4-5 minutes. Go until it's pretty elastic and smooth.
- Form the dough into a large ball, and place it in a bowl that has some olive oil in it. Oil the top of the dough, too, and place it in a warm spot with a towel over it. In the winter, I may turn the oven on warm and stick it in there, but since it's August, you can set it pretty much anywhere.
- I usually let this rise for about an hour or so, and then knead it once more. When I knead it this time, though, I usually work in a ton of minced garlic. I've also put in basil and chopped up sundried tomatoes... all very good ideas.
- Once that's kneaded and good, I divide it into two balls, and cover them in oil. Then I throw them right back in the bowl I had them rising in before (if they are both covered in oil they won't really stick to each other) and let it go for an hour in a warm spot.