Friday, August 7, 2009

Pizza on the grill

So have you done pizza on the grill? I’ve been at it for several months now and continue to get excited each time I start mixing up a batch of pizza dough because the results have been so incredible. I use a stone and the result has been beautiful free form pizzas with crusts that are golden crunchy and bubbly. The real deal.
I put the baking stone on the grill cold (rinsing the stone first with water) and then bring the temp up gradually. It usually maxes out about 600 degrees, but that seems hot enough.
I assemble the pizza on a wooden pizza peel dusted with cornmeal and then slide it on to the hot stone, close the lid and wait a few minutes. The crust bubbles up beautifully and browns evenly.
I’m sure there must be some concern with heating the stone directly on the rack. Will it crack? So far so good. The stone doesn’t show any signs of stress. Mostly what I’ve read suggests not doing it that way. The indirect method (placing the stone over the area on the grill that is not being directly heated) is most often sited and then there are those who throw the dough right on the grill. In my opinion, neither of these techniques produces a satisfactory pizza.
It could be that heating the stone slowly has been the key so far. Also, I leave the stone on the grill to cool down, overnight if necessary.
Give it a try! You won’t be sorry. Being able to create pizza of this quality without heating up the kitchen is a definite bonus on these hot summer days, too.

Basic Pizza Dough
Yield: 3 lb. dough

1 T. dry yeast
1/2 t. sugar
2-2/3 C. warm water
2 T. olive oil
7-1/2 C. unbleached flour
1/4 C. whole wheat flour
2 t. coarse salt

Proof yeast for 5-10 minutes using 1 C. warm water and a pinch of sugar, until yeast dissolves and liquid appears creamy.

Add remaining water and 1-1/2 to 2 C. flour, including whole wheat. Beat this well (100 strokes!) until it is smooth and soupy. Let stand for 10-15 minutes until bubbly. Add the salt and olive oil and stir in rest of the flour by the cup, until dough is still and slightly sticky.

When the dough begins to form a mass that's thick enough to hold its shape, turn out on to a lightly floured surface and let rest. Clean and oil the bowl you were using. Knead dough ( 5- 8 minutes) and return to the oiled bowl. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise until double.

After first rise, form the crust or punch down and let rise again. Can be refrigerated up to 2 days. If you refrigerate, punch the dough down after it has been chilling for about 40 minutes and put in plastic bag.

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