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Grilled Pizza

When we have a pizza party, we often make it an outdoor event and bake the pizzas on the open grill. This works better than you can possibly imagine. You don’t even have to put the top down on the grill, unless it’s a windy, cold day. Any pizza topping works, except one. Pepperoni needs heat from above. On a grill, the pepperoni sits there getting flaccid and unpleasant. Spinach and other vegetable pizzas are particularly good done on the grill.

The best way to make pizza dough is in a big, strong mixer (like a KitchenAid) with a dough hook. You can also do it, in batches, in a large food processor. You can also make the dough manually. I have instructions for both methods.

This pizza crust can also be baked in the oven. It’s especially good using a thick pizza stone, heated for a half hour in the oven before the first pizza goes on.

Pizza with capicola and mozzarella.

Pizza with capicola and fresh mozzarella, right off the grill.

  • 1 pkg. active dry yeast
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 3 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 1 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 lbs. mozzarella cheese, grated
  • 1 1/2 cups Fresh Pizza Sauce
    Click here for recipe

1. In a bowl, mix yeast and sugar into one cup of water, warmed to skin temperature (not hot!) in the microwave oven. Stir well and allow the yeast to come alive for five minutes.

2. Mixer method: Combine the flour, olive oil, and salt in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the dough hook. Add the water with the dissolved yeast and mix on the second-slowest speed until the dough pulls away from the sides of the mixer bowl. If necessary, add a little more water at a time to get a very smooth, but not sticky, dough.

Manual method: Pile the flour on a clean work surface. Make a depression in the center and add olive oil and salt. Add the yeast-water mixture into the flour, a little at a time, and mix everything into a dough. Knead well, adding a little water at a time as needed to keep the dough moist as you go. Sprinkle the dough occasionally with flour to keep it from getting too sticky. Roll dough ball away from you while, with the same motion, tearing it in half. Put it back together and repeat this a few times to get a smooth, but not sticky dough.

3. Place the dough on an oiled baking sheet or pizza pan. Cover it with a damp, clean towel, and let it rise for an hour and a half in a warm, moist place. (The inside of an oven, turned on for one minute then turned off, works well.)

4. When the dough is double its original size, punch it down and divide it into six balls. Flatten these slightly, sprinkle with flour, and place them on a pan, well apart. Let them rise again for about 30 minutes.   

5. Fire up the grill to get a medium-high heat. Roll out the dough to about 10-inch diameter. Do not make a lip at the edge. Place the dough right above the fire. Let it bake for one to two minutes, until lightly browned on the bottom. (It may balloon; this is okay.)

6. Turn the crust over and top with the sauce, cheese, and other toppings. Let the pizza bake above the fire until the cheese has melted and the sauce is bubbling–three to five minutes. You do not need to close the top of the grill. Remove from the grill with a large spatula or a pizza peel. Slice and serve immediately.

Makes six twelve-inch pizzas.

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