Posted by: A Part of the Solution | August 8, 2010

Grilled Pizza Party

I worked on this dough for two years worth of Friday night Pizza Nights at my house in Takoma Park. I got it to where everyone likes it. And it works well on the grill, as well as on a bakestone or a cookie sheet. 

Grilled pizza starts with the dough. Start it as early in the day as you have to in order to allow the dough to rise three times before shaping. This recipe scales, and scales. Don’t be afraid to do the math.

All Purpose Pizza Dough

This makes about four 10″ grill pizzas, 3 bakestone pizzas, or 2 extra large cookie sheet pizzas

1 1/2 cups warm water

1 TBSP dry active yeast, or instant, or 1/2 a cake compressed

1 TBSP sugar

1 TBSP salt

3.5 oz olive oil

4 1/2 cups (22.5 oz) all purpose flour, plus extra for kneading and conditioning dough (you can substitute 1/2 cup semolina flour, cornmeal, rye or whole wheat if you want even more depth of flavor and texture)

Let yeast bloom in warm water for five minutes. Measure salt, sugar and oil into stand mixer mixing bowl, or a large bowl for mixing by hand. Add the yeast mixture to the bowl and stir gently but thoroughly (power 2-3). Begin adding the flour and stirring it well in. When two cups of the flour have been added, beat the dough for eight minutes until very smooth and stretchy with a pronounced fermented smell. Add the rest of the dough and knead on ppower 4-6 for five minutes or hand knead for 10 minutes.

Let the dough rise, covered and out of a draft– 78°F is optimal time stretches longer as the temperature drops, and becomes shorter when it’s hotter. When it has doubled in size in about an hour and a quarter, push it down all around and let it rise covered once again. This time it will take only an hour. Each time subsequently that you push it down and allow it rise again will take less time–this practice also delvelops the more complex, in a good way, character of the dough.

Now divide it and shape it to your ends. I always oil the cookie sheet before spreading the dough on it. Ditto the dough before it goes onto the grill. With the bakestone, cornmeal, or durum semolina serves the purpose.

These are the toppings we used last night on the eight pizzas we served:

2 Onions sauteéd in olive oil

10 Baby Bella Mushrooms ditto with a little salt to draw out their water

8 clusters of basil, torn

6 lbs heirloom tomotoes, skinned and concasseéd, drained with salt in a colander several hours, further squished when applied to the pizzas grilling on their second sides.

Capers

2 TBSP chopped garlic

12 black olives torn or chopped coarsely

2 TBSP toasted pine nuts

12 TBSP roasted bell pepper cut in large chunks after skinning

2 hungarian wax peppers and 1 cherry bomb, deseeded and cut thinly

4 young lambsquarters (no more than 10″ high), leaves stripped and rinsed and dried

3 oz thinly sliced pepperoni

2.5 oz finely grated parmesan cheese

20 oz fatly grated fresh mozzarella

And then we started combining and designing pizzas well into the full dark of the evening.

Have a big barbeque, half running hot with coals or gas and half without the coals or with the gas on low. Oil the dough round and flip it oiled side down onto the grill on the hot side. In three minutes, slide it to the cool side. Give it two minutes. For both steps, cover the bbq. Paint the pizza with oil, flip it so as to leave it on the cool side, add the toppings you want and cook it covered for four minutes. Move it to the hot side for a good finish–about 1 to 2 minutes depending on your heat. Allow it to rest thirty seconds before slicing it up and handing it around.

Finish the night with slices of cold watermelon, or other chilled melon slices.

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