Spring has been coming and going around here lately. She shows her pretty, sunny face for a few days, then beats a hasty retreat for a few more, leaving chilly, gray rain in her place. Luckily, Spring has been visiting mostly on weekends, which gives us all a chance to revel in her warmth.
And when the weather turns warm, I love to cook and eat outdoors. Way back in January, when we were still firmly in the midst of winter, I saw this post from Lottie + Doof about Jim Lahey's pizza crust.
At this point in my story, I should probably tell you that although I had heard of them, I had never actually made - nor seen anyone else make - grilled pizzas. But once that thought took hold of me, it wouldn't let go. My desire to make homemade pizzas on the grill was only stoked (pun intended) when I saw Lahey's wood-fired pizza featured on Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations. So I waited. And waited.
Finally, two months after I first saw the pizza dough recipe, opportunity knocked. The weather had turned warm, it was a beautiful, breezy Sunday, and we had invited a few of our kids' friends and their parents over for an impromptu play date/dinner party.
Now I'll let you in on a little secret about my husband and me: we call ourselves the "last minute couple." Why? Because while we love being social, we are terrible at planning. We always - always - end up inviting people over at the last minute. Which can be challenging in terms of cooking. But not with this pizza dough recipe. Want to have some friends over in a few hours for dinner? No problem. One of the best things about the recipe is its simplicity. You basically dump all the ingredients into one big bowl, let it nap on the counter for a couple hours, then stash it in the fridge until you're ready to grill.
Oh yeah, and about those pizzas? "Phenomenal." "You've got to give me the recipe." "So good." "I think this is the best pizza I've ever had." I'd say they were definitely worth the wait.
Pizzas on the Grill
These pizzas were simply out of this world. We've made them several times in the last few weeks, and everyone absolutely loves them. I think I've unintentionally spoiled my kids away from ever eating pre-made pizza crusts again. As an added bonus, you really can't screw them up. Forgot to oil the grill? No problem, as long as it's super-hot, they won't stick. Left off the cheese? No worries - these pizzas taste so amazing, no one will even notice. My only dilemma is what toppings to add the next time we make them - which won't be soon enough.
2 cups bread flour
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 packet instant yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
1 1/4 teaspoons Kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon sugar
1 1/3 - 1 1/2 cups room temperature water
extra-virgin olive oil
In a medium bowl, stir together the dry ingredients. Add the water and mix with a spoon until blended. If the mixture seems dry or if there is excess flour at the bottom of the bowl, add more water a tablespoon at a time until the dough comes together. There should be no dry spots.
Brush a little olive oil on one side of a piece of plastic wrap. Use it to loosely cover the bowl, olive oil side down, and let the bowl sit at room temperature until the dough has doubled in volume (about 2 hours). Transfer covered bowl to the refrigerator until you are ready to make the pizzas. I found the risen dough easier to work with after chilling for an hour or two.
Heat the grill to high. Meanwhile, make the pizzas. Liberally flour a large, flat cutting board (no grooved or raised edges, or your pizzas won't slide off). Remove dough from the fridge. Pull out a glob of dough, about the size of a small baseball. Place on the board and dust with flour. Pat or roll the dough to make a small disc. Flour your hands, pick up the disc, and stretch and turn the disc with your hands until it is very thin - almost transparent. Don't worry if the pizza is not perfectly round - it won't be. Put the dough back on the cutting board and if needed, pat or roll it out fairly evenly, one last time. Lift up the dough and liberally sprinkle cornmeal under it, making sure to completely coat the area under the pizza crust. If your cutting board is large enough, you can make two at a time.
Brush the crust with olive oil, then top with your choice of sauce and toppings, using a light hand. Pizzas on the grill turn out best with very little sauce and toppings. Here are some of the flavors we've made in the last few weeks:
tomato sauce/soy cheddar cheese/pepperoni/fresh oregano
soy cream cheese/goat milk mozzarella - top with smoked salmon/capers/chives after cooking
artichoke tapenade/goat milk mozzarella/raw milk parmesan/arugula
tomato sauce/soy cheddar/parmesan/sauteed onions & mushrooms
Brush the hot grill with olive oil. Quickly slide the pizza off the cutting board onto the grill. Cook for 3-6 minutes, until the pizza has grill marks on the bottom and is slightly charred on the edges. Remove to a large cutting board or platter and cut into squares. Serve immediately.