Prepare yourself. Today’s post will revolutionize your summer. Yup, it’s that epic.
If you’ve never had grilled pizza before, stop what you’re doing immediately and make this recipe. Grilled pizza is superior to pizza baked in a conventional, especially if you prefer traditional brick oven pizzas (who doesn’t?). The grill is better able to replicate the crispy, lightly charred crust made my a traditional wood-fired brick oven, which can get up to a whopping 900 degrees. I’m guessing the dial on your oven doesn’t go up quite so high!
I debated sharing this on the blog because I messed it up in so many ways. No, your crust should not look like an inch thick blob of dough. And yes, pizza margherita is made with mozzarella, not with a few ounces of leftover goat cheese because the mozzarella cheese you bought three days ago already went bad.
In spite of my mistakes, I was completely enamored with this method of pizza making. Perhaps I should have named this post “How NOT to Grill a Pizza.” Update – we’ve made grilled pizza quite a few times since this post with great success!
Some people say the crust is the most important part of the pizza. I say they are correct. I used what I previously referred to as “foolproof pizza dough,” but apparently, I’m a bigger fool than I thought. Considering the number of times I’ve used this recipe and this is the first time it’s been less than perfect, it’s still my go-to dough recipe.
You may be wondering why one would go through the trouble of making pizza dough from scratch. There are two options at the grocery store – pre-baked crusts and refrigerated dough. All but one of the pre-baked, whole grain crusts I’ve found are full of preservatives and added sugar, plus, they taste pretty horrid. The one I found at Whole Foods that was minimally processed just tasted meh, and being from Whole Foods, was absurdly expensive. While the “multi-grain” refrigerated doughs taste pretty good, they contain very little whole grain. Check out the ingredients list and you’ll see it’s made from enriched flour with a sprinkling of whole grains and seeds to give the aura of health.
This dough recipe is perfect for anyone who would like to enjoy a slice of pizza without an arm workout, which I’m assuming is everyone. Save your arm strength and let time do the kneading for you. This dough is thrown together the night before, or even in the morning if you’ve got a really warm sunroom, and rises during the day. Feel free to experiment with different flours. I’ve used spelt flour, a combination of all-purpose flour and whole wheat and white whole wheat flour and all have turned out equally well.
Makes 2 large pizzas
Adapted from Jim Lahey’s no-knead pizza
3 3/4 cup flour (I used white whole wheat flour)
1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
2 teaspoons fine sea salt
1 1/2 cups water
In a large bowl, blend together flour, yeast, and salt. Slowly pour in the water and mix with a wooden spoon. Once it starts to come together into dough, use your hands to combine thoroughly.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm room to rise until doubled in size, about 18 hours. If it is in a very warm location, like a sunroom, it takes less time. Along the same lines, if it is in a colder location, it make take a little longer.
Mistake #1: Ended up going out to dinner instead of making pizza, so i put the dough in the refrigerator to use the next day. If you do this, make sure you wrap it up completely with plastic wrap so it doesn’t dry out! I forgot to do this and the top dried out, which made it very difficult to roll, hence the super thick crust pizza.
Mistake #2: If you do put it in the refrigerator, let it come to room temperature before rolling. Cold dough is near impossible to roll.
Toppings are the fun part. There are so many delicious and healthy combinations, there is no need for a meat lovers supreme. Prep your vegetables in advance and keep them in a little bowl or a plate near the grill. Remember, a grill cooks from the bottom up, so thicker vegetable toppings, like zucchini or eggplant, won’t cook through. If using these, saute or better yet, grill them first. A few of my favorite combinations:
Veggie Lovers: Do a traditional tomato sauce with mozzarella and top with your favorite vegetables, like zucchini, eggplant, and mushrooms. Add black olives, sun-dried tomatoes or pepperoncini for extra flavor.
Pizza Salad: Make a white pizza with ricotta flavored with minced fresh garlic and herbs and fresh mozzarella. Serve topped with an arugula and fennel salad dressed with vinaigrette. A little diced prosciutto on the pizza makes this, like, get in my belly right now good.
Greek: Top with spinach sautéed in garlic and olive oil, feta cheese and Kalamata olives.
Eggplant, Provolone and Green Olives: Random combination, but one of my favorites. Grill the eggplant first.
Southwest: Topped with charred corn, poblano peppers, tomatoes and queso fresco. Sprinkle on cilantro and serve with salsa.
We stuck with goat cheese, basil and fresh tomatoes, since we had all three on had. As I mentioned before, I would go with mozzarella instead, for a more classic combination. Make sure you slice the tomatoes and cheese on the thinner side, so the cheese melts and the tomatoes cook through.
Flour for rolling
1-2 tablespoon olive oil
minced fresh oregano
1 clove garlic
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
In a small bowl, mix 1 clove minced or pressed garlic and chopped fresh oregano with about 1 tablespoon olive oil. Set aside.
Divide your dough into two balls. Wrap one in plastic wrap and freeze for later use. Take the other ball and roll it out over a floured surface. Try to get it as thin as you can for a nice crispy crust. Transfer your dough to a large platter or cookie sheet to bring outside.
Before turning on the grill, place a sheet of aluminum foil on one side of the grates (or the entire grill if yours is small). You will start the dough over the foil, then move it to the foil-free part. I saw plenty of recipes that did not use foil and I’ll probably leave it off the next time to see if it get better grill marks, but I was worried the dough would burn or fall through. Brush both the aluminum foil and the grates with olive oil. Heat the grill to high heat.
Brush the top of the pizza dough with flavored olive oil and sprinkle on salt and black pepper. Place it on the foil side of the grill with the oiled side facing down. Brush the top side of the dough with the remaining flavored oil. Grill on high heat for a few minutes, until the dough is stiffened up a bit. Once it is sturdy enough for handling, transfer the pizza to a baking sheet and set aside. Wrangle off that aluminum foil with tongs and place the pizza back on the grill, still with the cooked side down. Do not flip it yet! This is where you get your nice grill marks from (mistake #4). Cook it on maximum heat, checking the crust every so often to ensure it doesn’t burn.
After light grill marks form, flip the dough over. Throw on your choice of toppings and pull down the lid down. Cook until the cheese is melted and the crust is nicely browned. Carefully remove from the grill, let cool just a minute, slice and serve.