Grilled Pizza Part 1: Amazing Pizza Dough

Grilled pizza is one of my specialties.

Six years ago, when My Pirate and My Kid left on tour with the Cascades Drum and Bugle Corps, I bought myself my first gas grill that I call My Girl Grill.  It was exactly what I wanted.  It was small, simple, and it had a cast iron grill.  I bought My Girl Grill to make my own grilled pizza.  And I spent that summer gardening during the day and the evenings were spent making pizza and sipping cocktails on my patio.  It was a memorable summer. And now whenever the weather warms, I begin to crave grilled pizza. 

The secret to a fantastic grilled pizza is the crust.   The crust is the star and I searched long and hard for a great pizza dough recipe until I read about Peter Reinhart’s brilliantbook, The Bread Baker’s Apprentice on 101 Cookbooks.  Peter takes 6 full pages to talk about his pizza dough and I felt an instant kinship with him.  Pizza is serious business and his recipe makes the perfect pizza crust. 

Peter’s recipe is also the easiest dough recipe that I’ve ever made because it utilizes the delayed-fermentation technique.  You mix the dough in a mixer and then it sits in the fridge overnight.  No rising and punching (and cursing).  Just mix and refrigerate.  Then the dough can be used or frozen up to three months.  I freeze my dough and move it to the fridge to thaw.  When you’re ready to use it, sit it out on the counter for two hours and then you are ready to make pizza.  Amazing pizza.

This crust turns out light, crisp, with a tender bite to it.  It is perfection.  It is a Naples style crust that is meant for a light topping of great ingredients.  So go splurge on your favorite cheese and meat and we’ll meet back up here to make our grilled pizza in the next post. 

Peter Reinhart’s Napoletana Pizza Dough Recipe

4 ½ cups unbleached high-gluten bread flour, chilled
1 ¾ tsp. salt
1 teaspoon instant yeast
¼ cup olive oil
1 ¾ cups ice cold water
Semolina flour or corn meal for dusting

In the bowl of your electric mixer, add the flour, salt, and instant yeast.  Stir together with the paddle and then add the olive oil and ice water.  Stir until it absorbs the oil and water. 

Then switch out the paddle with the dough hook. Using the dough hook, mix on medium speed for 5 to 7 minutes until the dough is smooth and sticky.  The dough should stick on the bottom of the bowl and clear the sides, if it lifts up add a teaspoon of water.  And if it doesn’t clear the sides of the bowl add a teaspoon of flour.

Oil a cutting board and move the dough to the board.  Cut the dough into six pieces.  Roll into balls with your oiled hands.  Then place on a cookie sheet topped with parchment paper and sprayed with oil.  Cover with plastic wrap or slide into a large food-grade plastic bag.

Place the dough in the fridge overnight and for up to three days.  I place the dough in freezer boxes or bags and tuck them in the freezer for later use.  You can freeze the dough for up to three months.