Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Cheese pizza on the grill

Grilling season has begun. Or, more accurately, it's coming and going. Some days, it's nice enough for me to want to be outside, and others, I want my fluffy socks and a mug of hot chocolate.

The great thing about pizza is that it can be made on the grill or in the oven. In this case, I made the pizza on the grill.

As far as the dough, I prefer to make pizza dough ahead of time and let it rest in the refrigerator at least overnight, if not longer. This time, I wanted pizza for that night. To make up for the fact that the dough wouldn't get the flavor from the long rise, I added semolina flour. It adds a nice depth of flavor.

For the toppings, I sent with something very very simple. Because sometimes simple is all you need.

Cheese Pizza (On the grill. Or not.)

2 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
1 cup lukewarm water
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup semolina flour
2 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil

Combine the yeast, water, sugar, and semolina flour in the bowl of your stand mixer. Stir to combine and let it rest for 5-10 minutes. Add the bread flour and salt and knead with the dough hook until the dough is smooth and elastic.

Form the dough into a ball, drizzle with the olive oil, and return it to the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside to rise until doubled, about an hour.

I use a gas grill, so I started that preheating about 20 minutes before the dough had risen, with my cast iron pizza pan in the grill, with the heat on either side of the pan on medium and the burner directly below off. The pan got plenty hot.

My grill also has a rack that hangs above the grates that can be used for keeping things warm. I placed some quarry tiles up there. Those tiles absorb heat and help the pizza cook from above as well as below - because of course as soon as you lift that lid, you lose a lot of heat.

Of course, there are a lot of styles of grills, so set yours up as best you can so you have heat around the pizza pan or stone (and make sure your stone can be used on  a grill - some can't) and less heat directly below.

When the dough has risen, divide it in half. You have your choice of making 2 pizzas, one after the other, or stashing that second half of the dough for another day.

Roll the first half into a disk about 12 inches in diameter. Sprinkle your pizza peel (or whatever you'll use to transport pizza to grill) with cornmeal or semolina. Transfer the pizza to the peel and add your preferred toppings.

I used:

A drizzle of olive oil on the dough
Canned crushed tomatoes
A sprinkle of salt
A scattering of oregano
Slices of mozzarella

Move quickly when you're adding toppings, then give the peel a few gentle shakes back and forth to make sure the dough isn't sticking.

Transfer the pizza to the hot stone, close the lid, and let the pizza cook for 8 minutes. Open the lid just enough to peek inside to check the cooking.

Cook a few minutes more, if needed.

If the bottom of the pizza is getting overdone and the top is still underdone, you can turn on your oven broiler and give the pizza 30 seconds under the broiler to finish it. No need to preheat - just turn it on and let it go.

Slice the pizza as desired. Serve with some crushed red peppers, if you like, for sprinkling on at the table.

Make the second pizza the same way as the first.