For our engagement, Steve and I got a bread maker, a giant white box that filled the house with amazing smells as it baked overnight. The bread was a little too thick and chewy, but we were addicted to waking up to the aroma of warm bread. We made so much bread that Steve earned a new nickname at work: Dough Boy. Sexy right?
My dough boy has a new obsession: pizza dough. Our fridge is filled with living lumps of pizza dough, glistening with a coating of extra virgin olive oil. He calls me from work, not to check on the kids, but to see if I’ve gotten the dough started yet for the next night’s dinner. The man is hooked on thin homemade pizza on the grill. Everything about it is fresh, a delicious echo of the pizzas we enjoyed in Italy this summer. And I have to confess that I am addicted too. Homemade pizza on the grill… that’s amore.
Making these pizzas definitely takes a little planning, love, and effort. The dough is easy to make, but has to sit for 48 hours. You can use regular flour, but if you hunt down some “00” flour on Amazon or at your local Italian store, you’ll really taste the difference. The good news is that the sauce is not cooked. It’s a super fresh, super easy combination of canned San Marzano tomatoes, sugar, and olive oil. It’s amazing, and the leftover sauce makes a great base for spaghetti bolognese.
The real moment of truth will come when you spin your pizza dough, channeling your inner pizza guy moves. No need to spin dough over your head, you just rotate it around as though you are spinning the wheel of your car. You’ll quickly see that the dough is quite sturdy and can withstand some clumsy maneuvering.
In terms of equipment, you’ll need a pizza stone and a cutting board to slide the pizza into the grill. The stone will get all burnt and dark, just adding taste to the next pizzas. We have a lot of mouths to feed and although these pizzas cook in less than five minutes on the grill, we found it more convenient to have two pizza stones and two cutting boards to create a bit of an assembly line. A delicious, homemade pizza on the grill assembly line. It’s my kind of fast food.
So go on. Turn your backyard grill into a wood burning pizza oven. You may never leave home again. That’s certainly where I’m staying, with my dough boy, getting fat and happy on our homemade pizza.
- For the Dough:
- 2.5 TBSPs sugar
- 1.5 TBSPs olive oil
- ½ tsp active dry yeast
- 5½ cups "00" flour
- ½ cup of semolina flour (for when you're baking the pizza, not making the dough)
- 2 TBSPs kosher salt (¾ oz.)
- For the sauce:
- 2 28 ounce cans of San Marzano Tomatoes
- 2 teaspoons of Kosher Salt
- 4 tablespoons of granulated sugar
- For the pizza:
- Fresh Mozzarella
- Basil leaves
- optional: cooked sausage crumbled, canned mushrooms, anything else that strikes your fancy from anchovies to pineapple chunks. Get wild. You earned it.
- Two days before you want to have your pizza feast, make your dough. I know that it's tough to plan ahead, make the effort, I promise this will be well worth it.
- Combine 2.5 Tablespoons sugar, 1.5 Tablespoons olive oil, ½ teaspoon active yeast (not the bread machine kind), and 2 cups warm water in the bowl of a stand mixer with a dough hook. Alternatively, if you don't have a stand mixer, just combine them in a bowl. Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes, until foamy.
- While you wait for the yeast to foam, combine the salt and flour roughly with a fork in a measuring cup. Turn on the stand mixer on low and gently add the flour. Knead for 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth.
- Divide the dough into four pieces. Transfer it to a Pyrex greased with olive oil. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 48 hours.
- On pizza day:
- Begin by preheating your grill (or your broiler) on the highest setting for at least 30 minutes. Have your pizza stone(s) in the grill. They need to be as hot as possible.
- Now make your sauce. Put the two cans of tomatoes in the food processor. Pulse until crushed but not completely liquified, 3-4 quick pulses. Add the sugar and salt. Mix with a spoon.
- Now it's dough time.
- Pick up one lump of dough from the pyrex. Shape it into a ball with your hands. Place a mound of semolina flour on a wooden cutting board. Dust the dough ball on all sides with the semolina and press the ball down into a flat circle 8-10 inches in diameter. Now pick up the circle and hold it straight up and down. Rotate it, pulling lightly on the edges out, as if you were turning a steering wheel. Continue rotating and pulling until you feel the dough is about to break. You want it to be as thin as possible, about ¼ inch thick. Now lay the dough back on the cutting board, making sure you have a nice coating of semolina under it.
- You're ready to make your pizza! Spread a layer of sauce. Put a few leaves of fresh basil and chunks of fresh mozzarella as well as any other cooked ingredients of your liking.
- Carry the cutting board carefully out to the grill and slide the pizza onto the baking stone.
- Cook the pizza for 4 minutes, until the dough is lightly charred on the edges. Wait a couple of minutes for it to cool and eat.
- Repeat with the other pizza dough balls. It's helpful to have a grill person and a different dough person to get it all done more quickly.