Sunday, July 18, 2010

Gulp...Grilled Pizza

Perhaps those who have followed this blog for a while think that I am fearless in the culinary arena since I often change recipes I've never made before and jump right in to the Daring Bakers ...and now the Bread Baking Babes, too...challenges. Mostly that's true, but there are some things that I've been too chicken to try.

Grilled pizza is one of them. One reason is probably because Sweetie is soooo great at grilling things, so I never have developed a comfort level about grilling things in general. Another on is that I've always had this image of a fully loaded pizza sliding through the grill grates and catching fire on my first try. That's enough to give me pause. Even when I was successful with pizza baked in the oven I was still really nervous about trying it on the grill.

This morning I woke up and decided that today I was going to stare down my fear of grilling pizza and give it a try. During the past week I have been reading online recipes and an Alton Brown one to get some ideas on how others have done it. I went to the store and bought the things I wanted to put on the pizzas. This morning I made the dough, using a recipe in Alton Brown's Gear For Your Kitchen book. After it doubled in size I tucked it in the fridge so I could keep scraping paint on the bathroom window in preparation for putting on new paint this week.

Late this afternoon, when the sun was turning everything golden and the shadows were lengthening (both of which made photographing the pizza process problematic, so be kind when you look at the photos, 'kay?), I rolled out the dough to make four smaller pizzas, assembled everything else and headed for the grill.

As I read through others' recipes I had collected some tips:
1) Have everything you need at the ready once you put the dough on the grill...things go quickly.
2) Put the dough on parchment and oil one side of the dough. Put the oiled side down on the grill first. That way you don't have to oil the grill gratings.

3) Pay attention. Depending on the heat of your grill things can go quickly or more slowly.
4) Have a very large spatula to turn the dough rounds, and to remove the finished pizza. Having a cutting board hand to slide the finished pizzas on for cutting is a great idea, too.

So I started the grill and let it preheat, then went to the kitchen and brought out the toppings, the olive oil, the pastry brush, the cutting board and pizza cutter and a large spatula like thing that is almost as big as a small cookie sheet.

Once the grill was hot enough, I oiled the dough, took each piece and placed it oiled side down and then shut the grill cover. It didn't take very long before the wonderful bread baking smell wafted out. I opened the cover and saw that the dough had bubbled...so I turned the two pieces over (I baked two at a time which was the best amount for my size grill). At that point Sweetie came to see what I was doing so I let him help load toppings on top of the pasta sauce I had just spread on the grilled dough.

He went a bit overboard, so the first two pizzas were fully loaded...lots of thinly sliced zucchini, red onion and mushrooms, slices of pepperoni, a few strips of prosciutto, some pine nuts, shredded mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses.

He turned the heat up a bit because with all those toppings it was taking the cheese a while to melt and the crust was getting a bit burnt. Guess regulating the heat is something I still need to learn about.

Once those came off the grill we put on the other two pieces, oiled side down just like the first two. Once they were turned they got the pasta sauce but less toppings...just the thinly sliced pepperoni and prosciutto and the two shredded cheeses. The cheese melted more quickly, so these had nice crunchy but not burnt crusts.

I enjoyed both versions and am happy to report that I didn't dump anything into the insides of the grill. It may take another few tries to figure how to regulate the heat better and I will roll the crust thinner next time, too, but I'm no longer afraid to grill pizzas. Hmmmm...bet I could figure out a sourdough version of the pizza dough. Maybe a sweet version with ricotta cheese and fresh fruit. Sweetie may find that his grill has been commandeered by yours truly.


This is absolutely a High Five personal challenge...just wish I had been brave sooner...these were great pizzas! Sending this to the lovely and talented and newly blessed Lynn of Cookie Baker Lynn.





Also sending this over to Susan of Wild Yeast for Yeastspotting, a weekly wonderland of great yeasted inspiration. Her post on grilled pizza (well, two posts actually) gave me hope that I could do this. Thank you Susan!



Last but hardly least this is my entry for Bread Baking Day #32 - Italian Bread since there is hardly anything more Italian than pizza.


Grill-Friendly Pizza Dough
from Alton Brown's Gear For Your Kitchen

1 packet instant yeast (about 2 1/2 oz or 7 gm)
1 pound all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading and rolling out
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 cup hot water
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more to oil the dough before putting on the grill

Combine the yeast, flour, sugar, and salt, in that order, in a large mixing bowl. In a small mixing bowl combine the water and olive oil and then stir the liquid mixture into the flour mixture with a large wooden spoon until a dough starts to form. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead by hand for 10 minutes, or until the dough develops a silky texture.

Oil the surface of the dough and place it in another large mixing bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours. Divide the dough in half and with a rolling pin roll the dough out onto a lightly floured surface.(I made mine into four smaller pieces and when they were rolled out placed them onto sheets of parchment, keeping a tea towel over them until ready to grill. I oiled the dough while still on the parchment before placing, oiled side down on the prepared grill.)

Heat grill to medium-low. Oil one side of the dough. Place on grill, oiled side down. Cook the dough on one side until firm and lightly browned, then turn, add your favorite toppings, and cook until lightly browned on the other side and toppings heated through. Remove to cutting board, but and serve right away.

Yield:Two 12-inch pizzas







9 comments :

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Perfectly AWESOME my dear.
Now all I need is a plane ticket and cab to your house.

Cookie baker Lynn said...

Wonderful! High five to you, master baker! My husband got really excited about your tips as he's struggling to master the grilled pizza. Yours looks beautilicious!

Dharm said...

Oh my oh my!! This looks just awesome! Pour grilled pizza is just amazing - well done!!!

Andreas said...

Beautiful pizza.
High Fives for grilling bread. :)

ejm said...

Bravissima!!

And isn't grilled pizza fabulous? I confess that we haven't very often grilled pizza the way you did (but we have done it).

We now prefer to use one of those inexpensive thin round pizza stones (about $10 at any kitchen supply store). It fits exactly in the barbecue. We assemble the pizza, put the stone into the barbecue and turn it to high, then use a peel to transfer the pizza to the stone in the barbecue. Et Bob est ton oncle!

Now that you've mastered grilled pizza, you must try making naan and pita directly on the grill. No need to oil the bread or the grill either. The bread doesn't stick. It's a great way to bake bread when it's too revoltingly hot to turn on the oven and heat up the kitchen.

-Elizabeth

Elle said...

Tanna, Would love to have you visit...once the bathroom is done :)

Lynn, it was easier than I thought.

Dharm, thanks! Give it a try...cooler than using the oven.

Andreas, Yes, it is grilling bread isn't it? Hadn't thought of it that way.

Elizabeth, my grill is too small for the stone (which I have and use in the oven) but I love the rolls you baked on your grill!

Katie said...

They look fab! I've longed to try this out too but never dared attempt it yet. Must try it though. Love the grill marks on the pizza edges

ap269 said...

Thanks for participating in this month's BBD! I've never grilled pizza because our grill doesn't have a cover, but now that I see those pictures I'd love to grill a pizza, too!

zorra said...

Wow, looks just perfect! Thank you for participating in BBD.