In addition to woodworking, I also enjoy cooking and baking. I decided early on in my adult life that I better learn to cook well, given that I like to eat well, and I couldn’t afford to eat out all the time.
One hot summer day, a couple of years ago, I decided I wanted to make homemade pizza. I had recently tried my hand at making and smoking Canadian bacon (which is really very easy, and I will have to post about how to do it some time soon), and decided homemade pizza provided a good excuse to use some of it. It was far too hot to want to heat up the kitchen by turning on the oven, so I decided to try baking it using indirect heat on the grill. I had seen prime rib and other things cooked this way, and figured it might just work.
I made the dough, and added Italian herbs to it, rolled it out to about a 14″ round, placed it on an oiled piece of aluminum foil, topped it with sauce, cheese, Italian sausage and my Canadian bacon, more cheese and let it rise for about 20 minutes. I am not a fan of crispy cracker crust pizza, I like a nice thick bready crust. As you can see in the picture below, it really rose a lot.
While the dough was rising I fired up the grill. We have a gas grill with 4 burners. I used all the burners to raise the temperature with the lid closed to a little over 400 degrees, then turned off the center burners, leaving the side burners on low to maintain the temperature. Once the dough had risen nicely, I placed the pizza on the foil in the middle off the grill, closed the lid, and baked it. It was done in about 10 minutes, and was the absolutely fantastic. The only way I think you could get closer to a brick oven pizza would be an actual brick oven, or maybe a charcoal grill fired with hardwood charcoal, not briquettes.
Italian Herb Pizza Crust
Combine in mixer bowl:
1 TBS Active dry yeast
1 Cup warm water (105-110° F)
2 tsp Sugar
2 TBS olive oil
In a separate bowl, stir together:
2 ½ Cups All purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp Dried oregano
1 tsp Dried basil
1 tsp dried parsley
½ tsp garlic powder or 1 clove minced garlic
½ tsp onion powder
For stand mixer:
Once bubbles begin to form in yeast mixture, gradually add flour and herb mixture and knead with dough hook into a soft dough. Form into a ball and press, roll or toss (I have never been able to hand toss pizza dough, wish I could) to desired size, place on lightly oiled pizza pan or cookie sheet, top with the sauce and toppings of your choice and bake at 400°F for 10-15 minutes. For a crisper crust, use a perforated pizza pan.
To mix by hand:
Reduce the flour to 2 ¼ cups, stir in salt and herbs.
Create a well in the center of the flour and herb mixture, and pour the yeast mixture into the flour, mix with a spoon until all of the wet and dry ingredients are incorporated together. Turn dough onto a floured counter and knead for about 5 minutes, working flour into the dough until it is smooth and elastic. Form into a ball and press, roll or toss (I have never been able to hand toss pizza dough, wish I could) to desired size, place on lightly oiled pizza pan or cookie sheet, top with the sauce and toppings of your choice and bake at 400°F for 10-15 minutes. For a crisper crust, use a perforated pizza pan.