Grilled pizza on a Weber
When it starts getting hot and muggy out, my husband and I start grilling more. Today was hot and muggy for sure. Grilled pizzas sounded like just the thing. I've fixed the Cook's Illustrated version several times before, usually with white whole wheat flour (that being what I had). Today I had the bread flour the recipe called for, so I went ahead and used it. I'm blaming the difficulties I had on that change in flours.
Here is the dough after I mixed it up, plus what was stuck to my oiled hand.
The dough seemed pretty wet and sticky to me, but it's always a bit of a pain, and besides, I've been getting a tiny bit of experience with high hydration doughs. How bad could it be? Unfortunately I forgot to take into account that I can handle my loaf doughs with parchment paper, but the pizza dough would need to be picked up and put directly on the grate. It's a good thing my son wasn't outside riding his bike while I cooked, he might have picked up some choice words.
I mixed the dough together, "kneaded" with a spoon for about a minute, and attempted some folds. Then I poured it into an enthusiastically oiled bowl (forgot I was oiling a bowl and not starting a stir fry) and allowed to rise at room temp of 80 degrees for about 2 hours. Then the dough was divided into four parts and shaped into approximately 10-12" ameboids.
During the last 20 min of rise I started a full chimney of coals. Once they were going well I poured them evenly over half the grill, leaving half bare. I heated and cleaned the grate and was ready to go. Each piece of dough was carefully detached from the parchment paper and transferred to the grill surface directly over the coals. During this process, the dough generally acquired a significantly different shape. It was grilled until the bottom was done, by which I mean anywhere from "cooked through enough to handle" to "extra crispy." Then each piece was transferred, cooked side up, back off the heat to have toppings added.
The pizzas were brushed with olive oil flavored with crushed garlic and Aleppo pepper. Then they were topped with tomatoes (chopped, tossed with salt and drained in a strainer for 30 min or so to keep them from making the crust soggy), a mix of fontina and pecorino romano cheeses, and fresh basil (added after cooking). They went back on the cooler side of the grill, with the lid on, to melt the cheese and finish cooking the crust. The addition of toppings did hide some of the minor irregularities, but there was no hiding some holes. Pizzas were served with tabbouleh and a grilled ratatouille salad, and consumed with gusto by my family.
This being my first grilled pizza venture of the summer, I found it a bit stressful. I had to remind myself of the number 2 rule of making grilled pizzas, "go easy on yourself." The number one rule is, of course, "have a place for everything to go, and everything in its place." Things move quickly once the dough hits the grate.
Here are some finished pizzas. These weren't the best, and weren't the worst.
How I made them: (amounts are from CI, but I tweaked the technique slightly)
Mix: 260 g warm tap water
22 g olive oil
4 g active dry yeast
10 g sugar
Allow yeast to foam (I did this because mine was old and I wanted to make sure it was active). Meanwhile, mix:
312 g KA bread flour
15 g white whole wheat flour
12 g table salt
Add the yeast mixture when ready and stir thoroughly to combine. "Knead" (stir) for about 1 minute. Transfer to an oiled bowl, cover and let rise until doubled (mine may have overrisen). Divide into four balls, flatten slightly and let rest 10 min. Shape (using lots of extra flour) and transfer to the grill to cook as above.
Crust: soft and chewy in parts. Crunchy and cracker-like in others. A few holes charred straight through.
Up next, I may have to try baking bread in the dutch oven on the grill. My husband successfully roasted a chicken in there over the weekend, and I get tired very quickly of heating the house when it's already warm out. Has anyone tried this?