Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Did Somebody Say Pizza?

The Texan here, thanking the Belle for a great segue to my post today.

Last week was my daughter's birthday, so we did pizzas on the grill, one of my kiddos' favorite meals. But a pizza is only as good as its crust, so I almost always end up making my own (a food processor makes this really easy). And if I'm going to take the time to make crusts, I may as well make a bunch and keep them in the freezer.

For one batch of dough, you will need:
  • 1 cup lukewarm water (105-115 degrees)
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • one packet (or 2 1/4 tsp.) active dry yeast (I use the rapid rise)
  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 1 3/4 tsp. coarse salt
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil (preferably extra virgin)
Mix water and sugar until sugar dissolves. Sprinkle yeast over top of water and let the mixture stand until foamy, approx. 5 minutes.

While you're waiting, pulse flour and salt in food processor to mix.

 Add the olive oil and yeast mixture and process until the dough comes together in a sticky ball, approx. 20-30 seconds.

Turn dough out onto a floured work surface and knead for 5 minutes.

Place dough in a large, oiled bowl, turning until the dough is coated.

Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let stand in a warm, draft free area until doubled in size (about an hour).

Punch down dough and turn onto floured work surface.

Using a large knife, quarter dough.

One at a time, shape dough wedge roughly into a ball. Place the dough ball on the work surface and, with your hand cupped over it, roll it on the work surface until the surface of the dough is smooth.
Place dough balls in a large resealable plastic bag and refrigerate up to 48 hours. The dough will continue to rise, but this resting period is what makes the crust soft on the inside, crispy on the outside.
Let dough sit at room temperature for 1 hour before shaping, or freeze for up to two weeks, letting frozen dough sit at room temp. two hours before shaping.

On a floured work surface, press each dough ball into 9-in. round. To make mini pizzas, cut each dough ball into three or four pieces before shaping.

Now this next part varies, depending on what type of grill you have. In general, you want to use indirect heat. Oh, and if you don't have a grill, feel free to use a 400 degree oven.

Here's how Rachel Ray says to do it:

Lower the heat on one side of the frill to low. Oil the grate on that side of the grill. Move the shaped dough to the frill. Lower the edge of the dough onto the oiled grill. (Mindy says, the size of your rounds will determine how many you can comfortably fit on the grate at one time.)

Now, cover the grill and cook for roughly 3 minutes, until crusts begin to bubble and brown. Loosen crusts with a metal spatula, recover and cook for one more minute. Flip crusts over; cook until beginning to brown on the bottom, about 2 minutes.

Top pizzas as you please and return to grill until toppings are hot and cheese is melted. Sorry, I was so busy cooking everyone's pizzas, I forgot to take a pic of the finished product.

For the party, we set up an assembly line of every pizza topping you could think of and everyone got to fix their own. (Note: I had the crusts all pre-baked before everyone arrived) They loved it!

You can use any sauce you like, I make my own by pulsing italian style tomatoes (the ones with basil, oregano, and garlic) in the food processor. This go-round I also added a can of the same variety of tomato paste, but that was a little too sweet for my taste. Maybe a half a can of paste next time, or none at all :-)

And there you have it. Everybody gets what they want and they have fun in the process.

Since school will be out soon, I think I'll make up several batches, prebake the crusts and keep them in the freezer so the kids can make their own pizzas for lunch and pop them in the oven. That's a lot cheaper than buying Bagel Bites and they taste a hundred times better.

Happy eating.


  1. Pizza on the grill? I've never tried it!

    Before we moved last year, we had a gas grill. I loved the way I could control the temperature on the different sides and take advantage of the indirect heating, but I missed the smoky flavor. I may have to invest in one of those grills that can do either charcoal or gas...

    I'm definitely trying my food processor for mixing the dough, though.

    1. Jan, we always did wood-fired grills but then ran out of time... so we have a gas grill now, but we lit a fire in the new firepit on Mother's Day to try it out! So fun!

      I love a wood or coal fire... But sometimes I just plain need the speed of the gas grill.

    2. I totally agree. Gas is convenient, but charcoal lends a flavor that just can't be beat.
      To do the pizzas on a charcoal grill, the key is to keep the heat indirect. So, depending on how big your grill is, put the fire to one side, then cook your pizzas on the other side.

  2. will whole wheat flour work? don't know what bread flour is..guess I'll have to check the 'baking aisle' at the store! and that's one aisle I seldom go down unless I'm out of salt or pepper or some other seasoning I think might work a miracle!
    so for mini pizzas I'd get about a dozen or so crusts? I could live with that...


    1. Susanna, sure it would... Unless Mindy slaps me. Bread flour has a higher gluten ratio, and it works with yeast better, but any flour will work. Just different, right?

      And you can freeze the dough or freeze the slightly baked/grilled rounds, I'd expect. Like Missy's packaged crusts yesterday, or the "Boboli" crusts we sell up here. I bet these would freeze great baked. And then just pop them out and build!

    2. Ditto everything Ruthy said. Where was I yesterday?

      Ruthy, did you know they changed the packaging on the GM bread flour? Like to have never found it. I was looking for a yellow package. Now it's orange.

  3. can you bake them before freezing?

    1. Yes. Just be sure to freeze them in an airtight container, or zip-top bag with all of the air removed to prevent freezer burn.

  4. Jan, I didn't know they make grills that can do both! Cool.

    Susanna, I'm sure wheat would work, but you might want to mix it half and half with regular flour.

    Mindy will have to answer the freezing question! :)

    1. Missy, they do make those grills. Would love one. Doubtful I'll get it anytime soon.

  5. This is just so fun, Mindy. I love making pizza with the kids... it's a math lesson and a cooperative learning session.

    Hopefully with clean noses, LOL!!!!

    Kids love to build pizza. Who doesn't? Great ideas here!

    1. Ruthy, the kiddos will love it. Even with dirty noses:-)