I first made this dough in July 2008 when my now-boyfriend came over for dinner. Even though we burnt it that night, we knew we had found an amazing recipe, because it was still delicious. Since then, we have used this recipe over and over for lots of pizza nights, cooked both on the grill and in the oven. The pizza comes out crispy and chewy…definitely professional-status, especially when you take into account that most pizza found in California is pretty terrible. We actually grilled pizza this past weekend for some company, and it was a hit!
I made another batch of dough this evening (hey…I don’t let good cheese go to waste!). It only takes about five minutes of hands-on time, total, so it’s great for a weeknight meal. Ninety-nine percent of the time, I do not cook my pizza on the grill. What’s great about this dough is it is extremely versatile and can be cooked in a regular old oven. I use a pizza stone, but I bet a baking dish would work just fine as well. Read on for the official recipe, and to see what I did!
What I did to get the pizza shown above:
Make dough (see below). Place pizza stone in over, and preheat oven to 500 degrees F. Roll out dough into desired shape and thickness and place on heated stone in oven. Let dough cook for about 2-3 minutes. Remove from oven and add sauce, cheese and desired toppings (I used Trader Joe’s Pizza sauce and mozzarella and Fontina cheeses). Bake until sauce bubbles. Remove from oven and let cool for a couple minutes, then slice and enjoy!
The Official Recipe:
Grilled California Pizzas
For the dough:
1 1/4 cups warm (100 to 110 degrees F) water
2 packages dry yeast
1 tablespoon honey
3 tablespoons good olive oil
4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading
2 teaspoons kosher salt
For the toppings (select 8):
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 pound fresh mozzarella, grated
1/2 pound Italian Fontina, grated
1/2 pound mild goat cheese, such as Montrachet, sliced
1 red or yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded, and julienned
1/4 pound prosciutto, thinly sliced and julienned
1 bunch arugula, cleaned and dried
6 plum tomatoes, sliced 1/4-inch thick
4 pork or turkey sausages, cooked and sliced
1 bunch basil leaves, cleaned and dried
4 garlic cloves, roasted
Crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup good olive oil
For the dough, combine the water, yeast, honey, and olive oil in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add 3 cups flour, then the salt, and mix. While mixing, add 1 more cup of flour, or enough to make a soft dough. Knead the dough on low to medium speed for about 10 minutes until smooth, sprinkling it with flour, if necessary, to keep it from sticking to the bowl.
When the dough is ready, turn it out onto a floured board and knead by hand a dozen times. It should be smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a well-oiled bowl and turn it several times to cover it lightly with oil. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel. Allow the dough to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Divide the dough into 6 equal parts and roll each one into a smooth ball. Place the balls on a baking sheet and cover them with a damp towel. Allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes. Use immediately, or refrigerate for up to 4 hours.
If you’ve chilled the dough, take it out of the refrigerator approximately 30 minutes ahead to let it come to room temperature. Roll and stretch each ball into a rough 8-inch circle and place them all on baking sheets sprinkled with cornmeal. (You will be able to fit 2 pizzas on each 18 by 13-inch baking sheet.)
Light your grill and wait until it’s hot.
Place the pizzas directly onto the grill and cook on 1 side for 1 minute. Turn the pizzas over and brush with olive oil or garlic oil.
Top the pizzas with any toppings you wish, piling them high. Drizzle each pizza with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Put the lid on your grill and cook for 5 minutes more, until the crust is crisp and the toppings are cooked.