Last week, in lieu of my own wood-burning masonry oven, I got a Big Green Egg barbecue. The first thing I made on it was pizza and it was more amazingly delicious than anything I could have hoped to bake in my conventional oven. Of course, the fact that I labored lovingly over the crust made it even more rewarding, and I use the word ‘labored’ loosely because the crust was quite easy to make.
Pizza is, in fact, a bread so the crust is always the most important part. Be sure to use just a few high-quality toppings to get the best flavor. You can start the process as few as three hours ahead of your desired bake time and keep the dough, refrigerated, for up to three days. You will need a pizza peel, a bread stone, some semolina flour for dusting (cornmeal may also be used), and a very hot oven.
1. Weigh the following into a large bowl and set aside
550 grams Tipo 00 flour
2. In a separate bowl, stir together and dissolve
300 grams water at 80°F
5 grams active dry yeast
3. Add yeast mixture to flour and knead. Then work in
10 grams olive oil
4. Cover and let rest for 20 minutes. Add
6 grams salt
5. Knead to combine, transfer to a clean container and let rise, covered, for an hour.
6. Punch the dough down, divide and shape into ball(s). This dough will make four 8-inch pizzas, two 12-inch pizzas or one 16-inch pizza.
7. Place balls in a floured container to rise. Dust the top of the balls lightly with flour, cover and let rise for two to three hours, until doubled. If not using on the same day, place the balls in the refrigerator until you are ready to bake.
8. Pre-heat your oven with pizza stone inside. My household oven only goes up to 550°F so I use this setting inside. If you are baking on your barbecue grill, try to get it to around 700°F
9. The dough will be soft and light after this second rise. Flatten the dough and gently stretch it into your desired sized circle using your fingertips. If refrigerated, leave at room temperature for 30 minutes. Be careful not to stretch too vigorously as the dough is very delicate and well aerated from yeast activity and will break. Pay close attention to the dough and work around areas that have been stretched very thin.
10. Place dough on dusted peel then add sauce and toppings. This dough likes to remain the star of the show and does not do well when piled too high so choose your few toppings carefully.
11. Slide onto fiery baking stone and cook for 8-15 minutes, depending on your oven temperature. A good indication of doneness is the crust being golden brown, or very slightly charred if done on your barbecue grill.