One of the obsessions on this blog has and always will be pizza. While only one of us is engrossed enough to own a brick oven, we’re always looking for ways to make it better. Here’s a quick run down of challenges associated with making your own pizza at home.
1. Dough. It could be the easiest part, or it could be the hardest. If you make it too thin, you won’t be able to get it off the peel. If you don’t develop your gluten, you can’t get a thin crust. If you let it rise too much, you get big, puffy bread bubbles in your pizze.
2. Getting it off the peel. Always a challenge, especially when we put too many wet ingredients and don’t put it on immediately.
3. Achieving the flavor of hardwood charcoal while also cooking the top. This is where the brick oven has us all beat, but I’ll something with you that could almost kill all three birds with one stone.
I’ve talked before about par cooking on the grill until the bottom is done, then blasting it under the broiler to finish the top. The main problem with that: you can’t see the bottom without opening the grill and losing a bunch of heat. And you need to keep it closed to cook the top as much as you can. As with most everything else on the grill, foil is your friend. You can cook the dough without toppings on one side, but you’ll lose that spring that you get with a good dough. Reserve this for cooking flatbreads which is a much thinner version of pizza.
Oven first, grill last.
Make the pizzas on foil, cook in the oven at the highest possible temperature you can achieve. Mine goes to 550 convection.
Since the door has window, you can watch to see when then toppings are done. Remove the foil, and put your pizza on the grill now, leaving the top open. You don’t need a stone for the grill, and frankly you don’t really need it for the oven either since the foil is countering the effects of the stone anyway. Peek at the bottom and pull it when you’re happy with it.