After a long and arduous journey, it turns out I was only missing two key things to make my homemade pizza quest a reality.
You see, I was trying to make a good crust with a cold oven — for pizza — and no pizza stone. That’s kind of like saying you are trying to win a gold medal in bobsledding when you are from Jamaica. Unless John Candy is there helping you out every step of the way, there is no way.
It turns out, pizza dough needs that shock of scalding heat to give it the signature crispy yet chewy texture for which I’ve been striving. I had to turn all the burners on my grill to full and let it sit there a good 20-30 minutes getting that pizza stone nice and skin-melting hot. My poor pinky finger can attest to how hot it was after I just happened to brush against it.
Luckily, my grill is hooked up to a natural gas line so I can afford to just burn gas like it’s nobody’s business for a half an hour without worrying about it running out.
Our fearless leader, Mike Pruden, informed me he has an egg grill and I didn’t say anything at the time, but I’m jealous. That sucker would make a fantastic pizza in a jiffy by getting those mythical temps above 500 degrees.
Maybe I just need to convince my wife we need a pizza oven built in the backyard. You know, for the benefit of the column readers.
Anyway, I hope this helps you get the perfect at-home pizza so you can say goodby to expensive cardboard pizza and say hello to cheap, sky’s-the-limit homemade pizza!
3 1/2 to 4 cups bread flour, plus more for rolling
1 teaspoon sugar
1 envelope instant dry yeast
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/2 cups water, 110 degrees
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus 2 teaspoons
1 jar pizza sauce
1 large package mozzarella cheese
1. Combine the bread flour, sugar, yeast and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and combine. While the mixer is running, add the water and 2 tablespoons of the oil and beat until the dough forms into a ball. If the dough is sticky, add additional flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together in a solid ball. If the dough is too dry, add additional water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead into a smooth, firm ball.
2. Grease a large bowl with the remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil, add the dough, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put it in a warm area to let it double in size, about 1 hour. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide it into 2 equal pieces. Cover each with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap and let them rest for 10 minutes.
3. Preheat grill to 500 degrees with the pizza stone inside, or as hot as it will go. This is key.
4. Roll or stretch dough out, making a circle, and place on something off of which you can transfer it. I ended up buying a pizza peel for this. Just make sure it has some cornmeal on it or is floured well so the dough slides off, then add sauce in a swirling motion, top with mozzarella cheese and favorite toppings.
5. Slide the premade pizza onto the hot pizza stone and check after 5-8 minutes. Cook until golden brown and the cheese is melted thoroughly.