We’ve tried so many different pizza crusts – Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods – and they’re always soggy, difficult to work with, and nothing like what you get at a good pizza joint. So I decided to try and make my own. After trying a few recipes, I found a great one from Fine Cooking’s Grilling magazine, and I will never buy pizza dough again! It called for grilling your pizza, which sounded crazy, but it’s now my favorite way to eat pizza. You end up with a crunchy crust, nice melted cheese, and flavors that you just don’t get in the oven.
It’s super easy to make your own, doesn’t take very long, and as long as you keep some yeast and flour in your house, it’s a great option for a quick dinner. The recipe makes enough dough for two pizzas, each about the size of a cookie pan. Obviously if you like your dough a bit thicker, your pizzas might be a bit smaller.
Basic Pizza Dough
Yields about 1 lb., enough for two pizza crusts.
- 1/4 cup olive oil + more for oiling the bowl
- 1 1/2 tsp sugar or honey
- 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast (the same as a 1/4 oz yeast packet)
- 3 cups bread flour or all-purpose flour + extra for your kneading surface
- 1 1/2 salt
To make the dough:
Put 1 cup of lukewarm water (around 110F) into the work bowl of a large stand mixer or food processor. Sprinkle the oil, sugar, and yeast over the water and pulse several times until mixed. Add the flour and salt and process until the mixture come together. The dough should be soft and slightly sticky. (If it’s too sticky, add flour 1 Tbsp at a time and keep mixing. If it’s too stiff, add water 1 Tbsp at a time and keep mixing.)
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead by hand to form a smooth, round ball.
Put the dough into an oiled clean bowl, turn it over several times in the bowl to coat it with oil, drizzle a little oil over the top and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Set in a warm spot and let the dough rise until it’s about twice the size – it should take about an hour. If you’re in a hurry (or your house is cold), set the oven to the lowest temperature and let the dough rise in the over for about 15 minutes.
Punch the dough down and place it on a lightly floured surface. Knead for 1 to 2 minutes until smooth. Portion the dough into two balls and set one aside.
To make the pizza:
Roll out the dough using a rolling pin until it’s about 12 inches – it can be square, round, rectangular – whatever you like. We usually go with rectangular because it fits nicely on a cookie sheet for transport.
Brush olive oil on one side of the dough using a pastry brush. Preheat the grill by setting all the burners on high, closing the lid, and leaving the grill on high for 10 minutes. Once the time is up, set the burners to medium. Place the dough on the grill, oil side down. You’ll want to lay the dough down as if you were laying a table cloth – back to front in a swoop motion.
Cover the grill and cook for 3 minutes, then check the crust for doneness. Cook more if you need to. You want the crust to be well marked and nicely browned.
Grab the crust off the grill and place it grilled side up. Spread your toppings on the side that you’ve already cooked.
Switch the grill to indirect heat by turning off the center burner (or one of them if you only have two). Set the pizza back on the grill over the unlit section and grill, covered, until the bottom is browned and the cheese is melted, 7 to 10 minutes.
Remove from the grill and add any delicate toppings such as basil, salt, or pepper. Slice and serve immediately.