Grilled Pizza: Dough Recipe

Want to make amazing pizza at home? No need for a backyard brick oven. Grilled Pizza is where its at.

 

Its still summer.  You want to grill.

 

Here’s a simple formula for grilled pizza.  I did this last month for my in laws.  They loved it.  You will too.

 

1000g King Arthur All Purpose Flour

640g  Cold water

25g Sea Salt

5g Instant Dry Yeast

10g Extra Virgin Olive Oil

 

 

1. In a large bowl combine flour and yeast.  Mix for 20 seconds with a whisk.  Add water.  Mix by hand or with a wooden paddle until combined.  Do not over mix or knead.  Dough should be shaggy.  If the dough feels dry or there is an excess of flour left in the bowl after mixing, add a little water and mix until all of the flour is combined.  Cover with a damp towel and let sit for 20 minutes

 

2. Add salt. Perform your first fold.  A fold is a simple technique for mixing dough which relies more on time than physical effort. Each fold has four turns.  To perform a turn pick a corner of the dough.   Lift the corner of the dough in the air and then “fold” it into the middle.  Here is a video.  Once you’ve done one “turn”, turn the bowl 90 degrees and do your next “turn”.  Do this four times until you are back to the corner where you started.  Let dough rest for 20 minutes.

 

3. Create a pocket in the dough with your finger and add oil.  Perform your second fold.  Try to keep as much of the oil in the dough.    Let dough rest for 20 minutes

 

4. Perform the third and final fold.  Dough should be smooth and elastic by this point.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.  Put it in the refrigerator and let it sit for at least 12 hours, but ideally for 18.  This is called a bulk ferment.  The dough should double in size by the time you go to the next step.

 

5. Take the dough out of the fridge.  Cut the dough into seven even sized clumps.  If you want to be really precise use a scale.  Now form the clumps into dough balls.

 

6. Put the dough balls on a sheet tray.  Leave 1-2 inches of space in between each dough ball.  Apply a drop of oil to each dough ball and rub it all over the surface.  This will help the dough from drying out during its final rise.  Cover dough with a towel let is rest in a warm spot in your kitchen or house.

 

7. Dough should be ready in 2-3 hours.  Be careful not to let dough overproof.  Dough is ready when it’s grown in volume, is room temperature and pliable.

 

In my next post I’ll have an in depth post on how grill pizzas.

 

 

 

 

The Foundation of Great Pizza Dough (Geeky)

Good pizza starts with good math.

Ok, I’ll admit it.  The subject of this post isn’t the most exciting.

But its important.

If you’re serious about making good pizza at home you need to weigh ingredients.  And work with Baker’s Percentages.

Let me explain.

Weight is Best

Professional bakers and pizzaiuolos don’t measure ingredients by volume.

Scooping ingredients into a cup is both messy and inaccurate.

Flour, for example, settles.  This means that the weight of one cup of sifted flour is different than non sifted.

Then there is the issue of where to measure.  Do you measure to the line on your measuring cup? Or just above it?  Are the ingredients flush or mounding? It’s never exactly the same.

To accurately measure ingredients, weight is better than volume.  Hands down.

Sadly, not all weight systems are the same.  Metric (grams) is more precise to work with than Imperial (ounces).   Let me show you why.

1 pound (Imperial) = 16 ounces (Imperial) or 16 units of measure per pound

1 pound (Imperial) = 454 grams (Metric) or 454 units of measure per pound

Yes, there are scales which measure in fractions of an ounce.  But most don’t.

And then there’s the fact that the entire professional baking world works in Metric.  If it’s good enough for them, it should be good for you.

2. The language of dough

Pick up a good pizza or bread book and you will quickly notice a few things.  Recipes are called “formulas”.  Formulas are written using grams or kilograms.  And ingredients are listed with a percentage next to them.  This last point might seem strange, but it’s actually the language of bakers.  It’s called “Baker’s Percentages”.  Yes, not the most creative name, but easy to remember.

What the heck is this and why is it so important?

Pizza dough has relatively few ingredients.  In it simplest form flour, water and salt is all you need.  Because the ingredient list is short, the relationship of the ingredients to one another is extremely important.  Baker’s percentages is a method of writing recipes that describes this relationship.

This is done by listing each ingredient as a percentage of the total weight of flour.

For beginners, this can be confusing to understand.

The cardinal rule for working with Baker’s Percentages is to use the weight of the flour as the benchmark for calculating the formula.  NOT the combined weight of the ingredients.

This means flour is always 100% of the formula regardless of the weight.

So let’s say you have a recipe which calls for 1000g of flour, 650g of water and 20g of salt.

Translate this recipe into Baker’s Percentages and this is what the formula looks like:

Flour: 100%

Water: 65%

Salt: 2%

In the example above I’ve made the flour weight 1000g to make the math easy.

To calculate the water percentage divide the weight of the flour (1000g) by the weight of the water (650g).  650/1000 = 65%

Do the same to get the salt percentage.  20/1000 = 2%

Voila!

[If this still seems confusing check out a few more examples at the end of this post.]

Once you start working with Baker’s Percentages you quickly start to see the advantages.

First, its easier to write new dough recipes when you’re thinking about how ingredients relate to each other instead of in isolation.  The water to flour percentage, for example, is a such crucial relationship there’s even a term for it: “Dough Hydration”.

Second, Baker’s Percentages allows one to easily scale a recipe up or down and still be sure of having good results.

This means I can develop new dough formulas by testing small batches, but quickly calculate larger production batches when needed.

Let me show you.

Here’s a formula I’m currently working on.

[Since I’m using multiple flours, all of the flours have to add up to 100%.]

 

High Gluten Flour: 40%

High Extraction Flour: 50%

Whole Wheat Flour: 10%

Water: 65%

Salt: 3%

Yeast: .5%

Oil: 2%

 

Here’s how I calculate a small test batch formula using 2Kg (2000g) of flour.

 

High Gluten Flour:  2000 x .40 = 800g

High Extraction Flour: 2000 x .50 = 1000g

Whole Wheat Flour: 2000 x .10 = 200g

Water: 2000 x .65 = 1300g

Salt: 2000 x .03 = 60g

Yeast: 2000 x .005 = 10g

Oil: 2000 x .02 = 40g

When the time comes to make a large production batch, I plug in the new weight of the flour (could be 11Kg, 22Kg or even 44Kg) and then perform the exact math.

Make sense?

Ok, that enough for today.   As always, email me your questions.

 

 

Additional Baker’s Percentages Examples:

 

#1

White Flour: 10000g  (100%)

Water: 6000g (60%)

Yeast: 30g (.3%)

Salt: 200g (2%)

Malt: 100g (1%)

 

#2

White Flour: 900g (90%)

Whole Wheat Flour: 100g (10%)

Water: 600g (60%)

Sourdough Starter: 200g (20%)

Yeast: 2g (.2%)

Salt: 20g (2%)

Oil: 15g (1.5%)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Start Making Great Pizza at Home

If you want to make great pizza at home, you need the right tools for the job.

Fortunately, the list isn’t long and the items aren’t super expensive.  In fact, you can buy everything for less than the cost of take out from your local hipster pizza joint.

Here’s what you need.

 

1. Scale 

Water, flour, leavening and salt.  These are the building blocks for making great pizza.  Because we are working with so few ingredients, we need to be precise with the quantity of each ingredient in our dough formula.  This is especially true when you’re making pizza at home.   The smaller the batch, the smaller the margin of error.  So, to ensure accuracy we need to weigh out our ingredients.

I don’t care how good you are measuring ingredients with a cup or spoon.  It you want to make awesome pizza you need a scale.

Screw volume.  Focus on weight.  Its what professional bakers and pizzaiolos do.  You can do it too.

A small digital scale, preferably one that measures grams, costs $15.  Buy one.

 

2. Cast iron pan

Why do people who own pizza stones love to tell the world about it?

Everytime someone tells me they own a pizza stone, I feel like they expect me to give them professional props.  Please stop!

Here’s the truth about pizza stones.  They are a great trivet.   Or for roasting a chicken.  But for making great pizza at home use a cast iron pan instead.

Cast iron has two clear advantages.

First, the heavy steel absorbs and distributes heat better than the stone.  A pizza stone, depending on the thickness, requires a least a one hour preheat for it to achieve the desired heat.  Cast iron pan? 20-30 minutes.

If you’re only making one pizza, this difference may not be a big deal.  But if you plan on making multiple pizzas, this is where cast iron really shines.

No only is the recovery time on cast iron quicker, but you can “cheat” and heat it on the stove top over a hot flame.  I do this all the time and it works great.

The second advantage of a cast iron pan is the shape.  The flared sides reflect heat directly on your crust (a.k.a cornicione).  Your flat pizza stone doesn’t.

Added bonus to the flared sides: You can squirt water against them to instantly create steam and achieve an extra crispy crust.

 

3. Temperature gun

Ok, this item isn’t crucial, but its helpful.  And its fucking cool.

Prices have also come way down.  Ten years ago a decent “temp gun” cost a few hundred dollars.  Today you can buy one for $50-$70.

Taking the temperature of your oven and surface of your cast iron pan helps you figure out the “perfect” temperature range for baking pizzas.   Once you know the temperature your baking surface needs to achieve, its much easier to consistently bake multiple pies just right.

 

4. Bench scraper

This is an indispensible tool for anyone who works with dough.  Its also great for cleaning up.  I like these so much, I have two at home.  And I give them as Christmas presents.

 

5. Thermometer

Time and temperature are the “secret” ingredients for great pizza.

Unless you’re spending time around hard core pizza geeks you won’t read much about temperature in the average home pizza dough recipe.

If you’re just starting out I recommend taking the temperature of your core ingredients.  It only takes 30 seconds and can help you avoid making overblown down.   Or dough that takes forever to rise.   More on this later.

 

6. Good oven. 

There’s no way around this one.  If you have a shitty oven it will be nearly impossible to bake a great pizza.

Don’t despair.  You don’t need a 10K Wolf convection oven.

A decent oven that can achieve at least 550 degrees and can maintain that temperature is fine.

If access to a good oven is not an option, but a grill is, go with the grill.

 

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Ok, that’s it.

Questions? Having trouble sourcing one of the items above? Think I’m missing something?

Feel free to send me an email –  ian.gurfield@ianspizza.com