Monday, July 23, 2012

When the Moon Hits Your Eye...

Bobby Flay is my favourite chef (my wife thinks I have some kind of romantic obsession). The other day I was watching one of his latest shows, BBQ Addiction, when I saw him make fresh pizza from scratch on the barbeque. This blew my mind. Fresh pizza on the BBQ? I had to give it a try. Here is the recipe, as taken from the Food Network website (link here).

  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (one 1/4-ounce envelope)
  • 2 cups warm water (105 degrees F to 115 degrees F)
  • 5 to 5 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting, preferably organic
  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for the bowl
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Dissolve the yeast in warm water in a large bowl and let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in 3 cups flour and the salt, stirring until smooth. Stir in an additional 2 cups flour; continue adding flour 1 tablespoon at a time (up to 1/2 cup), stirring until the dough comes away from the bowl but is still sticky. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead with lightly floured hands. Start by slapping the dough onto the counter, pulling it toward you with one hand and pushing it away from you with the other. Fold the dough back over itself (use a bench scraper or a wide knife to help scrape the dough from the surface). Repeat until it's easier to handle, about 10 times. Finish kneading normally until the dough is smooth, elastic and soft, but a little tacky, about 10 minutes. Shape the dough into a ball and transfer to a lightly oiled bowl; turn to coat. Cover with plastic and let rise in a warm place until it doubles in volume, about 3 hours. Press it with your finger to see if it's done; an indent should remain.

When I made this, I was more interested in the dough, instead of all of the fancy toppings (I was pretty sure I couldn't get my hands on the taleggio cheese). I was more in the mood to use traditional (and some of my favourite) toppings.

The dough does take a while to prepare, I'd say start it around 4 hours before you're ready to cook. Its a pretty straight forward recipe, I took the added step of pre-heating my oven to 170 degrees, turning it off and then placing my plastic wrapped dough in the oven with a jug of boiling water. This kept it warm and moist for the entire 3 hours it was rising (and whoa did it rise).

When shaping the pizza crust, it was really difficult to get the dough to keep its shape (super elasticy). I found that I ended up shaping it on a well greased plate directly before I put it onto the barbeque. In fact, I actually had the plate beside the barbeque so there was minimal travel time. I also found that instead of brushing olive oil, salt and pepper onto the crust beforehand, I simply poured on some oil, seasoned it, then worked it back into a ball before final shaping.

Now for the grill. I cranked up the heat on the barbeque to the max. After quickly shaping my crusts (try to maintain a 1/4" thickness as best you can) I put them onto the grill. Each side needs very minimal time (at least at 550 degrees). We're talking 30 seconds per side at the most. Once done, I turned off one of the burners and reduced the other one to low - for the cooking of the toppings.

Back inside the kitchen, I threw my toppings onto the pizza while the crusts were still very warm. Once ready, the pizzas went directly onto my barbeque, now acting as my oven. Pizzas can stay on until you think they're ready.

A couple of thoughts: If you're into lots of toppings and browning your cheese a lot, you may want to consider throwing your pizza under the broiler at the end. What I found that worked the best was to stick with minimal toppings and wait until the cheese was thoroughly melted. You don't want to keep your crust on the barbeque too long, as it will eventually get too hard and burn. Short and sweet is the key and it will leave you with a nice light, fluffy crust.

Here are some pictures of the ones I've cooked so far:

Pepperoni, Green Pepper and Onion with Bolognese Sauce

Chicken, Bacon and Corn with Alfredo Sauce

1 comment:

  1. congrats on the blog! cant wait to see what you cook up next!