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Saturday, May 16, 2009

Barbecue Pizza

Last night we made pizza for dinner. The dough recipe was adapted from Chickens in the Road. W e made two pizzas. I started by mixing these ingredients and letting them proof (activate yeast) for 5 minutes.

2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon yeast
1 teaspoon onion powder (replaces salt)
sprinkle of dried basil and oregano

After this time, the yeast was bubbly and had a distinct scent. Taking the bowl over the Kitchen Aid (Yes, this can be done by hand, but last night I was feeling lazy.) I added 3 cups of whole wheat flour and started mixing. Once that was mixed through, I added 2 additional cups, in half cup increments, to the dough. Here is what it looked like after 5 cups (the amount varies each time).

It was a little dry, so I added some extra water to moisten it. I kneaded by hand for about 5 minutes until it was smooth and elastic, then placed it into a greased bowl. After rising for about an hour, it was ready. I preheated the barbecue to 400 degree. The pizza stone* was already in there, so I just turned it on. In the meantime, I split the dough in half and kneaded a little more flour into each ball. Using a rolling pin and cutting board, I rolled each ball into a circular shape.

The original recipe calls for baking the bare dough for 8 minutes before putting on the toppings. Using our pizza peel** and a little cornmeal, I picked up the first pizza and placed it on the hot stone. Since the stone cooks things fast, it only cooked for 4 minutes before starting to bubble. I poked holes in it with a fork to let some of the hot gas escape.

After both crusts had been cooked, it was time to assemble the pizzas. For sauce we used olive oil and chopped garlic. Just put some on a spread it around. After that we put a layer of avocado and spinach. Then came a layer of cheese and the other toppings. Last night we decided on basil, tomatoes, mushrooms, and pineapple. Lastly, we put a final layer of cheese on top to "glue" the toppings on.

We cooked each pizza for 12 minutes on the stone. The barbecue temperature was between 400 and 450 degrees. I checked it a few times to make sure it wasn't burning and that the cheese was melting. Cooking the crust before putting on the toppings made for a sturdier pizza. It was as good a usual. I can't wait to make it again.

*Note: Pizza Stone - Years ago we had a pizza stone but didn't know how to use it. Our crust came out soggy and the stone started to grow mold on the surface. We didn't know what we were doing, so we thought the stone was defective and threw it away. Last year we learned that the pizza stone is supposed to be hot when the pizza is placed on the surface. This is what makes the crust crispy. Also, we learned that you are not supposed to wash the stone (this was what led to the mold - too much moisture). Instead, we leave it in the barbecue and each pizza that cooks on it adds to the seasoning of the stone. Over the last year it has developed a nice patina (our was covered in cornmeal last night).

**Note: Pizza Peel - This is the tool that is preferred for transferring the pizzas on and off the stone. Using cornmeal on the peel keeps the pizza from sticking, essentially providing "wheels" as we call them. The handle makes it easy to retrieve the pizza without having to get too close to the hot stone.


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