Basic Grilled Pizza Dough - makes 2 12-inch pizzas
3/4 cup warm water
1 packet active dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 cups unbleached flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons cornmeal, preferably white, plus additional for the pan
2 tablespoons EVOO, plus 1/4 teaspoon for the bowl.
Making the dough:
Pour the warm water into a small bowl or measuring cup. (If the water is too hot, the yeast will die. If too cold, it will not activate.) Add the yeast and sugar and stir until the yeast dissolves into a smooth beige color. Let it stand on the counter for about 5 minutes to prove that the yeasted water is active. A thin layer of foam will appear at the top, indicating that the batch is good.
Kneading with a stand mixer: Add the flours, salt and cornmeal to a 4-5 quart standing mixing bowl. Use the dough hook attachment on the lowest speed to mix the dry ingredients. Add the yeasted water and the 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Mix on the slowest speed to allow the ingredients to come together. You may need to scrape down the sides with a spatula. Then, move to medium-high speed and knead for 2 minutes. The batter should form a ball, unless it's too wet or sticky. If so, add only enough flour to prevent it from sticking. the dough should come off the sides cleanly and form a ball.
Put the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of EVOO in a medium bowl. the dough will be sticky, so flour your hands before picking it up, and place it in the bowl. Turn it over several times until it is coated in the oil. This prevents a crust from forming on it's surface as it rises.
Cover with plastic wrap, and place in a draft-free, warm place (70-80 degrees F), for 2 hours, until it rises to almost double in appearance.
Chill the dough in the refrigerator overnight, or for 1 hour to firm it up. Since this dough is slightly sticky, chilling the dough makes it easier to roll out. Chilling it overnight gives the dough more flavor and texture. Dough will keep in the refrigerator for 3 days.
Rolling out the dough:
Your refrigerated dough should have doubled in size. Punch it down gently to remove gas.
Lightly flour about a foot of space on a clean, dry countertop. Flatten the dough with your hands to about 1-inch thickness. Cut in half with a knife.
Put one piece of dough in the center of the floured space and sprinkle a little flour over the top. Using a rolling pin, make smooth strokes to roll out the dough starting from the center out to the edges.
Work around the diameter of the dough to form a circular crust with an even thickness. It is not necessary to maintain a perfect circle. Roll the dough out to about a 12-inch diameter, about 1/9 inch thick. Sprinkle the crust with a fine layer of flour, it will make the dough easier to handle, and prevents stickiness.
Position 2 cookie sheets with no sides, or 2 pizza screens, next to your dough. Sprinkle them generously with flour or cornmeal, so the dough will not stick. Pick up the dough with two hands and fold it gently in half.
Transfer the dough to a cookie sheet.
Unfold the dough onto the pan to make it flat.
Stretch out the dough to an approximate 12-inch diameter.
Repeat with the second piece of dough on the second cookie sheet.
Grilling the Crust:
When your grill is at the right temperature (400 degrees F), hold the cookie sheet close to it and slide the dough onto the grill. If the dough fold onto itself, try to move the edges out quickly to form a flat crust (without burning yourself). As long as the crus is about 12 x 12 inches, don't worry that the shape is irregular.
The dough should take about 3 minutes to cook. Watch for bubbles. The crust will be soft at first and tear easily, so try not to touch it. Soon it will set and firm up.
To check whether your crust is done, life the underside. it should be an even light brown with brown grill marks. A charred crust adds to the flavor.
Pick up the crust from the middle, using tongs, and place it on your cookie sheet. Flip it over so the grilled side is face up. This browned side becomes the top of your pizza.