For the past few days, Ben and I have been back in the Motherland. We’ll be here for a few weeks and it’s a wonderful thing because we’ll be eating all of the glorious food that Chicago has to offer. One food that I really miss when I’m back in Maryland is good pizza. There are many pizza places in the DC-Baltimore area, but few places offer the quality of pizza that even the shoddiest pizza parlor offers in the Chicagoland suburbs. A misconception about Chicago pizza is that it is all deep dish. Not so. My dad contends that deep dish isn’t really pizza, but some sort of bread-pie hybrid. What I really like about pizza in Chicago is that the crust is crispy. It is so satisfying to crunch away on the crust. If Ben is lucky, he gets to take a bite. Lucky. A good crust is really what sets a pizza apart for me. I enjoy my doughy New York-style pizza, but nothing beats the crunch of a square-cut slice from White Cottage.
Before I left, Husband and I had been missing Chicago pizza so much that we decided to make some grilled pizza. We had never done this before and my dad was in town, so this sounded like the perfect opportunity to try out a recipe. My dad is a pretty phenomenal griller, which was very helpful as embarked on this new experiment. Husband is also a great griller so I let the men deal with the “baking” part. The most critical part of this recipe is that the dough does not need to rise. I love making homemade pizza, but the waiting for the dough to rise really puts a damper on my recipes. I found this recipe for no-rise dough and was super stoked. I adjusted it a little and was beyond excited to discover that the crust was crispy! And the recipe is super simple. Joy!
No-Rise Pizza Dough
Makes four 8″ pizzas
1 package of yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 Tb sugar
1 tsp salt
2 cloves crushed garlic
1 Tb dried rosemary
about 2 cups all-purpose flour (with extra for rolling out)
about 2 cups whole wheat flour (or 4 of one type of flour)
- In a large bowl, add the yeast to the warm water and let proof for 5 minutes.
- Add in the rest of ingredients up until the flour.
- Stir in the flour. The dough should not be too sticky or too dry. Adjust the flour so that it doesn’t stick to the spoon and holds together.
- Separate the dough into four (or more) balls. It’s better to separate the dough into smaller rounds because large crusts are incredibly difficult to flip.
- Knead just enough to ensure that all of the dough is together and then roll it out onto a floured surface. The crust should be about a 1/4″ thick. It should be thin, but not too thin or else it will be difficult to flip.
- Preheat the grill to about 500 degrees. Make sure you smear olive oil on the crust itself as well as on the grill. This will help prevent the dough from sticking.
- Cook the dough for about 3-4 minutes per side. The dough should smell done and should get some grill marks on it. You don’t want the dough to get to crisp because you will re-cook it when you add the toppings.
- Add the toppings. I did a regular pizza (tomato sauce with Italian sausage and mozzarella), a white pizza (garlic olive oil as sauce with ricotta and broccoli toppings), and a spinach pesto pizza (chicken and feta topping). Don’t overload the dough with 4 trillion toppings. Even though you’ve precooked the crust, it could slip through the slats–a very sad experience.
- You want to turn the grill down to medium-high. Cook one pizza at a time and close the lid for about 5 minutes. Check to ensure that things that are melting that should melt. The crust should be golden brown and even start to blister a little. “Burned” spots are ok because they taste amazing.
- Allow the pizza cool a few minutes before you cut it because you don’t want a gooey mess. Enjoy!