Published July 1, 2005.
Burnt or bland, most homemade versions of this restaurant classic can't come close. Could we make grilled pizza a success for the backyard cook?
Grilled pizza can be a nightmare. The thin crust burns easily while the sauce and cheese drip onto the coals.
We wanted a lightly charred, cracker-thin crust topped with perfectly balanced toppings.
The dough was our first challenge: It had to be slack enough to be stretched yet strong enough not to rip. We strengthened the dough by using high-protein bread flour and increased elasticity by adding plenty of water. We had a breakthrough when we added olive oil to the dough: It not only added flavor but also prevented the crust from sticking to the grill. A little whole wheat flour, sugar, and extra salt boosted the flavor even more. For grilling the pizza, a single-level, medium-hot fire was best. We left one-quarter of the grill free of coals, thereby creating a cool safety zone for pizzas at risk of burning. We also discovered that we needed drier and more potent toppings than usual to prevent a soggy crust and drippy cheese. Salted and drained tomatoes kept the crust crisp, and full-bodied, soft fontina cheese mixed with a little Parmesan was potently flavored but didn't ooze.list of recipes