Who takes three days to make one serving of grilled pizzas?
Me. And pretty much only me.
My quest for the grilled pizza began sometime late Saturday morning, when we began our endless discussion: what’s for dinner? We knew we wanted to grill something, as we wanted to take advantage of last weekend’s glorious weather. Mrs. Crappy would have been happy with cheeseburgers, but I was bent on something fancier.
I don’t recall which one of us came up with grilled pizzas, but I know it took a while to get to the final decision, as Mrs. Crappy shot down all manner of grilled seafood, as well as flank-steak fajita recipe that I was dying to try. But once we got there, it all seemed pretty easy. I remember with great fondness the grilled pizzas I had that one time at Michelle’s house, and after I looked up the recipe (it’s here), we headed off to the grocery store while happily chattering about the toppings we were going to use.
I grabbed the Kitchen Aid mixer (first time using the dough hook!) when we got home and put together the ball of sticky dough we would use in an hour or so. For whatever reason, bread has always been massively intimidating to me, but Michelle’s instructions were perfect and I plopped the ball in an oiled bowl and waited for it to rise.
After nearly 2 hours, it had started to puff up a little bit, but by then it was 9 p.m.; Mrs. Crappy was cranky, I was hungry and we settled for beer and Spaghettios. In addition to that rather unsatisfying* option, we faced a dilemma: would the dough hold up in the fridge for a couple days? I work on Sunday nights, so we would be waiting until Monday to try the pizzas, and I wasn’t sure the dough would hold up that long.
The internet assured me it would — we might even get the added bonus of a sourdough-esque twang in our pizza crusts after all that time — so I wrapped up my precious ball and stuck it in the fridge, ready for me to grill as soon as I got home on Monday night.
Except that on Monday night, I was looking at what seemed to be a rapidly approaching wall of rain**, as well as a wife whose interest in grilled pizza had waned considerably since the weekend. Fine, goddammit — I’ll make my pizzas on the grill pan.
Which, for the most part, worked OK. As per the recipe, I browned one side of the rolled-out crusts, took ’em off the heat, topped them and threw them back on to finish.
I was really pleased with my topping choices, and generally pleased with the overall result. I did, as usual, learn some things for next time:
- The grill pan technically worked, but it’s not the best way to do these. Covering the grill pan steams the dough too much, and controlling the cooking speed is difficult; I had to finish mine in the microwave to have melted cheese AND a crust that wasn’t burned.
- I thought I rolled the dough thin enough. I was wrong. I like a very thin, very crisp crust, and my dough patties needed to be MUCH thinner.
- I liked the slightly sour taste that an extra two days of fermentation gave my crusts, but if I want to cut my grilled pizza production time to, you know, a single day, I need to either A) leave myself extra time for the dough to rise or B) buy fast-rising yeast. Caveat: I pretty much don’t have any idea what I’m doing when it comes to cooking with yeast (see: Great Failed Homebrewing Attempt of 2011), and if someone who does has tips to offer, I’m all ears.
- Roasted garlic. I mean, why not?
OK, I don’t want you guys to get the wrong idea. I destroyed the kitchen while cooking Monday night — always a sign that I’m enjoying myself — and in spite of all the griping, the pizzas were delicious. And I’m pleased to know that next time I make them, they’ll be even better.
*I normally LOVE Spaghettios — but not when I’ve been thinking about homemade pizza for the entire day.
**That rain? It didn’t show up until about an hour after I cooked, ate and cleaned up the kitchen.