Peter Reinhart's Napoletana Pizza Dough....Grilled/Baked. For some time now, I have been experimenting with pizza doughs....grilled and baked pizzas. I love working with any type of bread dough, so experimenting with pizza doughs was actually quite fun for me...
Ever since my husband had his first taste of grilled pizza, he's been requesting it quite often. He loves the smoky, "wood-fired" flavor of the grilled pizza. I knew he wouldn't mind having pizza more than once a week...while I was experimenting:).
I decided to try some other pizza dough recipes... just to see if I could come up with another "favorite" pizza dough(besides the usual recipe I use). In the process, I came across Peter Reinhart's Napoletana Pizza. It seemed that everyone was raving about it. I was willing to give it a try, especially since I absolutely love his 100% whole wheat bread recipe. I knew the pizza dough would probably not disappoint. He does have a variation to this pizza dough recipe, found in his cookbook~ Bread Baker's Apprentice. The recipe that I used, via The Fresh Loaf, can be found in his American Pie cookbook. Both recipes are similar...except one uses bread flour, more oil, and icy cold water( instead of the room temp). However, they both require you to refrigerate the dough overnight... giving you better flavor and texture.
In any case, I ended up doing a pizza on the grill (my adaptation) and another in the oven (original version). I really liked them both. The neat thing about it is that you can make the dough in advance and even freeze it for later use.....you just need to thaw it in the fridge the night before you want to bake it and allow ample time for it to get to room temp before using it. I loved the taste and the slight chew the dough had...it was a light( airy) sort of dough and not dense at all. I have posted the grilled version, as well as the baked. Feel free to do whatever version you prefer. Hopefully, it is not confusing:)... You know, I really liked it and will be making it again.
BTW, the toppings I used were not authentic Napoletana... typical tomatoes, and mozzarella cheese. I chose to add a few more toppings( just because I had some other veggies that needed to be used up) and therefore the pizza isn't a true Napoletana pizza. So I put the Napoletana in parentheses. Do feel free to make the original Napoletana version. Hope you enjoy....
The Dough: From: Peter Reinhart's cookbook American Pie via: The Fresh Loaf
~Makes 4(10-inch) pizzas~
5 cups all purpose flour
1 Tablespoon sugar or honey
2 teaspoons salt (or 3 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt)
1 teaspoon instant yeast
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 3/4 - 2 cups room temp. water
Combine all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix/knead for 2 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes. Knead again for 3 to 5 minutes, adding more water or flour if necessary. You want the dough to be wetter and stickier than your typical bread dough but it should still be dry enough that it pulls away from the side of the bowl when you mix it. The dough should only stick to the bottom of the mixer bowl.
Divide the dough into 4 pieces. Place each one into an oiled freezer bag or you can brush the outside of the dough with olive oil and then place it into the bag. Leave in the fridge overnight.
~If you aren't going to bake them the following day, you can place the bags in the freezer. The evening before you intend to bake them, remove the frozen dough balls to the refrigerator to thaw.~
Remove the dough from the fridge( stretch it out a bit) and let it warm to room temperature for 2+ hours( mine took well over 2 hours, more like 3 hrs.) before you intend to bake it. The dough should have a room temp feel and not be cold. You should see small bubbles in the dough ... especially when you lift the edge of the dough...you basically want to see that the yeast is activated.(see photo). So, depending on the temp in the house the time can vary. I like to place my dough where the sun beats on it and warms it(just make sure you cover it with a plastic wrap so that the dough doesn't form a skin).
Grilling the pizza:
Take the dough place it on a piece of wax/parchment paper and squirt some oil on it. Begin to stretch the dough with your hands into a circle( or whatever shape you like). I like to stretch my dough rather than roll it. You get more bubbles(air pockets) in the dough that way. Preheat your grill to med/high . Place the dough on the grill and peel the wax paper....the wax paper helps you keep the shape of the dough as you transfer it onto the grill...you can skip the wax paper if you like. Cook the pizza dough until the top becomes dry and the bottom has a nice crust.
Turn over and lower the heat a bit. Immediately add the sauce and toppings. You can also remove the pizza from the grill while adding the toppings and then place it back on the grill . (It is probably easier to do it this way, especially if you are doing it for the first time).
Grill until cheese is melted....lifting and checking the bottom of the dough so as not to burn. Drizzle a bit of olive oil and sprinkle with crushed red pepper.
A really good "secret" is to brush the grilled pizza dough with a mixture of crushed garlic and olive oil... before adding any other toppings. You can also use marinara sauce....even some bbq sauce with grilled chicken.....
Baking the pizza: Preheat your oven and pizza stone at 450-475 deg for about 30-40 minutes or so. I like to place my pizza stone on the lower third rack of the oven. This way, I get a nice bottom crust and the cheese doesn't burn.
Place some oil on a piece of parchment paper and begin to stretch out the dough in a circle. I like to stretch my dough thin in the center and leave a thicker crust on the outside. Spread your favorite sauce and toppings. Using a pizza peel or the back of a cookie sheet, place the pizza along with the parchment paper onto the preheated stone and bake for about 8 minutes(+/-, depending on thickness and oven temp.).
The cheese should be bubbling and the bottom of the crust golden and crispy.