Continuing from my previous post which included two methods of making pizza dough, I also have 2 recommendations for how to make the pizzas themselves.
The first method is by using a pizza stone in your oven. There is a big selection of pizza stones out there, starting around $15 (like the one I got at Bed, Bath, and Beyond) and going all the way up to over $100 (like the All-Clad set I registered for at Williams-Sonoma for my wedding)! I highly recommend picking up a stone if you plan on making pizza in your oven – the cheap ones yield good results and I don’t think you can get the same crust without it. I would also recommend picking up a pizza peel if you have the space – even the cheap one in the picture below (also from B, B, and B) was much easier than the plate/sheet pan method I tried previously, but you can certainly make do without it!
100% Whole Wheat Pizza
Prepared 100% Whole Wheat Pizza Dough
Flour (for dusting)
Cornmeal or semolina flour (for dusting if using the oven method)
Olive oil (for drizzling if using the grilling method)
Salt & pepper (for sprinkling if using the grilling method)
When you are ready to make pizza, remove the desired number of dough balls from the refrigerator 1-2 hours before making the pizza, and keep them in their bags so that they don’t dry out. You may want to open the bags a crack if they are puffing up a lot as they warm up. Frozen balls will obviously need longer, or else if you think of it you can defrost in the fridge overnight and take them out 1-2 hours before cooking. Ideally you want the dough to be at or close to room temperature when you stretch out the pizzas.
About 30-45 minutes before you expect the pizzas to be ready to cook, place a baking stone on a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 450 F. (If you do not get a crisp enough crust, you can experiment with a higher temp.)
Generously dust a peel or the back of a sheet pan with semolina flour or cornmeal and get ready to shape your pizza dough. Unwrap the dough balls and dust them with flour.
Working one at a time, gently press a dough ball into a disk and, working in a circle, pull the dough out a little at a time so that you retain a lip at the edge but get the center as consistently thin as possible without tearing (I use a combination of putting the dough over my knuckles and just holding with one hand and pulling with the other). You may even be able to see through spots – that’s a good thing. You should be able to get each pizza to be at least 12″ across. If the dough is being fussy and keeps springing back, let it rest for another 15-20 minutes and try again. Place the pulled-out dough on the prepared peel or sheet pan, and shake the pan to make sure the dough will move around on the cornmeal ball-bearings (you don’t want it to stick at all).
Add your toppings, being careful not too add too much – you should still be able to see dough through the sauce, and sauce through the cheese. I have even used a cheese slicer on a block of mozzarella and used the thin slices in one layer – this was plenty. Slide the topped pizza onto the baking stone – it’s easiest if you can get it straight into the oven, but you could also remove the stone from the oven if that works better for you. Bake approximately 10 minutes, until the crust is crisp and nicely brown.
Alternatively, if your toppings are cooking too fast for you to get a crisp enough crust, feel free to prebake the crust for about 5 minutes and then remove, add the toppings, and put back in the oven until cooked to your liking (there is no need to flip pizza). This is an especially good idea if your pizzas are on the thicker side, or if you are using fresh mozzarella, which will melt very quickly.
Remove pizza from the oven and cut on a cutting board, not your pizza stone or pizza peel, which could get damaged.
Preheat grill to medium-high heat about 15-20 minutes before pizzas will be ready to go on. Drizzle a plate (or 2 plates if you’ll be making pizzas simultaneously) or a large baking sheet with olive oil. Unwrap the dough balls and dust them with flour.
Working one at a time, gently press a dough ball into a disk and, working in a circle, pull the dough out a little at a time so that you retain a lip at the edge but get the center as consistently thin as possible without tearing (I use a combination of putting the dough over my knuckles and just holding with one hand and pulling with the other). You may even be able to see through spots – that’s a good thing. You should be able to get each pizza to be at least 12″ across. If the dough is being fussy and keeps springing back, let it rest for another 15-20 minutes and try again.
Place stretched pizza round onto oiled plate/pan and use your finger tips to stretch a little more if you want (with this method you’ll be lifting the dough off of the plate anyway, so you don’t have to worry about pushing down and causing sticking). Rub a drizzle of oil onto the top side of the dough and sprinkle with course salt and/or pepper. Prepare your toppings and bring everything outside for grilling.
Place the pizza dough directly on the hot grill, trying to keep it as round as possible (we generally have slightly oblong grilled pizza from swinging it onto the grill – no biggie!). If you are grilling two, follow the same method and just cook them side by side. Grill with the cover open for about 4 minutes on the first side, until there are well defined grill marks on the bottom (you may want to check frequently the first time you do this to get the timing right for your grill and temperature, but do not lift the pizza until it releases on its own – once it’s cooked it should not stick at all). Flip pizza using tongs, quickly add toppings, close cover, and grill until the bottom is crunchy and toppings are heated through (approximately another 4 minutes for us). Remove, slice, and enjoy!
Each pizza serves 1-2 people, depending on your appetite, toppings, and side dishes 🙂