K, I admit that my little pizza is not a pretty shape. And… a teensy bit burned on the edge, too. I decided not to Photoshop my mistake, but rather be honest and point it out. My oven rack was too close to the heat in the broiler, that was the source of the problem. If I wasn’t lazy and had moved the rack down two rungs, the cheese would have browned just right. But I am not complaining, Larry and I love this “new” way of making pizza. Grilled Flatbread Pizza from scratch, shaped as best you can, topped with whatever is on hand is a beautiful thing.
We’ve been making homemade pizzas for years, and during the Sopranos era, every week. We call ours Badda Bing Pizza. Larry now claims the pizza making job, and he moved into whole wheat dough for healthy eating reasons. But just recently, we took a cooking class at Chef’s Inc. on Pico, and one of the recipes was Grilled Flatbread with Olive Tapenade and Caramelized Onions. It’s an excellent dough recipe grilled into personal pizza sizes, then put on top anything you want.
Here is the confession: our Viking range has a built in grill which we’d never used until now. Eleven years. We bought it intentionally because we were USED to having an indoor grill. Our previous house had a gigantic fireplace that had a built-in grill. It was stunning, with roaring fires, and so convenient grilling inside the house. So what do we do? Remodel the new house, buy a big range with a grill, then install a gas BBQ on the patio and never, ever touch the one in the kitchen. What’s the matter with us??
One more story: the Northridge earthquake wrecked that fireplace and grill for us. The double-wide chimney on the outside of the house toppled, which is typical during earthquakes. California houses can “move,” because they are mostly wood frame and stucco. But chimneys are solid, so a house will roll back and forth, pull away from the chimney and then slam back against it, making it fall. We had ours rebuilt, but we don’t think it ever vented the same after that.
Back to NOW. This is the kind of recipe I like to use on Sundays. It takes a few steps, so there is a buildup to dinnertime. We use half the dough that evening and then freeze the other half to use sometime during the week. Try this and let me know if you like it. One day soon we will go for a whole wheat version, guaranteed.
Grilled Badda Bing Flatbread Pizzas
Recipe adapted from Chef Diane at Chef’s Inc.
1 cup warm water
1 tablespoon honey
1 package dry active yeast (3/4 tablespoon)
2 1/2 cups to 3 cups all purpose flour
Pinch of salt
Toppings for pizza – sauce, vegetables, meats, cheeses, herbs
FOR THE DOUGH: Place the honey in the warm water and stir to dissolve. Add the yeast to the water and let stand for 15 minutes until the top of the water is covered with foam. Place the flour and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer with dough hook attachment and slowly add the yeast mixture. Let mix until completely incorporated and dough ball forms, then continue kneading in the mixer a few minutes longer until the dough becomes firm and elastic. If dough is sticky, add additional flour and incorporate. Place in bowl and lightly rub the top with olive oil. Place a clean dry towel over the bowl, place in a warm place away from drafts and let rise for about 1 hour or until it has doubled in volume.
Punch dough down, and divide into 4 sections. Roll them into balls and let rise for an additional 15 minute and then press down again. THIS MAKES ENOUGH FOR 4 PIZZAS. IF YOU WANT FEWER, AT THIS POINT PUT ANY DOUGH BALLS IN THE FREEZER FOR LATER.
Lightly flour a flat surface and using a rolling pin, roll doughs into oblongs. Brush flatbread dough with oil on both sides.
Heat grill to medium, and place doughs on grill. Cook until grill marks form and flatbread puffs slightly, then turn over and cook on the opposite side. Hold warm.
Place racks in your broiler at least a foot from the heat surface, and pre-heat broiler.
TO MAKE PIZZAS — Prepare your toppings (you know better than anyone what you want on your pizza). Place two flatbreads on a baking sheet, and top with sauce, vegetables, meats, seasonings and cheese. Broil for three to five minutes (watch carefully) until cheese is melted and golden brown. Remove immediately, slice into quarters and serve.
Makes two to four pizzas.