I got a KettlePizza for Christmas and thus began my quest for perfect pizza on the grill. (I get that its low on the recommended list, but its what I have.) I found the Papa John's clone recipe and have made it several times to good reviews from the family. There's usually a tweak to be made (more sauce, different sauce, different cheese, different pepperoni...that kind of thing) ...and I don't always remember to do the same tweaks from cook to cook, but even bad pizza is still pretty good.
I'm not sure how the idea came to me, but I decided I wanted to make a sourdough pizza crust. I searched about sourdough starter and most included a commercial yeast in the ingredient list. King Arthur has a post on their blog about a sourdough starter that you ...capture (is that the right word?) from scratch. Mix equal parts water and flour and leave it for a day. Take one part of that mix and add to it the same amount of water and flour and repeat. Their recipe says to do this for 4 days then up the feedings to 2x a day (morning and night) when you start seeing activity and you should have an active starter in a week. It took me closer to 10 days, but once my starter would double in about 3-4 hours I called it good enough. I took out a portion of the starter for my dough leaving a portion for starter to keep ...but this time in the fridge for weekly feedings.
Since I used equal water and flour the math was easy for substituting in to the recipe. Here's my figures. (I usually make 3 pizzas at a time ...to help you make sense of my numbers)
IDY: 1.5g // ADY: 3g
Vegetable Oil: 77.61g
|x3 -- Sourdough figures|
Starter: 150g (75g water & 75g flour)
Salt, Oil & Sugar: same
I mixed it all up and kneaded it on the counter, then portioned it into 3 equal-sized portions, oiled a container and dropped them inside. That was last Sunday night and I'd intended to make pizza Friday or Saturday ...then Sunday. Then since I didn't get it cooked any of those days, I managed to cook last night, ...so an 8 day proof, which is within the limits of the Papa John's clone recipe but with my sourdough starter substituted for yeast. The dough never rose as much as my clone recipe had done in the past. We'll come back to that.
I started the charcoal and that's where my troubles began. It turns out I ended up starting too much charcoal. To make that worse, I didn't put the bottom grill into the KP but in the regular grill position for my weber kettle. I didn't catch this mistake until immediately after I had the pizza off the peel and onto the ¼" steel I'd recently acquired. The steel being so much lower, coupled with the grill being in a lower position conspired such that I had a beautiful bubbly-crusted and completely inedible pizza. The bottom burned completely on the first pizza I cooked, a cheese pizza.
I managed to get the KP off the grill, the grate off the grill and into the KP, and the extra charcoal back into the chimney (or piled up toward the back of the grill w/ the wood chunks/splits). After this, I managed to get everything reassembled and temps climbed back to north of 500°F (and climbing) so I launched the second, a pepperoni. This one cooked up perfectly. I domed it for about 45 seconds toward the end of the cook and the cheese browned like I wanted it to. At the point I took it out I should've refueld w/ wood chunks, but didn't remember that until after launching the last pizza.
The alfredo chicken/spinach pizza, the 4/6 favorite in my family was the final pizza and cooked up ok ...considering the grill was losing heat. I managed to get the grill refueled after noticing the pizza was taking too long to cook but still had a >9-10 minute cook. (I didn't get any pictures of the alfredo chicken/spinach pizza though.
The crust was delicious with hints of the sourdough in most bites. The only thing was that the texture wasn't as light as I'd hoped. I suspect I may need to beef up my starter, use more starter, or pull the dough out of the fridge sooner. I'll have to experiment.