This dough needs to be very extensible and supple because it is pressed out quite thin, almost as thin as a flour tortilla. The dough is easy to make, but the technique for properly grilling a pizza, as perfected by George Germon of Al Forno in Providence, requires practice, a good grasp of mise en place, and a refusal to be intimidated. You can substitute up to 5 tablespoons whole-wheat flour, rye flour, or cornmeal for an equal amount of all-purpose flower for a nice earthly flavor and texture, although you may also have to increase the amount of water slightly. You can keep these dough balls in the freezer, that way you will be ready to spring into action anytime the craving for grilled pizza strikes – and it will!
Makes six 6½ -ounce dough balls
- 5 cups (22 1/2 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons table salt or 3 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon instant yeast
- 3 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 3/4 cups room temperature water (70º F)
- With a large metal spoon, stir together the flour, sugar, salt, yeast, 1 ½ tablespoons of olive oil, and the water in a 4-quart bowl or bowl of an electric stand mixer until combined.
- If mixing with an electric mixer: fit it with the dough hook and mix on low speed for about 4 minutes, or until the dough forms a course ball and clears the sides and the bottom of the bowl. Add more flour or water by the tablespoonful as needed. Let the dough rest for 15 minutes, then mix again on medium-low speed for an additional 2 to 4 minutes, or until the dough is smooth, supple, and tacky but not sticky. The dough should pass the windowpane test (see page 105?).
- If mixing by hand: repeatedly dip one of your hands or the spoon into room-temperature water and use it much like a dough hook, working the dough vigorously as you rotate the bowl with your other hand. Continue mixing it for about 4 minutes or until the dough forms a course ball, adding more flour or water by the tablespoonful as needed. Let the dough rest for 15 minutes, then transfer it to a lightly floured container. Dust the top with flour to absorb the surface moisture, then knead the dough by hand for 2 to 4 minutes, or until it is smooth, supple, and tacky but not sticky. The dough should pass the windowpane test (see page 105?).
- Immediately divide the dough into 6 equal pieces. Gently round each piece into a ball and brush or rub each ball with olive oil. Place each ball inside its own zippered freezer bag. Using the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, drizzle 1 teaspoon olive oil over the ball in each bag and seal the bags closed. Let the balls sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes, then refrigerate the balls for at least 3 hours or preferably overnight.
- Remove the dough balls from the refrigerator 2 hours before you plan to roll them out to take off the chill and relax the gluten. At this point, you can hold any balls you don’t want to use right away in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or you can freeze them for up to 3 months.