Stir the yeast into the water; let sit for 15 minutes. Combine the flour and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook or in a large bowl. On low speed in the stand mixer or stirring with a wooden spoon, slowly add the yeast mixture and the olive oil alternately to the flour. Knead for 6 minutes on low speed in the stand mixer or on a floured surface by hand until it becomes elastic. The dough should feel soft and just a little sticky. If it feels grainy or dry, add 1 tablespoon warm water at a time (up to 1/4 cup). Knead for another 2 minutes by hand on a floured surface.
To use the dough the same day:
Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl that’s at least twice the size of the dough and cover with a damp dishtowel. Let rise at room temperature until almost doubled, about 1 hour. The dough is ready when you poke a finger in it and it holds the impression.
To hold the dough for one day:
Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl that’s at least twice the size of the dough and cover with plastic; refrigerate overnight. It will rise slowly in the cold, doubling in size.
To freeze the dough:
Put the unrisen dough directly into a large zip-top bag. Freeze for up to one month. Transfer it to the refrigerator one day before proceeding.
Let refrigerated dough warm up for 20 minutes at room temperature before proceeding.
Punch down the dough and divide it into eight 4-ounce balls. Put each ball on a floured surface and, with your hands, flatten and stretch it into a disk that's about 1/2 inch thick. The dough will be fairly elastic and will tend to spring back. Cover each piece with plastic and let rest for 5 minutes. Stretch or roll each disk into an 8- to 10-inch round about 1/8 inch thick (the thinner, the better). If they continue to seem springy and resist rolling, cover and let rest for a few more minutes. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment or waxed paper and layer the rounds on it with a sheet of parchment or waxed paper between each. Use the dough immediately or cover and refrigerate for up to 4 hours.
Separate the rounds with sheets of parchment or waxed paper.
Grill the pizzas
Fire up the grill (gas or charcoal).
Use both hands to pick up a round of dough. Moving quickly and holding the top edge of the dough, lay the bottom edge (oiled side down) on the hot part of the grill. As soon as the first edge of the dough makes contact with the grill grate, pull gently on the dough as you finish laying it down to stretch it thinly.
Place the round on the grill.
Brush the top of the dough with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Grill without moving until the pizza browns and develops good grill marks on the bottom, 1 to 3 minutes; check frequently to prevent burning.
Flip the dough with a spatula and tongs and arrange your choice of toppings on the browned side of the pizza. For toppings, try Olive Tapenade, Roasted Vidalia Onions, Roasted Red Pepper Purée, Roasted Garlic, or one of the no-cook toppings listed below. (Work quickly, or move the pizza to the cooler area of the grill while topping.) When the bottom has browned and developed strong grill marks, 1 to 3 minutes, move the pizza to the cooler part of the grill.
Flip the dough.
Close the lid and grill until the pizza toppings are hot to the touch and any cheese has melted, 3 to 8 minutes. Check the bottom of the pizza frequently, turning the pizza from back to front and side to side to prevent burning in case your grill has any hot spots. Transfer the pizza to a cutting board and slice. Serve immediately.
Make Ahead Tips
You can make the dough, let it rise, and shape it all in about an hour. Or you can make the dough ahead. You can refrigerate the dough overnight (it will rise slowly in the cold, and then it will need 20 to 30 minutes at room temperature before you shape it.) For longer storage, freeze the dough for up to a month. Thaw frozen dough overnight in the refrigerator or on the counter at room temperature for 2 to 2-1/2 hours.
No-cook toppings: pepperoni, thinly sliced prosciutto, or sliced cured sausage; olives, capers, slivered sun-dried tomatoes, hot cherry peppers, or anchovies; thinly sliced ripe beefsteak or plum tomatoes, quartered cherry tomatoes, or good-quality canned diced tomatoes, drained; baby spinach or arugula leaves; prepared pesto
nutrition information (per serving):
based on eight servings;
Photo: Scott Phillips