Sourdough Grill-top Pizza


Making pizza on a grill is the perfect summer project, since it avoids overheating your kitchen, gets you out-of-doors, and fumigates the neighborhood with delicious aromas.

This recipe, for a 12-inch pizza for two, uses a sourdough starter, a proven, delicious flour blend, and technical tips plus flavor add-ins that will boost results to a new level. The flavor-obsessed can add taste by smoking the grains, then grinding by hand. Smoking instructions are well-described by Paula Disbrowe in her cookbook, Thank You For Smoking.

Yield: 1 medium, thin-crust pizza with tomato sauce, sufficient for two adults.

Time to make: 45 minutes active. 1-3 hours to let dough rise.

Equipment needed: a grill with cover, a 12" diameter or larger, well-seasoned, cast iron skillet or cast iron pizza steel, a pair of steel tongs, hand protection mitts, a big broad spatula or "peel", a bowl to stir dough, a pan to make sauce, various cutting and stirring implements and a box grater to shred cheese.


heaping 3/4 cup (125 grams) brown rice flour
heaping 1/3 cup (60 grams) sorghum flour
1/8 cup (22 grams) steel-cut oats
1/8 cup (22 grams) coarse-ground buckwheat (see notes, below)
3 1/4 teaspoons (22 grams) salt
2 Tablespoons (18 grams) xanthan gum
1/2 cup (75 grams) tapioca starch
3/4 cup (100 grams) potato starch
(Optional) 2 garlic cloves, crushed or shredded (see notes below)
2 Tablespoons ghee (clarified butter) (see notes below)
1 teaspoon nigella seeds (see notes below)
1/4 cup (120 grams) sourdough starter


Buckwheat groats can be coarse-ground in a spice or coffee grinder. Run the grinder a few seconds, shake it, run again and you're done.

Ghee has a very high smoke point, which helps prevent the pizza tasting burnt.

Nigella seeds lend a perfect pizza flavor, as one sniff will reveal.

Garlic likes to ferment in a wet salty environment, adding flavor and fizz. See Kosher dill pickles as an example.

Starting on a cold grill that begins rapidly heating inspires the best oven spring with this dough, makes the crust easy to release from the steel, and prevents the need to transfer wet GF dough to a preheated stone.


1) Optional: One to 3 days before baking, make the garlic ball. (see Notes at left) Place 2 Tablespoons of the flour blend into a small container. Crush or shred 1 large garlic clove into the flour. Add 2 Tablespoons of water and stir well. Cover loosely and set aside.

2) Liberally grease the cast iron skillet or pizza steel with ghee. Sprinkle the greased surface with the nigella seeds. (see notes at left) Place 2/3 cup of flour blend into a medium bowl. Add the garlic ball, sourdough starter and 2/3 cup warm water. Stir dough until all ingredients are wet, the lumps break down, and the dough begins to thicken. Allow to rest 2 - 5 minutes, then stir vigorously for 50 strokes.

3) Pour dough out onto the prepared skillet/steel. Using a wet spatula, spread dough into a pizza shape. Spritz a large sheet of plastic wrap with water and lay gently over dough. Place covered dough in a warm site to rise. This will take about 3 hours at 75 F, 2 hours at 90 F or 1 hour at 100 F.

4) Situate the dough-on-steel in the center of your cold grill. (see notes at left) Remove and discard plastic wrap. Insure that the lowered lid will not be obstructed by the steel. Have on hand a large spatula or peel, oven mitts, a piece of wood or heavy cardboard onto which to eventually place the hot steel or skillet, and a pair of tongs. Turn all burners on full and lower lid.

5) When grill temperature is 450 - 500, raise lid. Slide the spatula under the crust to loosen from steel. Use oven mitts to remove the steel to the prepared piece of wood or cardboard (which will insulate plastic parts of your grill from damage). Use the tongs to flip the pizza crust topside down onto the hot grill. Allow crust to bake a minute or two, then flip over again, now topside up. Place off to one side, lower the lid, and turn off the burners under the pizza, creating indirect heat.

6) Bake pizza about 10 minutes, then cover with sauces and toppings of your choice. Lower lid and continue baking until your toppings look delectable, then remove and dine!