Makes 9 (5- to 6-inch) pizzas (or three 12-inch pizzas).

Note: If you need to make a lot of pizza crusts, double the recipe. Then continue with double batches rather than multiplying the recipe too many times at once. For a big crowd, it's helpful to partially bake the crusts so they are easier to handle at grilling time. From "Come One, Come All: Easy Entertaining With Seasonal Recipes," by Lee Svitak Dean.

• Crust

• 2 envelopes dry yeast

•1/2 tsp. sugar

• 11/2 c. warm water (105 to 115 degrees)

• 31/2 c. flour

• 1 tsp. salt

• Olive oil

Pizza toppings

• Commercial pizza sauce (squeeze bottles are useful for a crowd)

• Olive oil (for white pizzas)

• Variety of pizza toppings (shredded cheese, diced vegetables, cooked or cured meats, etc.)


For crust: In a bowl, stir yeast and sugar into 11/2 cups warm water. Set aside for 10 minutes, or until foamy; stir again. Measure flour and salt into a large bowl; add yeast mixture and mix thoroughly by hand. The dough will be sticky.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead, adding a little flour if necessary, for 5 to 10 minutes, until dough is no longer sticky. (Or knead with an electric mixer with attachment for 5 to 7 minutes.)

Lightly oil dough and place in a bowl large enough to allow it to double in volume. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap that has been oiled on the side that touches the dough. Let stand at room temperature for at least 1 hour, or until doubled in volume. At this point, dough can be refrigerated for several hours or overnight. Do not punch dough down.

To form pizza crusts: With floured hands, pull off enough dough to make a ball 2 to 3 inches in diameter. Roll out dough into a 5- or 6-inch circle. Place on lightly greased cookie sheet. Repeat, using remaining dough to make 8 more pizza crusts. Cover and set aside in refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before assembling pizza.

To parbake crusts for future use: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake the crusts on a lightly greased cookie sheet for 3 to 4 minutes or until crusts are just firm (do not brown). Remove them from the oven and pierce in several spots with a fork to release steam (they will have puffed up in the oven). Cool the crusts and place in an airtight container to either freeze for up to several weeks or store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Bring to room temperature before assembling pizza. You could also partially cook the crusts on the grill.

For pizza assembly: Raise the grate on the grill as far from the coals as possible. Bring coals to medium heat (you should be able to hold your hand over the coals for 3 to 5 seconds). You don't want a blast furnace effect or the pizzas will burn. You may want multiple grills going if you have many pizzas to make. Have pizza sauce and toppings ready for guests to assemble. Let them know they shouldn't pile the ingredients more than 1/2 inch high.

Place the pizzas on the grill and lower the grill cover. If pizzas are being added frequently to the grill (which is likely with a crowd), place a pie pan over each individual pizza--and then cover the grill -- to maintain steady heat. Watch the pizzas carefully, because grilling will take only a few minutes. They are ready when the cheese has melted.

If pizza crusts are not parbaked: Lightly grease the grill before starting the coals. Place crusts on heated grill and turn over after a few minutes when the crusts have become firm. Repeat on second side. Remove crusts and pierce any puffed areas. Add toppings and finish on grill.