This is my favorite thing to make camping. Seriously. There is nothing so good as a pizza cooked in a cast iron dutch oven on a campfire. The most difficult thing is judging the temperature of the coals so you don’t burn the bottom or the top.
I start with a ‘quick’ pizza dough. This means I do not have the patience to make a regular pizza dough and wait the hours it takes for it to rise. This pizza dough is ready in about 25 minutes. And I use it all the time, not just camping, since I have the same ability to plan what I am going to eat for dinner as goldfish have of remembering that they have seen this castle before.
I mix the dough first, and then usually do something else for a while. In this case, I made the potato balls detailed in the last post. After the dough has risen, I prep the pizza. You begin by adding flour until the dough doesn’t stick to your hands anymore, which can be as much as a cup.Then you stretch the dough and shape it into the pan. I start by stretching the dough outside the pan, and then fitting it into the pan and stretching it some more if I need to. The trick is to not forget the cornmeal to put on the bottom of the pan. It makes removing the pizza actually possible. My dutch oven is about 15 inches in diameter, so it makes a decent size pizza. If we had had more folks in camp, though, I think we would have needed a second pie…
Then you top it. I used a jarred pizza sauce, but you could use something that was homemade or no sauce, or whatever. In this instance someone wanted no sauce on their slice. I would have loved to accommodate her, but being it was one pie for 8 people, I was not making promises, and I told her that. I did honestly try to make it at least plain cheese. That was all I could do for her, even though I did scrape the sauce off one slice, it oozed on there when the pie cooked.
Our final product before putting the lid on and on the coals looked like this:
Then we made a little spot for it in the fire ring. In retrospect, I should have gathered the coals on the stones outside the ring to better control the temperature on the bottom, but there is always next time… I made a bed of coals, about one layer deep to one side of the fire ring and kept the fire going on the other side. Then I placed the oven on top of the bed of coals and coals on the lid:
You may have to add more coals to the top, but you will want to check the pizza after about 10 minutes. Pizzas don’t take long to cook and you don’t want to burn the bottom. Simply lift the lid to look at the pizza. If the sides look a little golden, the bottom will be done. You want the top to get done too, so if it is not looking like a pizza should when the bottom is done, you can just take the whole dutch oven off the bed of coals and add a few more to the top. This is what I eventually did with this.
The end product looked like this:
In the end the movement of the molten pizza made the sauce ooze everywhere and the pepperoni with it. Sorry, Kid, you’re going to have to have a new food night. To her credit, our intrepid eater liked the new food she bravely tried.
To make the dough you need:
1 package quick-rise yeast
1 1/4 cup flour, plus more for kneading, up to 1 cup
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup warm water
Cornmeal to sprinkle on your pan.
mix the dry ingredients with the yeast. Add the warm water and mix till dough forms. Cover in the bowl and let sit for about 20 – 25 minutes to rise.
After rising, punch down dough and work in enough flour to make the dough not stick to your hands. Sprinkle the pan with cornmeal and stretch the dough, first out of the pan and then in the pan, so the dough fits into the pan and up around the edges a bit. Add your toppings.
Bake in the Dutch oven until the pizza looks like a pizza. It should take between 15 and 20 minutes altogether.