Make Homemade Pizza with the Kids!

Making pizza at home is the best! Not only do you get a pretty healthy meal, but it's a great family activity.  At our house, sometimes each child makes their own pizza, and other times, we leave it up to the girls to handcraft each pizza.  I usually make the dough, but sometimes my middle schoolers help.

Speaking of dough, all great pizzas start off with a great dough. I've found a terrific pizza dough at Sally's Baking Addiction. Ok, it's a recipe for cheesy breadsticks, but she said it would be great for pizza dough...and she was not wrong.  We've made pizzas with it three times and it comes out great every time.

Here's what you'll need for the dough:

  • 2 and 1/4 teaspoons yeast (1 standard packet)
  • 1 and 1/3 cups (320ml) warm water (105-115 degrees F degrees)
  • 3 and 1/2 cups (440g) unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
  • 2 Tablespoons (30ml) olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon (13g) granulated sugar

This dough makes about 2  12'' pizzas. We usually have to make 9-10 pizzas, so we usually make 4 batches of dough.

So here's what you do:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the yeast and warm water. 
  2. Stir  the yeast around and let it sit for 5 minutes of until the yeast is foamy and dissolved. (If the yeast doesn't dissolve, bummer, it's dead, so you'll need to start again with more yeast.)
  3. Add the olive oil, salt, and sugar and stir. Then add the flour. Mix by hand. (I generally add the flour 1 cup at a time and stir after each addition). I try to go with the minimum amount of flour (or even less). I have found that the less flour the better. You want a dough that feels light in your hand, not hard and dense, like a brick.
  4. Once all of the ingredients are mixed, knead for 7 minutes by hand. If you are new to bread making, I found a great, short video that shows the basics of kneading:

If your dough is too wet, add up to 1/4 cup more flour. After kneading, your dough should be smooth and elastic. (If you poke it with your finger and it slowly bounces back, your dough is ready to rise. If not, you need to keep kneading.)
    5. Shape the dough into a ball and place in a large mixing bowl that has been coated lightly with olive oil. Turn it over to coat all sides. Cover tightly with plastic wrap (we use a plate) and allow the dough to rise in a warm place (about 75F-80F).  Depending on your type of yeast, your dough will have doubled in size in about 1 - 2 hours. 

    6. After your dough has doubled, punch it down to release the air. Divide your dough into half.  Roll each half into a ball and let rest in two separate bowls lightly covered for 10 minutes. (Ok, you got me, we usually skip this resting deal, but mostly because we're anxious to get to the party started....)

    7. Spread each ball into a greased 12-in. pizza pan to your desired diameter and thickness of pizza crust (We just use cookie sheets and sprinkle some cornmeal underneath). Some of the kids roll it thin (which is probably a good idea since it poofs up) and some go a little thicker.

    8. Next, pour and spread  your pizza sauce on the dough (ok you can make your own pizza sauce, but we don't "got time for that." We use Ragu Pizza sauce generally.

    9. Then comes the cheese! We use shredded cheese (though I am sure it would be cheaper to shred it ourselves, but again, time.....). A lot of recipes call for mozzarella cheese, but we just use a cheddar fiesta blend)

    10. Then, top with your toppings. These are our favs:
    • Pepperoni (We just found some turkey pepperoni the other week, so it was finally great to have pepperoni again! That's one of the many things I miss about being overseas in the Middle East---Halaal pepperoni and any other kind of meat you want)
    • Onions
    • Mushrooms
    • Pineapple
    • Green Peppers
    • Black olives (my favorite)
    11. At this point, some of the kids mix melted butter and garlic salt and some herbs to create a garlic butter and spread around the edges. (Wow is that good!)

    12. Now for the cooking part. You may have to fiddle with the cooking times and temperatures to get it just right for you, but you can use this as a starter:

    and voile!  
    The best pizza on earth 
    (cuz you made it!)

    One of our most recent pizzas. Yum! We could eat this every weekend!

    If you have kids, you've probably made your own pizza many times and found it makes a great family tradition. 

    If not, you've got to try it! The kids will love it! All my kids say it's loads better than commercial pizza.