Monday, November 7, 2011

Homemade Pizza

If there is one thing my kids love more than helping me bake cakes, it is making their own pizza! They have so much fun creating their own designs, they do feel like real chefs! It is fun watching them. Here is how our Sunday night went...

First, I made the pizza dough with the invaluable help of my KitchenAid mixer fitted with the dough hook. I used a recipe which I really like- it has been my favorite for a few years now. I took it from a book called "Italian Farmhouse Cookbook". It is quite simple (especially if you have a stand mixer which will do all the kneading for you, as in my case :), it just requires a little planning because the dough needs to rise for a couple of hours.

Here is all you need:

1 1/3 cup lukewarm water
2 tsps active dry yeast
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 to 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp fine sea salt (i generally use kosher salt)

In the work bowl of an electric mixer, whisk together the water and yeast. Add the oil and mix well. Add 1 cup of flour and mix until smooth. Stir in the salt and enough of the remaining flour to make a soft dough. Because of the oil, the dough will feel somewhat slippery and it may not be a homogeneous lump at first. Knead, adding as little flour, as necessary, until it comes together and is satiny and elastic, about 5 minutes. The dough should be moist because of the oil but not wet and it shouldn't stick to a clean finger.

Place the dough in a clean (unoiled) large bowl, cover with a tea towel, and let rise at room temperature (68 to 70F) until it is doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours. Punch down the dough and use it in recipes as called for.

Once i got to this point, I divided the dough into little balls like that (this recipe is usually enough for about 4 average size balls but I am missing one in this picture- already rolled out :)) :

Next, we rolled out the balls on a floured surface. Because the dough is quite elastic, rolling it out is usually not enough. I usually end up stretching it out with my hands and my daughter likes doing that too. If it doesn't come out perfectly round- that's okay- it looks more homemade this way, and it tastes just as yummy! :))) Once we have the rolled out/stretched dough to the desired size/thickness, we put it on a piece of parchment paper sprinkled with corn meal. Then, the kids spread tomato sauce:

Next, go all the toppings. My daughter made a smiley face design out of ham and onions- her favorite. :))) Here it is right before it hit the oven (which I preheat to 500F with the soap stone inside and then just slide the pizza with the parchment paper right onto it):

10 minutes later and here it is- hot out of the oven: the smiley face pizza with a hair bow from a broccoli spear :)

And my son's dinosaur design- complete with trees from broccoli and pineapple for the sun:

Next, we had a big feast! :)))

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