I told you awhile back how kids usually make their own breakfast at our house. The conversation in comments added a bit more detail about how that works at our house. Another thing that I do every couple weeks or so is let my kids make their own pizza for dinner. The above masterpiece was created by my son Ben, age 15. Isn’t it just beyond wonderful-looking?
Here’s how we do make-your-own pizza at our house. I ask one of the kids to make dough a couple hours ahead of mealtime. Then when the dough has risen, we preheat the oven as hot as it will get and gather together pizza toppings and well-greased pie pans, enough so that each person can have a pie pan of his or her own. (We double this recipe when we do it.) Each kid tops his or her own pizza with what they enjoy, and the pizzas get baked in the oven a few at a time. Since we have a convection oven with three racks, we can cook 6 pizzas at a time. We often do this when friends come to spend the night, since everyone likes the power of deciding what they want on their pizza.
- 1 T. active dry yeast (or 1 packet of yeast)
- 1 T. sugar
- 1/2 t. salt
- 2 c. hot tap water (about 100-120 degrees F)
- 2 T. olive oil, for dough, plus 2T. more oil for pans
- 1/4 c. cornmeal
- 4-5 cups all purpose flour, as needed to make an elastic dough
- In bowl of Kitchen-Aid (or large bowl) combine yeast, sugar and water. Let sit 5 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons oil, salt, cornmeal, and 3 cups of flour. Using the dough hook of the Kitchen-Aid (or your hands) mix well for several minutes.
- If using the Kitchen-Aid, continue mixing for another few minutes, gradually adding as much of the remaining flour as needed to make a smooth elastic dough that is only slightly sticky. If kneading by hand, turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 5-7 minutes, adding more flour gradually until you have a smooth elastic dough that is only slightly sticky. Let dough rise, covered, in a warm spot for 30-90 minutes.
- Preheat oven as hot as it will get-- I cook our pizzas at 550 convection bake. Divide dough among as many pans as you will be using. A blob about as big as a tennis ball is enough to make a deep dish pizza that fills a standard size pie pan. You should be able to get at least 4 personal pizzas from this recipe. Any extra dough can be refrigerated and used within a week. Oil pans very generously before spreading dough in pans. (Lots of oil and a HOT oven is Pizza Hut's secret, I'm convinced.)
- Top with red sauce (or ranch dressing). Then add toppings of your choice. Suggestions: browned ground beef, pepperoni, shredded cooked turkey, sweet peppers, mushrooms, green onions. And of course cheese, lots of it.
- Bake in a hot oven about 12-16 minutes, until dough is deep brown and crispy at the edges and pizza is beginning to brown. Enjoy!
This masterful stuffed-crust pizza was created by a son who for years has poked fun at my fussiness about presenting food beautifully, saying it doesn’t matter what food looks like. Obviously he’s learned more about aesthetics than he realized. Now that he’s an expert at breakfast and at gorgeous pizza, I figure he’s well equipped to feed himself when he is out on his own. (Here’s what he had to say when he cooked for himself for a week a couple years ago. )
If you want to know more teaching kids to cook, try the following links:
- Kids in the kitchen: ages 2-5
- Kids in the kitchen: ages 6-9
- Kids in the kitchen: ages 10 and up
- What happened when I gave my teens $20/wk to cook for themselves