The typical answer I get from my kids when I pick them up from school Friday afternoons and ask them what they’re craving for dinner is “PIZZA!” While I probably love pizza just as much as they do, that’s where the agreement ends. We squabble about the crust, the sauce, the toppings, where to order from.
Unless we can compromise. Make-your-own pizza night is a winner because the kids love to be able to make some choices about their food. I’m happy because I don’t have to suffer through the crust of their favorite takeout joint. All I need on hand are a few of the kids’ favorite toppings and this tasty homemade pizza dough recipe. The recipe is just one of the delicious, healthy and child-friendly offerings on SheCooks.Design.
How kids can help
Kids will love to be involved on homemade pizza night. They can help you measure out the ingredients, push the buttons on the food processor and help knead the dough. Let them spread pizza sauce, sprinkle cheese and top their own pizzas with their favorite ingredients. They won’t even realize they are learning – they’re just having fun!
Pizza topping ideas
Pepperoni, cooked Italian sausage and Canadian bacon add protein. Pineapple, peppers, olives, cooked onions, halved cherry tomatoes and sliced mushrooms sneak in veggies. For a fun variation, try a bbq pizza with bbq sauce, grilled chicken, cheddar cheese and sliced green onions.
Another great way to spice up your pizza is to try different cheeses: fresh ricotta is yummy with a spicy red sauce, gorgonzola is delicious with hot-sauce (think buffalo chicken!), goats cheese with zucchini. Experiment and have fun.
White Whole Wheat Pizza Dough
- 1 cup water (about 110-115 degrees which equates to very warm from the tap)
- 1 T olive oil plus additional for brushing dough
- 2 T honey
- 2-1/4 tsp instant or rapid-rise yeast (one envelope)
- 2-3/4 cup white whole wheat flour plus additional as needed
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1-1/2 tsp kosher salt (if using table salt, only use 1 teaspoon)
- Preheat oven to 500 degrees. If you have a pizza stone, pop it on the bottom rack, or closest to your lower oven heat source. Otherwise, use two rimless cookie sheets, place one on the bottom rack (no parchment) to preheat, and use one as a pizza peel (A pizza peel is the flat wooden -or sometimes metal- paddle pizza shops use to transfer the pizza to the oven).
- In a 2-cup glass measuring cup (use this for easy pouring into the food processor, whisk water, olive oil, honey, and yeast. Let sit 5 minutes or so. Pulse flour, Parmesan (the parm helps the crust crisp up and adds some great flavor, please don’t omit!), and salt in food processor until combined. With machine running, slowly pour in yeast mixture and process until dough pulls away from sides and forms ball, about 1 minute. (If the dough seems too sticky and stringy, add 1-2 tablespoons more flour.) Pop dough onto floured work surface and knead 3 or 4 times until nice and smooth (like a baby’s you know what, as they say!).
- The food processor is so easy for making this dough, but use your heavy duty mixer with a dough hook if you prefer. Follow the same method, but knead for 5-8 minutes in the mixer. If you don’t have either food processor or mixer, you may certainly make this dough by hand. You will need to be sure the ingredients are fairly well combined in your bowl, then transfer to a floured surface and knead by hand for at least 8 minutes. Very therapeutic!
- At this point, you may, but not necessary, let the dough rest in a bowl (brush a little olive oil over the dough, so it won’t dry out) for up to an hour. Use that time to get your pizza topping ingredients ready.
- Dust a sheet (at least 12″ x 12″ or so) of parchment paper with flour. Divide dough into 4 equal balls. Working with 1 ball at a time on your counter, using a well floured rolling pin*, roll and stretch dough to form 9″ (or so) circle**. Transfer to prepared baking sheet and dust dough with flour. Repeat with remaining dough, stacking each round on floured parchment (to keep them separated).
- Top with your favorite toppings and slide onto the pre-heated baking sheet (it’s all right to leave the parchment on the bottom, it makes pizza life much easier all around!) Bake for 10-12 minutes or until crust is crispy and cheese is golden brown.
- Carefully remove from the oven, using the rimless sheet (or a pizza peel) and leave on the counter for a minute before cutting into it. Brush the crust with more olive oil (optional) or drizzle the whole pie with some nice olive oil.
Recipe Notes – Homemade White Whole Wheat Pizza Dough
If your dough is springing back as you roll it out, have no fear. Just cover it with a towel, and walk away for 5-10 minutes. This gives the dough a chance to relax a bit. You should be good to go after that.
More tips: if you are using a food processor before you make the dough, grate (or use the ‘s’ blade for your parmesan and mozzarella cheese). Transfer to a bowl, and you don’t even have to clean it out when you go to make the pizza dough. Always thinking, I am, just for you!
*if you don’t have a rolling pin, no problem, just flour a wine bottle, or any round tall bottle. It works great!
Make it a Family Fun Night