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Family Fun: Homemade Pizza Making!

12.04.13 Family Fun: Homemade Pizza Making!

pizza stone

Too many cooks might spoil the soup, but no one ever said that about pizza. 

Make-your-own pizza night is an ideal family meal/activity - something that kids of all ages (and adults) enjoy doing. And eating. It's a great way for the whole family to enjoy an entire meal together - from the process of prepping, making, baking and eating.

So, rather than ordering out for pizza -- make it yourself! 

Making homemade pizza is pretty simple and can also satisfy the various taste buds of any crowd, while potentially fitting in some healthy veggies too! Mightynest Dad (Cam) and three Mightynest kids (Clio, Olive and Milo) recently teamed up to make several delicious homemade pizza pies.

While there are many different and delicious ways to make a pizza crust (gluten-free, grain-free, whole wheat, etc.) we opted for an old standby from the fabulous Greens restaurant in San Francisco.

Ingredients for pizza dough (from the Greens cookbook)

  • 3 tsp dry active yeast
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 1/3 cups warm water
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp fine corn meal
  • 3 cups bread flour or all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt

Directions: Dissolve the yeast and sugar in warm water for 5 minutes or until foamy. Stir in the olive oil, cornmeal, flour and salt. Knead the dough for 5 minutes on a lightly floured surface. Place the kneaded ball in a lightly oiled bowl, turn once so the dough is covered with oil and cover with a towel to let rise for 45 minutes. At this point the dough should be doubled in size. Punch down and form into a ball again and let rise for 30 more minutes. Now the dough is ready to be separated and rolled into two 12" pizza crusts. 

Making pizza can be messy. Cam is prepared by sporting the Hemp Denim Maker's Apron - a full-length apron made from hemp and organic cotton. Hemp is an exceptionally durable and renewable material and is grown without the need for pesticides or fertilizers. As one of the strongest natural fibers, hemp is also mildew resistant and anti-microbial making it an ideal fiber for a kitchen apron. The hemp apron comes with a set of 5 organic bamboo cooking tools.

The dough was made and set to rise in this fantastic multi-purpose glass mixing bowl. And draped over the bowl was one of our favorites: an organic cotton tea towel. While the dough was rising, the kids divided up prepping duties (chopping fresh herbs, slicing mushrooms, grating cheese, peeling and pressing garlic and making a homemade tomato sauce (of course, using a store-bought version will do). 

The batch of dough was separated into smaller balls (for nice thin crusts!) and lightly floured for rolling. Making and rolling dough is tactile and very satisfying for kids (and adults). The texture of air-filled dough and the feeling when deflating it, stretching it and rolling it out - this very process of preparing food manually connects us with the food we eat. And for most kids, using their hands, feeling them messy, and learning a new skill feels just great.

We are pretty excited about these new rolling pins at Mightynest. The pins are made in Indiana from solid sugar maple and unlike most conventional rolling pins, we've special ordered these so they aren't coated with varnish or mineral oil. The wood used is also sourced responsibly (regularly winning sustainability and stewardship awards). 

The ceramic pizza stone is designed for use in ovens (both conventional and convection) as well as under the broiler. Made to withstand high temperatures, the stone can be placed directly on the grill to create a backyard pizza oven. The surface is extremely durable so you don't have to worry about scratching it up with a pizza cutter - in fact, it's fine to cut directly on the stone. And unlike many of the unglazed pizza stones available, this one cleans up beautifully and can be carried easily (thanks to the nicely designed and comfortable handles) right to the table.

Make sure to preheat the pizza stone before placing the dough on top - this will prevent a soggy center and provide the crispiness when finished. Ladle the sauce and start designing. You may even want to set up a station with bowls of favorite toppings, form the dough into personal size pizzas, then watch your kids create whatever pizza their hearts desire.

While the pizzas bake, this is a great time to clean the baking tools and floured countertops. And maybe even fit in a game!

Yum. Enjoy!

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