One of my favorite rainy day activities for the family is homemade pizza day. The kids love everything about it: watching the dough rise, sprinkling on the toppings, and watching it bubble in the oven. The dough takes mere minutes to mix and only about 2 hours for both risings. I already had some sauce in the freezer from M’s last birthday party where all the kids made their own pie, so the only thing left was to slice the toppings – pepperoni and mushrooms – and grate the cheese. I like to use the pizza dough recipe from The New Basics Cookbook for two reasons: it’s fast and easy and it’s sturdy enough for little kids to pick up without making too much of a mess. As for the toppings, there is almost nothing that Mia likes more than sprinkling on the cheese and placing each mushroom and pepperoni slice in exactly the right spot. Miss C is not quite old enough to assist with the pizza making, but boy can she pack it in, crust and all.
Pizza Dough (adapted from the New Basics Cookbook)
1 cup warm water
1 package active dry yeast
2-1/2 cups flour
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
Combine the water and yeast in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add half the flour and mix until smooth. Add the oil and salt, then gradually add the rest of the flour. Mix with the dough hook for about 5 minutes, until nice and smooth. Add more flour if the dough is too sticky. Transfer to an oiled bowl, cover, and set aside to rise for about 90 minutes, or until doubled.
Divide your dough into as many pieces you want (I did three today). Roll into balls, cover again and rise for an additional 30 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Stretch the dough into a thin circle, then place it on a pan dusted with some coarse cornmeal to prevent sticking. Now just put on the sauce, cheese and toppings. It should bake until the crust is nice and crisp on the bottom, and the toppings are nice and bubbly, probably around 12-15 minutes. Cool for a few minutes before slicing.