Sunday, September 18, 2011

Homemade Pizza

Now that fall is here it gets darker earlier, and the kids seem to be getting hungry earlier. School is back in, routines are starting to settle, sports are taking up a huge part of our afternoons but Sunday is our family day. Today we decided to do homemade pizzas and OH MY GOSH. Great idea!! DH told me about this program I can put on my phone filled with recipes so I did that and found quite a simple recipe, but we played it up. To make the dough was quite simple and we had enough to make two pizzas, one for the kids, and one for us. The kids are notorious for having the same thing over and over, so we sneak in this and that to see what they say, and most of the time they have no idea that we have snuck in some veggie goodness. We didn't add much to theirs today, but you can get away with quite a bit if you have a grater and a little bit of patience. We try to stick to thin crusts as much as possible, but we do end up loading veggies to our pizzas. And I mean lots! Today was exempt from what I usually do, broccoli, salad mix, carrots even! Anything you can think of. Kids like pizza. You can put a lot of things on pizza. Then kids will eat their veggies!! Mine still pick off onions for some reason, but they will eat just about anything else on a pizza! 
The kids are simple at their age, so of course, so is their pizza. They are pepperoni and feta fans, so of course that is what we made. Their extra veg sneak was some extra tomatoes in their sauce, and fresh herbs from the garden infused into the dough.

First I will give the recipe for the dough and instructions. It is easy to make, quick, and the kids can get involved. 4 easy ingredients, and an hour and a half of your time, and voila! A happy bunch of full men in a house makes for a fantastic, quiet evening. This is our first attempt and it turned out better then we could have imagined. 


1 cup of warm water 
1 envelope of actie dry yeast (I used 2 teaspoons out of a jar of yeast)
3 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
Herbs of choice (We used fresh out of our garden, basil, spicy oregano, organic no salt spices)


Sprinkle the yeast into the water and gently stir until dissolved. It should be smooth and a beige coloured mixture. (This picture was for a different recipe but the mixture of yeast should look like what is in the measuring cup. It will be kind of "frothy" and bubble up above the water) 

If it does not get frothy then it is probably a "dead' batch. You will have to make sure it bubbles up or it won't work to rise in your dough. Once it is mixed put it in a warm spot for about 5 minutes so it can do it's thing. Don't use boiling water as it will kill the yeast, I usually just use warm tap water, just before it would be hot. 

After you have started your yeast mixture put 3 cups of the flour and all the salt in a big mixing bowl and mix it together. Make a well in the center of the flour and pour in your yeast mixture. Stir it from the middle with a wooden spoon mixing in the flour from the sides until it becomes a soft dough. You can use your hands if it is too hard to do with the spoon.

Once you have a dough take the ball and place it onto a floured surface. Dust up your hands with the flour and knead away. Gradually add the rest of the flour until your ball is no longer sticky, about 5 minutes. Knead your dough picking up any little pieces that are there and adding them into the ball until it is smooth, and elastic. Only knead your ball until it is springy. This is where we made it more fun! We added in fresh basil, spicy oregano and that magic no salt organic herb mix from Costco. All together it was about 1/4 cup of herbs. You can get as creative as you want, so experiment!! 

Shape the dough into a nice bowl and put into a clean warm bowl covered tightly somewhere where there are no drafts. Let sit for about 1to 1-1/2 hours, until it has doubled in size. Once it has doubled "punch" it down to remove all the air bubbles. Shape into a ball once more time and let sit for 10 minutes to rest. Once rested roll out the pizza dough and cover with your favorite toppings! You can bake on a pizza pan, or cookie sheet. We inherited a pizza stone so gave that a try, and honestly, I will only use that from now on. The crust turned out fantastic. This dough will make 2 pizzas, which was enough for our 4 family members, with some left over for lunches tomorrow. We baked at 375 for about 25 minutes. 

Use the dough up within 2 hours, or wrap tightly and freeze up to 4 months.

This photo is the before of the chicken pizza. We used red pepper Alfredo sauce, spinach, artichoke hearts, chicken breast cooked earlier, feta, olives, sun-dried tomatoes and jalapeno havarti. To put an extra jump we stuffed the crust with Havarti. It was sooo good. 
All chicken goodness came out of this! 

As you saw up at the top, the first photo was the pepperoni before we put it in the oven. This is the finished pizza. We used tomato sauce, I find that they like spaghetti sauce more then actual pizza sauce. It has more flavour to it, and they don't complain. Often we let them choose the flavours and then there is no fight :) It was simply sliced pepperoni and feta with cheddar on top and cheddar stuff into their crust. 

The stuffed crusts probably aren't the healthiest, but sometimes you just need that comfort food to warm you up on a cold day. We already have the fire going so this was just another welcoming of my favorite part of the year! There is so much yummy goodness this time of year, recipes will be flying. 

If you're feeling really energetic you could cut this dough up into small sections and make mini pizzas that can be frozen for easy access later on. This would probably make 10-12 mini pizzas for us. We are definitely going to give that a try next time! 

The difficulty of this recipe is easy. Fun for the kids, so get them involved! Just make sure they wash their hands ;) 

Time 1.5 hours from start to finish, but most of it is waiting for the dough to rise. 

Wooden spoon
Measuring cups
Pizza pan or cookie sheet