Isn’t pizza everyone’s favorite? It is with our family and we wanted to make it more fun and healthier. So, we’ve started making it at home. Talk about interactive science and learning! This fits right in with Nancy Larson® Science 2 and 3 lessons teaching measuring, physical changes and flexibility, and chemical reactions (air bubbles). Everyone gets in on the action and we let the creativity flow.
We use a baking stone and place the pizza dough directly on the pre-heated stone. You can purchase pizza stones. We went to our local building supply store and picked out a 16″ square, glazed porcelain tile. It cost about three dollars and works perfectly. The basic pizza dough recipe I use is from Cooking Light magazine, May 2010.
1 cup warm water (100 to 110 degrees)
2 cups, plus 2 tablespoons flour
2 1/2 teaspoons dry yeast
4 teaspoons olive oil
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Pour 3/4 cup warm water in the bowl of a stand mixer with dough hook. Add flour and mix until combined. Cover and let stand 20 minutes.
Combine remaining 1/4 cup warm water with yeast in small bowl. Let stand 5 minutes or until bubbly. Add yeast mixture, oil, and salt to flour mixture. Mix for five minutes or until a soft dough forms. Let dough rest for at least 30 minutes.
You can make the dough ahead, place in a plastic zip-closure bag, and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.
I’ve used gluten-free rice flour, wheat flour, and a 50/50 blend of wheat and unbleached white flour. So there’s a lot of flexibility in terms of what flour you can use.
After the dough rests, everyone gets a portion to make their personal pizza. The recipe will make four pizzas each about 10-11 inches across.
The little ones have a great time rolling it out.
Zach puts his muscles into it. He loves cooking.
Molly is sure she can do it, “Me self.” She’s very hands-on.
I couldn’t resist the fun of rolling the dough with her.
We place the dough on the pizza stone/tile and bake at 500 degrees for about two minutes on each side. You’ll want the crust to be a light tan. As it bakes, use the tip of a knife to prick the air bubbles created.
Remove the crust from the oven and brush the top side with olive oil. This keeps the sauce from soaking into the crust so there’s no soggy pizza.
I pour the pizza sauce into a bowl, give everyone a spoon, and let them spread the sauce on their crusts.
Koren couldn’t resist helping and getting in on the fun.
We put out a variety of toppings: meats, vegetables, and fruit.
Zach starts with pepperoni.
Then Zach adds pineapple. Molly started with ham.
Then Molly adds red and green bell peppers. Of course we finish with cheese, Mozzarella or an Italian blend. Koren made her pizza cheese-free with lots of vegetables and pineapple.When the creations are ready for the oven, bake them on the pizza stone at 500 degrees an additional 5-10 minutes until the cheese is bubbly. More toppings require a longer baking time.
Here are some of our creations. We don’t worry if they aren’t round or square. We call them “free form”.
This one has fresh tomatoes, olives, and chopped, homemade meatballs.
Fresh basil is wonderful on pizza. I like to put it under the other toppings. This keeps it from being dried out while baking.
I hope you have fun with this. We’d love to hear from you and see photos of your creations.
Nancy Larson® Science