|my googly eyed pizza|
There are a few secrets to making good pizza at home. First, heat the oven to about 500 degrees or hotter and preheat a pizza stone. It can be tricky transferring a large pizza onto a hot stone which is already in the oven. Some people make a full sized pizza on parchment paper and transfer it to the oven using a "pizza peel." They say you can slide out the parchment paper after cooking the pizza for a few minutes.
I use nothing but a metal spatula to transfer these small personal pizzas back and forth from my kitchen table to the oven. One thing that makes it so much easier, is that I cook the dough a little bit by itself before adding the toppings. Doing it this way not only makes for a crispier finished product, but it also provides a sturdy base which is easier to transport to the oven after loading it with sauce, cheese, and other toppings.
I made the dough in my bread machine, but you could also make it by hand or even buy ready made dough if you just want to get straight to the fun decorating part. I know your time is valuable. I'm not a food snob. I go through phases where I have different priorities in my cooking. In certain seasons of life, convenience is important. When I'm in "survival mode" I buy a different color of disposable cups for each child and eat take out food at least once a week. Other times, I cook most things from scratch to save money. And then there are those extreme health kicks where I spend way too much time in the kitchen and end up paying more for whatever they are currently telling us is superior...
I'm all for natural food, but I'm not going to lie to you and say this pizza was made with "pastured" cheese. For all I know, the cheese might have come from those thousands of black and white cows that stunk up a long stretch of highway on our recent road trip. But their milk tastes really good and has been radiated for our safety. Genuine Holstein Mozzarella cheese, folks! Cause happy cows come from.........wherever.
"Little Chef's" pizza had a mustache and goatee
|"Tinkerbell," age 4, said she didn't want any 'green stuff' on hers...hence the carrots.|
|I call this one...Mr. Potato Head|
1 cup water
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp olive oil
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons bread machine or quick active dry yeast
Place all crust ingredients into the bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer.
My ten year old who we'll refer to as "Little Chef" was the one who suggested I put garlic in the dough. She's always right about these things.
There is a chance that the dough ball will look a little dry so check on it after a few minutes and perhaps add a little more water. Here's what the perfect pizza dough ball looks like about 30 minutes into the dough cycle...
Fixings for Seven Personal Pizzas:
1 1/2 small jars of all natural pizza sauce
16 oz of mozzarella
a few mushrooms
1/2 of a bell pepper
a few slices of nitrate free ham
a few sliced jalapenos
a few green onions
When the dough cycle is complete, preheat oven to 500 degrees or higher with the pizza stone in the oven. Divide dough into seven balls. Roll them out very thin, sprinkling with a little flour to keep them from sticking. Place two of the rolled out dough discs into the oven. I use my hands since they are as thin as tortillas and just quickly drop them onto the stone. Bake the crusts for 3-5 minutes or until they puff up a bit and are no longer floppy. Remove them from the oven using a spatula or pizza peel and put them on a plate...
|partially baked, non-floppy pizza crust|
Let people put their toppings on and return each pizza to the oven for a few more minutes on the stone. Bake pizzas, one or two at a time, until crusts are very crispy but not burnt and cheese is melted and maybe even toasty. Since the oven and the stone may continue to get hotter for subsequent batches, you will want to check on the pizzas every few minutes.
|Dignified Adult Pizza|
I forgot to sprinkle on Parmesan cheese before taking the pictures...but trust me, there WAS Parmesan involved!