Cooking With Kids: Bread machine pizza dough

Pizza dough is crazy versatile, making delicious pizza, rolls, breadsticks, or calzones.  And with a bread machine, it’s easy as pie.  Well, a lot easier than pie, actually.  I had my bread machine for a year before some wonderful friend of mine told me I could use it to make pizza dough.  It’s all in putting the ingredients in, in the correct order.  I *love* my bread machine now.

Kids love eating and making pizza.  They can help by loading the ingredients (supervised, of course), spreading the dough, pricking the dough, grating the cheese, and putting on toppings.  My kids favorite thing is making the twisty garlic knots.  So have fun with it!  Let your bread machine do the hard part, let your kids help, use paper plates, and you’ve got an easy, delicious hot dinner that everyone will love, with easy clean up.  Yum…

Bread machine – load her up!  (follow the sequence, please)

1 ½ cups warm (not hot, not cool) water
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
4 ½ cups flour
1 teaspoon sugar (along the sides)
1 package active dry yeast (make a small well in the top of the flour, like the crater at the top of a volcano, and dump in there)

Set bread machine to Dough (a non-baking setting)

When cycle is finished, let rise 30 – 60 minutes.

Let’s make this pizza!

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Pull out 2 pizza pans/cookie sheets, and put a Tablespoon of olive oil in the middle of each.  You’ll need to oil your hands, to be able to handle the dough.

Punch dough down once, then remove from bread machine loaf pan.

Pinch the dough into 2 equal sections.

Plop a dough ball on each cookie sheet.

Pushing down and out, firmly but gently with your oiled hands, spread the dough to make a circle, or square, or heart shape.  (If your child makes a hole, just pinch it closed and direct them to a thicker section.)

Grab a fork, and prick the dough all over a bunch of times.

Bake pizza crusts for 10 minutes.  (I have a finicky oven, so I bake 5 minutes, then switch top-to-bottom and bottom-to-top, then bake 5 more minutes.)

Pull out pizza and place on top of your stove.

Add your toppings!  I always add sauce first, then cheese, then toppings – it bakes better, and kids can see what they’re eating, and pick it off if they don’t like it.

Bake again for 8 – 12 minutes, until cheese is melted and starting to turn golden.

Remove from oven, and let cool on top of stove for 10 – 15 minutes.  Slice, then serve.

Some topping and dough ideas:

Cheese pizza – pizza/tomato sauce, grated mozzarella cheese, pepperoni.

Feta veggie pizza – drained and crumbled feta cheese, grape tomatoes (cut in half), diced red peppers, mozzarella cheese, and a sprinkle of dried basil (even better – wait until after pizza cooks, then tear up some fresh basil and sprinkle it on top).

Garlic knots – pinch off small handfuls of raw dough, then twist into knots, or shape them.  Let them rise (a second time) on the tray for 30 minutes, then bake for 10 minutes or until just golden.  While they’re in the oven, mix up some melted butter, olive oil, chopped garlic, a sprinkle of parsley, and some parmesan cheese.  Brush on the garlic sauce while the rolls are still hot.

Mini pizza’s – same as above, except instead of 2 big pizza’s, keep pinching dough in half until you get 8 pieces, then flatten to 8 mini pizza’s.

Calzones – spread out your dough, then layer one side of each circle with your toppings.  Fold the empty other side of the dough over the top, and crimp the edges with a fork.  Bake for 10 – 15 minutes.  Ideas for fillings include mozzarella cheese and pepperoni, or mozzarella cheese and sausage, or an assortment of different cheeses.  Usually you don’t put sauce inside, but warm up a good-sized bowl of sauce and dunk your calzone pieces into it.  (Good sauces include pizza sauce or marinara sauce.)

Photo by Oakleyoriginals.

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