So forever and a day ago, back in 2009 to be exact, I took my childless ass up to Wisconsin to hang out with a college friend and teach her kids (then 2 & 3) to make pizza from scratch. The post was mainly photos, but it gave me first hand experience trying to “cook” with toddlers.
Fast forward to today, where it was time to get my own two year old in the kitchen cooking (mainly to keep her busy while making dinner. And because watching another episode of Caillou or Dora the Explorer would make me puke). This time, I’m including my favorite pizza dough recipe so you can try it for yourself. Photos and the recipe after the jump! But just for you? A sneak preview of the cuteness you are in for:
So “cooking” with toddlers really means you cook and prep all the ingredients you need BEFORE the toddler gets involved. Otherwise you’ll be cleaning flour off your ceiling for weeks. Trust.
If the pizza is for dinner, I mix up the dough in the morning, let it rise for an hour in the afternoon in my microwave with a small pot of boiling water, and cook the rest of the ingredients for the pizza, like the sauce and meat. Sometimes I spread this out over a day or two, so I don’t have to do so much the day of.
“Cooking” with a toddler really means letting them do simple tasks, like putting ingredients into bowls, and of course, assembly of the pizza (which you will probably have to fix, but NBD). Toddlers love to “help Mommy”, especially my daughter, but their dexterity is similar to an intoxicated monkey, so I tried to leave really simple tasks, like scooping the shredded cheese into a dish, and put sliced olives into a container, for her.
After all of the ingredients are laid out for easy toddler access, I cut a small nub of dough off for the toddler pizza, and leave the rest for the parent pizza.
From there, we each stretch and put our dough on an oiled sheet pan.
Then come the toppings. For our pizzas, we put on sauce, then the sausage, some onion, the cheese, the olives and more onions. You can use any toppings you like, just make sure meat is cooked, as well as any veggies that will not get soft in the 10 minute baking time.
At 550 F, the big pizza took 9 minutes to cook, and the small pizza took 5 minutes. You want the bottom crust to be crisp, and the cheese to be melted just a bit browned.
: Pizza Dough
: Basically, my food boyfriend Tyler Florence’s recipe
- 1 package of active dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon of sugar
- 1 cup warm water (100-110 F)
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- Mix together the yeast, sugar and warm water in the bowl of a stand mixer. Let sit for five minutes, until the mixture gets cloudy to show that the yeast is alive.
- Add in the salt and olive oil.
- Mix in the flour slowly until all incorporated with a dough hook. Increase speed to medium high to knead the dough for ten minutes, until it feels elastic and smooth.
- Fold into a ball. Place in a large bowl coated with olive oil, topped with plastic wrap or a clean towel. Allow to rise for one hour (I do this in my microwave with a pot of boiling water), until the dough doubles in size.
- Use as needed.