For many busy families, Friday night is pizza night. If you’re used to ordering take-out, give homemade pizza a try- mixing and kneading dough can be therapeutic at the end of a hard week, and it’s a great way to spend TV and computer-free time with your kids – and what kid doesn’t love kneading a big wad of dough? Basic pizza dough can be rolled, topped and baked into wonderfully fresh pizza, or twisted and baked into cheesy breadsticks. Best of all, besides instilling a love of cooking and teaching basic cooking skills, you’ll save money every week by making your own. And what better appetizer than the smell of fresh pizza baking while you get ready to eat?
Pizza dough can be topped with anything you like – try spreading the crust with pesto instead of tomato sauce, and topping with any number of meats, veggies and cheeses – cook the meat first, and the veggies if you want to get rid of excess moisture. No matter how you top them, bake in a hot oven – 450F is great – for about 20 minutes, or until the crust is golden and the cheese has melted. Slide onto a cutting board and let sit for a few minutes to make it easier to slice. Bring the cutting board out to the table and serve with napkins.
Classic Pizza Dough
Adapted from AllRecipes.
1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
2 cups all-purpose or bread flour
2 Tbsp. olive or canola oil
1 tsp. white sugar
1 tsp. salt
In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in warm water; let stand until creamy/foamy, about 10 minutes.
Add the flour, olive oil, sugar and salt; stir well to combine, then knead until the dough is soft and elastic. Cover and rise until doubled in volume, 30 minutes to an hour.
Turn dough out onto a well floured surface. Form dough into a round and roll out into a pizza crust shape. Cover with your favorite sauce and toppings and bake in preheated 450F oven until golden, about 20 minutes.