If you really want to impress your kids, make stuffed crust pizza at home, in your own kitchen. It’s easy to do using part-skim mozzarella cheese sticks or your own meltable cheese, cut into strips. And it’s exactly the sort of thing that makes anyone under 10 regard you as a superhero. Bonus: you don’t have to rely on take-out, and can control what goes into and on top of pizza you make at home.
You don’t need a recipe so much as the technique – start with any kind of raw pizza dough. Roll it out as you normally would, rolling the circle or oval completely flat. Take a package of cheese sticks or strings – or cut regular mozzarella into sticks – and place them around the edge of the dough. Roll the edge of dough over the cheese, enclosing it, and pinch to seal. Proceed with the sauce, toppings and cheese and bake as you normally would. As it bakes (pizza is typically baked in a hot oven – about 450°F), the cheese will melt inside the crust, and voilà – stuffed crust pizza.
You can thank us later.
Basic Pizza Dough
1 cup lukewarm water
1 pkg. (or 2 tsp.) active dry yeast
1 tsp. sugar or honey
2 1/2 – 3 cups flour – all purpose, whole wheat, or any combination of the two
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. olive oil
In a large bowl, stir together the water, yeast and sugar; set aside for 5 minutes, until it’s foamy. (If it doesn’t get foamy, either your water was too hot and killed the yeast or it was inactive to begin with – toss it and buy fresh yeast or try again!)
Add 2 1/2 cups of the flour, salt and oil and stir until the dough comes together. On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough for about 8 minutes, until it’s smooth and elastic, adding a little more flour if the dough is too sticky.
Place the dough in an oiled bowl and turn to coat all over. Cover with a tea towel or plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place for half an hour to an hour, until doubled in bulk. If you want you can let it rise more slowly in the refrigerator for up to 8 hours.
Roll the dough out into one or two pizzas. Spread the pizza dough with tomato sauce or paste, sprinkle with desired toppings and bake on a preheated pizza stone or cookie sheet at 450F for 15-20 minutes, until bubbly and golden, or cook on the grill (see above).
Makes enough dough for 2 – 9” pizzas, or one big rectangular one.