Nicholas loves pizza. Does any child not love pizza? So I thought, let’s try making it together for our next cooking adventure. There’s lots of fun to be had rolling and shaping the dough, and then there’s the toppings.
I prepared the dough on my own, then involved Nicholas in making the mini pizza bases. He has a little plastic roller that was absolutely perfect for rolling out the dough, so perfect in fact we kind of fought over who used it! I’d already prepared some toppings in separate little plastic bowls ready for sprinkling over the bases, but the dough was much more interesting and Nicholas left the topping selection up to me. Perhaps he’ll be more interested next time.
On the subject of pizza dough, hubby is always searching for the perfect recipe. The leftovers of his quest are lurking in the dark corners of our freezer. I’m not convinced he’ll find his pizza ‘grail’, but don’t tell him that otherwise I won’t get to eat his experiments.
Not being Italian, I’m not so fussy with my pizza dough. And I also have this theory that if you make your bases as thin as you can, you can be almost guaranteed your pizza will be yummy (I have to whisper this next bit: even without using the proper Italian flour).
If you’re making these with your munchkin, use toppings they like. And remember that children generally like their food very colourful, much more than us boring adults. We topped our pizzettas with a little tomato puree, grated courgette/zucchini, pieces of buffalo mozzarella and diced fresh tomatoes. Oh, and no matter what you put on top, a final drizzle of olive oil over the top makes them perfect.
Prep time: 1 hr 40 mins (for dough to rise twice)
Cook time: 5-10 mins
Makes about 30 mini pizzas or 2 medium pizzas
Uncooked dough can be frozen
7 g dried yeast
1/4 cup warm water
2 cups strong white bread flour such as “OO” flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup cold water
A handful of semolina (optional)
Put the warm water in a small bowl and add the yeast. Leave for 15 mins for it to froth up.
In a large bowl, mix the flour, salt, olive oil and cold water. Add the yeast mixture and mix until it comes together in a ball.
Knead the dough on a floured work surface for about 5 mins. It should feel elastic and soft, and be a bit sticky.
Put the dough back into the bowl, cover and leave to prove for 20 mins.
Divide the dough into two, place the second piece in another bowl, cover both and leave to prove again for an hour (the dough should double in size).
Heat oven to 220C and leave the tray you’ll use (preferably a heavy-based one) inside to heat up (this helps cook the bottom of the pizzas).
Lightly flour your work bench and roll out one piece of the dough as thin as you can. Use a round cookie or scone cutter to cut out your shapes and try to tease each circle a little more with your fingers to make it even thinner.
Lightly cover a cutting board with semolina, place your pizza bases on top and then add your toppings. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil. Open the oven and bring the hot tray out enough so you can sprinkle on some more semolina and slide the pizzas from the cutting board on to the tray (the semolina helps the pizzas move more easily).
The time it takes to cook your pizza depends on the thickness of your dough and the amount of toppings you’ve put on. As a guide, check after 5 mins. They’re done when the dough is golden brown on the edges, and the cheese is bubbling and just starting to turn golden.
Finish with some torn pieces of fresh basil.