Pizza is awesome. Kids are awesome. Making pizza with kids is — awesome-ish. Once you accept that there will be a little clean-up, you’ll have fun with it, and so will they, for sure.
Here’s a pizza crust recipe that you can make easily with or without the kids. They’ll enjoy being involved; you’ll enjoy having control over all of the ingredients and saving your money over the store bought or delivery kind.
2 tsp (1 packet) active dry yeast
3/4 Cup warm water
1 tsp unbleached sugar
1/4 Cup vegetable oil
2 1/2 Cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
Big pinch of Nutritional Yeast
1-2 Tbs Earth Balance vegan butter spread
Your favorite herbs — I use oregano, granulated garlic, black pepper and a touch of cayenne pepper — all to taste.
Get your toppings together. We use Daiya Shreds (they are great for pizza, and they have both mozarella and cheddar style). On the pizza night I’ve posted here, we also added Tofurky Italian Sausages and fresh jalepenos. Other nights, we use all kinds of veggies. Get creative. And get yummy.
HERE’S WHAT YOU DO:
Measure out 3/4 cups water that is just warm enough that you can’t really feel it when you dip your finger in it, no warmer. Add the yeast and sugar and stir. Set it aside for the yeast to proof (about 5 mins). Once it’s ready, add the vegetable oil and set aside.
This pic is of the water and yeast once it’s had time to proof. When you see this foam, add the oil.
In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients: flour, salt, nutritional yeast and herbs.
(I grow oregano and other herbs. When I prune the plants every couple of months, I set the stems out to dry, and I keep them on-hand in the kitchen. When I need dried herbs, I crumble up the leaves up in my hand, and they are way more fragrant and way more free than the store bought kind.)(PS: If there are any palm readers checking this out, how about a little read?)
Combine the yeast mixture and the dry mixture and stir vigorously. Once it becomes a nice pliable dough, you can knead it right in the bowl — or your kid can. My daughter loves doing this, and it’s not messy because it stays in the bowl. Phew. Mess averted.
Knead the dough until you can press your finger into the top of the ball, and it springs right back.
Pour melted Earth Balance over the top of the dough, and turn the dough to coat it. Cover and set aside in a warm place to rise for about 2 hours. (I set mine in my off-oven, after I’ve let the oven heat for just a couple of minutes on the lowest setting. The oven is slightly warm, but not at all hot.) Now go play for a couple of hours.
Once the dough has risen, get ready to make pizza. Clean and flour your surface, and brace yourself for the fun (gulp). Press out the dough on your floured surface to prepare it for rolling.
Get to rolling. If you have a rolling pin, great. If you don’t, get a little pizzaria on us and toss it around to spread it out as evenly as possible. You can make the crust as thick or thin as you like. I roll ours out until it’s just larger than our pizza stone.
Then I like to add Daiya Shreds to the dough hang-over and fold it into the outside crust. Then I like to watch my kids start a flour fight in the background while I snap pics of our masterpiece.
Sauce it. Daiya Shred it. Top it. Bake it in a pre-heated 375 oven until the crust is the way you want it — probably 10-15 minutes. Start checking it at 10 mins. Love it.
A VEGAN SOLUTION FOR THE KIDS AT PIZZA PARTIES:
My kids go to pizza parties, like every kid does, or they’ll have special pizza events at pre-school. I will make this pizza the night before those events, so I can bring it for them. That way, they can eat what everyone else is eating, rather than nibbling on fruit or snacks that may separate them from the others. I always call party hosts to find out what food they are serving, so that I can be prepared with vegan same-sames. Pizza is easy.