I am sure that I am not the only one out there who has children who love pizza. In fact when we go out to eat it is almost always the first thing that my little ones request and so I thought that this month, instead of going for our usual sweet dish, we could bake our own pizzas.
Making your own pizzas from scratch is a great sensory experience for your children as they get to knead and feel the dough, smell, taste and touch all of the toppings and then of course, there is so much going on, that it is difficult for those visual senses not to get a work out!
Now, please don’t get put off by the prospect of making your own pizza dough. I have a recipe (courtesy of Jamie Oliver) that requires 3 ingredients, no raising time and if you really don’t want to (or don’t have one) you don’t even have to use a food processor.
• 1 ½ Cups self-raising flour (if you only have regular flour use 1tsp of baking powder and a pinch of salt per cup. It isn’t an exact equivalent but it is good enough and has worked every time I have done it).
• ½ Cup tepid water (not hot)
• Drizzle of olive oil
• Tin of chopped tomatoes or a jar of tomato pasta sauce
• Toppings of your choice
For the dough:
If you are using a food processor, tip in the flour and water and pulse until combined. Drizzle in a small amount of olive oil until the dough comes together. It will be a bit sticky so have plenty of flour to dust your work surface.
If you aren’t using a food processor, place your flour onto a clean work surface and make a well in the centre. Add your water bit by bit and rub into the flour until combined. Add in your olive oil and make a ball of dough. You will probably need to sprinkle a bit more flour onto your work surface.
Once you have your dough ready, sprinkle some more flour onto a clean work surface and allow your children to squash, roll, pull and play with their dough. Be prepared to get flour ALL OVER the place, all in the name of learning and fun though. This is fantastic for working on your little ones upper body strength. Once they are done you might want to give their dough a once over with a rolling pin (you don’t want the base to be too thick) before placing it on a baking sheet.
Next prepare your ingredients. My children aren’t particularly adventurous when it comes to pizza toppings and generally stick to ham and mushrooms however feel free to give your little ones any toppings they choose.
I love the looks of concentration on my little one’s faces!
I gave them each a (not too sharp) knife and they cut up their own ingredients and helped me to grate some cheese.
Before we put the toppings on our pizzas, I got my little ones to close their eyes and touch, smell and taste some of the ingredients to see if the could identify them without looking similar to when we did our scent jars). They didn’t do too badly, however, they were too excited about ‘decorating’ their pizzas to participate in the activity too long.
I am surprised they had enough ingredients left to put on the pizzas they had eaten so much.
My little ones had a ball spreading out their sauce, sprinkling on their cheese and then adding their final toppings. There were ingredients everywhere (a lot in their tummies). One last shake of origanum and it is into the oven we go (I put mine in at 220 degrees C for about 10 minutes).
By the time I had given the kitchen a quick tidy and changed the table settings the pizzas were ready. Yum, yum!
There are so many restaurants and party venues that offer pizza making as an activity and as you can see there really is no reason why you can’t do it at home. Enjoy!