Thursday, October 25, 2012

Pizza Party!

Growing up, my favorite birthday party was a make-your-own pizza party.  It's still as much fun to create the perfect pizza (such perfection seems to change with every pizza) and enjoy the company of good friends and family.  I bet you have a party in your pantry just waiting to happen, so go for it!


Pizza Party! Necessities:

Whole Wheat Dough

2 cups bread flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp instant yeast
1/3 cup olive oil
1 cup hot water

In a large bowl, mix together dry ingredients.  Use a wooden spoon to mix in the oil and water to create a dough.  Turn out dough and knead for about 2 minutes.  You should not need to add any more flour while kneading.  Return dough to a lightly greased bowl and let rise in a warm spot until double.  Punch down risen dough and let rise again.  You can repeat the rising/punching down cycle about three times to produce a really elastic dough.  Divide dough into eight pieces and set aside until ready to use.  If not using immediately, place dough in refrigerator and remove about a half hour before party time.

Cheese Blend

1 lb mozzarella, shredded
1 lb provolone, shredded


Bottled or canned pizza sauce or marinara sauce


pepperoni/salami, cooked bacon, Canadian bacon, cooked Italian sausage, cooked hamburger, olives, green chilies, sautéd mushrooms, caramelized onions, cooked peppers, pineapple tidbits, thinly sliced peeled potatoes, etc, etc, etc.

Set up for the pizza party: cheese blend, sautéd mushrooms, baking sheet, parchment paper, whole wheat dough, crisped bacon, salami, green chilies, olives, caramelized onions, paper-thin potato slices, tomato sauce, pesto

Heat the oven to 450º and place a baking sheet on an oven rack in the lower half of the oven in order.  Have a sheet of parchment paper for each person.  Place a dough ball on the parchment paper and use whatever method you'd like to flatten the ball into a pizza crust.

I like to challenge pizza makers to see who can get their dough the thinnest without tearing it.  Sometimes we have a pizza tossing contest as well.  The dough usually comes out in many different shapes and sizes.  It's all good!

Select a sauce and spread it to the edges.

Sprinkle on some cheese . . .

. . . then let the creativity begin! 

Place the pizza and parchment paper onto a baking sheet . . .

. . . or a pizza peel (they're awesome for pizza parties!)  Slide the pizza from the baking sheet or pizza peel onto the hot baking sheet in the oven.  You can probably get at least two pizzas, side by side, on the baking sheet.  Bake for about 10-12 minutes, checking periodically for the perfect pizza (the pizza creators usually hover around the oven making sure you're not burning their creations).  Use the pizza peel or baking sheet to remove pizza from the oven.  Stand back and watch them disappear!

Calzone Option:

Begin the same as for a pizza.

Spread sauce choice on half of the circle, making sure not to spread too close to the edge (you need to leave space for crimping the edges together).

Add your topping choices . . .

. . . then fold the dough over the toppings, pressing the edges together.

Roll the edge and pinch together with your fingers.  I like to cut slits in the top of the calzone to let steam escape during baking, but you don't have to.  Bake the calzone as you would the pizza, except you'll have to bake it longer, maybe an extra 3-5 minutes.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Shay and I were talking and she mentioned you started an on-line cooking show and even though thinking about food when I'm at work is generally a bad idea I couldn't resist. The site looks great and so does the food.