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For our Valentine's Day dinner we decided to make pizza for the first time. And we make the crust from scratch!

We adapted a recipe that came from the Picture Yourself Cooking with Your Kids cookbook. We used the quick method rather than letting the dough rise in the refrigerator overnight. Beth Sheresh, the author of Picture Yourelf, says you can keep the dough in the refrigerator for up to three days or it can be frozen for several months.

If you are using the quick method, you need a find a warm draftless place. Yeast likes it warm, but not too warm, and it doesn't like to get chilled by a draft. (My grandmother used to put the bread dough over the pilot light on the stove. I put it over a floor heat vent in the bedroom and close the door - Ms. G.)

If you own a pizza stone, Ms. Sheresh says you can put it into a 500 degree F oven for an hour to heat it before you bake.

We found parchment paper on a cookie sheet worked just as well. We tried it at the recommended 500 degrees and found the paper blackened and shredded. So we reset the oven to 425.

{Makes 6 small pizzas}

You'll need:

  • 1 1/4 cups of whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour + a little for the board
  • 1 packet of quick rising yeast (2 teaspoons)
  • 1 1/2 cups of warm water
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of dry rosemary
  • 1 cup of pizza or marinara sauce
  • 2 cups of shreaded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup of steamed broccoli flowers
  • Sliced black olives
  • Brocco Sprouts
  • Slice pepperoni - optional
  • A little adult help

Equipment:

  • 2 large bowls
  • A large fork
  • A large cutting board
  • A rolling pin
  • A dinner knife
  • A cookie sheet
  • Parchment paper
  1. Put both flours, yeast, salt and the rosemary in a large bowl and mix with the fork.
  2. As you mix, ask your adult helper to slowly add the water and olive oil. The dough will start to stick together.
  3. Use your hands to begin folding the last of the flour into the dough until it forms a ball.
  4. Shake a little flour onto the board and dust your hands with it as well.
  5. Knead the dough, pressing it flat, folding it and then forming it into a ball again, for about 5 minutes. This began as a child task and switched to an adult task, because it needed more muscle.
  6. Oil the clean bowl, put the all of dough in, and cover with a clean dish towel. At this point, you can refrigerate the dough overnight or use the quick method. If you're going to do the quick method, place the covered bowl in a a warm, draftless spot until it doubles - about 1 1/2 hours.
  7. Thirty minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 425.
  8. Tear off a sheet of parchment paper and cover the cookie sheet.
  9. Punch the dough down and divide into 6 lumps.
  10. Dust your cutting board and rolling pin with flour.
  11. Roll the lumps into balls and then roll into rounds.
  12. Use your hands or a dinner knife to shape the rounds into hearts.
  13. Transfer the crust to the parchment paper. We didn't right away and wound up struggling with the floppy dough covered with sauce.
  14. Choose your toppings, sprinkle with cheese.
  15. Adult task - place the pizzas in the oven for 7 to 10 minutes until the cheese melts and the crust has gotten a little brown.

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