WEST Kitchen – Pizza Party – Spring 2020 Week 1

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on January 8, 2020

Today we explored several ways of making pizza with different bases and cooking methods; we even tried a new kind of sauce! I know the students all know how to make a traditional pizza with tomato sauce and a pre-made dough so we changed it up and did a lot of new things.

We used three different bases for homemade pizza. They each used different cooking methods so the students could get a feel for them and it gave ideas for when improvisation might be needed in the future.

  1. Homemade dough from scratch
  2. Pita
  3. Tortilla (we used corn tortillas but this works with flour tortillas as well)

The general instructions are the same for each method.

  1. Pre-heat the oven if necessary. Today we are using a 500 degree oven, a skillet, and a broiler.
  2. Prep garlic oil for the “sauce’
  3. Prep dough or other base
  4. Prep toppings – chop vegetables, slice meats, pre-cook sausage or saute mushrooms if necessary
  5. Brush on oil
  6. Top w meat and veggies
  7. Top w cheese
  8. Bake or cook per individual instructions

Tortilla base – lightly toast on one side over medium heat. Flip over and add toppings and cheese. Keep on the heat until cheese is melted

Pita base – Place pita on baking sheet. Brush on garlic olive oil sauce, add toppings and cheese, broil for 2-3 minutes [note the original plan was to broil until we got into the kitchen and realized the ovens at school don’t broil – so we baked them at 350 for about 5 minutes and kept checking until the cheese was melted]

Homemade dough base – Flatten dough, brush on oil, add toppings and cheese, bake for 10-12 minutes


1 1/4 cup warm water
2 pkg dry yeast (4 1/2 tsp)
1 T honey
3T olive oil

Mix above ingredients until yeast dissolves in mixer with dough hook.

3 1/4 to 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour (add 3 cups first) and sprinkle more after 1 minute of kneading until the dough just starts to pull away from the bowl. Keep mixer going throughout.

Add 2t salt

Add flour as necessary to make a smooth dough that doesn’t stick to the wall of the bowl

Kneed in the mixer for 10 minutes once all the ingredients are added.

Turn out onto a flat surface and knees by hand 12 times.

Place in oiled bowl to rise for 30-60 min; cover and place in a warm spot. I like to use a proofing oven which is just a fancy way of saying the oven is set to 100 degrees.

Remove dough when proofing is complete and dough has doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 500 degrees

Turn out dough and cut into 6 equal portions. Flatten out the dough, brush with oil or add sauce, add toppings.

Bake at 500 for 10-12 min. It’s done when the cheese is melted and the edges are golden brown.

Garlic oil (use instead of tomato sauce)

Olive oil, just enough to cover the bottom of a frying pan
A few sprigs of thyme leaves
A few rosemary leaves
Sage, red pepper flakes
Slices of fresh garlic cloves
Simmer on low heat for 15 minutes
Brush onto crust after formed into flat sheets, top pizza with your favorite toppings, drizzle a little oil on top


Gluten-free pizza dough
One group trialed gluten-free flour for the dough today. I have never tried to substitute GF flour so it was a little bit of trial. I used a gluten-free blend that I made myself with
1 ¼ cup rice flour
1 ¼ cup sweet white sorghum flour
½ cup amaranth flour
¾ cup corn starch
3 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp salt

We started with a direct substitute of 3 cups of this flour blend for 3 cups of wheat flour and we ended up adding probably an additional ½ cup of flour to cut down the stickiness.

We found the GF dough to be much more sticky and didn’t come together quite as nicely as the wheat flour. However, after it had time to rise in a proofing oven (100 degree oven), it did turn out quite nice. It was noticeably less cohesive than the wheat flour dough but it still worked.

I formed it on a silicone mat for baking and baked it along side a wheat flour pizza for comparison. They both look great! And the gluten-free crust was tasty and had great mouth feel. If you’re gluten-free, I recommend trying this recipe as it worked pretty well with our first trial.


It was a fun first day back from break. I was so happy to see the students were rested and ready to tackle the new semester.

Read the remainder of Food Rules. There should be at least 64 Rules in the book depending on which version you have. Don’t worry; they are all good! If your version has more Rules; consider that a bonus.

If you have the opportunity, get in the kitchen and cook. It takes a few times of making dough to get comfortable with the process but once you master this technique, you’ll be able to make doughs of any kind – scratch breads, and rolls of any kind with be a breeze.

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