Multiple times a year, usually during summer or when there’s an upcoming school holiday or vacation, I get a call on my cell phone. The sweetest, softest little voice comes on the line after I answer and says, “WaWa? I was wondering…”
WaWa. That’s the name my granddaughter gave me, for whatever reason, when she was only 18-months-old and I still have it nine years later. So I answer my granddaughter back like I don’t know what’s coming. “Hi Emory, what’s up?”
The same sweet quiet voice answers me back. “I was wondering if I can have friend X (or Y or Z as the case may be) come spend the the night with me at your house.”
Now since you probably don’t know my Emory, I will tell you that she’s a great kid. Kindhearted and thoughtful, but quiet just doesn’t belong in her vocabulary…at all….which is why I know she’s asking for a favor when she uses that sweet voice on me. Of course I’m happy for the girls to come. I love spending time with my granddaughter and I think it’s important to know her friends and have them be comfortable spending time with me as well. Especially as they approach those teenage years.
As soon as I consent to Em’s request she’s back to being herself. “Okay, bye. I gotta text friend X (or Y or Z) and tell them we can do it.”
I think she hates to talk on the phone as much as her grandfather does. Over the course of the next few days Em and I text back and forth about what she wants to do (usually shopping along with a cookie craft) and especially what she wants to eat. Without fail she will ask to make homemade pizza for dinner and of course her favorite Lemony Crepes for breakfast. Crepes are fast and easy to throw together at the last minute. Pizza dough, on the other hand, (and no, we can’t do store-bought pizza dough…it has to be made by WaWa!) requires some planning and timing is all important. I’ve tried recipe after recipe for pizza dough only to find it was either too time consuming or too difficult to handle or just bleh.
Then I came across a recipe that sounded promising, and believe it or not, was published in the cozy mystery A Slice of Murder by Chris Cavender (pseudonym for Tim Myers.) The story is about Eleanor Swift, owner of Slice of Life, a pizzeria in North Carolina. Eleanor is still grieving the loss of her husband and pours her life and passion into her pizzeria. When delivering a pizza late one night to one of her long-time customers, she finds him dead, stabbed to death. Circumstances make the local law enforcement officer suspect her of murder and when her pizzeria’s business starts losing customers because of those suspicions, Eleanor enlists her sister to help clear her name in order to save her beloved restaurant.
A Slice of Murder was an easy, fun read and ultimately provided me with the inspiration to make the perfect pizza dough to fit our family’s needs. I can mix it up the evening BEFORE I need it and refrigerate until Emory and her friends are ready to roll out their dough and top with their favorites. Em even convinced her grandfather to get involved in making pizza and I have the photos to prove it 🙂
I hope you and your family enjoy baking pizzas and making memories together as much as we have!
Eazy Peazy Pizza Dough
3/4 cup warm water (105 – 110 degrees)
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2-1/2 teaspoons (2 packages) active dry yeast
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups (10 ounces) bread flour, scoop & level method
In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook, add the warm water, sugar and yeast.
Stir until the yeast dissolves and allow to rest for 5 minutes.
Add the olive oil and salt and turn the mixer on to low speed.
Slowly add the flour to the yeast mixture, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
Once flour is incorporated, turn the speed up to medium, knead the dough for 1 minute and then check consistency.
The dough should feel tacky but not super sticky. If the dough seems too dry add 1/2 teaspoon of water at a time, kneading to incorporate before adding more.
If dough is too sticky, add flour 1 teaspoon at a time. Allow the dough hook to completely incorporate before adding additional flour.
Once the correct consistency has been reached, knead the dough for 7 minutes.
Spray a large bowl with non-stick cooking spray.
Place dough in the bowl, spritz the top with cooking spray and cover with a clean kitchen towel.
Place the dough in a warm place (I like using my cold oven for this, turning on the oven light to generate heat) and allow it to rise for 1 hour.
Once it has risen (it should have doubled in size approximately) deflate the dough.
It is ready to use or it can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap. The longer it rests, the easier it will be to roll out.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees, allowing your baking sheets to preheat with the oven.
Divide the dough into 3 or 4 pieces.
On parchment paper, shape the dough with your hands into desired shapes. If the dough keeps springing back, allow it to rest at room temperature for 10 minutes before shaping.
Top with your favorite pizza sauce and toppings.
Carefully place the parchment sheets containing the pizza on to the preheated baking sheets.
Bake 8 – 10 minutes or until the crust begins to get toasty brown and the cheese melts.
Remove from the oven and allow to rest a couple of minutes before slicing and devouring.
- Extra dough can be shaped into pizzas and baked for 5 minutes. Allow to cool to room temperature then tightly wrap with plastic wrap and place in a freezer-safe ziplock bag. Store in the refrigerator for 3 days or freeze up to 3 months. Defrost in the refrigerator then bake as directed above.