Saturday, August 7, 2010

Make-Ahead Pizza Dough....and Pizza Sticks for Lunch

Now that school's in session, you'll find me every Saturday in my kitchen, cooking for the week ahead. I'm determined to stop relying on basic sandwiches this year and branch out into better lunches. Pizza's great, whether warm or cold, so this was a natural starting point for me. My oldest is in middle school and has a microwave at her disposal, so she'll likely eat her pizza sticks warm. My youngest doesn't have access to a microwave, so we've compared these pizza sticks to the Lunchables pizza lunch, which kids eat cold all the time. She approves.

This dough can be made ahead and frozen so that you have two pizza crusts ready to go for dinner one night when Papa John calls out to you. Instead of relying on delivery (which can cost a family of four as much as I spend per week in groceries), pull out your dough and you'll be ready to bake in no time. If you roll your dough into pizza crust shape before freezing, the thawing time will be minimal. The other option is to keep it in a ball and thaw it overnight in the fridge. Either way, pizza night just got a whole lot cheaper and less complicated.

This is not the first pizza dough I've shared with you, but it has a different texture and taste than this one. The one I shared a while back is great for cracker-thin crusts. This dough is softer, which makes it a natural choice for my kids' school lunches.

Make-Ahead Pizza Dough
Makes enough dough for 2 medium pizzas (thin crust)

What You Need:
  • 1 packet active dry yeast
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs (if desired. adds color and flavor. I used parsley, basil, and thyme)
  • 2 Tbsp melted butter
  • 2 to 2 1/2 cups flour (white or whole wheat, or a combination)
How it's Done:
  1. Stir together yeast, sugar, and water, and let it sit until bubbly. Stir in half the flour, the salt, herbs, and melted butter.
  2. Knead in remaining flour until a stiff dough forms. Knead about 6 minutes.
  3. Turn the dough out into an oiled bowl. Cover and place in a warm spot for 45 minutes to an hour, or until the dough has doubled in size.
  4. Punch the dough down, divide it in half, and roll each half into desired shapes. In my case, rectangles, as I'm making pizza sticks. I want my sticks on the thick side, so I rolled my dough into rectangles that were about 1/2" thick. Place the dough on baking sheets sprinkled with cornmeal. You can freeze at this point if you want. Otherwise, proceed.
  5. Let the dough rest 20 minutes. Then, top as desired and bake at 400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes.
For my pizza sticks, here's what I did once the dough was rolled into rectangles:
  1. I placed each rectangle onto a baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal.
  2. I used a pizza cutter to cut through (but not separate) the dough, making 1" wide strips.
  3. I spread a bit of pizza sauce -- just a couple tablespoons per rectangle -- on the dough.
  4. Then, I topped the sauce with sliced veggies. In this case, sweet banana peppers.
  5. Next, I sprinkled about 1/3 cup shredded mozzarella and a bit of Parmesan cheese on each rectangle, and baked them for 15 minutes at 400 degrees. I let them cool slightly before recutting the strips.


StephenC said...

I'm not one who would make pizza dough, but have sources for excellent quality dough. However, the breadstick idea I could totally do.

Jenn said...

I love the fact that you can freeze the dough. What a great idea for the girls lunches. Michelle, I wish you were my mom when I was offense meant to my own mother of course, but all I got was peanut butter and jelly!! lol

Anonymous said...

You have to post where you got the cute purple top for your daughter. My kindergarten daughter saw it and loved it.

Michelle said...

It's by My Michelle -- I bought it in a military PX. I'm not sure where it would be off an Army post -- but' I'd imagine anywhere that sells My Michelle brand. :)

Jess said...

They look tasty - I love the idea for lunches. I'm always looking for new lunch ideas and these sound great.

Andrea the Kitchen Witch said...

Always looking for a good pizza dough recipe, thanks! Love the addition of herbs in the dough, yum! And a fantastic use up for my over ambitious oregano plant :) Thanks Michelle for another tasty & kid approved one!

Kim said...

Yummy. I also freeze mini pizzas...same idea and the kiddos love them for lunch. I also make homemade weiner or sausage wraps...another hit! you are so inspiring! Thanks!

Haniela said...

Yum, these looks so delicious. Thanks for sharing the recipe, I love the idea of bread sticks.

Stephanie said...

I am starting to pack lunch for my 2nd grader this year, she thought these looked great. Would you freeze them after cooking?

Michelle said...

Yep. Wrap them well and they keep nicely in the freezer. :)

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