Schoolhouse Pizza


2 class sessions of just over an hour each

Session 1: 15 minutes to mix and knead; 45 min to rise; another 5-10 to punch down and cover with cling wrap

Between sessions: overnight in refrigerator; 30-60 min. to bring dough to room temp. 

Session 2: 15 min to shape and top; 10 min to cook + time to cut and eat

Next week, I will be hosting a 2-session pizza workshop with teens in middle school, who will learn how to make pizza from scratch. With that in mind, I wanted to find a recipe that would be tasty, but not require as much flour and other ingredients in order to keep the cost down. I found the perfect recipe for this on the back of Bob’s Red Mill Artisan Bread Flour. 

bob's red mill artisan bread flour

A 5 lb. bag sells for about $5, which is a better deal than some other name brands. The recipe also uses less flour than others I've come across. 

The recipe was also really easy to make. I tried it out in my school's Home Economics classroom, where I discovered that there was no dough hook for the mixer. I mixed it by hand instead with no problem. Definitely a user friendly recipe! 

Simply let the yeast rise in warm water for about 10 minutes. Then mix in the salt and flour. Mix it in a standup mixer, or by hand. Then knead the dough for an additional 10 minutes. 

Students can easily make a pizza over two class periods using this recipe. In the first class, students can mix the dough, cover it with cling wrap then wait for it to rise. Have them draw a circle around the dough (on the cling wrap) with their name and time so they can easily see when it has roughly doubled in size. Then can then punch the dough down before they leave, and cover it with the cling wrap again. 

This first class, while the pizza rises, I will introduce the idea of making dough and the final pizza as a metaphor for emotional development--what rises up and builds up inside of us, and how we can make something positive from that. Essentially, the idea of displacement and self efficacy. They will enjoy the success of taking something to completion. In a different setting, such as a Home Economics class, for example, the lesson could stay at the level of teaching process or following directions. 

The dough will need to stay overnight in the refrigerator, so I plan to take it out 30-60 minutes before the students arrive for the second session in order to allow it to reach room temperature. Students will then knead the dough by hand for about 10 minutes.

I found the dough to be soft and easily shapable, so it should be easy enough for students to flatten and form into a crust. Once they have shaped it, they can slap on a thin layer of sauce and toss some shredded cheese on it. I plan to also have slices of garlic available, as well as pancetta pieces, dried basil and sliced bell pepper for students to top their pizzas how they would like. I personally like to sprinkle shredded parmesan cheese across the crust for a more full-bodied aroma when cooked. 

To give it that wood-fire pizza oven feel, place the pizza three racks down from the top of the oven and bake it at 500°F for three minutes. Then, switch to broil for the remaining 7 minutes. 

The result for my practice run was perfect. The pizza was delicious, easy to make, and tasted like restaurant quality. I look forward to trying this with students. They should enjoy the process, the finished product, and especially cutting their pizzas like pros with the Robin & Field pizza blade!


Pizza Dough (makes two 10" personal pizzas)

-3/4 cups warm water

-1 tsp Active Dry Yeast 

-2 Cups Artisan Bread Flour

-1 1/2 tsp of salt

Toppings (per two pizzas)

-2 spoonfuls of tomato pizza sauce 

-two cloves of sliced garlic

-dusting of dried basil

-4-6 oz. of shredded cheese

-a sprinkling of shredded parmesan around the crust

-3-4 oz. sprinkled Pancetta 

Special Equipment (numbers based on students)

-Robin & Field Pizza Blade

-pans for cooking 

-metal bowls

-cling wrap