Mini Pizzas – School Lunchbox Idea #2

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This is the blog post that didn’t intend on being a blog post. It started with a photo on Facebook of the mini pizzas that I make for my kids’ school lunch boxes. I received message after message from friends and strangers alike, asking for the recipe. Rather than type out the instructions to each and every person who asked, I figured it would be just as easy to create a post with the recipe here.

The awesome thing about homemade pizza is that you can customise it to your family’s tastes. We often do a family movie night on Saturday night. Everyone makes their own pizzas. It is a great recipe to have kids help with, and most kids won’t complain about eating a pizza that they had a hand in making. Pizzas are also a great way to use up left over veggies. It’s healthy without looking healthy. And (so I’m told) that’s important when you’re a kid in a lunchroom.

The whole process of making the pizzas takes a few hours, but there is a lot of in between time you can do other stuff while waiting for the dough to rise, or the pizzas to cook.

This recipe will make a quantity of pizza (no kidding). For our family movie nights, when everyone wants to indulge in a bigger pizza and there are 2 grown-ups eating, the recipe will get used for 4 pizzas. Sometimes we’ll have leftovers. For the lunchbox sized mini pizzas, I’ll get around 12 pizzas.

 

For the dough

  • 500g bread flour
  • 8g yeast (close enough to one sachet, if you use the packaged stuff)
  • Optional – A tiny bit of sweetener (either a small dollop of maple syrup, a teaspoon of sugar, etc)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 300 mL warm water
  • Optional – fresh or dried herbs, garlic, or spices. I generally use two handfuls of chopped herbs from the garden and a few shakes of dried garlic.

 

For the toppings

Whatever you want!! Seriously!!

The pizzas pictured have the following ingredients on top:

  • BBQ sauce for the base (for those following Feingold or Failsafe diets, nomato sauce works GREAT on pizzas)
  • tinned pineapple (look for the can labelled “tidbits” because the one labelled “pieces” has enormous pieces that you’ll have to then chop smaller)
  • ham (again, for those with special diets, make sure you’re getting an approved meat. ham shoulder with no preservatives, sulphites or nitrates)
  • capsicum (bell peppers for my US readers)
  • mushrooms
  • olives (for us, VERY finely chopped, otherwise the kids won’t eat it)
  • shredded mozzarella cheese

 

 

Step 1.     Combine the dough ingredients. I use a Kitchen Aid with the dough hook. First, I put the bowl on my scales and measure out the flour and yeast, re-zeroing between each measurement. Then plonk the rest of the stuff in, hook it up and set it mixing.

Step 2.     Keep mixing. Every once in awhile you might need to stop the mixer and rearrange the dough – especially if it decides to “climb” up your dough hook. I VERY rarely need to adjust these quantities, so if it isn’t coming together for you, give it time before you add more water. It will be done when the dough is a smooth and consistent looking ball, without streaks of wet/dry ingredients. It should take around 10 minutes. Be patient.

Step 3.     Take the bowl off the mixer and cover the bowl with cling wrap. An optional step is to remove the dough, spray the bowl with a spray oil and put the dough back in, covering the bowl with cling film. The oil makes removing the dough later a lot easier.

Step 4.     Leave the bowl in a warm spot for 30-40 min. It should grow to around double in size.

Step 5.   Take a quantity of dough and roll it to your desired size. If you’re going for the mini pizzas, a small handful of dough should be about right to make a base slightly larger than the palm of your hand. If you really want to, you can divide the bowl up into equal portions, but I just grab handfuls and go. Rolling your pizza dough on a granite countertop is a LOT easier than rolling on a non-stick surface like parchment paper. You actually want the friction of it sticking a tiny bit, otherwise you just end up pushing a lump of dough around. Ask me how I know. If you don’t have a rolling pin, pushing it out with your hands works just as well.

Step 6.     Position your pizza bases onto your baking sheet. They can be reasonably close together, as they’ll rise a bit, but won’t expand outwards too much. I generally cover my baking sheet with parchment paper (baking paper), as I’ve found that molten cheese is hard to scrub off pans.

Step 7.     Now you can get your toppings ready. This prep time will allow your pizza bases to rise slightly. If you like really thick fluffy pizza bases, you can leave them to rise extra long.

Step 8.     Turn your oven on to 350F / 180c.

Step 9.     Put whatever toppings you want on top of the pizza… I generally start with the sauce, then add the more solid pieces and finishing with cheese. Some people like to put the cheese on top of the sauce, then the other toppings on top of that. There are no rules – do what you think will taste good! You can be neat if you really want, but I generally just chuck stuff on… yes, cheese ends up everywhere (as you can see from the photo below of my baking tray.) If you want to be really fancy, you can make things like stuffed crust pizza by rolling the edges of the pizza around some cheese. Just don’t do the stuffed crust with hotdogs like a saw in a TV ad the other day. Blerk! Just… No.

Step 10.     Cook for around 15-20 min. Keep an eye on it. My oven heats really unevenly, so I have to turn the trays and swap them around during the cooking time to make sure everything gets cooked properly without burning bits. Obviously, the thicker your bread base, the longer the cooking time will be. If you decide to make a massive pizza, lower the oven temperature to allow the middle of the base to cook before the cheese on the top browns too dark.

 

School lunchbox pizzas

 

 

When the pizzas are cooled, individually wrap them tightly with cling film and store them in your freezer. On school mornings, you can grab a frozen pizza and throw it into your child’s lunchbox. It will naturally defrost by lunchtime (the only time my kids complained about having to eat a frozen pizza was the time when I also included a frozen block). I am NOT a morning person, and this has revolutionised the getting-ready-for-school morning routine for me. 🙂

That’s it! Let me know how you go. I’d love to hear your favourite toppings!

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