by Trisa Katsikapes – What teen doesn’t like pizza?
With the always-busy schedule of young people these days, it seems all we eat is pizza! Fortunately, the teens who end up at my house don’t seem to mind, especially pepperoni pizza, especially when it’s made in our outdoor wood-fired oven that sits in the backyard.
When my husband and I built our wood-fired pizza oven several years ago, we thought it would be a fun hobby to use once in a while. We had no idea the impact it would have on building relationships with friends and family, but especially with our teenage son and his friends.
The kids loved the fact they were not “trapped” inside the house with adults, and enjoyed constructing their hot bricks.
We’ve also noticed teens truly do enjoy learning the value of home-cooked food and working with fresh ingredients; capturing their attention is not always easy, so we try to incorporate a theme centered around hobbies and interests. Our most recent evening included musicians, photographers and pizza enthusiasts. My son and his pals created amazing pizza, guitars strummed, and the end result was a tasty musical evening.
Our favorite pizza dough recipe is a quick, no-knead style, just plan ahead so the dough has time to rise overnight. Toppings, of course, can vary, but our kids seem to enjoy pepperoni, a variety of cheeses, and olives. Your teenagers are limited only by their imaginations.
Teen Pizza Party
Each dough recipe makes four individual-sized pizzas.
*Pizza can also be made in a conventional oven
- 3 3/4 cups bread flour, plus more for shaping dough
- 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 2 teaspoons fine sea salt (standard salt will work, too)
- 1 1/2 cups water
In a medium bowl, thoroughly blend flour, yeast, and salt. Add the water and, with a wooden spoon or your hands, mix thoroughly. Cover the bowl with plastic or a towel and allow to rise at room temperature overnight until it has doubled. Flour a work surface and scrape out the dough. Divide into four equal parts and shape into a ball. Dust each with flour.
Note: Pizza dough can last for up to 3 days in your refrigerator, securely wrapped.
The balls are now ready to be shaped with a rolling pin or shape with your hands for a more rustic pizza look. Apply favorite pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese, and toppings of choice. Cook in a brick oven at 800 degrees Fahrenheit for 2-3 mins. or at home in a conventional oven on a pizza stone at 450 degrees Fahrenheit, for 4-5 mins. Let pizza cool for a minute before slicing.
Trisa Katsikapas is owner of Trisa & Co. Interior Designs in Port Angeles, Wash. She and her husband Kevin Tracy now share an empty nest while their son, Dmitri, is off to college. But whenever he arrives home for a visit, usually with a carload of friends, the pizza oven is fired up for this treasured family tradition.