January 19, 2010

Homemade Mini Pizza Crusts

Over the Christmas holiday break my husband and I were working while our kids were all off from school and college. During the day they slept late, hung out with friends and fixed quick and easy lunches. My 14 year old started to make 'mini pizzas' out of English Muffins - which I know are rather popular but it's a food I've never been able to stomach. I love English Muffins - it's one of my favorite breads - but I've never been able to stand eating what I think of as 'fake' pizzas on them. The flavor is not one of a pizza crust, and isn't meant to be. To me it's kind of like dipping a Ritz Cracker into French onion dip... they just aren't made to go together.

So! While rushing to the store one evening after work I picked up a package of pre-baked mini pizza crusts. To my delight she took to them immediately and stopped killing perfectly good English Muffins with pizza sauce. At first my 17 year old son thought them too much 'work' to make and they took too much 'time' as apparently 10 minutes is too long to wait when you are 17. However, he was quickly won over when he saw his sister eating a freshly made pepperoni pizza!

Not being a fan of spending money a food that was grossly over-priced and full of preservatives and not much flavor, I made my own pizza crusts from my favorite pizza dough recipe and baked them and packaged them individually in the refrigerator for a quick do-it-yourself meal for the kids. If mini pizzas are something you regularly purchase and would like to save money by investing just a little time... make pizza dough this weekend and refrigerate or freeze them for future use!

Pizza Dough

1 pkg. (2 1/4 t) dry active yeast
1 T sugar
1/2 t salt
1/4 c dry powdered milk
1 1/3 c warm water

Put into the bowl of a mixer or mix by hand. Wait 2 minutes.

2 T olive oil
4 c flour

Knead in a Kitchen Aid style (heavy duty) mixer 5 minutes or knead 10 minutes by hand. Let rest 10 minutes.

Depending on the thickness of the pizza you like - Use in 1, 2 or 3 greased, average 'home' sized large pizza pans Let raise about 1 1/2 hours and top with your choice. Bake at 400 approximately 16-25 minutes depending the size of your pan and how many toppings you have on it. Bake until golden brown.

To make the mini pizza's above - I split the dough in half, then each in half again and continued dividing each piece in half again until I had 8 balls for a 1/2 inch thick crust. You could do up to 16 if you like very thin, crispy pizzas.

I formed each ball into a circle on a pizza stone and then baked at about 410 degree's for 10 minutes to pre-bake the thicker crusts - less if you make thin. Bake just until the bottom barely begins to get golden. You will finish baking when the pizzas are used in the future. Let cool and package for refrigeration or freezer. To use, spread pizza sauce, toppings, cheese and bake at 410 until the top is melted and beinging to turn golden brown.

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