KIDS LEARN TO MAKE PERFECT PIZZA DOUGH
At Pizzeria Locale, kids and dinosaurs can make perfect pizza dough
On a Saturday morning, I headed to Pizzeria Locale with my husband, daughter, son and a dinosaur.
We were all there to learn to make their perfect pizza dough — OK, maybe not the dinosaur, since he’s made of plastic and all, but the rest of us were — in the hopes that we could replicate the cloud-like, chewy crust at home.
Re-creating one of our favorite pizzas on-demand whenever we craved it was only part of why we gathered at Locale, though. I’ve always heard that children should learn to cook, and I, not being the most patient or most proficient cook, am not the one to teach them. So, on that Saturday at least, that job went to Steven Benjamin, our very game and enthusiastic pizza coach.
“So there will be five, then?” Steven asked upon seeing the dinosaur, a perma-companion of my 3-year-old son, Sam.
Unfazed by both the screeching children and Sam’s extinct BFF, Steven got to work, first explaining the history of Locale and then getting into the science behind the dough. Because they’re geniuses (or because their mom is a dough-obsessed food writer), Sam and Austen, 5, were able to recite the four ingredients of a basic pizza dough — flour, water, salt, yeast — and
quasi-explain that yeast helps the dough to rise.
Then we got to the fun part, mixing and playing with the dough. We all aproned up — except the dinosaur; they didn’t have his size — and folded and pressed our soft mounds into stretchy, sturdy little balls.
Sam probably ate his weight in flour, but he had a good time doing it, so carry on, kid. Carry on.
We shaped our little dough spheres into flat, 11-inch orbs, which Steven and his associates then topped with sauce, cheese, a whole lot of pineapple (the kids), and a whole lot of prosciutto and peppers (the parents). We watched as the pizzas took their 3½-minute turn around the 900degree gas-fired oven, emerging beautifully charred and bubbly.
As we ate our creations - or three of us did; Sam was full after eating so much flour — I had a rare moment of feeling like a fairly adequate mom. I hadn’t screamed at anyone for leaving Legos all over the floor, my kids had learned to cook good food made from real ingredients, and we did it together, as a family.
Dinosaur and all.
Three-year-old Sam and 5-year-old Austen Hathaway get help from their parents as they make pizza dough during a kids class at Pizzeria Locale in Denver.
A freshly made pizza crust is then topped with ingredients and, finally, ready to eat after two minutes in a 900-degree oven at Pizzeria Locale.
Sam Austen, 3, eats pizza dough (with his dinosaur) during a class at Pizzeria Locale in Denver.