KIDS LEARN TO MAKE PER­FECT PIZZA DOUGH

At Pizze­ria Lo­cale, kids and di­nosaurs can make per­fect pizza dough

The Denver Post - - FRONT PAGE - By Allyson Reedy

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.

Pho­tos by Greg McBoat, Spe­cial to The Den­ver Post

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.

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