Editor’s note: Sadie Davis-Suskind, 14, is an eighth grader at Jane Addams Middle School and an aspiring chef. A former “MasterChef Junior” competitor, Davis-Suskind will share each week a recipe that other kids can make as well. 

Hello, Seattle kids!

If you’re like me, you’re bored out of your mind, cooped up at home and wondering how to pass what may be a very long time. You need fun activities to stay occupied.

Since I am super passionate about cooking, I see this as a free pass to bake and cook like crazy, and I would love to share some of my favorite recipes and techniques to get YOU started in the kitchen.

I’ll be posting a fun, simple and delicious recipe each week with tips and techniques, and I would love to get your questions and ideas for future dishes. Come chat with me on Instagram (@juniorchefsadie)!

You can include your adult or your sibling (if they’re nice to you) to make it a family activity if you like — or not — your call!

So here we are at Week 1 and I wanted to start with something that everyone loves: Pizza.

Sadie Davis-Suskind adds ingredients to the mixing bowl to make pizza dough. (Rebecca Davis-Suskind)
Sadie Davis-Suskind adds ingredients to the mixing bowl to make pizza dough. (Rebecca Davis-Suskind)

My relationship with homemade pizza dough started early: One Friday I came home from a super stressful, drama-filled elementary school day. My mom, also a passionate foodie and cook, took one look at me and said, “We’re making pizza dough!”

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I was skeptical. I didn’t want to but it seemed as though I didn’t have a choice. We threw all the ingredients together, mixed them up and my mom, with a twinkle in her eye, said, “Start kneading this dough!”

Sadie Davis-Suskind stretches out pizza dough. (Rebecca Davis-Suskind)
Sadie Davis-Suskind stretches out pizza dough. (Rebecca Davis-Suskind)

It’s hard to explain what happened then. As I sank my (WASHED) hands into this sticky, stretchy dough and pulled it and rolled it around to create several neat round ovals, my shoulders relaxed, my breathing slowed down and I relaxed and let go of the day.

I hope you find that cooking will become a place of therapeutic rest and relaxation as well, with the added bonus at the end of creating something delicious to eat!

Sadie Davis-Suskind sprinkles flour as she works on her homemade pizza dough. (Rebecca Davis-Suskind)
Sadie Davis-Suskind sprinkles flour as she works on her homemade pizza dough. (Rebecca Davis-Suskind)

Pizza is fairly easy to make and versatile. Plus, you probably already have most of the ingredients in your kitchen. You’ll need a mixer (a hand mixer will do) and a pizza stone or baking sheet.

Whether you like a nice crispy crust or a decadent deep dish, the first step to making your dream pizza always starts with a great dough! After that, grab a jar of your favorite sauce and then the toppings are all YOU!

The finished result – yum! (Rebecca Davis-Suskind)
The finished result – yum! (Rebecca Davis-Suskind)

Pizza Dough

Ingredients:

1 ¼ cups warm water

1/8 cup sugar

1 ½ teaspoons instant yeast

1/8 cup vegetable oil

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

Let’s go step by step:

1. In a mixing bowl, mix the warm water with the yeast and sugar. It should look nice and “bubbly” after 1-2 minutes. Once it’s frothy, add the oil.

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2. Add in the salt and the flour SLOWLY, one-quarter cup at a time.

3. After mixing in all the flour, your dough will still be wet and super sticky. Use a spatula to scrape it down off the sides of your mixing bowl. If it’s too wet, add just a little bit more flour. But don’t be afraid of the STICKY. The dough should stick to your fingers. To get to this consistency, you may not have to use all of the flour.

4. Get your adult or sibling to grab you a big bowl, greased with veggie oil. Pour the dough into the bowl, using the spatula to help with the transfer. Once it’s in, grease your hands with oil and coat the outside of the dough with your hands.

5. Cover the bowl with a towel (you can use plastic wrap, but grease it!) and let the dough rise for about an hour or until it has doubled in size.

6. Take your dough and put it on a piece of parchment paper where you have sprinkled flour. Pull up the sides of the dough to make a ball, then flip it over so you have a smooth ball of dough.

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7. Roll out or use your hand to streeetch out the dough.

8. Add sauce, toppings and transfer to a baking sheet or pizza stone that’s been preheated for 30 minutes at 475-500 degrees. Bake at 475-500 degrees for about 10 minutes. About halfway through, use a pair of tongs to lift the pizza and pull the parchment paper out.

Pro tips: Sticky is good; don’t let your dough get too dry. And refrigerating your dough for an hour before rolling it out makes it WAY easier! Get your adult to buy you a pizza stone, they’re cheap and GREAT!