A Family Pizza Party With Driftwood Oven

With school out and kids at home for the summer, you can be ready when hunger or boredom strikes with this DIY cooking project: pizza making!

A little girl in a blue shirt sprinkles cheese onto a pizza crust.

We asked Neil Blazin, owner and co-founder of Driftwood Oven, and his family to show us how it’s done. “It’s a great activity, especially for kids, because they just love getting messy. There’s flour everywhere, the dough is fun to play with, and even if they’re not making beautiful pizzas, it’s fun to get kids in the kitchen doing activities. My kids love it,” he says.

Side by side photos of two young girls, the one on the left holds a piece of pepperoni and the other holds a piece of cheese over her lip.

Make memories and keep kids engaged with lots of hands-on possibilities: Scooping and dumping flour, kneading the dough, swirling the sauce, sprinkling cheese, arranging toppings, and drizzling olive oil!

With premade ingredients you only need about an hour, but you can choose your own adventure depending on how much time you have.

Dad, two daughters, son, and mom knead a pizza dough on a black table.

Pick up a 16” dough ball for $5 from Driftwood Oven at 3615 Butler Street in Lawrenceville.

Or you can start from scratch and make a summer day of it. Neil Blazin’s recipe for Basic Sourdough Pizza Crust is a great way to start your own pizza party at home! Prepare the dough in the morning, let it proof during the day, then bake it up in the evening. You can also make your own sauce. Grab a can of whole tomatoes, season them, and “buzz them up” with an immersion blender. Neil shares his Simple Pizza Sauce recipe with TABLE readers.

Get ready for multiple summer bakeoffs by making a big batch of dough and freezing a few portions. Plus, “There’s less mess to clean up,” notes Blazin.

A boy and girl sibling pair sprinkle cheese on to a rectangular pizza dough.

Set your space with essential tools, including: an aluminum or wooden pizza peel, cutter, and a microplane to shave parmesan cheese on the finished pie.

Kids can let their creativity shine when forming the dough: “They’ll say, ‘This one looks like an oval.’ ‘This one looks like a heart.’ They’re cool with making it however they see it.”

A young girl uses a ladle with her dad's assistance to spread out a red sauce on a pizza crust.

Sicilian-style pan pizza is the most at-home friendly, says Blazin. Simply press the prepared dough into a greased pan and let it proof while you ready the other ingredients.

When it comes to toppings, playing with food is totally acceptable. The kids will love making patterns and shapes, like smiley faces. Best of all, even the pickiest eater will be satisfied! Kids may want to keep it simple with cheese or pepperoni, while parents can mix it up.

Side by side photos of a girl on the left eating pizza and two siblings a boy and a girl on the right.

Blazin’s advice? “Just have fun with it. Making food isn’t a perfect thing. It’s really about the collaboration. One of the things I love most about pizza is that it’s generally always shared.”

Two circle pizza, one rectangular pizza, breadsticks, and a bowl of salad sit amongst a table of sauces.

Story by Nicole Barley / Photography by Laura Petrilla / Recipes by Neil Blazin, Driftwood Oven

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