Have you ever wondered how to make a pizza braid? It is quick, easy and a lot of fun! I am going to show you how to make this delicious, kid-friendly pizza that you can stuff with your favorite ingredients. In my family we make them all the time, including spinach & artichoke and chicken & broccoli braids, so it is time I shared my recipe for the basic pizza braid.
Pizza is my husband’s absolute favorite food. He would eat it every day if he could. Well technically he could but then he would end up looking like Ben Stiller’s character at the end of Dodgeball. My kids love pizza too, but their favorite way to make pizza at home is Pizza Braids. Two reasons, they can squish their hands in the dough and they can braid their own bread.
I always make my own pizza dough from scratch. Not only does it taste better but it is easier to work with than store bought dough. However I don’t like waiting two hours to let the dough rise, so I use rapid rise yeast. (4 Real: Kids are very impatient and want to eat 5 seconds after they tell you they are hungry). In about 15 minutes, the time it takes for me to chop and saute the veggies for MY pizza braid, the dough is ready.
For the record, veggies only go in MY pizza braid because apparently my children only eat cheese or pepperoni on pizza. Never mind the fact that I have a daughter who will eat onions, peppers, mushrooms and sausage in pretty much any other dish. Pizza, however, is only to be consumed in pure cheese form.
I separate the dough into roughly three equal pieces, which I roll out on pieces of parchment paper that has been coated with non-stick spray then sprinkled with cornmeal to prevent sticking. Each piece of dough is rolled out into a rectangle, don’t worry about being to perfect. Rustic looking pizza braids taste just as good as perfectly shaped ones. Although I would not know what I perfectly shaped pizza braid would look like because I cook with my kids.
After rolling out the dough to about 1/4 inch thickness, spoon some pizza sauce down the middle of the dough. (4 Real: I make my own dough but I am perfectly okay with using tomato basil sauce from a jar). Then pile on your favorite toppings – I like pepperoni, sautéed red onions & bell peppers and tons of cheese. Make sure to cook any meat before putting it in your pizza braid, like crumbled Italian sausage, bacon or ground beef. Next cut the sides of each braid into 1 inch strips.
I let kids roll out their own dough (my four-year old gets some assistance from me), spread out the sauce and add their toppings. Which, you can tell by this picture, is cheese. Why even make a pizza braid if you are only going to add cheese? Then I remember that I each member of the family gets their own pizza braid, meaning I do not have to share mine or eat hers.
Each person also gets to
put their dirty hands on their own dough, I mean braid their own pizza. I start by rolling down the top strip of dough over the filling and pressing the sides down to seal. Then I start folding each strip of dough across the filling, forming a braid effect. Push down the end of each strip to seal, then fold over then next strip of dough. Also fold the bottom strip over the filling so it does not spill out while baking. I brush the top with olive oil then sprinkle it with basil, garlic salt and some parmesan cheese.
I even cut pepperoni in the shape of our initials and placed them on top so I would know who made each pizza braid. (Where is my Mother of the Year award?)
Bake the pizza braids at 425 for 20-25 minutes, then allow them to cool for about 5-10 minutes before cutting into strips to serve. If you don’t make cute pepperoni initials like I did, just remember which pizza braid is yours. You don’t want to be stuck with a dirty finger cheese pizza braid that your daughter made while she secretly steals your delicious looking pepperoni, onion, bell pepper extra cheese one. Ok, so maybe I did let her talk me into sharing my pizza braid with her. That is what a Mother of the Year does for her own kids.
- Pizza Dough (double the recipe for three medium sized braids)
- 2 1/2 – 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 package rapid rise yeast
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup very warm water
- Pizza Braid filling
- 1/2-1 cup pizza sauce
- 1 – 2 cups mozzarella cheese
- 1 package pepperoni slices
- 1/2 red onion sliced
- 1/2 green bell pepper sliced
- *Add any additional desired toppings
- In a large bowl, combine 2 1/2 cups flour, salt and rapid rise yeast. Stir in olive oil and warm.water. Continue adding flour until soft dough is formed and no longer sticky. Knead on a floured surface for about 5 minutes until dough is elastic. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and allow it to rest for 10 minutes.
- Place a piece of parchment paper on a baking/cookie sheet. Coat with non-stick spray then sprinkle with cornmeal. Roll out dough into a large rectangle, spoon sauce down the middle of the dough and add desired toppings. Cut sides of dough into 1 inch strips and “braid” over filling. (Optional: Brush with olive oil then sprinkle with basil, garlic salt and parmesan cheese)
- Bake in a 425 degree oven for 20-25 minutes until crust is golden brown. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before cutting into strips. .