Enter the World of Jo and the Dough
Jo and the Dough is a new picture book for children (and adults!) that celebrates the magic of pizza. Ooni co-founder Darina Garland was preparing pizza with her two young sons when their imaginations took over. As they excitedly speculated about their rising dough — yeast is ALIVE?! — Darina was struck by an idea for a book that could bring their game of “What If?” to life.
Through whimsical illustrations by Edith Ault, children and parents can follow the hijinks of Jo and her lively doughy companion, Dough Monster, as they rush to create the ultimate neighbourhood pizza party.
Jo and the Dough includes an exclusive, child-friendly recipe for Neapolitan-style dough. We’ve included a preview of the recipe here, along with pizza and sauce ideas suitable for little hands, so your family can bring the fun home with a pizza party of your own.
Over on the Jo and the Dough page, you’ll also find a link to download a series of colouring templates from the book, perfect for keeping young sous chefs busy while they wait for the dough to do its thing.
Jo's Magic Pizza Dough
This is Jo and her dad’s go-to recipe, exclusively from Jo and the Dough. It requires a little concentration, but magic takes over as it starts to grow! Mix some flour here, a pinch of yeast there, put it together with water and salt, and what do you get? A delicious crust that’s good enough to eat. (Duh!)
Makes 4 x 10” pizzas (190 g each)
- 15 grams (1 tablespoon) kosher/sea salt
- 7 grams (2 teaspoons) dried yeast
- 275 grams (1 ¼ cups) lukewarm water
- 460 grams (3 mounded cups) ‘00’ flour, plus extra for dusting
Note: Measuring is an important skill for kids to learn, but precision is key! Be on hand to help out and assist when necessary.
Gently whisk the salt and yeast into the warm water.
Fit the mixer with the dough hook and place the flour in the mixer bowl. Turn the machine on at a low speed and gradually add the yeast mixture to the flour. Once combined, leave the dough to keep mixing at the same pace for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the dough is firm and stretchy. Place the dough in a large bowl and cover with a damp cloth. Leave to rise in a warm place for about 2 hours or until it doubles in size.
Divide the dough into four equal pieces and gently form each into a ball. If your dough is too sticky to handle, dust it with a bit of flour.
Place each ball in a separate bowl or tray, cover again and leave to rise for another 30 to 60 minutes, or until roughly doubled in size. When you’re ready to stretch the dough, follow the instructions in the Pizza Portraits recipe below!
No-nonsense Pizza Sauce
This no-cook sauce is the perfect warmup to get the pizza party started. Keep it simple, or make it fancy with fresh garlic, basil and dried oregano.
Note: This recipe is perfect for little hands to help out with, but it can get messy, so put your aprons on and roll up those sleeves!
Makes enough sauce for 4 x 10” pizzas
500 grams (18 ounces) canned plum tomatoes
15 grams (1 tablespoon) extra virgin olive oil
Pinch flaked sea salt
1 clove garlic, crushed (optional)
3 to 4 leaves basil, freshly torn (optional)
Pinch dried oregano (optional)
Strain the canned plum tomatoes over the sink to get rid of any excess liquid. Transfer the tomatoes to a large bowl.
In the bowl, squeeze and squish the tomatoes with your hands, aiming for a rough sauce texture. If any large chunks remain, mash them into smaller pieces with a fork, potato masher or meat chopper.
Stir in olive oil, salt, and sugar. If using, add the garlic, basil, and oregano and stir well to combine.
Transfer the sauce to a sealed container and set it in the fridge to infuse for at least an hour. Remove any garlic or basil before using. Now, get ready to top your pizza!
This fun recipe lets little ones’ imaginations run wild by using a combination of toppings to create their very own pizza masterpieces. Simply cut veggies, meats, or any ingredient they wish into a range of shapes and sizes. Pepperoni smiley face? Done. Bell pepper monster? Absolutely! The key is to have fun and eat delicious pizza.
Note: Stretching out dough is a great confidence booster! Make sure the peel or surface you’re using during the process is well floured. If the dough sticks, no problemo! Just add a little more flour. Remember, less is more when it comes to toppings (too many can lead to the dreaded sauce avalanche), so make sure the pizza doesn’t get overloaded.
Makes 1 x 10” pizza
bamboo/ perforated/ pizza peel
pizza dough ball (see recipe above)
pizza sauce (see recipe above)
extra flour for dusting the peel
- Bell peppers, thinly sliced
- Pepperoni slices
- Sliced olives
- Sweet corn off the cob
- Cherry tomatoes, halved
- Mozzarella pearls or sliced mozzarella
- Grated cheddar cheese
- Sliced mushrooms
Preheat your oven to its highest setting. If you have an Ooni pizza oven, heat it to 500° C (950° F).
Place a dough ball on a lightly floured surface, flour your hands and, working from the center, use your fingertips to press it into a small, flat disc. Push the dough outwards while spreading your fingers to slightly enlarge the disc.
Pick up the dough and, gently holding the edges, turn it like a steering wheel, allowing gravity to pull it downward. This will help stretch the dough and form the pizza base.
Once the dough is fully stretched to 10”, lightly flour your pizza peel and lay the base on top. If there are any small holes in the dough, don’t worry! A gentle pinch will patch them right up.
Now, here’s the fun part: Arrange your favorite toppings in whatever unique pattern comes to mind — but remember, less is more! When you’re ready to bake, slide and shake the pizza off the peel and into the oven. (If you’re using a domestic oven, your pizza should cook on a preheated baking tray, or a preheated stone or steel if you have one!)
Nutella, Strawberry and Whipped Cream Pizza
Kids love Nutella and whipped cream. (Who doesn’t, honestly?) Indulge them — and yourself — with this tasty and simple dessert. To avoid burning the sugar in the Nutella, you’ll need to parbake the pizza base before topping. To do this, you’ll need a couple of ice cubes to weigh down the base as it cooks and avoid any giant air bubbles or burns.
If your children aren’t into strawberries, blueberries, raspberries or peach slices all make excellent alternatives.
Note:This pizza requires close watch. Adults may need to move the ice cubes mid-bake to ensure the base cooks evenly. .
Makes 1 x 10” pizza
pizza dough ball (see recipe above)
4 to 5 large ice cubes
80 grams (4 heaped tablespoons) Nutella
5 to 6 strawberries, sliced
2 to 3 tablespoons whipped cream
large sprinkle milk chocolate, grated
Stretch out the dough ball, repeating the shaping steps from the recipe above.
Dot the ice cubes evenly around the pizza base. Slide the pizza off the peel and into the oven. If you’re using a domestic oven, your pizza should cook on a preheated baking tray (or a preheated stone or steel if you have one!).
Cook until the crust is lightly charred, which will take 60 to 90 seconds in an Ooni oven. (For a domestic oven, expect to cook your pie for 6 to 8 minutes.) Keep an eye on the dough, as it may try to rise; if it does, just move the ice around with tongs to redistribute the weight more evenly. Regardless, make sure to rotate the pizza for an even bake.
Remove the pizza and dab any moisture away with a paper towel.
In a small bowl, microwave 4 heaping tablespoons of Nutella for 15 seconds to loosen the consistency. With a large spoon, spread a generous layer of Nutella across the pizza base, starting from the middle and working your way out, stopping just before the crust. Scatter strawberry or other fruit slices evenly over the top, then finish with a large dollop of whipped cream in the centre.
Grate a touch of milk chocolate over the cream, slice, and serve right away.