Making Pizza with Kids: Pizza Dough Science

A love of science starts early, and the kitchen is a fantastic place to foster it! Learn how to incorporate pizza dough science lessons as you let the kids help cook dinner. Find more household science activities for kids.

Pizza dough science experiments for kids

Homemade pizza turned into the perfect science lesson Saturday afternoon! Normally I throw the ingredients in the bread maker, but I decided to make it by hand. I’m so glad I did – it wasn’t that much extra work, and making pizza with the kids provided so many learning opportunities!

examining dry yeast and getting ready to make some pizza dough! Learning about science while making pizza.

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Teaching Science While Making Pizza with Kids

It turns out that there is an awful lot for kids to learn while making pizza! Weights and measures, kitchen chemistry, and a little biology thanks to the yeast.

watching the yeast sink into the sugar water solution. Kids love pizza dough science!

Pizza Dough Biology

All three kids were fascinated by the texture of the dry yeast, and Lily especially was amazed at the way it sank into the sugar water solution. Johnny was very worried that the yeast would drown in the water. I explained that the sugar water was giving the yeast energy, instead of drowning it!

I wondered if the kids would worry about cooking an eating a living thing (the yeast is alive, and we had talked about that), but they were fine. I guess it’s not really much different from picking a plant to eat.

examining foam in the yeast + sugar + water solution

Pizza Dough Chemistry

Emma thought the foam created by the carbon dioxide that is released as the yeast metabolizes sugar was cool! Johnny found it very strange.

Practicing Weights and Measures While Making Pizza

The kids loved measuring out all of the ingredients for pizza dough making! We didn’t need a kitchen scale for this recipe, but I let them pour their cups of flour in anyway to see how much they weighed. A little extra learning!

Stirring the dough - pizza engineering

Engineering Pizza

Stirring the yeast solution into the flour was a very popular activity! I only got photos of Emma stirring, because Johnny and Lily require a little extra supervision, but they got plenty of turns!

Sampling the dough - one of the best parts of making pizza!

Tasting dough was also very popular! Johnny was actually a bit disappointed when we turned it into pizza (a little more engineering), although that didn’t stop him from eating plenty of pizza!

Note: I have had a couple of requests for a pizza dough recipe. We use lots of different recipes depending on moods, but this pizza dough recipe is always a hit with the entire family!

Fun Pizza Dough Science Experiments

Are you looking to extend your learning? Try these simple pizza dough science experiments.

  • Learn why it’s more accurate to weigh recipe ingredients than it is to measure them by weighing different cups of flour.
  • Try growing yeast in different temperatures of water with different amounts of sugar.
  • Make two pizzas. Let one raise longer than the other and see which one you prefer eating.
  • Explore how heat makes dough rise faster by putting half of your dough in a warm spot and half in a cold spot.

Do you have a pizza dough science experiment to add to my list?

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MaryAnne lives in Silicon Valley with her Stanford professor husband Mike and their four children. She writes about parenting through education, creativity, and play. Mama Smiles - Joyful Parenting is a space to share crafts, hands on learning activities, and family outings that enrich lives and bring families together.

35 thoughts on “Making Pizza with Kids: Pizza Dough Science”

  1. Can you believe I have never made pizza dough!
    I really need to get on the ball…my kids would love it also!
    I love how you turned it into a lesson! :)

  2. We must have a slightly different pizza recipe since ours involves only water and yeast which is mixed later with flour, salt and sugar. Anna loves to help out with self-made pizza too but only eats the dough :(

  3. Elisa | blissfulE

    Cooking is fantastic science, and I love how you have the technical terms on the tip of your tongue, such as the yeast metabolising sugar. I’ll have to remember that one. The learning links from other blogs you posted were fantastic, too! Thanks for the roundup!

    1. I used this recipe, although I added more yeast because I can’t copy recipes down correctly, apparently. And forgot to add the olive oil, because I’m forgetful like that. http://allrecipes.com/recipe/pizza-dough-iii/

      I kind of liked the flavor from the extra yeast… Wasn’t in love with it, but it’s worth tinkering with. And I should probably make it properly before I say anything definitive about it!

  4. Pingback: Making Bread With Kids – 25+ Easy Bread Recipes – Indoorify

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