Homemade pizza dough for your election night watch party; plus recipes for snacking | Food + Living

Election night is shaping up to be a long one and potentially a nail biter. Friends from around the country have been asking if I have an election night menu up my sleeve, and I believe there may be only one correct answer: A coupla pizza pies.  

You see, pizza is both nonpartisan and egalitarian. It inspires sharing, not hoarding. (Exhibit A: Pizza to the Polls, a nonprofit that delivers free pizza to voters waiting in long lines.) Pizza is an emblem of our right to freedom of expression: Maybe you like red sauce, maybe not so much. One vote for sausage and peppers; another for just cheese, please (or maybe no cheese at all).In pizza world, every eater – even the gluten intolerant – can participate.

And in an election that is seeing record early voter turnout, pizza feels like the most fitting choice for your election night nosh. This longtime journalist is also feeling reminiscent for election nights of years past, when pre-COVID-19 newsrooms were actually filled with people “crashing on deadline,” always with a slice of pizza – hot or cold – within reach of computer monitors.

Ordering a few pies from your favorite spot for pickup or delivery is always an option. But if you’re looking for a way to channel nervous energy while waiting for polls to close, consider making your own pizza dough. Not only is it a fun distraction from the headlines, DIY pizza dough is neither difficult nor time consuming, even for newbies. My husband would eat pizza every night if he had his way. And on election night, he will.

Should you decide to join me on a dough adventure, a little planning and organization will go a long way.

The steps and timeline look something this:

  • Activating the yeast, which is key to getting your dough to rise, about 15 minutes
  • Making the dough and kneading: Estimate 12 to 15 minutes.
  • Letting the dough rise, until doubled: About 1 hour – this is a good opportunity to work on pizza toppings.
  • Rolling out the dough and preheating the oven: I recommend working on one dough ball at a time and keeping remaining dough covered. While oven preheats, arrange pizza on upside down sheet pan and add toppings.
  • In a 500 F oven, a 12-inch pizza should take 12 to 15 minutes.

What’s a watch party without snacks? You’ll need some finger food while the dough is rising. Check out our ideas for zipping up popcorn and the 411 on roasted pumpkin seeds, with a recipe below. 

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