These pizza bites are a delicious combination of pizza dough wrapped around a simple three-cheese filling. Once baked, the bites pull apart into individual serving sizes that are perfect when paired with pizza sauce. Make these as an appetizer or for a big Game Day, and watch them disappear right away!
In a large bowl, combine the water, sugar, and salt. Stir to dissolve the sugar and salt. Add the olive oil, flour, and yeast. Using a fork or a dough whisk, combine the mixture into a shaggy dough. On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough until it is smooth, 6-8 minutes. Once the dough is smooth, form into a ball. Oil the bowl with 2 tsp of olive oil. Roll the dough in the oil and place it in the bowl. Cover and set in a warm place for 1 hour.
Once the dough has risen, punch down and release the air bubbles. Butter or grease a 9x13 baking dish and set aside.
In a medium bowl combine the ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and salt. Stir to combine, ensuring all the cheeses are evenly mixed. Set the mixture aside.
Using a scale or by eye, divide the dough into 24 equal pieces. Form each piece into a ball. Flatten each ball into a 4-inch circle and add 2 tbsp of the cheese filling. Wrap the dough around the filling and pinch the seam tightly. Roll into a ball and place in the prepared baking dish. When all the pizza bites are formed, cover them and allow them to rise for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
While the dough is rising, melt the butter. Add the remaining Italian seasoning and garlic powder. Once the dough has risen, brush it with the prepared butter mixture.
Place the brushed pizza bites in the preheated oven. Bake until the bites have a golden brown crust, 30-35 minutes. Once baked, remove the pizza bites from the oven. Allow the bites to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before serving.
When preparing the water to add to the pizza dough, make sure that the temperature is between 100°F and 110°F. If yeast is added to water that is too hot, it can inhibit the yeast and potentially lead to a failed dough.
Make sure to reserve about the last 1/2 cup of flour to be added after the first mixing. Dough is a unique substance in that the time of year, humidity, and other room conditions can all affect how a dough performs. Reserving some of the dough ensures that too much dough is not added all at once.
To know when the dough is ready to be worked with after it has risen, simply place a finger into the dough. The dough is ready if the imprint remains and does not spring back.
To get the most precisely-sized dough balls, use a food scale. Simply weigh the entire dough, then divide it by 24 to get the approximate size of each dough ball. Before filling the pizza bites, it may be best to weigh out each dough ball in case some dough needs to be removed and added to others at the end.