22. 7 Simple Steps to Stretch Pizza Dough1

Stretching the dough is the solution. This may seem intimidating if you’ve never made pizza before, but don’t give up hope! We’ll demonstrate how to stretch pizza dough step by step. You’ll be confident making pizza dough fit for champions once we’re done, too!

Step-by-step Guide On How To Stretch Pizza Dough

Step 1: Bring Your Dough To Room Temperature

It will be much simpler to stretch your pizza dough if it is at the proper temperature. And that indicates that it should be cool.

Take a bow if you’ve just made your own dough! Towards the end of its initial 1.5–2 hour rise period is when you should move on to this preparation stage. Take your dough out of the plastic wrap right away if you purchased it.

Apply a few drops of olive oil to your bowl’s interior surface and rub it in. With a paper towel, we find that this is the simplest to do. Put your dough inside and then wrap plastic wrap around the bowl. As the dough proves, this will keep it airtight.

For at least 30 minutes, place the bowl somewhere warm. You should consider using your oven’s ultra-low setting, which is about 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

The gluten in your pizza dough will soften as a result of this step. The dough will snap back if you try to stretch it while it’s cold, which will be very frustrating.

Remove any jewelry you are wearing, including watches, while you wait. That will eliminate any possibility of the dough being torn.

Step 2: Prepare Your Pizza Peel Or Baking Sheet

If you’re serious about making pizza, you might have bought a pizza peel. This is a device that resembles a shovel somewhat and has a large, flat surface for placing your pizza in the oven.

Not to worry, though, if you lack a pizza peel. Using the back of a baking sheet or pan will yield equally good results.

Put some cornmeal on top of whatever surface you’re using and wrap it in baking parchment. By doing this, you can stop your dough from sticking to the surface before baking.

Step 3: Prepare Your Work Surface

To prevent the dough from sticking to your work surface as well, you must first prepare it.

Most dough requires that you flour the surface on which you are working. But refrain from doing so here. Your pizza base will become too heavy as a result.

Instead, lightly rub your work surface with 2 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil. To your hands, add a drop or two as well. They’ll be interacting with the dough a lot!

There will be two uses for the oil. It will also assist in giving your crust color and texture. It will prevent your dough from sticking to your counter and hands.

Pro tip: You don’t need to be too picky about the type of olive oil you use because it is primarily serving as a lubricant here. However, use extra virgin if you’re willing to go to great lengths to give your crust the ideal flavor.

Step 4: Create A Flat Disc

The dough should be worked after 30 minutes of resting in a warm location. Making that ball into a flat disc is the first step.

On your oiled work surface, pour it out to do that. It should become a flattish circle when you press it with the palm of your hand.

We’re going to enlarge the circle now. Your fingers should gradually spread the dough out as you press down on the center. Leave about half an inch of dough surrounding the edge uncut. It is this that will create the crust.

Continue pressing the dough circle until it reaches a thickness of about half an inch. It will be about 6 inches across at this point if you are using half a pound of dough per pizza. If at this point you don’t have a perfect circle, don’t worry too much.

Pro tip: We’ve discovered that spreading the disc effectively involves using the three middle fingers of each hand. By doing so, you’ll be able to press down on the dough consistently, which will help the circle grow more evenly.

22. 7 Simple Steps to Stretch Pizza Dough2

Step 5: Allow Your Dough To Rest If Need Be

The next step will depend on how your dough is acting right now.

You can skip this step if it shrinks back gradually and only slightly when you press on it. However, if it quickly snaps back, much like a rubber band, it must rest once more.

With a fresh kitchen towel covering it, leave it on top of your work surface. Hold off for 15 to 20 minutes. Return to the previous step and press the disc flat until it reaches a thickness of half an inch. Repeat the procedure if it quickly snaps back again.

Continue until you have a circle of dough that is half an inch thick and retains its shape.

Step 6: Stretch The Dough

The worst way to learn how to stretch pizza dough, despite the fact that it might look pretty impressive, is to stretch the dough with your knuckles and toss it in the air. Instead, keep the dough close to you and create an even crust using gravity and hand pulling.

When you’re ready to stretch, carefully pick up the dough and hold it with both hands on one edge, letting the remaining dough hang down. To keep an eye on thickness, I prefer to face the top of my pizza dough in my direction. As you gently rotate the dough in one direction, much like turning a wheel, gravity will assist in some of the stretchings. Pull the dough slowly from one hand to the other until it hangs down.

Stretch the pizza quickly to an approximate 11-inch diameter and a thickness of about 1/3 inch. Do not worry if there are gaps or thin areas at this time; we will fill them in the following step.

Step 7: Iron Out Any Imperfections

Place your dough disc on top of the baking sheet or pizza peel that you have prepared. Look at it carefully. Congratulations if it’s perfectly uniform and round! You made the perfect pizza!

But if things aren’t looking so good, relax. We’re going to take care of that right away.

Any crust fragments that are thicker than a third of an inch should be pressed out. And if you have any thin spots, fill them in. To do that, pinch the dough around your thumb and index finger.

And don’t worry if the outer edge of your pizza currently resembles the middle in many ways. When the toppings add weight, everything will change. And once it’s in the oven, the edge on the outside will puff up.

Your base is currently prepared for the toppings of your choice!

Tips For Making Great Pizza Crust At Home

Now that you know the basics of pizza-dough stretching, here are some helpful tips for making delicious pizza crust at home:

  1. Remove your jewelry: Take off all of your jewelry, including rings, bracelets, and watches. Removal will keep your priceless possessions tidy and stop dough from getting caught on your jewelry as you stretch your dough.
  2. Don’t use highly scented soaps or moisturizer on your hands: As you work with the dough, any strongly scented soap or moisturizer on your hands will be absorbed by the dough. Wash your hands with a mild, unscented soap before stretching.
  3. Don’t under- or over-proof your dough: Make sure to follow the recipe’s directions for proofing if you’re making your own pizza dough. Pizza dough that hasn’t been properly proofed is stiff and dense. A dough that has been over-proofed will stretch too thinly and won’t puff up when you put it in the oven.
  4. Warm-up your dough: Cold dough is more difficult to stretch without tearing. For best results, stretch your dough after allowing it to reach at least room temperature.
  5. Don’t toss your dough in the air: Yes, the awesome pizzeria across the street does it, and it looks cool. The majority of inexperienced pizza makers end up with dough on the floor when they throw their dough in the air because it isn’t the most effective way to stretch it. Keep your pizza dough where it belongs, on the counter.
  6. Let it rest: As you stretch your dough, some shrinkage is expected. Pizza dough is too tight if it snaps back abruptly or is challenging to stretch. Wrap your dough in plastic and set it aside for 10 to 15 minutes. The dough’s gluten will relax after some time has passed, which will make stretching much simpler.
  7. Preventing holes in your dough: Your dough won’t tear or form holes if you knead it in accordance with the directions on the recipe, keep it warm, and give it time to rest when it’s necessary. For improved gluten development, you can also experiment with using high-protein flour in your pizza dough recipe.
  8. Fixing holes in your dough: Either pinch the dough together or apply a dough patch to the hole if your dough tears to fix it.
  9. Rolling pins not allowed: The gas bubbles produced by the yeast are preserved by stretching your pizza dough, resulting in an open-structured crust. Rolling pins expel the gas, reducing oven spring and resulting in a crust that is dense and challenging to cut. When making authentic Neapolitan pizza, rolling pins are not allowed.
  10. Practice: Pizza stretching is a skill that gets better with practice, just like any other.

A fantastic crust is a foundation for making the ideal pizza. Few pizzas have a crust that is exactly like the renowned caramelized crust from Pequod’s Pizza, but this one doesn’t. To make a great pizza at home anytime, use our stretching techniques and advice.