Introduction: Dealing With Pizza Dough

Picture of Dealing With Pizza Dough
Pizza dough can be tricky, let's face it. Rolling it out with a rolling pin can produce an acceptable albeit flat pizza, and if you over work the dough it will simply stretch back like a rubber band (not to mention be tough to eat). 

Luckily I have the inside scoop on how to stretch the dough out for a pizza.

Step 1: Prep Work

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First things first, get some dough. The easiest way is to stop by the closest local pizza place and buy their dough. You can make your own but then you're on your own for I have no idea how.

NOTE: Make sure to get the freshest dough possible. Ask nicely, flirt with the cashier, do what you have to but fresh dough makes all the difference.

After you get the dough, cover your work area in flour. This keeps the dough from sticking to anything. Then pick up the dough and flour the top and the bottom. Set the dough on the counter and then spin it in a circle with your hands on the sides. Try to get the flour on the sides of the ball and gently form it into a more perfect circle.

The easy part's done, now the hard part...

Step 2: Stretching the Dough

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To press out the dough, start by gently flattening the dough ball, trying to maintain a circular shape. Then put your dominant hand about 1/2 inch away from the edge of the dough. 

With one smooth motion, push down into the dough, slightly spread your fingers apart, and rotate the dough by rotating your wrist. 

Repeat every inch or so until you create a lip all the way around the pizza.

NOTE: Try to keep in contact with the dough. Taking your hand away from the dough will make the middle lumpy which can cause problems later.

Step 3: Hanging the Dough

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Pick up the dough so that half of it still rests on the counter. You should hold the dough with your thumbs underneath the crust on one side and your index fingers on the other.

GENTLY pull your hands apart, the dough will slide through your fingers but will stretch out in the process. 

Work your way around until you reach the starting point.

Step 4: Throwing the Dough

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Start by draping the dough over one hand. You will quickly transfer or "throw" the dough to the other hand and back several times.

Try to keep the transition as smooth as possible; the dough should always be in contact with one of your hands. 

Don't slap the dough between your hands, but slide it onto the palm and forearm of the other side.

Each time you transfer the dough, your hand should rotate towards your body. If the dough doesn't rotate enough, the pizza will turn out football shaped.

Step 5: The Home Stretch

Picture of The Home Stretch

Finally, to stretch the dough just a bit more, put the dough on the outside of your forearms (see picture). You will gently stretch the dough between your fists, then cross your arms  to rotate the dough. Uncross them again and keep rotating and stretching the dough until you reach the beginning.

Step 6: Done!

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Gently lay the pizza down on your work surface or peel and form it into more of a circle if necessary.

Rips and Holes:
If the dough tears near the end, lay it down gently on the counter. Look for a thicker area close to the hole. Stretch the thick part over the hole and press it down firmly to bond the dough together. Make sure to put extra flour underneath the patched spot because it will easily stick to the counter.

Congratulations! Finish up your pizza and eat it!


bombmaker2 (author)2010-08-12

You should mention to slap it down before baking or this can happen

moxiepurple (author)bombmaker22010-08-15

To avoid bubbles you want to dock the dough before topping, just use a fork and tap it all around the dough, then sauce and top. If you still get bubbles while baking deflate them with a fork/knife/tooth pick/ice pick. If you pull your pizza out and find you missed a bubble, grab your pizza cutter, flatten the bubble out, and pull the toppings and cheese inward to cover the blemished area, the cheese will still be gooey and as it cools down should set and cover that bubble explosion nicely.

mikecraghead (author)moxiepurple2010-08-15

My kids LOVE the bubbles! I wonder if the air could be tamed into tons of 1" intentional bubbles all over the whole thing... think of the possibilities! A syringe of molten cheese/pizza sauce lava for a circular field of tiny volcanoesque calzones...
Great 'ible, by the way!

I like bubbles too. It is more like the pizza in Naples which was full of bubbles that over browned.

bombmaker2 (author)mikecraghead2010-08-15

You could just use a syringe with air in it. Use a tiny tiny amount though, because it expands drastically. The pic above was not any noticable air underneath and look what happened. BTW I too love bubbles.

moxiepurple (author)bombmaker22010-08-15

lol, okay that's the best reason to keep the bubbles. =D

jwystup (author)moxiepurple2010-08-18

I use my nails. You still want to do this if you like bubbles, just do it less. It will avoid having a huge mound like in the picture. I still get bubbles when I poke around.

Strombergundy (author)bombmaker22010-08-15

I have been thinking about why this might happen and I think that step four, throwing the dough might help keep it from happening.

bombmaker2 (author)Strombergundy2010-08-15

I see how that might, similar to what you do when working with clay. But one of my favorite local pizzerias slaps the dough to pop any air pockets and that seems to help a lot because there is almost never any bubbles.

moxiepurple (author)bombmaker22010-08-15

I forgot the explain that docking is to make small holes in the dough. Oops!

TechNerd1012 (author)bombmaker22010-08-13

lol thats awesome with the pepperoni the way it is on the mound, it looks like someone peeking up from the pizza

bombmaker2 (author)TechNerd10122010-08-13

Lol that it does. The bubble was the best part to eat. It was like ultra ultra thin pizza

TechNerd1012 (author)bombmaker22010-08-14

lol I bet it was

bombmaker2 (author)TechNerd10122010-08-14


jackzylkin (author)2010-08-14

One thing you should mention: never work with refrigerated dough -- its too elastic and brittle. Let the dough sit at least 30 minutes at room temperature, so the yeast can fire up and the dough gets nice and gushy.

Strombergundy (author)jackzylkin2010-08-14

Pressing out the dough with this method works fine with refrigerated dough. We've never had problems with cold dough but have had difficulties with room temperature dough. The most important thing though is that the dough is made fresh the same day you use it. Thanks!

ElvenChild (author)Strombergundy2011-02-14

Well actually with a couplE of my pizza dough recipes the dough needs to proof for 24 hours

kathy.tobacco (author)ElvenChild2014-12-27

"Needs" 24 hours to proof? That doesn't make sense. Wouldn't the yeast would run out of food and even if it lasted that long you would get some off flavors? Some doughs are refrigerated to retard the yeast and allow the baker flexibility and fre-fermentation can take days but if you are counting starters, biga and poolish then you are just nitpicking. After the proofing- your dough is fresh.

SpagoPizza (author)2012-06-30

Don't wrap it in plastic , it will alter the ingredients and will change the taste of the pizza. You have to let the dough breathe

ArtsyFartsyGirl (author)2011-10-05

How long will the dough last? Could I make a batch enough for 2 or more pizzas?
I guess it can be frozen,huh? I mean thats like cookie dough or oven bake biscuits

ArtsyFartsyGirl (author)2011-10-05

Wow! That was one weird looking pizza! I didn't know that working the dough was such a process, i thought all I'd have to do is press it down into a circle and start with the toppings. I guess I would have had volcanoes and holes all over the place!! LOL

FYI: Di Giorno Pizza is the best frozen pizza you will ever find. Even tho its price has gone up to $7 and change, that's still half the price of delivery. It only takes about 25 minutes, which is just enough time to go to the bathroom,then wash your hands and set your table for dinner! Salad and a beer makes it perfect!! It comes with self-rising crust or thin crust.
Hey,I hope someone from DiGiorno is on this site and will ship me a free one for advertising for them! :) (author)2010-08-14

A average price of a Pizza stone large one?

I bought an 18" round one at Grocery Outlet on sale for $9.99, with a metal carrying rack. But I dont know the price of a better, more professional one

jwystup (author)TechNerd10122010-08-18

Mine was about $10 too, at Big Lots (a discount store)

thepelton (author)2010-08-13

Remember the movie "Spaceballs"? It's Pizza the Hut!

TechNerd1012 (author)thepelton2010-08-14

hahaha I forgot all about that part! Now I have to go watch Spaceballs again...

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