Step 2: Shaping the Dough
After proofing for an hour the dough will have doubled in size. Remove the dough from its container and lightly knead (this is called the punch-down) to redistribute the carbon dioxide released by the yeast. Separate the dough into two pieces and form the first into a ball by rolling on a lightly floured surface. Now it's time to choose your own adventure: will you:
A.) Be adventurous and authentic and toss by hand.
B.) Do it the easy way with a rolling pin.
Here's the scoop (or slice).
Tossing by hand isn't just for show; there's a logic to it. By slowly pushing the dough into a larger circle, stretching by hand, and tossing, you're creating a bit of horizontal thickness gradient. By tossing, you'll end up with a center that is thin and crispy, and a crust that will have a bit extra dough.
However- if you choose to use a rolling pin, you'll end up with a dough that has a consistent thickness. While it will still taste great, the pizza's texture won't be quite right for a Neapolitan pie.
So, instructions on both:
A. Toss by hand
After forming the dough into a ball, begin to press out on your floured surface. It will take a bit of spinning, prodding, and pushing, but you'll eventually get to a state where you can lift it and begin to lightly stretch it and let it hang off your hands. When it begins to widen a bit, you're ready to lightly toss in a circular motion. The trick is to try and catch the dough with your hands in a fist shape. If you make a whole, no big deal, just press the dough back together and try again.
B. The Rolling Pin
Alright, you made your choice, who am I to second guess it? Roll the dough out to about an 11" diameter and get ready to top.