Introduction: 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

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

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

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

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

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!

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!

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