A Step-By-Step Guide for Stretching Pizza Dough Like a Real Pizzaiolo icon-account icon-glass
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A Step-By-Step Guide for Stretching Pizza Dough Like a Real Pizzaiolo

Posted by Benny Traub on

Perfect Pizza Dough

They say it’s easy to bake a pizza in the comfort of your own home. And sure, it can be. Once you have your dough ready, it’s as simple as putting on your toppings and turning on the oven. 

But for many, getting homemade pizza dough ready for topping is an issue.

Here is a step-by-step guide to make stretching dough easier.

1. Warm up Your Dough Until It’s at Room Temperature

Often, you will need to warm your dough up for at least half an hour before it’s ready to stretch. This is because gluten is looser when warm. As a result, warm pizza is easier to stretch out. 

If You Bought Your Dough From the Store

Take your dough out of its packaging. Then, place it in a bowl that has been prepped with olive oil to reduce sticking. Next, make sure the bowl is covered, then let the dough warm up for at least half an hour.

If You Made Your Own Dough

After the first rise, and after you have split your dough into portions, you can start warming your dough. 

2. To Prevent Sticking, Use Olive Oil Instead of Flour

Once your dough is relaxed and ready for stretching, prep your hands and workspace with olive oil. You will likely only need about 2 or 3 tablespoons of oil. This will prevent the dough from sticking. It will also help your dough achieve a delicious crispy golden crust in the oven.

You can also take this opportunity to line the sheet pan or pizza peel with parchment paper. Don’t have parchment paper? Not to worry! You can also sprinkle cornmeal on your surface to get the same effect.

3. Press, Then Stretch

Before stretching your dough, you need to flatten it into a disk.

  1. Use the heel of your palm to flatten the dough into a large disk.
  2. Then, press the dough. Move from the center outwards using both your hands. Aim for a flat disk about six inches wide and a half inch thick. At this point, the dough shouldn’t shrink when pressed. 
  3. Rest your dough again. You might find your dough shrinking a bit. This is normal. However, if your dough snaps back, then rest it for another 15-20 minutes. Then, try step 2 again. Repeat this until the dough keeps its shape.

4. Use Both Hands

Don’t use your knuckles to stretch the dough, and don’t toss the dough up in the air. It may look impressive, but it’s difficult to get right. Instead, carefully pick the dough up. Hold it by one edge with both your hands, allowing the rest of the dough to hang down. Then, gently rotate the dough. Gravity will help your stretching here, so work quickly. Make sure to also keep an eye on how thick your dough is. Your goal is a disk of dough measuring roughly 11 inches wide and about ⅓ of an inch thick.

5. Put the Dough on the Pizza Peel, Then Top Your Pizza

Move your dough to your sheet pan or pizza peel. Next, pinch any thin or torn areas closed.
It’s not a problem if the edges of your pizza dough aren’t thicker than the center. The crust will puff up in the oven, while the center will be weighed down by toppings.

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