When you’re craving a slice of pizza, delivery can only get you so far. True pizza lovers know the best way to satisfy a ‘za craving is to make it for yourself. And this includes using properly stretched pizza dough as your base.
So ignore the ready-made crusts in the frozen section. Give your pasta attachment a rest. We’re going to teach you the best way to stretch pizza dough for pizza perfection every time.
1. Make Your Dough
Store-bought dough is perfectly fine for your average pizza. But you’re not making an average pizza, are you? You’re making something truly craveable. And to do that, you’re going to need freshly made dough.
The good news is making your own pizza dough is dead simple. Here’s an easy pizza dough recipe that only takes about an hour and a half. Once your dough is made, it’s time to move on to step two.
2. Check the Temp
If you made your dough prior and froze it for later use, it’s important to let it thaw to room temperature before stretching. That’s because pizza dough won’t stretch if it’s too cold. It will simply snap back every time thanks to stunted gluten development.
But don’t microwave your dough to speed up this step! That also harms the dough. Instead, just let it hang out on your countertop for about an hour. Once your dough is at room temperature, it’s time to move to the next step.
3. Flour Everything
When your dough is nice and tepid, it’s time to ready your prep space.
Dust it with a bit of all purpose flour. This will keep your dough from sticking to your countertop or cutting board. Next, sprinkle flour generously over the dough so it’s no longer sticky to the touch. Lastly, rub flour up and down your rolling pin.
Once everything is sufficiently dusted, it’s time to move on.
4. Flatten Your Dough
For this step, some people prefer to just use their hands. Others prefer a rolling pin (see the prior step). Whatever your preference, it’s time to transform your dough ball into more of a dough pancake.
Start gingerly, rolling or pressing the dough with your palm down onto your countertop.
You’re not looking for a perfect pizza shape during this step. Instead, you are looking for the dough ball to be flat. Specifically how flat, though? By estimation, we’d say about two inches.
During this step, it’s important to work out any of the air bubbles that formed during the dough’s rise. Failure to do this will result in a bubbly, wonky pizza. So, focus those fingers or pin on working your air bubbles out toward the outer edges of the crust.
With the bubbles gone, you now have two options for how to really stretch out your dough into its final diameter:
Option 1: Slap Your Dough
No, it didn’t do anything wrong. You’re using what’s known as the slap method to help the dough work its way outward toward circular perfection.
During this step, both of your hands are involved, but each has a different job to do. With one hand, hold the pizza dough. The dough may hang down beyond your fingertips. This is perfectly fine.
The other hand should be on the prep surface, palm up and ready to catch the dough. Now, with your pizza-holding hand, slam or slap down the dough so it hits your other palm nice and flat.
With the hand that caught the dough, pinch a corner of the dough and pull it outwards an inch or so. This should stretch (but not break) the dough).
Now swap hands, with your former catching hand becoming the slapper. Rotate the dough and slap it down again, pinching another edge of your dough with your other hand. Continue this process several times until you are confident you have pinched out every edge of the dough circle.
Option 2: Dangle Your Dough
You may have seen your local pizzeria do this step. That’s because A) no one actually flings pizza dough in the air, and B) it’s the most efficient method for stretching.
For this option, simply make two fists and place them side-by-side. You’ll want your knuckles pointed up and out, with thumbs pointed up and bent fingers pointed down.
Dangle your pizza dough across the tops of your knuckles and then simply turn it in a circle, bit by bit. By inching your way around your pizza dough with your two fists, every edge of your pizza dough will have a chance to stretch. And by letting it dangle in mid-air, gravity does most of the heavy lifting.
Find Your Right Size
You’ve now reached the end and are almost ready to season, top, and bake your pizza. And what did we tell you? How to stretch pizza dough is actually much easier than it seems!
Before you bake, check your overall dough size. Depending on how much dough you’re working with, you’ll have to eyeball it. If you follow our steps, you should eventually form a pizza crust circle of about 8-12 inches in diameter.
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