Homemade Pizza: How to Stretch Pizza Dough

The average store-bought pizza can cost an average of anywhere from $8 to $16. That’s a huge waste of money considering you can make your own for under $4 and it will be significantly tastier and healthier.

Making pizza dough is surprisingly simple, but there a few tricks that can make it even better.

For many, it’s common to mix the ingredients together and excitedly begin rolling the dough out with a rolling pin. However, doing this carries a number of risks such as torn dough which can all be avoided with a little extra patience.

That’s why knowing how to stretch pizza dough is so important. The simple tips below are easy to follow and will make your dough more delicious than ever.

Preparation is Key

Because everyone has their own personal or favorite recipes, we’ll start by assuming you’ve already made your dough.

The next most important step, which many people avoid, is giving your dough enough time (roughly 30 minutes) to warm up to room temperature. This is because the colder dough is, the more rubbery it will act and attempts to stretch it may lead to it snapping back in.

Just ensure that when you leave it out you cover it in plastic wrap to trap in moisture and prevent your dough from drying out. After this is done, you’ll find that dough which is at the right temperature is significantly easier to shape.

Equally, make sure you have correctly prepared the surface you’ll be stretching the dough on.

The common technique is to use flour which is very effective, but others suggest using other ingredients like olive oil. This is because too much flour risks making your dough tough and too chewy. In contrast, olive oil easily coats your hands and surfaces and can provide extra flavor and a beautiful golden crust.

If you decide to use flour, just ensure to be conscious of how much you’re placing on the surface and your hands.

Use Your Fingers

Another crucial, but an overlooked step, is the importance of pressing your dough before the stretching begins.

Doing so helps ensure the entire dough surface is looser and primed for stretching afterward.

Using your palm, begin pressing the dough down into the rough shape of a flat circle. Next, starting in the center, press your fingers down and work your way to the edge to help make the crust and ensure the surface is even.

Once you’ve done one side, flip the pizza over and repeat one more time.

How to Stretch Pizza Dough

Rolling pins are hereby banned. If you’ve been using one to stretch out your pizza dough then it’s crucial you stop doing so.

This is because rolling pins can cause tears more easily and the extra force actually makes it easier for your dough to shrink back in on itself.

One simple technique for stretching pizza dough is to pick it up and hold it like a steering wheel with your hands at ten and two. From there just let gravity do the stretching as you gently rotate the dough in your hands.

Another option is to place the dough on the back of your hands and gently pull outwards as you ‘hop’ the dough around in a circle.

In both cases, you want to aim for a dough which is roughly 1/3 of an inch thick. If there are any holes on thin sections, just wait until it’s on the pan or sheet before correcting them.

If you find that the dough keeps shrinking back, it may need more time to rest. In that case, place the disc of dough on our surface, cover it with plastic wrap and leave it for another 15 to 30 minutes.

Good to Go

If you’ve followed the suggestions above, your dough should be shaped and stretched beautifully.

But knowing how to stretch pizza dough is just one of many important steps. Be sure to read our other tips for preparing and cooking the perfect pizza.

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