There's nothing more fulfilling than making perfectly rounded pizza dough with your hands. The taste of making homemade pizza dough is far better than any store-bought pizza dough you can buy, and with proven techniques that I will explain in this guide of how to stretch pizza dough, you too will master the art of making pizza.
🍕 Stretching Pizza Dough
Like anything in life, the more you practice, the better you get. And the same can be said with stretching and shaping pizza dough. Your first attempt may not turn out perfect, but with some practice and guidance, you will be hand stretching pizza dough perfectly in no time.
There are many ways of stretching dough, from using a rolling pin to using your fingers and your knuckles. Each variant requires proper preparation and allowing the pizza dough balls to come to room temperature before stretching to make it easier to work with.
Let's look at the different methods on how to stretch pizza dough:
The fingertip stretching method is beginner-friendly and involves pushing your fingers into the middle of the dough while gently pushing outwards to stretch it.
Try to form a circle shape with the pizza dough base while working your way to the outer crust, leaving the crust thicker than the center by a half-inch. Be careful not to stretch the dough too thin in the center, or it might tear.
Steering wheel stretch
This method works best for a thin pizza crust and requires good hand coordination.
Start by grabbing the edges of one side of the pizza base and hanging the dough in the air until it starts to stretch. As the dough stretches, rotate it slowly while pinching the edges until a round thin circle forms.
The record player Stretch
Most professional pizza chefs use this method to stretch pizza dough balls, resulting in a perfectly round dough every time.
Place both hands in the center and gently press down so that the edge of the dough becomes thicker, then rotate the dough with your hands moving in opposite directions like spinning a record while keeping your hands slightly pressed. The dough should flatten as you move your hands around.
The knuckle stretch takes a few attempts to perfect but also allows you to see potential pizza dough tears as its stretches.
Bend your knuckles and place your knuckles together with the dough covering your hands. Gently separate your hands to stretch the dough and move it with your knuckles in a circular motion without making any tears. As the dough starts to stretch to the size you want, flip it onto your work surface to stop the stretching.
💭 How to prepare for stretching pizza dough
Now that you know some methods for stretching pizza dough, here are some helpful tips on how to prepare the dough ready for stretching.
Help the dough ball rise.
Once your perfect pizza dough ball has risen, let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before stretching it out. Cold dough balls from the fridge do not stretch as easily at room temperature due to the gluten.
The protein in gluten needs to be warm and loosened up first. Warm gluten results in the dough stretching quickly rather than it snapping back like a rubber band.
Prepare your workstation
You will need to create a large enough space for stretching the dough and thoroughly clean your surface so that no debris or dirt exists.
Wipe the surface dry and add some flour to it, but not too much flour, just enough to prevent the dough from sticking.
Coat the pizza dough in flour and stretch
Grab the dough and toss it in a bit of flour, covering both sides before laying it on the floured surface, ready for stretching.
Choose some tasty toppings and pizza sauce.
Now that your dough has been stretched, you can now create your perfect pizza with marinara sauce and your favorite toppings. If you need some inspiration, try some of these delicious creations to put on your homemade pizza.
BBQ chicken & bacon - Slavered with BBQ sauce instead of tomato and topped with sauteed onions, crispy bacon, cooked chicken, corn, mozzarella, and cheddar cheese.
Pesto, chicken & sun-dried tomatoes - Pesto and marinara sauce combine to create a Mediterranean pizza topped with artichokes, onions, sun-dried tomatoes, shredded chicken, basil leaves, and mozzarella cheese.
Bree cheese, apple & pesto - This sweet pizza uses pesto sauce, and sliced apple topped with parmesan & Bree cheese. It's an Italian classic and great to eat in the summer.
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🙋 Frequently Asked Questions
Does cold pizza dough stretch?
No, using a cold pizza dough ball from the fridge will not stretch until it is warm enough for the gluten to relax. If you try to hand stretch pizza dough that is cold, it is more likely to tear and snap back when attempting to shape it rather than stretching out with ease.
How do I fix a hole in my pizza dough?
The easiest way to prevent holes from happening in your pizza base is by kneading the dough for longer to help build up the gluten elasticity and allowing the dough ball to relax at room temperature before stretching it out.
If you still end up with tears after stretching pizza dough, you can fix it by folding the dough over the hole and flattening it with a rolling pin.
How to stretch pizza dough from the grocery store?
Every shop-bought pizza dough varies in quality and the flour they used to make it and will make a significant difference in the stretching process. For frozen store-bought pizzas, let it sit at room temperature for 45 minutes and 30 minutes from the fridge before stretching.
Try one of my comfort recipes for your next family meal! And if you have any questions, I'm here to help!