The most challenging aspect of making fresh pizza dough is to stretch it out correctly. But you may use a dough presser to flatten your dough. However, seeing a pizza-maker throw a thin dough up in the air makes you wonder how you do that. As hard as it may seem, I’m here to help you with how to press out pizza dough. You’ll be a pizza pro in no time with a couple of helpful tips.
How to Press Out Pizza Dough
Place Your Dough to Room Temperature
Heat your dough at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before you start stretching. Gluten, the protein that makes pizza dough chewy, is thicker in cold temperatures like the fridge. That’s why cold pizza dough can stretch out like a rubber band and snap back in. This move will loosen the dough up and make shaping easier.
If it is from the grocery store in plastic or freezer, take it out of the plastic and transfer it into an oiled mixing bowl. Cover the cup, and set for at least 30 minutes in a warm spot.
Prep Your Dough and Keep Olive Oil Near
Now you have pizza dough in the bowl waiting, and you’re ready to start stretching out the dough. The trick is to add some flour. Flour is nice to prevent some dough from sticking, but too much flour will make it difficult for the crust to be crispy.
Clean the surface and put a small amount of olive oil in your hands, around 2 to 3 spoons. Olive oil protects the dough from sticking to your cutting board or sheet pan and encourages a crispy, golden crust.
Press Out Your Pizza Dough Before Stretching It
You now have pizza dough in front of you, soaked in olive oil. You first must flatten the dough into a disk until you stretch it out.
You can use your palm to press the dough down into a large flat disk. Then, press the dough out from the center with both three middle fingers. Spread the dough into a broad circle about 6 inches across and about 1/2 inch thick. The dough should be flexible and smooth and should not shrink up when you press it. It’s cool if the flattened disk at this point is not entirely round.
Stretch the Dough
Flexing the dough with your hands and tossing it in the air is not a great way how to press out pizza dough — even though it may be interesting. Hold the dough around you, and use gravity, and move your hands to build side crusts.
When you’re ready to stretch, take the dough carefully, hold it onto one side with both hands, and let the rest of the dough hang down. I like keeping my pizza dough on top, facing me to keep an eye on the density. Gravity will do all the shaping work as you move the dough slowly in one direction, like spinning a circle. Pull the dough slowly from hand to hand, while the dough hangs.
Stretch out the pizza to about 11 inches diameter and about 1/3 inch thick. Don’t worry if there are small gaps or holes. You can easily put it together.
If the dough slowly shrinks a little, that is perfectly natural. If it snaps back quickly, rest the dough under a clean kitchen towel for 15 to 20 minutes and start again with step 3. Repeat the process until the dough keeps it in shape.
How Many Pizzas to Order
The number of pizza you need for a group can differ based on the number of visitors, their degree of hunger, and the kind of pizza you have ordered. There’s an unwritten rule which allows the standard crust pizza to take three slices per adult and two slices per kid. If someone starves, think of increasing the figures by one or two pieces. Most extra-large pizzas are ten slices per pizza so that you can order an extra-large pizza for every three adults and four to five kids.
Why Knead the Pizza Dough
Kneading dough is about strengthening the gluten that is the stringy protein bands that give bread its volume and texture. As you work the dough, those gluten strands tense up and drop in a line.
The general norms are kneading for 10-12 minutes by hand or 8-10 minutes in a mixer; if you’re already kneading the dough for that amount of time, you’re pretty sure to know how to press out pizza dough. A few things to watch for here:
The dough will begin to look like a shaggy, lumpy mass and will smooth out steadily as you knead. It should be smooth and tacky by the time you finish.
Hold Its Shape
Take the dough ball in your palm, and hold it for a second in the air. If it keeps the shape of the ball, it ensures the gluten is tight and solid. If it shrinks between your fingers, the gluten is already mellow and needs further kneading.
Poke the Dough
Give your finger a strong punch to the ball of dough. If the thickness quickly goes back, you are good to go. If it starts to look like a deep dimple, knead on.
Take off a piece of ball-sized dough and spread it out into a thin sheet across your fingers. If the gluten is well shaped, the dough can expand to a paper-thin film without splitting. If it splits, continue kneading the dough.
You might laugh, but that’s true. If you’ve kneaded for 10-12 minutes, and your arms are tired, you can rest for a bit. It’s okay to rest for a couple of minutes and come back to it later. If your dough is close to finishing, even if you’re not 100 percent positive, you should rest and call it a day. Find out more about pizza doughs.
Now you know how to press out pizza dough. You should relax and have confidence when it comes to stretching the dough. It takes practice. However, you can quickly develop your skills with just a little effort, so have fun learning this excellent pizza technique.