How To Stretch Your Pizza Dough
For a Neapolitan, American style pizza, never ever (EVER!) use a rolling pin. The reason is that after all those hours of rising and proofing, the dough is full of little bubbles of gas. In the oven, these little bubbles will expand and create a beautiful, bread-like crust full of flavour.
There are two stages to making an amazing pizza base: Pounding and Stretching.
Before you start, make sure your dough is at room temperature. This means you’ll have to take it out of the fridge at least 2 to 4 hours before using it. Take the dough from your tray, lightly dust your table top with flour and set down your dough just as it was in the tray: the bottom stays the bottom and the top the top. Dust the dough with a little flour and you’re ready to go.
Pounding the dough
Press your fingers down at the front of the ball of dough and go around the ball to define an outer rim. Make sure that you don’t touch the outer rim, as this will become a delicious crust. It’s also best to stay away from the centre of the dough. Don’t worry, you’ll be stretching it automatically later on in the process.
Stretching the dough
There are many techniques for stretching dough, so I’ll show you a few. You can pick your favourite technique or just use all of them.
Cup your hands and rest them on top of the dough, almost touching the outer rim. We’re now going to stretch the dough between our hands. Move your hands in an outward motion as you lightly press down on the dough. If you move your right hand a little further out than your left, you’ll start turning the dough as you stretch it. Continue until the dough has made a full rotation.
Now, take the dough in one hand and transfer it to your other hand with a swiping motion. Repeat this process a few times, alternating between your right and left hand.
Rest the dough on your knuckles and gently stretch the dough between your hands. Give it another quick stretch, rotate the pizza a little, and stretch again. Continue until the pizza has made a full rotation.
Now you’ve got the dough in your hands, this is the perfect moment to check whether there are any thicker areas in the dough that could do with a little extra stretching.
When you’ve stretched the dough to your liking, you’re ready to top your pizza. To find out more, check out my tutorial on how to put toppings on your pizza!