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I have a problem with my pizza dough. I start to shape it but it is somewhat difficult to make it bigger and thinner because the dough stretches back to its initial form.

Any ideas?

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5 Answers 5

up vote 12 down vote accepted

Funny enough I was until recently working under a certified pizzaiolo. Are you allowing it to rest properly? How long are you kneading it for? What is your method for shaping your dough?

Edited to add from a later comment (I don't really see the point, it's right there after all):

Pizza dough, particularly if you are using proper 00 flour, needs a solid ten minutes of kneading before it rests. Resting time will vary depending on temperature and so on, but 2 hours seems excessive to me. Don't ever use a rolling pin to shape pizza dough; you've spent all that time working air into the dough, why squeeze it all out? Shape by hand, pulling towards you with your left while pushing away in a windshield wiper motion with your right and rotating the dough slightly on each pass.

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I knead around 5 minutes. I left it to rest for at least 1-2 hours and knead 1-2 after that. Then I generally put it to the fridge. I tried shaping both by hand and a rolling pin. –  Sinan Apr 3 '11 at 22:06
6  
Pizza dough, particularly if you are using proper 00 flour, needs a solid ten minutes of kneading before it rests. Resting time will vary depending on temperature and so on, but 2 hours seems excessive to me. Don't ever use a rolling pin to shape pizza dough; you've spent all that time working air into the dough, why squeeze it all out? Shape by hand, pulling towards you with your left while pushing away in a windshield wiper motion with your right and rotating the dough slightly on each pass. –  daniel Apr 3 '11 at 22:30
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For a softer and easier to work dough that still performs fine in a very hot oven. Use 100% wholemeal flour and process in a food processor with a chopping blade (this trick doesn't seem to work as well for bread)

The food processor will eventually form a lump of dough and will put huge centrifugal strain on the machine, so don't use you flash brand new one. I have an old sunbeam "Big Oscar" for this job

Let dough rise as normal, punch down an knead briefly, rise again. Shape, with the pull, smear, turn technique (it will stay put). Let rise again briefly before adding topping and cooking

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Your dough probably stretches back because the flour has a value of p/l≈1. I wrote this answer for another question on Pizza specific flours should have a value of p/l≈0.5.

If you can't get a flour with p/l≈0.5, you can try reducing the dough's strengh by:

  • Leting it rest a long time.

    Resting for 2, 4 or 6 hours doesn't sound strange to me. I usually rest for 8~12 hours at room temperature, but I use strong flours (and usually, but not always, with a "right" p/l value).

  • Add some acid to the dough

    And old proffessional baker once told me they didn't have consistent flours in the 70's. Sometimes they were too strong, sometimes too weak. When it was strong, they added vinager to make it "less nervous" (sic). I'd preffer let it rest longer than doing this to my pizza dough.


Another chance could be that your pizza dough balls are still too cold from the fridge, and therefor too stiff.

If this is the case, you can take it out of the fridge earlier to let it reach room temperature.

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Baking powder will destroy the gluten strands in hard wheat dough. Use about 1% baking powder to dough weight. Or you can use baking soda.

Extra note, add the baking powder/baking soda to the flour, then add water. Best result's I had was adding baking powder in the flour then mix it around with your hand. Then slowly start adding water + mixing. You will get a good result, though be careful. Use a small amount of baking powder, too much will kill the yeast.

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Here's a trick I found in My Father's Book Of Southern Italian Peasant Food: To prevent your dough from shrinking back, coat your pizza pan with Crisco, then spread the dough.

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