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This answer to a previous question gives a way to make bread from pizza dough. It said to roll the dough into a loaf. I took it out of the refrigerator, rolled it into a loaf and let it sit in my oven after warming it to 100 and turning it off. I left it in there for 3 hours but it spread out to end up only about 1 inch thick and 8 inches wide. This has happened to me before trying to make a "loaf" of bread without using a loaf pan. What the heck am I doing wrong?

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Welcome to Seasoned Advice, and good question! When you say 100, you mean 100F, I assume? And what kind of pizza dough are you starting out with? (If you can just link to a recipe, that's awesome.) –  Jefromi Aug 6 '13 at 17:02
    
How tall was the loaf before proofing? It isn't going to get that much bigger... maybe by a factor of 2 at the most. And pizza dough usually isn't formulated to rise very high, anyway. –  SAJ14SAJ Aug 6 '13 at 17:18

2 Answers 2

Pizza dough is supposed to be stretchy and pliable, so it is going to be a bit loose. Given those characteristics it's not going to be able to hold a shape that well. You're best off aiming for a ciabatta shape, putting it into a tin or shaping basket. Best of all make a focaccia type bread with it by just spreading it out flat, letting it rise, then dimpling it with your fingers and pouring some olive oil and salt on it before baking.

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There are a myriad of bread doughs and names with various characteristics, yet when it comes to pizza, everybody calls their dough "pizza dough". Even if they are vastly different from each other.

You can make a nice little bread loaf/baton with some pizza doughs depending on the hydration level of your dough, how much the gluten has been worked, and how long it has been let to relax.

In your particular case, I recommend:

  • kneading your dough for longer to develop a stronger dough able to hold shape (world class pizza dough also starts here).
  • Don't keep it in the fridge for more than a day (neapolitan style pizza dough usually rests three days in the fridge).
  • You don't need to turn the oven on for proofing. Just turn on the oven light. It's enough to make a perfect proofing temperature.
  • Gently roll or shape your pizza dough in a baguette style roll (batonette) and let it rise. The end result after proofing comes to about 2" to 2 1/2" high.
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