I left a pizza dough (neapolitan pizza) that I prepared by fermenting for almost 24 hours at room temperature (in my house the temperature is between 17-20°C).

The problem is when I'm stretching with my hand, the dough shrinks back quickly. What can I do to resolve this?

  • 250g Caputo white flour
  • 150g of water
  • 7.5g of salt
  • 0.5g of biological yeast

enter image description here

  • Which style of pizza are you attempting?
    – moscafj
    Commented Dec 14, 2020 at 0:47
  • @moscafj The traditional, round. With sauce and cheese! Commented Dec 14, 2020 at 8:06
  • What I mean is, are you making a Neapolitan style, where you create a thin center with the hopes of a puffier crust...cooked on a stone or steel, and using a pizza peal...or is this pizza going in a pan with a thicker crust? ...more of a Sicilian style....or a Chicago style (very different, but both cooked in a pan).
    – moscafj
    Commented Dec 14, 2020 at 12:24

2 Answers 2


Your dough should be fairly flexible by the time you are ready to stretch it. I regularly make Neapolitan style pizza, and use a long ferment. It sounds like you are on the right track, and your photo looks like a good start.

Each time you manipulate the dough the gluten structure tightens and the dough becomes more difficult to shape. I would recommend that your next step be portioning. That looks like enough for one or two pizzas. So, step two is creating balls of dough. Then let those rest at least 30 minutes, but up to a couple of hours.

Next, when shaping, work as gently, but as quickly as possible. Do not use a rolling pin, as this will keep you from having a crust that is puffier than the center, if you are making Neapolitan style. Begin on a well floured board and use your hands. There is some technique here, and you probably will want to find some videos to help. By the time I get to this point, with proper resting, my dough springs back a little, but not that much. It readily holds its shape. I begin on the board, then lift and use my fists to stretch the dough into shape. That took some practice.

If you are making pan style, a rolling pin will not be helpful here either. Instead, begin to stretch the dough a little, then place the dough in a well-oiled pan, well ahead of when you want to top it. Gently use your fingers to spread the dough. When it begins to spring back, set it aside. Allow it to relax, then repeat after 10 to 15 minutes. Some styles allow for another rise in the pan before topping and baking.

In general, pizza dough always wants to spring back some, but allowing the gluten to relax and learning to work quickly will help. You should certainly be able to get to a point where it is not an issue.


You don't have to resolve this, it is the expected behavior. Good pizza dough is elastic.

With time, you will learn the art of shaping pizza dough by hand while it is shrinking. It needs exercise until you can do that. Until then, you can still make pizza, it will be inferior due to uneven thickness and not entirely round shaping. If you don't want to invest the time for learning that, shaping with a rolling pin has a shorter learning curve. (It doesn't stop the dough from shrinking either).

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