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My family has made pizza just about every week for several years. But one aspect of it is oddly inconsistent, and I can't detect any particular variable that affects it.

Many times when pulling the dough for the pizza, it pulls pretty well. But about a third of the time, the dough pulls thin spots (which can easily tear), while other parts of the dough remain thick. When it's very teary, I am forced to salvage it by getting out a rolling pin and rolling it to a more consistent thickness.

Is there any bit that might be a good place to try to tweak to see what's up? The dough is made the night before and refrigerated (or frozen), and then punched down and left at room temperature to rise/reball/rise (starting 3 to 4 hours before baking). I've had both great and horrible doughs using both the short and long end of that time, so I'm pretty sure it's not just the warmup/prep time.

Recipe:

  • 350g lukewarm water
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp instant yeast

Sit 10 minutes

  • 306g AP flour
  • 306g 00 flour
  • 2 tsp salt

Mix dry together. Add 4tsp olive oil to yeast mixture. Mix all in stand mixer w/dough hook until it forms a ball. Let rest 15 minutes. Knead on floured surface for 3 minutes. Divide into 3 balls and refrigerate/freeze.

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    Could there be different amounts of cold rise times between the different batches? I've encountered stretching problems like you describe with bought doughs, that are essentially refrigerated for days.
    – FuzzyChef
    Dec 28, 2023 at 7:16
  • I don’t know if I can help with the initial work, but if you’re running into this issue, I like to put it down on a board and press it into the rough shape and size (keeping my fingers wide so I don’t flatten it too much, then pull it to get the final size. If it’s too relaxed, it’s also a pain to move onto the baking surface, so make sure your peel or whatever you’re working on is well floured
    – Joe
    Dec 28, 2023 at 13:15

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You are describing an issue of consistency. To deal with that, you have to do everything exactly the same every time, and note what you are doing so that there is no guessing, which is something we often don't pay close attention to in the home kitchen. Just the introduction of the variable freezing vs. refrigerating makes this difficult to pin down. Anyway, you might do much of this, but here are my thoughts:

The way the dough "pulls" (as you put it...others might say "stretches") is about gluten development, but I also find that dough temperature, proper resting, and shaping technique play a role. Here are a couple of suggestions to try. 1. A bit more kneading to start the development of the gluten structure. 2. A longer rest before refrigeration, to continue the gluten development (up to over night). I would also use less yeast for an over-night pizza dough, even refrigerated, but I don't refrigerate unless I am using the dough on day 3). 3. Unless freezing, portion on the day you will use the dough, rather than before refrigerating. Start with a short knead, which will re-activate the yeast. 4. Allow the dough balls to completely come up to temperature. 3-4 hours might not be enough (certainly if you have frozen the dough). 5. If the balls don't feel like they are stretching nicely, let them rest longer. It is ok to knead and start over, provided that you allow the re-kneaded ball 30 - 45 minutes to rest again.

Pulling out the roller is not a bad thing, and an occasional tear can be worked around...cool thing about pizza is that no matter what happens it will be delicious.

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  • The portioning is because of the way we batch it (recipe makes 3 pizzas, but we don't cook all 3 in a week). (Frozen dough is moved to refrigerator the day before we use it). After a few hundred batches, I really feel like the rest time (either shorter or longer) is not the main determinant. Will start with the knead time and the yeast and see if either of those make a difference.
    – BowlOfRed
    Dec 28, 2023 at 21:59

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