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Making Pizza - Rolling Pin or Use Your Hands?

When making pizza at home, do any of you use a rolling pin or do you just stretch out the dough with your hands?

And if you use a rolling pin, are there any favorites to recommend?

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        1. re: smaki

          That is how you get a thin center with an airy puffy edge. You do not want it to be all the same thickness.

          1. re: Becca Porter

            I would agree that it depends on the pizza type. I am thinking of NY or American style specifically. Neopolitan too though, I'd think...

            1. re: Becca Porter

              Thank you. I agree by hand it is easier to make a puffy edge (sometimes toppings like pepperoni or cheese is good baked inside the outside edge Papa Murphy's makes one with pepperoni braided into the edge they call a Papa-roni). Also having pizza not all the same thickness in the middle is good sometimes as well. Love pizza. It is a favorite food and we make it often all kinds of ways.

              1. re: smaki

                Yeah, I just bought a Baking Steel, so there has been a lot of pizza in my house lately. :)

                1. re: Becca Porter

                  Baking steel? That is new to me. Does it work better than a pizza stone? Am sure it would heat faster and seems a great idea. Have heard of people cooking bread on the back of a large cast iron pan, but my 14" Lodge cast iron skillet has writing indented into it (sad not flat or would have seasoned the back and made pizza on it).

    1. It depends on how you want the end results to turn out. Rustic and uneven or uniform.

      Used my hands for years. Works decent.

      But I like my pizza crust thin - find a roller helps me with that. Maybe is the dough I make, as find will get holes if try to make it see through before baking by hand. We cook on both sides on a stone in the oven before top and cook again. Over time wanted it thinner and thinner and to be sturdy with 4x thickness of toppings to crust. Do not desire floppy bread and realize is how they do it in NY. If thin I like my pizza crust crispy like a cracker. Like to hear the pizza when cut it or did something wrong. Every once in a while go the other way and want it on a thicker bread base, but that is only because I grew up eating Nonna Emilia's, Monte Carlo, Giavani's, Flying Pie, kinds of local pizza here in Portland Oregon going out. Duplicate at home when crave thick pizza dough. We make pizza usually thick or thin and not so much in between. Usually eat pizza in squares instead of wedges so often more rectangular than round - while make both depending on mood. Pizza is good all kinds of ways.

      After seeing so many chefs on TV, I recently cut off a piece of wood dowl 1 5/8" diameter 21" long left over from a closet repair. Sanded smooth so no slivers and to make easier to clean before started. Use a bit of bench flour and it can not be beat if want it thin. Am unable to get any crust by hand as uniform (thick or thin). Chefs use rolling pins for pie crusts and stuff for good reason. When hand wash a wood dowl there is no place for bacteria to grow - unlike other rolling pins with moving parts.

      My recommendation is make your own or buy a roller like this: http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/produ...

      1. Depends on your dough.
        If you can stretch it then do it. If it's elastic then a rolling pin is helpful. I have a wooden dowel but I'm sure anything (a wine bottle?) would work just as well.

        1. If I'm making a square tray Sicilian Style za, I'm rolling with a wooden roller. If I'm making a thin crust round Napolitan za I'm stretching with my hands, real see through, thin.

          1. Hands,75% of the time,straight dowel 25% of the time,depends on the dough.As you acquire practice with dough handling you will find your own %.