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How to stretch pizza dough?

Any tips for me? At first I tried making my own dough. Then thinking I was somehow sucking at making dough I tried the store bought fresh pizza dough. I'm having the same problem with both. I want to achieve a super thin crust that I can stick on the grill and cook quickly before layering on ingredients BUT when I try to stretch out my dough, it gets paper thin (too thin) in the middle and even tears so now I have a hole in the middle of my pizza and retains super thick edges. Also when I either make or buy enough dough to supposedly make a standard size inch round, it never gets there. It will stretch out to the 12 inches but then quickly shrink back up to a way smaller half size. I've tried watching the youtubes about stretching on the back of your knuckles etc but its not working for me. Any tips? Help?

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  1. are you letting it rise and rest enough? the gluten needs to be relaxed to stretch properly. there is no magic amount of time for this -- it's not like a cake needs 20 minutes to bake.

    if the dough isn't ready, it will just snap back, which is what seems to be happening with you.

    5 Replies
    1. re: hotoynoodle

      This happened to me with the store bought stuff too. It had been sitting in my fridge since the night before. That must be rested enough right?

      1. re: foxspirit

        You can't stretch cold dough. Take it out of the fridge and let it sit on the counter to warm up. Should be room temp.

        1. re: Jpan99

          And you can let it rest between stretching too. Sometimes you just have to do it a little at a time.

          Though IME properly developed dough won't snap back so badly.

        2. re: foxspirit

          Let the dough come to room temp, never try to stretch with cold dough.

      2. It's not fancy or "authentic" but I use a rolling pin on a well floured surface. For the grill, I prefer smaller rounds, about 8 inches, and I layer them up between parchment so they are ready to go when the fire is hot.

        4 Replies
        1. re: autumm

          Ah I don't know why but I thought you weren't supposed to roll it. I'm definitely willing to try.

          1. re: foxspirit

            I also use a rolling pin to get the dough started, and then stretch into shape.

            1. re: foxspirit

              Using a rolling pin is akin to punching the dough down - it makes for a less coarse air structure and maybe a little less rise. This will be more noticeable the hotter your oven is.

              Not everyone cares, so do what you prefer. But it makes your crust less pizza-y.

              1. re: cowboyardee

                Good point! I do let the rolled and stretched dough rise for about 20 minutes before baking it or topping it. (It's the way an old Italian neighbor taught me to do it, back in the 1970's.)

          2. It takes some practice and experience to know just when the dough has risen/rested long enough. I'm not an expert, but after making bread and pizza as a home cook for years, I suddenly now know when the dough is just right to work. Keep trying...it will come.

            I found it best to practice on making individual pizzas rather than a whole pie.

            1. I signed up for a free pizza-making class from Craftsy online and found a lot of helpful info there. Peter Reinhart teaches the class, so you know he's done it before. I've had issues with him in the past because he added sugar to every dough, but he seems in better control now. At any rate, it's been helpful seeing how the dough should behave.

              1 Reply
              1. re: sr44

                I have 3 of Peter Reinhart's books which I find extremely helpful. They are The Bread Baker's Apprentice: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread, American Pie: My Search for the Perfect Pizza and a paperback entitled Sacramental Magic in a Small-Town Cafe.

                The pizza book is a two part one, first part is about the search for the best pizza, and the second part contains pizza making recipes.

              2. Since you're having problems with store bought doughs, it sounds to me like you're over stretching your dough.

                Normally, when you're not precooking the dough, you don't need a cellophane-thin dough to end up with a thin crust, since the ingredients keep everything but the edges from rising. Your options:

                - cook it with toppings on tip and don't stretch it so thin.
                - try a slightly less moist dough. Lower moisture doughs tend to be less fragile. Note that they also can be a little dryer once cooked and rise a bit less.
                - use a rolling pin, which is easier but messes with the texture a bit, as I noted in my other post.
                - in any case, you don't have to try to emulate guys from pizza parlors, throwing dough and being rough with it to stretch it. That's fot show
                You can keep it on the table and do it gently. You can even let the dough rest a bit and coming UE stretching afterwards if its resisting you (though it shouldn't really)