Making pizza at home is WAY more fun than ordering delivery. But working with pizza dough can be a little intimidating to newbies; that’s why pizzacraft pizza expert Nick Wellhausen is going to show you how to prep, pound, stretch, and transfer your pizza dough to your oven.
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Hi folks, I’m Nick Wellhausen, culinary manager for the Companion Group in Berkeley, Calif. Today in this video we’re going to show you how to hand stretch your own pizza dough. For most people making pizza at home, this can be the most intimidating part of the whole process, but with over 12 years in the pizza industry, I’ve learned a few tips and tricks along the way, to help you get over this fear. When we talk about hand stretching your own pizza dough at home, we’re involving three techniques.
The first technique is called proofing, the second technique is called pounding, and third technique is finally stretching your pizza. When we talk about proofing your pizza dough, proofing is simply removing your pizza dough from refrigeration and allowing it to rest at room temperature, covered in Saran Wrap, for at least two but up to four hours. This is going to give the dough proper time to rise up and become workable.
The second technique we’re talking about today is called pounding. Pounding is simply pressing on your dough down into a disc shape to be stretched. So the first thing we’re going to do is take a small amount of flour, and dust our work surface. We’re going to even the flour out with the palm of our hands so there aren’t any pockets of flour hanging out on the bottom of our dough. Then we’re simply going to pick up our piece of dough and also lightly flour it. When I pound my dough, I use six fingers: three on each hand. So what you going to do is you’re going to start by feeling out the crust on the dough; this is where you’ll form the crust. It’s gonna be about a half inch from the edge of the dough ball to a quarter-inch, depending on how much crust you prefer on your pizza.
I’m going to start at the top of the dough ball, gently pressing down and moving around the edge of the dough ball. When I work around the edge of the dough ball, I’m going to want to stay away from the center of the dough ball. Once I’ve got a basic crust formed, I’m gonna go ahead and flip the dough ball, apply another light dusting of flour, and continue to pound on the other side, feeling out the crust. Once we’ve made roughly two passes on each side, we’re gonna go ahead and go through the center just one time, then flip one more time, around the outside, and through the center but.
Now we’ve got the dough into a shape where we can start stretching. It’s roughly a half size bigger than where we started, and we can actually pick it up off the table and begin stretching. When I place the dough on my hands to stretch, I’m going to start working with my knuckles bent inward so that my fingers aren’t poking through the dough. If you push straight up with your fingers, you may end up pushing through to the other side and creating holes, which it’s not what we want to do. So we’re going to start twisting and tossing gently and I’m pulling outside as I’m spinning the dough. Then we can flip the dough ball again for consistency, continue twisting and rotating. At this point if you’re feeling brave, you can toss your pizza dough. You’re gonna twist some more, and when you start to get your pizza dough close to the size that you want, you can hold it up to the light to see how you’re doing. You’ll notice thin or thick spots and you can adjust accordingly.
Most times when you first start stretching your pizza dough, the thickest part is going be closest to the crust, and you can simply put your hands in and adjust that size. We’ll twist and toss a few more times… And now we’re ready to place it on our pizza peel.
Using a Pizza Peel
So now you’ve got your dough to the appropriate size for your pizza, we’re going to lightly flour our pizza peel. We’ll pick up our dough, place in on a pizza peel, and I’m going to show you how to get it moving and get it onto your pizza stone or any pizza oven. Normally this would be the point where we would put our sauce, cheese, and toppings on the pizza, but in this video today we’re only going to show you how to stretch the crust and how to put the pizza in your oven.
So you’ve got your floured pizza peel, your dough’s stretched to the appropriate size and placed on your pizza peel. There’s going to be two motions that I’m making when I do this. There’s also there’s going to be a side to side, left or right to get the pizza skin going, and then when I get ready to put it in the oven, it’s going to be a back-and-forth, going to be a quick movement forward, then short stop, then pulling backward get the pizza off the peel. Start by getting it moving left to right. Now that it is moving, we’re going to go back and forth and slide it right off.
Thanks for watching our video today.
For more tips and tricks, check out our other videos.