This video will take you through the process of hand stretching (opening) pizza dough. Using this method, the pizza dough will stretch naturally, making for a more even crust that's less likely to tear.
When stretching pizza dough, you should never use a rolling pin, as it will push out all the gas, negatively effecting oven spring and resulting in a condensed, tough texture.
The Basic Approach to Stretching Pizza Dough
- Generously flour both sides of rounded and proofed pizza dough.
- Gently flatten into a disc using the palm of your hand. Don't over deflate; at they point you're just looking to flatten the dough enough so that it's no longer domed shape.
- Using the pads of your fingertips, press the gas in the center of the dough outward to create the crust.
- Gently place the palm of your right hand in the center of the dough. Pull our the left edge of the dough to 9 o'clock, paying close attention to the doughs response. It will resist once it has been stretched to it's limit. Do not force the dough, but let it stretch naturally.
- Simultaneously turn your right hand palm up, while bringing the stretched portion of the dough to the inside of your right wrists.
- Flip you right hand palm down so that the stretched portion of dough is know at 6 o'clock.
- Repeat this motion of stretching the dough from 9 to 6, until the desired circumference is achieved.
Do not get frustrated!
I have taught this movement to lots of people over the years, and it is always awkward at first. Just take it slow, and build up some muscle memory.
Once you get used to this movement, you will be able to stretch a piece of dough rapidly and evenly.