Pizza Dough Won’t Stretch – What To Do?

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There is nothing better than the taste of classic homemade pizza. Every pizza lover would agree that the best kind of pizza dough is soft and chewy, a perfect canvas for those delectable toppings. A lot of people have tried making pizza dough at home, only to find that it won't stretch, and they end up with dry, hard pizza dough. We've discovered what to do for non-pliable dough.

Pizza dough that doesn't stretch usually means that it requires more fermentation and kneading. If you find that your pizza dough tears easily, leave the dough to rise for a few hours or overnight to help strengthen the gluten in the dough. 

Making your own pizza dough is easy, and it gives you the option to put on all your favorite toppings on your homemade pizza. While it's exciting to make your own pizza, you might be wondering if there are ways to improve your dough or if there are ways to make sure that it will be foolproof. Fortunately, we've researched all the answers to your questions, so please keep on reading so you can make your own pizza dough.

Making dough by female hands at bakery, Pizza Dough Won't Stretch - What To Do?

What Do I Do With Pizza Dough That Won't Stretch?

Close-up of chef's hands kneading pizza dough in kitchen.

Homemade pizza is one of the best ways to enjoy this delectable treat. As many pizza lovers would say, the perfect pizza would be thin and crispy on the outside, soft and airy on the inside, and topped with cheese and your favorite toppings. Before we can make the perfect pizza, we first have to make the perfect pizza dough.

Pizza dough is pretty easy to make. You simply need a few things:

  • flour
  • yeast
  • sugar
  • salt
  • oil
  • water

Mix them all together, and with a little time and kneading effort, you should be able to make your own pizza dough.

However, some people may find themselves having trouble with their pizza dough. Sometimes, the pizza dough ends up not stretching when it is being rolled out, causing it to tear. The dough can also be tight and dry, making it difficult to roll out perfectly.

When your pizza dough isn't stretching the way that you want, you may need to spend more time fermenting it or kneading it to further develop the gluten. When the gluten in the dough is strong enough, it will become elastic, making your dough stretchy and soft when cooked.

What Makes Dough Stretchy?

One of the reasons why pizza isn't stretchy is caused by none other than gluten. Gluten is a protein that is found in wheat and this helps keep the dough together.

When the dough is kneaded and left to rest, the gluten is developed, and it creates long stretchy strands making the dough elastic. This is what makes the dough stretchy to produce that crispy on the outside, soft on the inside pizza crust.

In order to make stretchy pizza dough, the gluten network should be properly developed. A well-developed network will give the dough structure, trap gas inside from the fermentation process, and make your dough tougher.

What Can I Do To Improve Pizza Dough?

Kneading yeast dough

If you've faced the challenge of working with tough and dry pizza dough, there are ways how you can improve it the next time you make your pizza base. Here are some ways how you can improve your pizza dough:

1. Use the right flour

To make good, stretchy pizza dough, we have to start with the right flour. The right amount of gluten for pizza dough is about 10% to 13% yet some flours are not made with this much gluten in them. Cake flour is not advisable for this recipe because it has low gluten, while bread flour will make your dough too elastic because of its high gluten content.

What you need is pizza flour or Tipo 00 flour. This flour is specifically made for pizza dough and it is highly recommended by The True Neapolitan Pizza Association. Most pizza flours do vary in gluten content and quality, but they mostly fall in the 11% to 13% range.

However, you might find it difficult to source pizza flour. With this in mind, you can also use all-purpose flour for your homemade pizza. It has enough gluten to give you stretchy pizza dough.

Get this Tipo 00 Flour on Amazon.

2. Let the dough relax

A common problem why dough can sometimes be hard to roll out is because the dough was not given enough time to relax. When you bulk ferment the dough and split it into balls, the gluten tightens up, making it difficult to stretch the dough.

In order to prevent this issue, make sure to let your dough rest for about 30 minutes to an hour before attempting to stretch it out.

3. Knead it right

In order to help your dough keep its shape, you need to knead it properly. Underkneaded dough will rip and tear too quickly because the gluten is not strong enough to hold its shape. However, over-kneading your dough can make the gluten too strong, and it makes your dough tough to handle.

The best way to knead your dough is to do it by hand because it is harder to over-knead the dough if you do it manually. Knead the dough for 15-20 minutes to let the gluten develop completely. If you wish to use a stand mixer, make sure to run it in five minute intervals and check it every once in a while to keep it from being over-kneaded.

Windopane Test

You can test it by doing the windowpane test or the poke test to see if your dough is already kneaded enough. For the windowpane test, take a small piece of dough and stretch it as thin as possible without making a hole. You should be able to see the light through this layer of stretched dough.

Poke Test

For the poke test, simply poke the dough using your index finger. If it springs back, the dough is already good because the gluten has developed enough. If it doesn't spring back, you need to work the dough a little bit more to strengthen the gluten.

4. Keep it hydrated and get the right temperature

Aside from using the right flour and kneading it properly, pizza dough also needs to have enough moisture and it should be at the right temperature in order to be stretchy. Make sure that the moisture is enough for your dough to ensure its softness and elasticity. The dough is also best handled at room temperature, preferably at around 70-75°F.

How To Make Pizza Dough

Raw dough preparation or pizza with ingredient

Making pizza dough is simple and it uses basic ingredients that you should be able to find in your pantry. Before starting your dough, make sure that you have all the things you need like bowls, plastic wrap, and wooden spoons. There are a good number of basic pizza dough recipes that you can use and we've included a simple one for you to try.

Ingredients:

  • 3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (plus more for dusting)
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/3 cups warm water (around 100-110°F)

Procedure:

  1. In a bowl, whisk the warm water and sugar together. Add the yeast to the wet mixture and leave it to foam for about 10 minutes before stirring in the olive oil.
  2. Mix the flour and salt together in a large bowl and make a hole in the center of the dry mixture. Pour in the yeast mixture and carefully incorporate the flour by using a wooden spoon. Stir it until the flour and yeast are completely mixed together and it turns into a sticky dough. If you are using a stand mixer, make sure that you are using a dough hook and run the mixer on low.
  3. Lightly flour your work surface. Turn out the dough and knead it until elastic (do the windowpane or poke test to check). If you find that the dough is still a little sticky or wet, dust your work surface with more flour until the dough pulls away from your hands.
  4. Split the dough into two and brush two separate bowls with olive oil. Roll the dough balls to completely coat it with oil. Using a plastic wrap or a slightly damp towel, cover the dough in the bowls and leave it at room temperature until it doubles in size (around an hour to an hour and a half.)
  5. Roll out the dough and top with your favorite toppings.

Final Thoughts

Artisan Chef Hands kneading dough.

Pizza dough is easy to make, and if you find it a little difficult to stretch it out, don't worry! You can make your perfect pizza dough by making sure that you use the right ingredients and following the right methods in making it. A well-kneaded and rested dough should help you make that yummy, homemade pizza the family will love.

Are you looking for more information on how you can make the best pizza? We have articles that you might enjoy:

How Long Does It Take To Make Pizza Dough?

Pizza Dough Too Sticky – What To Do?

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