3 Steps To Perfect Hand Stretched Dough

June 12, 2024

The Guide to Perfect Pizza Stretching


Whether you’re new to the craft of pizza making or are just starting to pick it up again after the long winter break, stretching your dough can seem like a daunting task, but it really shouldn’t be!

Use the following three steps as a guide and you’ll be making incredible pizza in no time! The first two are perfect for beginners and those who want to dust off the cobwebs and get back into the swing of stretching, while the third is a little more advanced and not absolutely necessary, but fun to learn nonetheless!

Once your Homemade Pizza Club dough balls are suitably proved, it’s time to stretch; a process that, when done properly, can make a major difference to the texture and feel of a finished pizza.

First things first, it’s always a good idea to remove your watch, rings or any other jewellery on your hands, as these can cause tears in the dough. Then, once you’ve dusted the work surface and your hands with a generous amount of either flour or semolina, the stretching can begin.


Step 1. Prod & Turn

This is the first step and a basic technique to use when it comes to stretching. Starting with your proved dough ball, keep it on your work surface and gently press your fingers into it. Keep pressing down into the dough ball to flatten it, while simultaneously pushing your hands away from each other to help stretch the base outwards. Try to keep the shape as circular as possible, as this step in the process will influence the final shape of your pizza base once it’s stretched out. This is also the point at which you should define the crust of your pizza by leaving roughly one centimetre of dough untouched around the edge of the base.


Step 2. Smooth & Turn

This is the next technique to use once your dough is flattened out into a disc shape. For this stage, put both hands flat onto the disc of dough and rotate it as you’re pulling your hands away from each other. You can turn the pizza whichever way feels more comfortable for you, just make sure that your hands are pulling in opposite directions as you spin the base around. This will make the base bigger and help flatten out any lumps so you get a smoother, more uniform base.


Step 3. Lift & Spin

Next is the lift and spin; a more advanced technique that’s not essential but a good one to learn if you’d like to stretch like a true Italian Pizzaiolo! This is where we let gravity work its magic to make the pizza base bigger and thinner. Simply pick up your base at the edge, curl your other hand as if it were holding a glass of water and hang the dough over it. The base should cover the back of your hand, all the way to the wrist. With the base hanging like a curtain, take your now free hand, curl it up the same way, place it under the dough and ‘slot’ your hands together. Then, gently push both your hands out and away from each other, before resetting and replacing the stretched dough over the top of your hands. Repeat this movement slowly and gently several times to open out the dough. Doing this as the final step means you can focus on any parts of the base that aren’t thin enough yet and need extra stretching. If you find that you’ve gone too far and find any small holes or tears, just pinch these back together and give it another stretch as required.


And that’s it! Your pizza base should be ready to load up with sauce and all your favourite toppings. While stretching bases is an artform that takes practice to perfect, with just a little bit of effort and patience your skills will develop exponentially. The key is to relax, have fun learning a new craft and don’t be afraid to make mistakes!


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