You've made your dough, you've waited three days, you're excited to share some pizza--and you can't make it happen? There's no little blue pill for this. And for the pizza newbie, stretching dough is filled with angst under the best of circumstances. And there's a lot going on with pizzamaking. Lots of moving parts. They're simple. But it's a lot to keep track of if pizza is not yet a habit.
If you can't stretch it, chances are good that you've made a simple mistake. In freeing the pizza, you haven't freed the dough from the fridge soon enough. It doesn't sound like such a big deal. But if you don't bring the dough to kitchen room temp at least an hour before you're ready to use it, there's a good chance you're going to encounter resistance. The dough is just too cold to be usable
Here's a simple way to make sure you've got your timing right. Are you turning on the oven? Take out the dough. Between the time it takes your oven to reach temperature and the hour you need to preheat your baking surface, you've got about 90 minutes before you're making pizza.
Just make sure that when you turn on that oven, the dough is on the kitchen counter. This is a simple mistake. I've made it myself. And there is no good way to rectify it other than waiting patiently. (No, putting the dough in the microwave for 30 seconds is not a solution. Do not ask me how I know this.) Cold dough is un-stretchable dough. Cold dough will break your heart.
I'm going to be providing aid in this department with a free document for all my pizza peeps. It's going to be sort of a pizza pre-flight checklist. I've been doing this long enough to realize that even the most seasoned pizzamaker can make rookie mistakes out of simple oversight. (Do not ask me how I know this, either.)
If you'd like your copy of the checklist when it comes available, just join the pizza list. Click here to be taken to the signup form at FreeThePIzza.com. And if you've already joined the list, you'll be notified soon.
Free The Pizza!
Pizza dough schadenfreude: are you ready for maybe the dumbest experiment ever? Then Again... PART III
A PRETTY GOOD PIZZA I WILL NEVER MAKE AGAIN... Probably. Never say never, but this looks likely. The batch of no-knead Neapolitan dough that I just whipped up on the spur of the moment yielded a pretty good pizza here. The pie in the picture is a sweet Italian sausage, Spanish chorizo, crimini mushrooms, and serrano chilis. (Low-moisture mozzarella and Romano cheeses.)
It tasted great if lacking structure. As you may know, that's one of my criteria: does the pizza have the form and chew of good American-style pizza. This was more like a soft, Neapolitan-style pizza. Granted it was good. But what seems to be happening here is the dough is too wet to do what I want it to do in a home oven. It had form, just not enough of it.
Therefore, I will not be sharing this dough recipe with you. I want to spare you the angst this has caused here in the Free The Pizza household kitchen. Indulge your joys at my pain if you wish. Schadenfreude is all relative. At least it's just pizza. And if any of the dough left from this experiment proves me wrong, I'll be sure to start laughing out of the other side of my pizza hole and broadcast it to you. FREE THE PIZZA!
HOW TO STRETCH PIZZA DOUGH... A few weeks back, someone asked how to keep a pizza dough round when rolling it out. My reply was: Simple--NEVER roll out a dough ball. It's easier to keep it round when stretching it. And, rolling creates a problem: it de-gasses the dough. Pressing all the air out of your dough yields a flat, dense crust without the structure that makes a pizza taste so good. As promised, here's a quick & dirty video showing how it's done. (Yes, you can also toss it. But throws flour all over your kitchen and your cameraman.)
Blaine Parker is the award-winning author of the new, unusual and amusing how-to pizza book, Free The Pizza. Also known as The Pizza Geek and "Hey, Pizza Man!", Blaine is fanatical about the idea that true, professional-quality pizza can be made at home. His home. Your home. Anyone's home. After 20 years of honing his craft and making pizza in standard consumer ovens across the nation, he's sharing what he's learned with home cooks like you. Are you ready to pizza?
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