Pizza dough

I learnt a lot about pizza dough this week. Not about making it, I’ve yet to do that – about handling it! Mister S gave me a lesson in manipulating the dough to get the pizza to the right thinness and shape for making an Italian style pizza. I will try and describe what he taught me.

First a point to note is that the dough had already been apportioned into the correct volume for each individual pizza before its final rise, so I had no need to cut off sections of dough for my pizza making activities.

I started by flouring my work surface with the same caputo flour used to make the dough. I then placed the dough onto the floured surface and gently pushed with my fingertips to flatten the dough and shape it out into a circular shape. To create the thin large pizza base I then picked up the dough by one edge and gently worked around its rims stretching the extensible dough as I went. Periodically I placed it back onto the floured surface to re-flour the dough and to allow me to use another technique taught to me by Mister S, to stretch the pizza further into its correct shape.

I placed the floured pizza dough across the backs of my hands with my fingers extended out to support the dough and gently eased it larger and rounder as I stretched it. Then placed it back onto the floured surface again to check it for size and evenness of thinness. In one or two places I had worked it too thin and a tiny tear appeared, but this was easily fixed by pinching the dough together to seal it, an amazingly simple yet effective cure!

I had two attempts at making the pizza bases and under the tuition of Mister S, both came out well. I din’t actually put them onto the peel and into the pizza oven as I didn’t want to spoil my first attempts, but I may progress to this in time. Mastering the art of using a pizza peel is another skill in its own right, so I’m happy to learn how to handle the dough for now. Maybe next time I’ll venture into the development of a topping for my pizza base.

I should point out that I am a non-cooking person, so this was way out of my comfort zone – but I really enjoyed it and I’m looking forward to doing it again next week.