How to Hand-Stretch Pizza Dough

  • 01 of 06

    Begin With the Best Ingredients for Pizza Dough

    Pizza dough
    Devorah Lev-Tov.

    Want to learn the secrets of properly stretching pizza dough by hand to make the best homemade pizza crust? Here are the steps to using the best technique.

    In order to get the best pizza crust possible, you have to start with proper ingredients. Using the correct flour is very important, and allowing the dough to rise properly is also a must.

    Prepare Your Work Surface

    Before you start stretching, make sure your countertop or whatever surface you'll be working on is dusted with flour.

    Continue to 2 of 6 below.
  • 02 of 06

    No Rolling Pins When You are Going to Hand-Stretch Dough

    Kneeding dough
    Devorah Lev-Tov.

    Once your dough has risen, you're ready to stretch it out into a flat disc. You may be tempted to use a rolling pin to do this, which can sometimes work fine, but it often causes the dough to tear easily, You will also find that the dough keeps shrinking back on itself making it difficult to get a large enough disc. Plus, if you're making a Neapolitan pizza according to the official Associazione Vera Pizza Napoletana rules, rolling pins are forbidden.

    Continue to 3 of 6 below.
  • 03 of 06

    Use Your Stiff Fingers to Press the Dough Into a Small Disc

    Small disk of dough
    Devorah Lev-Tov

    Start by pressing your fingers together, standing them straight on the tips, and stiffening them. Practice this on the countertop first; when you're ready, place the dough ball on a well-floured countertop and flatten it slightly by pressing down on it with the palms of your hands.

    Then, begin pressing into the dough with your fingertips, gently working your fingertips outward and gently pulling the dough with it.

    Rotate the disc to make sure you are stretching it evenly into a circle. Leave the outer edges a little thicker for the crust.

    Keep doing this until the dough has flattened and widened into a small disc.

    Continue to 4 of 6 below.
  • 04 of 06

    The Hand Flop, Step 1

    Flattening dough
    Devorah Lev-Tov.

    Take the disc and lightly press dominant your hand flat on top of it.

    Take hold of the left edge of the disc with your other hand and quickly lift the disc and flip it over so the bottom edge rests on your right wrist, and the rest flops over your hand, which is now palm-up.

    Continue to 5 of 6 below.
  • 05 of 06

    The Hand Flop, Step 2

    Handling dough
    Devorah Lev-Tov

    Next, flop the disc back down onto the floured countertop.

    Repeat this several times and you will quickly notice the dough stretching out each time.

    Do this until the disc is the size and thickness you prefer, but be careful not to let it get so thin that it tears.

    Continue to 6 of 6 below.
  • 06 of 06

    Ready to Top Your Pizza Dough

    Flattened, stretched dough
    Devorah Lev-Tov.

    Voila! You have a perfectly hand-stretched round of pizza dough.

    Now you're ready for some toppings; try classic Neapolitan or pesto and white bean toppings.