Helpful Pizza Dough Spreading and Tossing Videos

I’ve had a couple people ask me for tips on how to properly spread and toss their pizza dough. I always try to explain, but words only go so far. In response to the inadequacy of words, I’ve collected a few videos I think could help be helpful. Check them out and let me know if they help! I know I picked up a tip or two from these guys.

Enjoy!

This first video demonstrates how to easily stretch your dough to your desired thickness. It’s nice because he demonstrates two techniques, giving you the option to toss your pie in the air or just do it all on the counter.

This video rocks because he covers stretching on the table, using a peel, as well as rolling dough for thick and thin crusts.

This video concentrates entirely on tossing, but covers it very thoroughly!

This one is cool because it comes from the California Culinary Academy. It’s super instructional and is complete with a dorky soundtrack!

And of course, what would a post about video be without my OWN instructional video. Ok, it doesn’t talk about HOW to toss dough, but it does involve tossing 🙂 It walks you through making the dough, toping the pizza, and cooking it up.

Ryan’s Thin Crust Pizza Dough

Preheat to 500+ degrees (as hot as it will go). Put your stone in if you are going to use it. Yields one pizza.

  • 2 tsp yeast (one packet)
  • 1/4 tsp sugar (a squirt of honey works too)
  • 3/4 cup water (110 degrees. Use a thermometer)
  • 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup bread flour ( don’t just put more all purpose flour… i said bread flour dammit!)
  • 1/2 tsp salt (sea salt would be nice)
  • oil (olive, grape seed, whateva’)

Instructions – Preheat to 475 degrees. Put your stone in if you are going to use it. Put sugar and yeast into 110 degree water. Stir it around a bit to make sure the sugar dissolves and the yeast really starts eating it up. Leave it to the side with a kitchen towel over the top for a couple of minutes. Put both flours and salt into a stand mixer and pulse it to mix the two together. Pour the liquid in on top of the flour mixture and follow these timed mixing stages:

  • 2 Minutes – Mix on medium speed. This stage is to simply bring the ingredients together and get them interacting with each other. Don’t worry if the dough still looks rough after the first 2 minutes.
  • 5 Minutes – Turn mixer off and let dough just sit there. This lets the proteins in the flours relax, unfold, and lets the yeast begin eating the flour as well.
  • 3 Minutes – Mix on medium speed again. If dough is looking too sticky, add more AP flour 1 tablespoon at a time until it pulls away from the sizes of the bowl. If it is too dry, add water 1 tablespoon at a time. You’ve got three minutes to get it right!

Take the dough out and throw it onto a floured counter top. Hand kneed it for a minute or two. If it is still too wet or dry, you can continue to add water/flour as you knead. You should see the texture and elasticity of the dough improve visibly as you kneed it by hand. No need to punch it or use fingers. Use the palms of your hands and almost “smear” it across the counter, fold it over itself and repeat. You are kneading to distribute air bubbles evenly into the dough, not pop them by punching it. Anyways, I digress…

If you made this recipe for one, form your dough into a ball, press it in between your hands to form a super-thick pancake form, then start tossing it in the air! If you multiplied this recipe, form your dough into a big ball, rub it with a light coating of oil, and plop it in a big bowl with a dishtowel over the top. When you are ready to toss the dough, pull a ball of dough out of the bowl in the neighborhood of a baseball/softball size, press it in between your hands to form a super-thick pancake form, then start tossing it in the air!

Although you don’t have to, you should have no problem getting this dough thin enough to see light through it. Bake the pizza until you see the cheese/toppings just starting to brown and you can lift a corner of the pizza up off the pan/stone and it seems to support it’s own weight. At this point, you’ve got maybe a minute or two more in the pan/stone OR (what I like to do) put one of your oven’s racks on the lowest height possible and slide the pizza in just on the rack itself. Because it is so close to the heating element, the bottom of the crust will get browned pretty quickly and after a minute or so you should have an extra crunchy crust. Keep a close eye on it because by the time you smell it burning, it will be nice and black 🙂

Other Cooking Tips – You are going to find using a metal pan is actually easier than a pizza stone, but a pizza stone will yield a crispier, crunchier crust. If you use a pizza stone, you need to preheat the stone as well as the oven. The problem with this arises when you realize: you can’t assemble the pizza on the stone. It’s 475 degrees! You’ll need to have a way to build the pizza and then transfer the completed creation to the blazing hot stone. A pizza sleeve (big wooden shovel thing) would be ideal for this, but a large, floured, portable cutting board works decently as well. If you use a metal pan, you can make the pizza directly on the pan and then just slip the pan into the stove. In order to get some of that crispiness back, I liberally oil the metal pan before placing the dough down into it so that as the pan heats, the bottom of the dough actually fries. Different kind of crispy, but super yummy all the same. If you are thinking of using very naturally wet vegetables (onions, bell peppers, etc.), your chances of success will greatly increase if you cut the vegetables before hand, lightly salt them (salt draws the liquid to the surface), and then roll them up in a dish towel so it absorbs all the excess moisture. I’ve had pizzas become too wet because of the fresh veggies and collapse through the middle of the crust right onto my oven’s heating element.. Plumes of black smoke tend to ruin dinner parties.

Final Tips – When shopping for mozzarella cheese, make sure it is part-skim, low moisture. Again, water on top of thin crust is bad and disastrous. For sauce, I like Newman’s Own Marinara or Muir Glen Organic Pizza Sauce found in the canned foods at Chico Natural Foods which is called Pizza Sauce which is organic and tastes pretty good. They also have a really nice pepperoni in the meat and cheese cooler in back which knocks the pants off of the hormel or whateva’ brand you’ll find in most grocery stores.

I’m working on my next pizza volume now… Coming soon, to theaters near you: The Pizza Bible II – Return of Son of Pizza Bible! This time, it’s sourdough!!!!!