Many folks have stopped by their local pizza shop to grab a slice, only to be captivated by the men in the back spinning and tossing dough in the air.
Probably as many have wondered if they could do the same and have others watch them toss pizza dough high above their heads and catch it in their hands.
Well, for people like this, here’s how.
How to toss pizza dough
Flatten the dough evenly and place it in the middle of the palm of the dominant hand. Make a fist using the other hand. Use the palm-up (dominant) hand to spin and then toss the pizza dough high in the air. To catch the dough, use the back of the fist of the other hand.
The Importance of Gluten
Gluten is a protein compound made from two primary proteins found in wheat, gliadin (or glutenin) and water (or kneading).
Gliadin sticks with the non-soluble glutenin and forms strands.
This creates a strong network that traps starch and carbon dioxide from yeast.
A dough will give more flexibility if it contains sufficient gluten.
How to develop gluten properly in pizza dough
Excessive gluten can be a problem in pastries, but it is essential for bread.
To develop gluten properly, it is crucial that the dough is both kneaded correctly and rested for the right amount of time.
Pizza dough should not be tacky and sticky but smooth and supple.
A square of dough should be stretchable without breaking. This is called the “windowpane” test.
Before working with dough, it first needs to “rest”. Pizza dough should rest for longer periods if it snaps when stretched.
Additional kneading is required if the dough breaks, tears, or becomes difficult to shape once formed.
It needs more flour if it sticks to the counter when kneaded.
Sundry problems with gluten when making pizza dough
The condition of pizza dough can be affected by gluten.
Bad yeast can also cause the dough to have difficulty rising or develop a bad odor during proofing.
Bad yeast can cause dough to take too long to mix or knead.
Pizza doughs should contain high-protein flour, such as bread flour.
Anyone intending to toss and make a pizza should note that non-yeast or quick-make pizza doughs can’t be kneaded the same way as yeast bread can.
Non-yeast or quick-make pizza doughs result in pizza crusts that must be rolled or spread out by other means.
Gluten is not 100% necessary for a perfect pizza dough
It is possible to make perfect pizza dough without needing to knead. Gliadin will combine with glutenin through the action of yeast.
The yeast produces carbon dioxide, which pushes the proteins together. This process can take up to seven days.
No matter the technique used, well-formed pizza dough should be able to withstand gentle tossing, pulling, and stretching, with very little retraction.
So, is pizza dough tossing just showboating?
Tossing pizza dough might look like showboating, just a fancy and unnecessary way of forming and stretching pizza dough to fit into a pan.
However, dough tossing is not only cool to do, but it’s also the easiest way to make a crust.
Some pizza food manufacturers use dough sheeters or machine presses to make their pizza crust.
Although these techniques are more efficient, the dough dries out faster, making for a crunchy, almost biscuit-like crust.
Pizza crust is softer and more palatable when the dough is tossed by hand. This is because tossing the dough is all about managing its moisture.
Pizza dough is shaped by being spun through the air. However, the airflow above the dough helps dry it out sufficiently to make it simpler to work.
Ideal airflow created by hand-tossing results in a flawlessly crispy crust. Hand-tossing also has the advantage of producing a non-uniform crumb.
Every pizza crust is different, each one being slightly crispier and tender in certain areas.
Hand-tossed pizzas have outer edges that are lighter and higher than the crusts of other forms of pizza (press, machine).
Toss pizza dough: detailed instructions
Anyone can make their own dough or buy some ready-made. It doesn’t really matter what sort of dough is used, so long as it’s made with yeast.
- Prepare the work surface with flour. Keep a bowl handy.
- Take off any jewelry from both hands.
- Pizza dough is best kept at room temperature while shaped into a ball with flour sprinkled all over its surface.
- Press the dough into a disk about 10 inches in diameter and half inches thick using both hands. Some folks elect to use a rolling pin, which is perfectly alright too.
- Put the non-dominant hand into a fist and the dominant hand into a palm-up position. Grab the dough and rest it momentarily on both hands.
- When ready, lift and spin the dough with the dominant hand that’s in the palm-up position. There’s no need to toss the pizza high; it just needs to go high enough to make at least one rotation.
- Catch the dough on the backs of both fists, as fists provide a more stable and flatter area than fingers and palms. Continue to toss the dough to stretch it until it reaches the desired size (usually, about 12 inches).
Toss pizza dough: detailed instructions–tips and tricks
- Right-handed people should use their right hand, palm-up. This is the “throwing hand.” The opposite applies if those who are left-handed.
- Always keep the fingers closed.
- Adjust for the stretching and growth of the dough by moving the fingers further apart.
- Dough with sufficient gluten is easier to toss than dough without enough. Whole-wheat crusts can be problematic because they are low in gluten.
For the best results, mix white and wheat flours.
- It is possible to purchase practice dough online. It is also possible to use a suitably-sized wet hand towel to practice pizza dough tossing.
- Do not expect to be an expert on the first attempt. Remember, practice makes perfect!
Frequently Asked Questions About How to Toss Pizza Dough
What is the best type of flour for great pizza dough?
Good gluten will make your dough form more easily, so use all-purpose flour. When using all-purpose flour, use less water than when using bread flour.
Why is it my pizza crusts never seem to come out crispy, no matter what I do?
Use a perforated or stone pan. To make the dough crispier, add more water to your flour. This works because the dough will retain more water and expand faster when baked in the oven.
Afterword: How to toss pizza dough
Tossing a crust is one of the enjoyable parts of making pizza. It can be messy, but pretending to be a pizzaiolo is fun.
It is also good for the crust, helping to retain the right amount of moisture and air, making the resulting pizza rise better around the edges.