How to Knead Pizza Dough to Perfection

By Robert Parsons August 25, 2020

Many people think that kneading pizza dough is just for show. However, this couldn’t be any farther from the truth! The process of kneading pizza dough is essential to obtaining a mouth-watering pizza from top to bottom. 

Yes, you could have the best ingredients, but if you don’t get the dough right, you’re limiting yourself, your customers, and your guests to subpar pizza. 

So, before you place your pizza into a fancy Ooni Fyra Pizza Oven, make sure it’s kneaded to perfection. Follow this short guide to learn how you can take your pizza making skills from 0 to 100! 

Ingredients Needed 

Every memorable dish starts with the ingredients. You want to be sure you use fresh ingredients when preparing the dough: You’ll need:  

  • – 500 grams (4 cups) ‘00’ flour 
  • – 300 grams (1 1/3 cups) water
  • – 20 grams (1 tbsp) olive oil 
  • – 10 grams (2 tsp) salt 
  • – 7 grams dry yeast 
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The Preparation Process

Once you’ve gathered your ingredients, let’s get down to the method of preparing your dough. 

  1. You want to begin by warming up the water to about 38°C. If you don’t have a thermometer, heat it until it’s warm to the touch (see our pro tip below). 
  2. Mix in the yeast first, then the oil. Using a whisk is a great way to ensure the dry yeast is evenly smooth. 
  3. Sift the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the middle of the flour and pour in the water along with the yeast. 
  4. With a wooden spoon, begin churning it into a nicely formed dough. 

Pro Tip: Are you having trouble warming up the water to 38°C? Simply measure 200 grams of cold water into your mixing bowl and pour another 100 grams of boiling water on top. This will get it at the right temperature! 

Why Is Kneading Pizza Dough So Important?

When you knead dough you are changing up the molecular structure of the gluten within it. This will help give it strength and structure. Wheat flour contains gluten made up of proteins. 

When the above ingredients are combined, these proteins are arranged and knotted in no special order. As you continue to knead the dough, these proteins line up and form chains of amino acids. The matrix formed by this chain of aminos is what allows the dough to rise. 

Consequently, you’ll enjoy a soft, chewy, and savoury crust! 

The Beauty of Hand Kneading 

Now that we’ve gotten through the preparation process it’s time to learn all about how to knead dough. This is often the part where non-bread makers get nervous. However, there is nothing to be nervous about! Kneading your dough is easy, as long as you understand how.

Think about the movies you’ve seen where a pizza chef is kneading dough. The process involves pressing down on the dough with the palm of your hand and then rolling the dough back and forth. You want to use this same method. The entire process will take 10-12 minutes, and we promise it’s worth it! 

Here are some extra tips you’ll want to know when kneading your dough: 

  • – Add flour to the surface. Kneading on a well-floured surface will prevent the dough from sticking to your hands. Not enough flour may also result in an unevenly kneaded dough, so make sure you add sufficient flour to the surface. 
  • – Knead until smooth. This is the greatest sign that your dough is ready. It will slowly transform from being lumpy to being completely smooth and fluffy! 
  • – Hold it up in the air. If you hold your dough up and it doesn’t lose its shape, this is a sign it’s well-kneaded. Sometimes it will sag or ooze from the sides. When this happens, add some more flour to the surface and keep kneading. 
  • – Poke it gently. Another great way to tell if your dough is ready for use is to poke it. If the hole where your finger touched bounces right back, this is a good sign it’s ready to go. 
  • – Break off a piece. This trick is new to some, but many chefs swear on this trick. Break off a very small piece of dough and pinch it between your fingers. Gently stretch it into a thin film. If it doesn’t tear, it’s ready to be used. 

Keeping these tricks and tips in mind will ensure a successful pizza making experience! 

Conclusion

If you’ve made it to the end of this article, congratulations! You now know how to knead pizza dough to perfection. Once it’s ready, roll it out, add the ingredients, and pop it into your oven!