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Why Is My Pizza Dough Sticky? (Reasons & 7 Ways to Fix)

By Robert Parsons March 27th, 2023

Are you trying to make pizza at home, but your dough keeps coming out too sticky?

You’re not alone!

Making the perfect pizza dough can be tricky business. But don’t worry – we’ve got some simple tips and tricks for you so that you can master this classic dish and have your family raving about it in no time.

In this article, we’ll explore why your dough might be sticky and what steps you can take to get the perfect texture every time.

Why is my dough still sticky after kneading?

why is my pizza dough sticky

When creating your dough, it is essential to be aware of the amount of water that you are adding.

Too much liquid can make the dough excessively sticky and difficult to work with; therefore, make sure that you measure all ingredients accurately for maximum results!

Another potential cause of your dough still being sticky is that you did not knead it for an adequate amount of time. Kneading the dough builds up the gluten, which provides shape and texture to the final product. If you do not knead it long enough, there may be a lack of gluten formation resulting in an adhesive consistency.

Using the wrong type of flour also contributes largely to a sticky dough. For a delightfully light texture in your pizza dough, Italian 00 flour is an ideal choice. However, if you don’t have any on hand, worry not!

Both bread and all-purpose flours are excellent alternatives as they contain more gluten that will help manage stickiness while still providing the necessary structure to your dough.

Aside from the temperature in your kitchen being a possible factor, it could be that you are using outdated ingredients such as flour or yeast. If your space is too warm, this can lead to sticky dough that’s difficult to manage.

Storing these items for an extended period of time and not replacing them when necessary may also impact stickiness.

Why the amount of protein in flour is important?

Protein content plays a major role in the dough’s ability to stretch and hold its form, which ultimately affects what your finished pizza crust feels like. Flour containing low amounts of protein will result in a thin, crisp-like texture that might be great for Neapolitan or Roman-style pizzas but won’t give you that chewy, bread-like experience many identify with traditional pizza.

On the contrary, selecting a flour with high protein content will produce an incredibly dense and chewy pizza crust – perfect for deep dishes or Sicilian-style pizzas. However, if you’re looking to achieve that classic thin-crust texture with bubbly edges and crispness throughout, it is best to opt for a lower protein flour.

To make the perfect pizza, it’s all about striking a balance between chewiness and crispiness. Most pizza makers aim for an optimal protein content of 12-13%, but this range can be adapted to suit many types of pizzas!

To get the most accurate estimate of protein content, you should check out the nutrition information on your flour package. This will be essential in helping you pick the ideal type of flour for whatever pizza style you are trying to make.

How wet should your dough be? (Dough hydration level)

Achieving the ideal dough consistency is an essential step for success in baking. But, what level of hydration should your dough have? That’s a question with no single answer – it varies based on the type of baked good you’re making and the ingredients that are used.

For example, when making pizza dough, aim for a hydration level of around 60-65%, which will result in a soft and workable consistency that is perfect for adding all your favourite toppings. Conversely, if you’re looking to create rustic bread with an open crumb and chewy texture, the ideal percentage of water should be 70-75%.

To determine the precise hydration level of your dough, it is essential to weigh both flour and water accurately. All you must do then is apply a simple formula: divide the weight of water by that of flour multiplied by 100%. For instance, if 500g flour with 350g water is used, 70% hydration will be achieved (350/500 x 100). For Italian 00 flour, a hydration level of 55-58% serves as the optimum combination. Reap all the flavour you love with excellent crispness and tender crusts by sticking to this range!

After you pinpoint the exact degree of hydration, modify your recipe accordingly by adding in more water or flour to receive the desired texture. Bear in mind that a wetter dough will be tricky and challenging to manipulate yet it yields an airy end product. On the flip side, a dryer batter is much easier to handle but might result in an unappetizing flat taste.

Is it okay for pizza dough to be sticky?

Many assume that pizza dough should be consistent and elastic, yet a bit of stickiness is expected – and even desired. A tacky consistency implies relaxed gluten strands which result in an airy yet chewy crust!

However, too much dampness or slipperiness indicates the need to restart with accurate measurements. Overall, having just the right amount of “stick” helps create delicious pizzas every time.

How do you make the dough less sticky?

Now that we’ve established what the issue is, let’s figure out how to remedy it. You don’t have to jump straight into panic mode; there are plenty of solutions available for sticky pizza dough. Here are a few simple steps you can take:

1. For a hassle-free remedy, dust some flour over the dough and knead it in until its consistency is no longer sticky. This straightforward solution may appear obvious at first glance but can make all the difference!

2. Cool down your dough to guarantee that it is easier to work with. If you find the dough becoming too sticky, place it in the fridge for 15-30 minutes and let the cool temperature harden it up.

3. For added assurance that your dough won’t stick, apply a thin layer of oil to both your hands and the surface where you’re working. Keep in mind, however, that using too much oil could negatively affect the texture of the dough so use it in moderation.

4. If you’re having difficulty handling dough without it sticking to your hands, a simple solution is to use a dough scraper. This tool allows for the manipulation of the dough with minimal contact so that you can avoid any possible messes.

5. Kneading the dough further is sometimes all that’s needed to make it less sticky. The extra kneading time helps form gluten, which can reduce stickiness and create a more desirable consistency overall.

6. Utilize an alternative flour. Depending on the recipe, you can easily substitute a more manageable flour than what you are currently using. For instance, if all-purpose is your go-to ingredient of choice, bread flour could be a great replacement that yields delicious results!

7. Re-examine the recipe. If attempting to resolve sticky dough with other methods has failed, you may need to adjust the original recipe. Minor alterations, such as reducing moisture content, can have an effect that is greater than expected.


In short, the most common causes of sticky pizza dough are miscalculated hydration levels, wrong flour selection, and insufficient kneading.

To guarantee that your pizzas come out as delicious as possible every time, keep an eye on these components and adjust if needed. Some helpful solutions include sprinkling some flour to decrease stickiness, cooling down the dough prior to forming it into shape, and utilizing a dough scraper – they will all aid you in creating mouthwateringly scrumptious pizzas with each bake!