The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Pizza dough shrinking

junglejer's picture

Pizza dough shrinking

Any hot tips to prevent my pizza bases shrinking when I place them in the oven?

I'm trying to achieve as thin a crust as possible and can get the dough pretty thin when rolling and shaping , however no sooner do I place it on the stone or in a frying pan, it shrinks back and forms a thicker crust than I'm hoping for.


How do they do it in restaurants? I went to Ask the other day and had to reluctantly concede they were making a better pizza than me. when I'm making my own I start out with a 8 " pizza  dough and it comes out of the oven more like a 6".


Thanks in advance for any useful tips

gerhard's picture

I find that if I stretch the dough and then give it a rest and stretch it a second time I get better results.  I gave up using a rolling pin a few years ago and now flatten the dough ball by flattening it on the counter, pushing from the centre to the outside forming a little bit thicker ridge on the outside edge.  I then pick that up and stretch it using the back of my hands, put it down for a few minutes and then give it another stretch.


dobie's picture

I do it pretty much just as Gerhard says. If it takes a third stetch, then so be it.

The problem with rolling pins (for me also) is that you lose that wonderful, puffy outer crust and the pizza base itself is a bit more like cardboard in texture.

I take the flattened and relaxed round of dough and working out from the middle, push down with my finger tips and then stretch outwards, spreading my fingers out. Spin the dough a quarter turn or so and repeat until it's been worked around. Let it rest ten minutes and do it again. Perhaps a third time if necessary.

As Gerhard suggests, you can lift the dough off the counter and stretch it outwards as the dough lays down upon the back of your hands. As you seperate you hands, the center of the dough is thinned and the outer edge can remain somewhat thick. Hey, pick it up and spin it, like in the movies. I've done that once or twice (just to say I did).

I don't know your recipe, but I would suggest hydrations between 65-70%, generally. A stiff dough will only exacerbate the problem.

Also, don't hesitate to make the basic dough a day or more before your bake. It only helps.

Also, try adding 15% of the flour as a whole wheat (or other) flour, for better flavor. If you are getting bubbling centers, docking with a fork is fine, but I find it rarely happens.

Personally, I don't use any oil, sugar or any other additives to the dough with good results. Just my take.

Good luck junglejer.


Maverick's picture

Let it rest a little bit before putting it in the oven (or before pitting anything on it). The other possibility could be the flour choice. But a rest will really help relax the dough so it doesn't shrink up. I found this especially true if using a rolling pin since it is easier to force the dough to be bigger. When you stretch it rather than roll it, the dough can't be force in the same way. There is nothing wrong with a pin, just that a resting period makes a big difference.

For really thin crust, a 00 type flour will help with the extensibility. But I have made many pizzas with other flours. The biggest difference to me was that the 00 flour needed less rest to stretch it.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I need to cut down on my portions.  :)

I'm with the others, let the rolled out dough rest and relax maybe even rise a little bit.   Working with several pizzas at a time and working with them in rotation while they rest is what I do.

Maverick's picture

Another thought is to roll it an inch or two larger so that it shrinks to the size you want. But it might still puff up more than you want.

embth's picture

It's a little roller with spikes that is used for thin crust pizza to make little holes in the dough so it does not puff up.  An inexpensive tool that you would probably find worthwhile, but the same results could be achieved by poking the dough all over with a fork.