The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

help needed with dough please.....

sadexpunk's picture

help needed with dough please.....


had a successful pizza making session the other day, but id like advice on a couple of questions please to help me get better with the dough.

1.  im using sourdough starter, and have a pizza app on my phone, which basically gives me the measurements of each ingredient depending on proving time and room temp.  ive played around with the app a bit, altering the different specifics, and i think im understanding that its basically, the longer the prove time the less starter i need to put in?  so if i want to cook in two hours say, thered be a fair bit more starter in the mix, 8 hrs time id be using a lot less.  have i got that right?  id like to eventually be able to bake and not look at a phone app! :D

2.  ive looked on youtube at the different methods for stretching my dough to finish pizza size.  ive tried the 'stretch, flap onto other arm, turn 90 degree' method and am also trying to slowly get used to spinning it, but thats a work in progress :D  however, what im finding is that with both methods, the dough is being stretched really thin almost to ripping point near the centre.  is there a trick to getting the dough evenly stretched so i dont have this issue?  leave it thicker in the centre?  then id be scared of it ripping towards the edge.  advice much appreciated please :-)

thank you

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Yay :)

#2.  I haven't the faintest idea with the 90° thingy.  I let the dough rest well before stretching, lay my dough down and use a rolling pin or a wine bottle and a bit of flour or just push everything out sort of like a focaccia with my finger tips on baking parchment.

bikeprof's picture

1. yes, in general, time, temperature, and starter amount (along with hydration and the amount of whole grains) all influence each other in the fermentation more starter should mean less time and vice versa, higher temps=less time.

2. Here are a couple videos on stretching that I think are helpful:

Nice slo-mo here:

This one I watch starting at about the 1:45 mark -

This one at about 2:25 mark -

Notice how the hand the is doing the stretching is pulling on just the outer part, right along the cornicione.


I like to use more the knuckle method to help avoid getting things too thin in the center, somewhat approximating joe heffernan at independent pizza in this nice vid:

...not being a master like he is, once it starts to get stretched a bit, I let the bottom part of the dough rest on my worktop, so I don't have to work so fast to keep it from getting too again, you focus on stretching right along the inside of the cornicione (or I do, at least)


sadexpunk's picture

thank you very much, ill look at those links when ive got time tomorrow.

sadexpunk's picture

just watched the videos, thanks.  the first ones were the '90 degrees' method that id already seen and tried copying, where with each flip onto your arm youre rotating 90 degrees.

id love to be able to start stretching it over my hands like the last one, more practice required :-)

dtdayan's picture

When you are stretching the dough either flat at the table or up in the air with your fingers on the pizza, be sure to stretch it near the cornicione so as not to stretch the center. This would prevent tearing the center part.  Both fingers of both hands should stretch away from each other left  to right and not vertically so as not to affect the center part of the dough.

sadexpunk's picture

been practising the above method, getting a little better at it, and every now and then i try the 'stretching over both hands and spinning' method, not so successful at that :D  i still end up getting the dough very thin in places, almost to the point of tearing.  im using 200g doughballs, what weight would you guess those pizzas are in the links, and roughly what percentage hydration?  i ask as they just seem more substantial and dryer than mine.

one more question, just an observation really.  is it actually possible to mess up your dough and create a rubbish pizza?  i ask as i was making pizzas for the family but my lad was impatient and didnt want to wait, so i said we'd gamble on some defrosted dough.  it stuck to the sandwich bag and had no good form or structure which maybe suggested overproving but i stretched it anyway, same methods, looked the same in the end, cooked ok and the lad enjoyed it.

it just made me think if that had been for a loaf it would have probably been a pancake, but with pizza not needing any real form, it just suggested that you could use your mix at any stage and it would probably still come out fine.

whats your thoughts on this please?