How to Knead Dough for Pizza: A Step by Step Guide

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I know a lot about preparing the best dough. My love for pizza led me to learn what it takes to make the perfect slice. Today, I want to share a few tips and tricks with you. In this guide, I will show how to knead dough for pizza by hand and with a machine.

Pizza is one of the best Italian foods. It must have a base and several toppings. The base is made from the pizza dough (Best Flour for Pizza Dough), while the toppings consist of a mixture of vegetables and/or meats. A generous sprinkling of one’s favorite cheese is a must-have.

Ingredients

flour on the table and woman kneading a dough for pizza

  • 1 kg of all-purpose baking flour
  • 3 teaspoons of instant yeast
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of oil
  • 1 liter of lukewarm water
  • A pinch of salt

Two sizeable clean bowls rolling pin, wooden spoon, clean towel/plastic wrap and a clean working surface are also required.

These ingredients will yield two thick pizza bases or three thin ones.

Procedure – How to Knead Pizza Dough by Hand

  1. Place your flour in bowl 1 while setting aside about 200g flour for use during rolling.
  2. Mix the flour with the instant yeast.
  3. Pour the lukewarm water in bowl 2.
  4. Add the sugar, salt, and oil. Stir with a wooden spoon.
  5. Pour the flour mixture (bowl 1) into bowl 2.
  6. Stir the mixture in bowl 2 with a wooden spoon before kneading.
  7. Once all the ingredients have blended, we can call them dough.
  8. To knead the dough, ensure your hands are clean. Thoroughly mix and turn over the dough with your bare hands.
  9. Mix up the dough with your fists to release any air.
  10. Alternate this with stretching the dough and squeezing it between your palms. You could also use your knuckles to press the dough as you pulling it from the sides of the bowl. Once satisfied that it is not sticky, turn it onto your work surface.
  11. Continue pounding it with your fists and turning it again and again.
  12. Stretch it and press it. This process is vital as it ensures that as much air as possible is released, which will result in a putty-like dough that is also velvety.
  13. After kneading for about 10 minutes, place the dough in a bowl. This bowl should first be oiled before placing the dough in it. To oil it, pour 1 teaspoon oil in the bowl and tilt the bowl, so the oil covers the entire bowl surface. Alternatively, use your clean hand to apply the oil all over the inside of the bowl.
  14. Once you have placed the dough in the bowl, cover it with a clean, wet towel or cling film and let it rest for about half an hour.
  15. After half an hour, uncover and place the pizza dough on the working surface again.
  16. It will have risen, so you should beat out any air by kneading with your fists for about five minutes. You can tell the kneading is enough if the dough springs back when pressed lightly. Another way to understand that it’s adequate is when you try to pull the dough apart, and it does not tear.
  17. If your dough is ready as explained above (no.16), put it in the bowl, cover, and leave it for another 1-1.5 hours or until it doubles in size. This doubling in size is called proofing, and it is necessary to ensure you have a soft dough that can easily be stretched to fit the pizza pans.
  18. The pizza dough is now ready for use. Cut it into two or three parts, depending on your preferred pizza base thickness. Mold each part into a ball using your palms.
  19. Take a ball at a time and place it on the work surface. If it is sticky, sprinkle some flour on the ball and surface. Using a rolling pin, roll out the ball into a circle.
  20. The thickness should be about half an inch for a thin pizza base or 1 inch for a thick one. Repeat the process for the remaining ball(s).

Procedure 2 – How to Knead Pizza Dough by Machine

ready dough on the tablePizza dough can also be kneaded by machine. This may seem a simpler way of doing it, but the reality is you still need to knead dough by hand to complete the process and have the right consistency. There are many brands that manufacture pizza dough kneading machines. Ideally, you should look out for those kneading machines that have a metal hook and a metallic bowl.

1. When using a pizza dough kneading machine, place all the ingredients in the metallic bowl, set the timer to 1 minute with a speed of 3.5.
2. When the timer stops, reduce the speed to 1.5 and now set the timer to 3 minutes.
3. After the 3 minutes, check the dough to see if the consistency is right. The dough should not be sticky.
4. Let this pizza dough rest covered for about 20-30 minutes in the machine. This is to ensure moisture does not escape. If it escapes, the dough will be hard and unmanageable to mold.
5. Check the consistency and turn it onto a dusted surface. Knead the dough with your hands for about five minutes.
6. Now let the dough rest covered in an oiled bowl for one hour or until it doubles in size. It should be covered by either plastic wrap or a wet towel so. Proofing refers to the process of the yeast leading to the rising of the dough and the subsequent bubbles in the dough.
7. Once the dough has doubled in size, it is now ready for use, as illustrated in step 18 above.

Pizza dough how long to knead: 15-20 minutes (manually); 10 minutes (by machine)

Preparation time: 2-2.5 hours (inclusive of proofing)

Pro Tips for the Best Dough

Instead of instant yeast, you could also use traditional yeast. Since it is not instant, you have to place it in warm water in a warm place for 20-30 minutes until you see bubbles. Do not use it as it is because it will not work.

Hand kneading is not for the faint-hearted. You require considerable strength to be able to knead the pizza dough thoroughly to the right consistency.

If you do not mind, you could also use baking powder or self-rising flour instead of yeast/ all-purpose flour to prepare the dough. Be warned, though, that the taste of the pizza will not be the same.

Final Take

If you follow this detailed procedure, you are sure to get a perfect pizza dough. Remember that the secret lies in the kneading. Take your time in kneading and give the dough ample time to proof so that the result is pleasant. With lots of practice, perfection will follow.

Do you have additional tips for making the perfect pizza? Please let me know in the comment section below.

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