There’s nothing like a crisp slice of pizza dripping with melted cheese fresh from the oven. The secret to a perfect pizza lies in the dough. You can solve problems like a crumbling crust, torn dough, and how to fix a broken pizza. If the worst happened and now your pizza is falling apart, you’re in the right place to discover how do you fix a broken pizza.
So, how do you fix a broken pizza? We’ll cover the top culprits that can make your pizza crust break. Don’t worry, you don’t need to throw the dough away and start over since there are ways to prevent a broken pizza and ingredients, kneading practices, and baking temperatures that can fix a broken pizza and set you on the fast track to pizza success.
Check out these 8 ways to avoid a broken crust and how to fix a broken pizza.
1. Use the Right Flour
If you’re trying to avoid a broken pizza, the best place to start is with the proper flour. Since the secret to a great pizza lies in the crust, you’ll want to avoid low protein flours that can lead to a sub-par pizza experience.
Use flour that contains a minimum of 11% protein content. Look for pizza flour that is anywhere from 11% to 14% such as King Arthur Flour to create a superlative pizza. Avoid pastry flours since they aren’t good for making pizza crusts. When pizza dough has enough protein (gluten), it has stretchy strands that create elasticity and help avoid a broken pizza.
If you’ve already made the crust with a lower protein flour and it’s falling apart before or after you added toppings, then skip ahead to the next step.
2. Give it Some Elbow Grease
Pizza crust that tears or breaks are a common problem with pizza dough. If your pizza dough keeps tearing, it’s probably because the gluten in the dough hasn’t developed a stretchy texture yet.
Gluten is a protein that’s found in grains like wheat, rye, and barley. It helps hold flour together and gives it an elastic feel. Gluten also helps dough rise and makes a traditional pizza crust rather than a bready or crumbly texture.
If you’re using gluten-free flour to make a pizza crust, consider using a natural, gluten-free binder such as guar gum or xanthan gum to help hold your pizza crust together and prevent it from breaking.
If you haven’t developed the gluten enough, you can fix this by gently stretching the dough until you can easily roll it out without tearing it. You can tell if the dough is properly kneaded when it can spring back into position after shaping. You can also test its elasticity by poking it with your finger. If the dough springs back, then you’re all set.
3. Don’t Knead Too Much
One of the most common things that cause pizza dough to break is over-proofing. That’s when the dough is kneaded too much and loses its elasticity. While you’ll want to knead the dough enough to develop the stretchy gluten, going to the other extreme can over-develop the dough and make it more likely to fall apart.
Typically, you’ll want to knead pizza dough for about 4-6 minutes. Kneading dough makes the gluten strands stronger to prevent breakage. Working the dough longer than recommended can stretch out the gluten strands and make them stiff, crumblier, and less bouncy.
Make sure not to over-process the dough or you can end up with a crumbled crust that resembles breadcrumbs.
4. Add Some Water
If your pizza dough starts to crumble and won’t hold together, adding a little water can fix the situation fast. Pizza crust that has too much flour will be too dry to hold together well. It often breaks apart in your hands before you get it into the oven.
The good news is that you just need to sprinkle some water on the dough until the crumbly crust is lightly moistened. Gently knead the damp dough together until you have a smooth, stretchy ball before rolling it out to place on the pizza stone, steel, or pan.
5. Let the Dough Rest First
The key to fixing a broken pizza is to let the dough sit first before you stretch it out. Typically, you’ll want to pop the dough into the fridge to let it chill. Once you take it out of the fridge, let the dough relax and adjust before you begin to shape it.
Letting the dough rest can seal up any problem issues and fix broken areas before you spread it out to add toppings. At the same time, once you’ve added the sauce and toppings, don’t let the pizza sit around too long. This can cause a soggy, waterlogged pizza that breaks easily.
6. Fix it With Olive Oil
Here’s how to fix a broken pizza if it tears before you’ve added the toppings. If you’re making a New York, Chicago, Roman, Californian, or another style of pizza that isn’t baked at high temperatures like a traditional Neapolitan pizza, some olive oil will do the trick to fix a torn pizza.
If your dough isn’t too dry and it’s still falling apart after proper kneading, try adding a dash of extra-virgin olive oil to the crust. The oil will act as a binder and help the dough stick together better.
7. Practice Good Stretching Skills
While it can take some time to develop a good dough stretching technique, practice does make perfect. As you get more experienced with stretching pizza dough, you’ll be able to make a thick, even crust. The thicker and more even the dough, the less likely it is to break.
If you notice any thin or tearing spots, you can mend these and avoid overstretching the dough as you spread it out.
If the pizza tears before you add toppings, you can patch it with a little pinch of leftover dough or from another part of the crust. Spread this over the tear and press down on it with the heel of your hand. Just make sure you don’t smash the pizza dough into the counter so that it sticks to your work surface.
8. Fold It Together
If your pizza breaks after you’ve already added your toppings, you can quickly fix this in Italian style.
Just scoop off the toppings and fold the dough in half so that it resembles a calzone. Next, sprinkle basil under the broken area, flip it over, and put the toppings back.
You can also avoid a soggy pizza that breaks after when you take it out of the oven by avoiding watery toppings like lots of vegetables (or pre-cook them), par-baking the crust, holding back on adding too much sauce, and baking the pizza at the right temperature for the correct amount of time.
With a little ingenuity and practice, you can turn out a great pizza dough that doesn’t break before you eat it or fix a broken pizza to save the day.