Having pizza dough that is too elastic and shrinks back to its original shape and size when you try to stretch it, can be quite frustrating. After all, the ideal pizza dough should be stretchy, firm, and springy so that you can get a great pizza crust. So what to do if your pizza dough is too elastic?
A number of factors might be to blame. These include the temperature of the dough, the type of flour used, and how well the dough is pressed and flattened. Once you identify the problem and fix it, you can get pizza dough that is nice and elastic.
Read on to find out more about why your pizza dough might be too elastic and how you can fix it. Happy reading!
Why your pizza dough is too elastic
Pizza dough that is too elastic is one of the most common problems people face when making pizza dough at home. An overly elastic pizza dough is often hard to stretch fully and keeps shrinking back to its original shape and size.
There can be many reasons behind pizza dough being too elastic and difficult to stretch. Here are a few:
- Pizza dough is too cold and needs to be warmed up. Cold pizza dough tends to become more elastic than pizza dough at room temperature.
- It hasn’t been rolled and flattened properly. Rolling and flattening the dough gives the gluten networks time to adjust to the new shape of the dough.
- Your flour has a very high protein content. Using flour with a high protein content typically results in pizza dough that is very elastic and hard to stretch.
How does gluten in pizza dough work?
So what exactly is gluten and how does it help your pizza dough get its texture and structure? Gluten is actually a network of protein molecules that, once developed, gives your dough the springy, stretchy texture. The protein molecules are already present in the flour.
Once you add water and begin kneading the dough, these gluten networks start developing and strengthening. Kneading too less can lead to an insufficiently developed gluten network. Whereas kneading the dough for too long can lead to an overdeveloped gluten network.
Proper gluten development in pizza dough is very important if you want to get the perfect pizza crust. Poor gluten formation can result in a weak dough that won’t have a proper shape or structure and would easily break when stretched.
On the other hand, an overly developed gluten network can result in a dough that is very elastic and difficult to stretch.
How to fix pizza dough that is too elastic
If your pizza dough is too elastic and difficult to stretch, it could be a sign of an overly developed gluten network. To fix this, the dough needs to be stretched and rolled such that the protein bonds can adjust to the new shape of the dough and make it less elastic.
Here are some ways you can fix pizza dough that is too elastic:
1. Let the dough warm up
One of the most common causes of overly elastic pizza dough is cold temperature. At lower temperatures, the gluten bonds in the dough strengthen and make the dough tighter and more compact. This makes the dough harder to stretch.
To fix this, leave your pizza dough at room temperature for about half an hour to allow it to become warm. The gluten bonds will loosen up and the dough will become less elastic.
2. Add more oil
Adding more oil is another excellent way of fixing elastic dough. While adding more oil to the pizza dough doesn’t change the internal structure of the dough or interact with the gluten network, it will make the dough easier to handle and prevent it from tearing and sticking while you’re stretching it.
Adding two tablespoons of olive oil to the dough will do the job.
3. Flatten the dough before stretching
If your pizza dough is at room temperature, you can spread it out and start flattening it gradually before you stretch it. You might face resistance as the dough tries to return to its original position. But if done correctly, the dough will become easier to stretch once you press it out and flatten it.
To get started, use your three middle fingers on both hands to press the dough at the center and gently spread it out into a wider circle.
4. Use a low-protein flour
Flour that has a very high protein content can result in a very strong gluten network which can make the pizza dough overly elastic and very hard to stretch.
Flours that have the right protein content for making pizza dough include the Tipo 0 and Tipo 00 flours. These typically have an 11 to 12 percent gluten content, which is perfect for making pizza dough.
Why is my pizza dough not stretchy?
Having pizza dough that is nice and stretchy is important if you want to get the perfect pizza crust. But sometimes, due to some reasons, you can get pizza dough that is not stretchy at all. The most common reason behind a hard, dry, and difficult-to-stretch dough is a lack of proper gluten development.
Without proper gluten development, the gluten bonds and strands are quite tight, especially if the dough isn’t given time to rest for a while after kneading. Besides insufficient gluten development, a variety of other factors such as the temperature of the dough and the gluten content of the flour can also impact the dough’s stretchiness.
Making the perfect pizza dough is no easy feat. Often, the pizza dough doesn’t have the right texture, structure, or shape. A common problem faced by many is when pizza dough is too elastic. This usually happens if flour with a high gluten content is used or the dough is stored at cold temperatures. The problem can be usually fixed by letting the dough rest for a while so that it returns to room temperature.