How To Knead Pizza Dough

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How To Knead Pizza Dough By Hand

When I first started making pizza, the one thing that worried me was knowing how to knead pizza dough correctly.

I’ll let you in on a secret….

It’s not that hard!

It is a very important step to making the perfect pizza dough.

In this article i’m going to go into why we knead pizza dough but more importantly how. Ill also answer some of the most common questions I had when I started making my own homemade pizza dough.

Lets get started…

Kneading Pizza Dough By Hand

It’s tempted to reach for that electric mixer, it’s going to be easier right?

Its actually pretty easy to knead pizza dough by hand and it does a few positive things for your dough.

First and foremost, it allows you to get the best feel for how much flour is actually in there without any instruments.

Secondly kneading by hand will give you that great stretchy pizza dough!

It really helps develop those strands of gluten which produce the perfect chewy texture we all love about homemade pizzas.

Kneading with your hands is better than when the machine does it.

With this dough, when it looks like there is not enough flour add more gradually instead of letting a mixer do everything for you.

Why Knead Pizza Dough?

Kneading the dough stretches the gluten strands, which keeps them elastic.

This way it is easier to stretch the dough into a pizza shape with less chance of tearing or ripping during baking.

This is also what gives homemade pizzas that chewy texture instead of a crunchy one like other flatbreads and breadsticks.

Kneading dough is important. It means you mix the yeast or baking powder with the rest of the dough so it will get mixed up and there will be an even distribution.

If you don’t do this, then some parts might not rise or have areas that are dense or undercooked.

It’s not just about getting air bubbles into your dough though either, it’s important because they help keep the gas inside after cooking. That helps it to be light and bouncy.

Kneading Pizza Dough By Hand Video

Check out some of my favourite videos on how to knead pizza dough by hand;

How To Knead Pizza Dough?

  • First of all make sure you have fully washed your hands and make sure they are completely dry.
  • Empty the dough onto a floured surface and begin to gather the dough into a ball.
  • We then want to do what is known as “punching” the dough. You basically press down with the heel of your hand. Pushing the dough forward. It’s this that helps to get the gluten working. Roll it back up, rotate and repeat.
  • You then want to begin kneading by pressing with the heel of your hand in a rocking motion into the centre of the dough for about 20-30 seconds before turning 45 degrees and repeating. Continue doing this for 5-10 minutes

Knowing When To Stop Kneading

After around 10 minutes of kneading the dough should be smooth and elastic, if not knead for a few more minutes.

If the dough is still sticky then add some more flour. (But bear in mind this will impact its final hydration %)

Next you want to test if the dough will hold its shape when stretched. Drop it to the surface from a height of about six inches.

If it deforms quickly, knead for another few minutes.

If the dough bounces back easily and springs back into shape after being dropped then you’ve finished kneading!

Finally you want to check how firm the dough is. It should be pliable. The dough should spring back when you press your finger into it.


How Long Should You Knead Pizza Dough?

The answer to this question is it depends on who you ask.

I recommend leaving your dough for at least 20-30 minutes before kneading it.

This allows the gluten strands to loosen up and it also makes for easier kneading when you come back to it.

I would knead pizza dough for about 5-10 minutes.

Why Does Pizza Dough Need To Rest?

I like to give the dough time to rest before I Knead it so that it becomes softer and easier to stretch. This is going to make kneading a lot less stressful.

It’s good to do this before kneading as it gives the flour time to absorb the water. This is called “autolyse”.

Simply mix the ingredients in a bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave it for 30 minutes. Comeback and it will be combined and much easier to knead.

Can You Over Knead Pizza Dough?

Even though kneading your pizza dough is very important, yes you can over knead it.

I would suggest kneading it for 5 minutes and seeing how it is. You shouldn’t knead it for more than 10 minutes.

The crust becomes tough and bready which isn’t what anyone wants! Less really can be more sometimes with pizza.

Bottom Line

So now you know how to knead pizza dough.

The next time you’re in the mood for some pizza, try kneading your dough by hand.

It may take a little more effort than using your mixer but it will be well worth it when you bite into that perfect slice of homemade pizza! 

As you can see its very simple and many people do overcomplicate the kneading process by worrying too much.

Just go for it, have fun and practice. The more you knead pizza dough, the more comfortable you will get.

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