Pizza is a versatile and beloved food that has been enjoyed for centuries across the globe. While the traditional round shape is the most commonly seen, stretching pizza dough into a rectangle can be a fun and unique way to switch things up in the kitchen.
However, if you’re not familiar with the technique, it can seem like a daunting task. But fear not, as with a few simple steps and some practice, anyone can master the art of stretching pizza dough into a perfect rectangle.
Let us take you through a step-by-step guide on stretching pizza dough into a rectangle, so you can impress your family and friends with your homemade rectangular pizzas. So, grab your rolling pin and let’s get started!
How Does One Roll Out Dough Into A Rectangle?
To master the art of rolling dough takes practice and time to perfect this basic skill. Opt for a high-quality rolling pin like a heavy French-style one without handles to gain more control over your dough.
If you want to achieve a roughly rectangular shape when rolling dough, it’s best to start with a rectangular shape. Roll from the center outwards rather than from edge to edge for greater control and to avoid having thin edges.
To apply even pressure and prevent the dough from sticking to the counter, be sure to turn the dough occasionally while rolling it. While yeast dough can be stretched, the pastry should be handled gently and coaxed into shape.
Don’t worry if your dough isn’t perfectly shaped with straight edges and square corners. You can trim the final shape with a pizza wheel or sharp knife.
To create straight sides and right angles in your dough, you can use the side of your hand or a dough scraper to push the sides. Only roll out parallel to one of the sides and rotate by 90 degrees between each roll to prevent the dough from sticking.
After every few rolls, gently pull the corners and push the sides to reshape the rectangle and reform the corners. Making small adjustments each time the dough becomes misshapen should help you create a neat rectangle shape.
How To Shape A Rectangular Pizza?
The following guide will show you how to shape your pizza into a rectangle, square, or any shape you wish. With the right pan, you might even be able to shape your pizza into a star. You have the world at your fingertips!
The First Step: Choosing the Right Proving Container
You can use any type of container to prove your dough but choosing a square or rectangular one can make shaping easier.
Several types of containers can be used, such as Tupperware containers, square bowls, or square glass dishes. It will work well with any square food-safe container.
The dough will take on the shape of the container with four corners, making your life a little easier when getting it to the corners of the baking tray when it’s in a container with four corners.
I recommend generously coating the proving container in oil before you start proving it. Ideally, the dough should be able to slide out easily from the container when needed.
Second Step: Put The Dough On A Baking Tray Coated With Oil
Pour in EV olive oil a few tablespoons at a time. You can use more oil if you don’t care about your waistline, but if you don’t, you can get away with just a few teaspoons.
Don’t add too little or too much oil. You’ll either end up with a sticking mess or dripping oil. The dough gets an extra crispy texture from this oil since it has a deep-frying effect.
Third Step: Oil The Dough
The pizza dough should be thoroughly coated with oil before baking to prevent it from sticking to the tray.
This will prevent the dough from sticking to the tray in the oven and prevent the dough from drying out so that you can stretch it easier.
Adding all this oil will really add flavor to your meals. It doesn’t exactly seem healthy, but it tastes heavenly.
Fourth Step: Stretch Out The Dough To The Edges Of The Pan
The dough is now nicely stretched and ready for a pizza after everything has been oiled up.
Here, you can stretch the dough to the edges or flatten it evenly by poking your fingers and knuckles into it.
You will most likely feel the dough spring back at you at this point because the gluten can tighten up easily. In the case of cold dough, you’ll definitely have it springing back and a difficult time shaping it.
Proceed to the next step if you cannot get it to the edges.
Fifth Step: Relax And Stretch The Dough Again (Optional)
Working with dough can be quite challenging if you don’t know what you’re doing. You might stretch it only to find that it immediately springs back to its original form.
A dough that pulls itself back after stretching is just a sign that the gluten is tense. The only thing left to do is let it rest for a while.
Allowing the dough to rest for 10-15 minutes at room temperature is sufficient. The next time you stretch it out, you will find that it is much softer.
It is best to leave the dough to warm up if it is cold. Let it sit for 20-30 minutes and see if it is still workable after that. It should be easy to stretch out if you’re lucky.
Gluten relaxes during this resting period, so you’ll have no problem getting it to the edges.
Sixth Step: Make Some Pizza!
You can begin cooking the rectangular pizza as soon as you have shaped it.
After you top the dough and bake it, you can either allow it to prove before topping and baking or bake it right away after topping it.
When You Stretch Pizza Dough, Does It Tear?
If you notice that your pizza dough is tearing while you’re stretching it out, you’re likely pulling it too wide in areas where it cannot expand.
To cover any holes or very thin spots in your dough, fold a small section of the pizza dough over the area.
Push together the layers and ensure there isn’t too much flour on the dough to form a strong crust base in that area again.
Remember to be gentle with your dough! Avoid stretching thinning areas and instead focus on thick sections. When the dough has stretched to the size of the pizza tray, transfer it to a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and a little bit of olive oil.
Once you’ve stretched your pizza dough to the desired size, you can push it towards the outer edges of the tray if it has more stretch left in it. Once your pizza dough is properly stretched and positioned on the tray, it will be baked to perfection.
Is It Necessary To Use A Lot Of Flour To Stretch Pizza Dough?
Flour is a helpful ally when stretching pizza dough, but it should only be used in moderation. After dusting your cutting board with flour (using approximately half a tablespoon), you can stretch the dough without adding any additional flour.
While stretching the dough, it’s important to lightly dust it with flour to prevent it from sticking to itself and contracting back into a ball. This will also assist in maintaining the shape of the dough during the stretching process.
Do You Have To Toss Pizza Dough In The Air To Stretch It?
You don’t need a lot of workspace to stretch pizza dough, a large cutting board should be enough. In addition, I recommend using a technique where you use your knuckles to stretch the dough from underneath.
This method doesn’t involve tossing the dough in the air, so you won’t have to worry about overhead fans or anything like that.
While I’ll share a guide for stretching pizza dough in the air someday, I find this method of stretching dough on a cutting board to be very effective.
Can Cold Pizza Dough Be Stretched?
Stretching cold pizza dough can be more challenging because cold ingredients tend to shrink. For best results, it’s recommended to work with dough at room temperature or a slightly warmed ball of dough.
Working with dough can be like an art project, and you can often tell by touch whether a dough ball is ready to be stretched or not. Although cold pizza dough can still be stretched, it’s less forgiving and can develop holes during stretching.
It’s best to let cold pizza dough sit out for 30 minutes or follow my recommendations for using a window to let the pizza rise.
Alternatively, you can use a frozen pizza crust if you’re in a hurry. With so many options, you can easily make pizza that tastes as if it came from a restaurant.
Rolling pizza dough with a pin is not recommended. If your dough is difficult to stretch, it requires more time.
It’s normal for wheat dough to tighten up as you work with them but allowing it to rest for 10-15 minutes will make it easier to stretch. If the dough resists stretching and springs back or tears, it requires more resting time.
Now that you have mastered the art of stretching pizza dough into a rectangle, you can experiment with different toppings and flavors to create a unique and delicious pizza.
Whether you’re hosting a dinner party or simply craving a homemade slice, this technique will elevate your pizza game to the next level. Remember, practice makes perfect, so don’t be afraid to try this technique multiple times until you feel confident.
With a little bit of patience and dedication, you’ll be able to impress your taste buds and those of your friends and family with your rectangular pizza-making skills. So go ahead, get creative, and enjoy your delicious homemade rectangular pizza!