Pizza is the number one comfort food in America, according to a Harris Poll. That means it makes our bellies feel full, and if we provide pizza as a product, it can also make our pockets a little fuller, too. Perhaps you’ve been making pizza for many years and have several methods for getting the dough just right. Or maybe you’re somewhat new to the pizza making process and could use some ideas. Regardless, check out the following tips for how to roll dough.
The Basics of How to Roll Dough
Rolling dough is an age-old process that has been around nearly as long as wheat itself. Some people don’t know this, but rolling the dough does a lot to enhance the flavor and texture of the end product. As the dough is rolled, air is pushed out of it and put inside as well. The dough itself has small pockets of air already inside, and sometimes these can add a nice texture to the pizza, bread or whatever else you are going to make with the rolled dough. Keeping some air inside the dough is, therefore, a good thing. It adds texture and character, making each piece unique.
The dough also gets its tenderness from the rolling process. When considering how to roll dough, it is important to keep this in mind. If you roll it too much, the tenderness may be compromised. This isn’t like grinding meat; it needs to be done with care and a sense of respect for the dough and what it’s ultimately going to be used for.
The First Steps in How to Roll Dough
You will want to start with a flat surface. Your kitchen has a lot of different spaces, but not all of them, flat or not, are going to work well for your dough-rolling base of operation. You need a little elbow room, so you can put your back into, so to speak. You also don't want to be worrying about something falling off the spice rack and making your pita taste more like pizza, so make sure you clear away any foreign objects. Once you have the space figured out, lightly flour the area. Add some flour to the rolling pin as well. This will help prevent the dough from sticking to either the rolling area or the pin itself. Some people choose to use a dough roller machine or even a dough sheeter machine. If you have access to these neat gadgets, the steps will, of course, be different.
Make the Right Size Ball of Dough
Knowing how to roll dough is only half of the solution. You also have to make sure the size of the dough ball is just right. Every pizza crust or bread has a different size, so there is no hard and fast rule. The best thing to do is experiment. Also, remember if you make the ball too big, you can’t compensate by making the crust or bread thicker. You may be trying to get some more of those great proteins found inside dough, but if that’s your aim, just make the end product bigger. If you try to make it thicker, the cook time will have to be significantly altered. Otherwise, your crust will end up being a little too chewy on the inside.
Once you have the right size ball of dough, it’s time to roll it out. For the sake of time, you may choose to use a rolling pin or even a machine for rolling dough. But you also have the option of doing it by hand. Hand-rolled dough has a nice extra bit of texture, and although it takes more work, the extra effort may be worth it. Also, when dough is rolled by hand, the shape can be customized easier, and this could add a nice little touch for the right customer.
No matter how you like to roll your dough, make sure you have a good time with it. These days, it seems like most of our food is just popped in a box until it’s hot. Getting some dough between your fingers—and maybe some flour on your nose—is a great way to get back to the basics of cooking the way it’s supposed to be done.