can someone advise me how to get pizza crust thinner? i work the dough & it just bounces back or rips. my pizzas are tarts!
Let the dough rest 24 hours in the 'fridge..and then bring back to room temp. Use a high gluten bread flour. Let it rest a few minutes after you form the disk and reform.
A thin crust is sometimes difficult to release from the peel...especially when you add toppings. Pre-bake the crust just bit, then add the toppings. This also keeps the sauce from making a soggy bottom crust. It will also keep it from bouncing back as it will start cooking the crust before it has a chance to creep back.
Some people dock the crust with a fork to prevent bubbles. I personally like the crunchy bubbles on a thin crust.
After you stretch it for awhile, cover it with a damp cloth, and let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes then stretch it some more. This usually allows the gluten to relax so you can get it thinner. Also, drape half of the round off the edge of a counter and let gravity pull it for you, rotating to maintain the shape.
Yeah, sounds like that dough needs to RELAX! Hopefully, it's not cold and it is room temp? Cover with a kitchen towel and let it rest untouched for 10 min. That should help a lot.
I bake my pizzas on parchment-lined sheet pans. And crank the oven as far as it will go. Preheat for a good half hour.
My dough also uses high gluten flour and gets an overnight rest in the refrigerator. Docking it is a pretty extreme step. I don't pre-bake (that's mission creep) but I do brush with olive oil including the outer "cornice" rim before adding whatever else is going on. And be sure to crank up your oven as high as possible; no lower than 500F. If you have an environment where you can cook outside, using lump charcoal you can get that over 600F.
By the way, pizza dough freezes really well.
Do try the pre-bake for a crispy crust. I only started doing that recently. It works wonderfully. And only takes a couple of mins. It basically seals the top of the dough..so your sauce doesn't make it soggy. But the best thing is once pre-baked--just a bit---you can decorate it and it slides off the peel with no jerking it about, deforming the crust and tossing out your toppings on the stone.
I am attempting to put specific hand motions into words, I hope this is helpful? To stretch a really thin crust I do the following: hold the dough in the air in front of you. Imagine you are making a steering wheel. Once you have a thick floppy symmetical wheel, shift the dough so that you get your hands are under it, elbows out a little, palms down. Using the backs of your fingers and your knuckles, stretch out the center of the dough first by pulling your hands apart; do this several times in different directions. The outside of the circle of dough is supported by the back of your hands and wrists. Once it is really thin grab the edge of the circle with both hands next to each other with a "pulling up the covers" type grip at 12 o' clock. Now hold it up high and let gravity pull it down; the edge of circle will stretch. Slowly rotate the circle clockwise by moving the left hand to 10 and then the right hand next to the left, always "righting" it to 12 o' clock as gravity does the work. I liken this motion to a movie character (OK Matt Damon in the Bourne Identity) dangling from a building by his hands and inching his way over to a conveniently open window, except this time it is the dough that's dangling instead of you (or Jason Bourne). I make my crust huge and paperthin before placing it on a cornmeal dusted peel (or upside down cookie sheet), because it will shrink a little as it relaxes. I pre-bake a 450 degrees F before adding sauce, etc. Because I like thin & crispy...
When Pierino doesn't like prebaking pizza dough, it's for a good reason. Because they don't do it in Italy. He has a proper respect for they way things should be done, not what's easiest. He doesn't open a bag of fries if he wants fries. He starts with a real potato.