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Problems with dough on first Pizza

headruschheadrusch Posts: 13
So I attempted my first pizza last night.  Although it look like a child of Dr. Frankenstein, it tasted wonderful.  My main issue was with the dough.  I do not have a stand mixer so I had to mix the dough by hand.  Was very difficult to get the dough smooth and stretchy. Also after completing the dough and letting it sit, supposedly it was supposed to rise and grow in size by almost double. My dough did not change a bit, making it very difficult to roll out to make into a pizza.

Does anyone have any tips or tricks on methods to make dough by hand without a mixer?


  • Carolina QCarolina Q Posts: 12,720
    edited May 2014
    Try Lahey's no knead dough. 

    EDIT: As for the rising problem, you might have old/dead yeast. Try a new packet.

    As for the shape, taste has no shape. :) However, in order to form a round pizza, you need to start with a round dough ball. Here's how to do that...

    If you have refrigerated the dough, put it out on the counter (still covered) for two hours before shaping. It will be much easier to shape and stretch at room temp. Shape the dough like this (stop watching when he gets to the rolling pin part :) ). I've never used the semolina dip he demos at the beginning. I just dust with a little flour.

    Good luck!

    I hate it when I go to the kitchen for food and all I find are ingredients!


    Central Connecticut 

  • headruschheadrusch Posts: 13
    Yeah those definitely will help with forming the dough.  I think my issue came from the actual mixing of the dough.  I did not have NEARLY that amount of stretchiness in my dough.  Mine was a bit stiffer than that. I used the recipe on the BGE website, perhaps I did not use enough water? 
  • xiphoid007xiphoid007 Posts: 524
    If u want to make your own pizza dough then you need time and forearm muscles! It takes a lot of kneading to make the gluten that allows the pizza dough stretch without ripping. If u want to do it, this is how.

    Use the right flour! You need high protein bread flour. Look for the kind that says better for bread machines.

    Use good yeast. You want instant yeast. That's he kind you can add right to the dry ingredients without proofing. Keep it in the fridge or freezer. Yeast is a living organism, and if it dies, your dough will not rise.

    Mix mix your dough per the recipe, reserving about 1/2c of flour from the total. Slowly mix and knead until it just doesn't stick to the board. Try not to work in too much flour. Now let the dough rest for 10-15 min for the liquid to absorb. Cover with a clean towel.

    Now the fun. You have to knead the dough until the "baker's window" forms. To check for this, pull off a small ball of dough and flatten it out. Act like you're making a tiny little pizza. Stretch it out. If you can stretch it thin enough to see light through it, like a little window, without it tearing, you're done. If the dough tears first, you have more work to do. In my stand mixer this takes 15min. By hand it could take 30.

    You have 2 options from here.

    Option 1: let rise in a warm (not hot) dry place covered with plastic wrap so it doesn't dry out until it doubles. This will take 1-2 hrs. Knock out the air, form into balls depending on how big you want the individual pizzas, and set on the table covered again. Let rise a second time for another 30-60 min. Rock and roll!

    Option 2: place in an oiled bowl in the fridge and let rise overnight. Take out, punch down, portion. And let rise a second time for 2hrs. The dough needs to warm up, which is why this second rise is longer. Keep covered so it doesn't dry out. Rock and roll!

    Real dough by hand is a big undertaking. I don't think I'd do it without a mixer, but that's me. If I were you I'd either get a mixer or buy fresh dough from a local pizzeria. It's just not worth the time for me to knead, but that's just me.

    Hope this helps and have fun! Homemade pizza on the grill is better than. Any other, and it is a blast to make with your kids/grandkids.

    I also like to use cornmeal to help the dough slide onto the stone. I also like the roasted flavor of the cornmeal with the pizza, but that's just my preference. You could just make on parchment too, but it find that just ignites on my grill!
    Pittsburgh, PA - 1 LBGE
  • Carolina QCarolina Q Posts: 12,720
    One thing you should always do is measure ingredients by weight, not volume. Especially the flour. It's easy to be WAY off if you just scoop it out of the bag. Even if the water amount was correct, if you had too much or too little flour, then the water amount (and everything else) would be wrong too. Any decent baking recipe will provide weights. If it doesn't, I'd find another recipe. You'll need a kitchen scale of course, but if you're going to be doing much baking, you'll want one anyway. I use mine for all kinds of stuff, not just baking.

    If you try the no knead dough, mix all the dry ingredients well and then add the water,.Be sure to mix thoroughly. If you don't, you will find clumps of raw flour when you start to stretch out the dough. And in the finished product.

    I hate it when I go to the kitchen for food and all I find are ingredients!


    Central Connecticut 

  • CookinbobCookinbob Posts: 1,690
    I have used the no knead (and no mixer ) dough recipe from Artisan Bread in Five.  A copy is attached.  Only catch is that you should make it up at least a day before you want to use it, though this always makes better pizza dough if it has a chance to age a bit.
    XLBGE, Small BGE, Homebrew and Guitars
    Rochester, NY
  • jllbmsjllbms Posts: 381
    Option 3. Buy a $70 bread machine. Effortless pizza dough in 90 minutes. Literally, set and forget.
    Kemah, TX
  • stemc33stemc33 Posts: 3,567
    +1 on the bread machine.
    Mini Max with Woo stone combo, LBGE, iGrill 2, Plate Setter, 
    two cotton pot holders to handle PS
    Banner, Wyoming
  • CookinbobCookinbob Posts: 1,690
    I have a bread machine, and it does do an OK job, but I never use it, nor do I buy the pre-made dough at the grocery store.  For me it takes some of the fun out of making pizza.  If I am in a hurry for Pizza I order out.
    XLBGE, Small BGE, Homebrew and Guitars
    Rochester, NY
  • henapplehenapple Posts: 15,983
    Flour Water Salt Yeast. ...great book.
    Green egg, dead animal and alcohol. The "Boro".. TN 
  • Drphil9001Drphil9001 Posts: 29
    Make sure the yeast is fresh. When you proof it if no bubbles form it is old/dead. Throw it out and head to the store for some more.
  • hmmm. I just made pizza this past weekend. I used the yeast that you mix with H2O and it worked great. No extensive kneading. I did use a mixer for a few minuets, then hand knead a few minutes then placed in a greased bowl and let it set at room temp for two hours, then punched it down. Repeated this three times over the coarse of the day...awesome crust! Follow this and remember to let the coals burn off til no smoke before you place it on the egg. I need to make mine smaller. I seem to make it too big and the peel cannot lift it up. Sauce and topping everywhere but the pizza. lol
  • NPHuskerFLNPHuskerFL Posts: 16,779
    henapple said:

    Flour Water Salt Yeast. ...great book.


    LBGE 2013 & MM 2014
    Flying Low & Slow in "Da Burg" FL
  • I have a Zojirushi bread machine we've used to make pizza dough for nearly a year now.  I wouldn't recommend anything else.  I'm still waiting to do my first pizza on the egg, but when I do I'll be using my 'Rushi dough, fo sho.
  • jcasparyjcaspary Posts: 1,479
    Saw posts that mentioned the need to use newer yeast.  If you happen to have some older yeast, some of the newer ovens have a proof setting allowing for low heat to help activate the yeast.  I have had the same problem before.  The last time I made pizza I used the proof setting and the dough was the best I have made. 
    XL BGE, LG BGE, and a hunger to grill everything in sight!!!
    Joe- Strongsville, OH
  • stemc33stemc33 Posts: 3,567
    Earlier in this thread I promoted using a bread machine. I must retract that statement. Although it works and it's easy, it's by far from the best. I wish I could find the article or YouTube video that explains the fermentation/breakdown process involved in making dough. It might have been something that @Carolina Q‌ posted. I'm thinking it's one of the Tony Gemignani's videos though. By letting it set overnight, it becomes much stretchier and it's easier to make thin pizzas. I couldn't believe how much stretchier my dough became by just letting it stay in the refrigerator overnight.

    Basically, I think it all depends on what kind of pizza you want when deciding on the method of preparing your dough. I definitely want to try the How to Make Authentic Chicago Deep Dish Pizza in Two Hours or Less posted by @Carolina Q‌ (see link below), but I think thin pizza is better when it sits overnight.
    Mini Max with Woo stone combo, LBGE, iGrill 2, Plate Setter, 
    two cotton pot holders to handle PS
    Banner, Wyoming
  • Hungry JoeHungry Joe Posts: 1,532

    I use this recipe and have had excellent results and very manageable dough. The secrete is the "00" flour. This dough works well with a 600-650 degree stone.

  • RaleighGuyRaleighGuy Posts: 207
    Did you use instant yeast that you just throw in with your dry ingredients, or did you use real yeast which you have to mix with water and let sit for about 15 min? Did you throw real yeast in with the dry ingredients before blooming in water?


    Raleigh, NC

  • anzyegganzyegg Posts: 1,104
    I purchase the dough from pizza stores. They are only $1.50 and it is way worth the no hassle make pizza now.
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