Pizza – How to Shape Dough into a Pizza by Hand

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 151,072
    Pizza expert Ruth Gresser demonstrates how to shape dough into pizza by hand.

    Ruth Gresser

    Owner and chef Ruth Gresser grew up cooking with her mother, who owned a catering business in Baltimore, Md. Ms. Gresser cooked her way through Grinnell College in Iowa before moving to San Francisco, where she cooked for several years at Friends a Cafe and at Le Trou Robert. In 1987, she graduated summa cum laude from Madeleine Kamman's Classical and Modern French Cooking School in Glen, NH. She then moved to Washington, DC, where she has helped open four popular restaurants: Pizzeria Paradiso Dupont Circle, Pizzeria Paradiso Georgetown, Blue Plate and Obelisk. Ms. Gresser has been the recipient of numerous awards and distinctions, including the Women's Chefs and Restaurateurs Madeleine Kamman Scholarship and a guest chef appearance at Alice Waters' renowned Chez Panisse in Berkeley, CA. She has also been profiled in The Washington Post Magazine, The Washington Business Journal and by Georgetown University Television. Ms. Gresser has been a chef demonstrator, contributor and panelist for The Smithsonian Institution and for FreshFarm Markets in Washington, DC. She is a member of Les Dames d'Escoffier and Women Chefs and Restaurateurs.

    Hi, I am Ruth Gresser from Pizzeria Paradiso, we are making pizza today. Right now we're going to take the pizza dough and shape it into the pizza. So, as you will see the dough after it's second rise, it's very soft, very moist, and light, and it's in this nice round shape, which is great because you're making a round pizza. So, I have got some flour on the counter. I'm going to put some more flour on the pizza dough itself. The first way I'm going to show you to make the dough, or shape the pizza is to do it all by hand. In order to do that, the first thing you want to do is you want to flatten the dough and press all of the air out of the pizza. So, you're just going to take your fingertips and flatten the dough, just like this. As you can see with this pizza dough, it's very airy, it has got a lot of yeast activity, which is a great thing. So, when it gets to be about this size, and I am making individual size pizzas with this dough, so when it gets to be about this size, you actually take it off the counter, pick it up, put it between your hands. You hold your hands in this manner, put the dough on your fingers, and pull the dough with the tips of your fingers and your thumb, and then turn it, and pull, and turn and pull. You want to do this consistently around the pizza so that you maintain it's round shape. The next thing that you can do, once you get to a certain size, is you want to just stretch it a little bit more in the center without stretching it all, while leaving some thickness towards the outside. So, if you take the pizza dough and basically hold it between your thumb and fingers, and pull as you move the dough around, and you're just stretching it slightly. You can see I'm not doing big movements, but I'm just stretching it slightly as I'm turning the dough through my hands. Again, you come out with basically a round shape. Now, this pizza dough is pretty much done. It's about a nine inch pizza, which is what you want, and it was fairly fast, fairly simple. So, I'm just going to put this pizza dough aside, and we will move on to another one.