Overworked pizza dough?

Joined Aug 15, 2003
I know there have been about a dozen posts related to this topic, but I couldn't find one that addressed my specific question in my search...so forgive me.

I LOVE to make homeade pizzas....few things are as tasty to me than a really good, chewy (but still crunchy on the outside) pizza crust, with some fresh mozz and a little tomato & basil. I could eat it everyday I think.

Most of the time, when I make the dough, I do everything fine...but it ends up not being really "stretchy." Like, I can shape it ok, and get it pretty thin, etc...but my main problem has always been that it "shrinks" back some...like pulls back (I'm sure you all know what I mean...I'll stretch it, but it'll just go right back). The taste is great, but I really want it a little thinner with a better formed "lip." BTW, I do this by hand.

OK...so I tried a new recipe to maybe try and correct this. Actually, it was really similar except this time I used a standing mixer paddle to mix, then the dough hook to nead. The recipe said to knead it on medium for 15(!) minute, then form it into a ball, cover, refrig overnight....ok.

I checked on it a few hours later to see if it needed to be punched...but it looked like it hadn't risen. I know the yeast was still good (saw bubbles :) )...and the dough seemed really hard, cold, and dense. Like, really dense.

So I figure I overworked it and worked the gluten.

BUT...is it supposed to be like that? I suspect not...I tore off a piece, put it in a little toaster oven, and it tasted really good (if not, well, a little dense).

My question is...sorry if this took too long, lol...did I overwork it? Or did I do it right? Used bread flour, BTW.

Any help would be appreciated.

Joined Aug 14, 2000
It sounds to me like you may be overworking your dough. In a stand mixer, try mixing the dough for 4-5 minutes, letting it rest for 5 minutes and then mixing for 2-3 minutes more. Pizza dough should be fairly "wet. It should clear the bottom and the sides of the bowl, but should be fairly soft. Scale the dough and let it sit at room temp for 15 minutes and then stick it in the fridge. THe next day let it sit at room temp for 3 hours before you use it.
Joined Mar 4, 2000
Also, you may be using too much flour. The amount in your recipe is just a guideline, so be aware of the consistency of your dough as you're mixing in the flour. As Kyle said, it should be a soft dough.
Joined Jan 15, 2001
Since my mixer broke I've been hand kneading all my doughs. I do what Kyle advices---I mix all the ingredients together(a somewhat wet dough) and let rest 5-10 min. Then I knead for about 5 min. I place in a oiled bowl and turn the dough twice during its 1 1/2-2 hr. rise. Then I scale, round, rest the dough pieces or just leave the dough in the fridge until the next day.
Joined May 29, 1999
You may also want to try to let the rolled out dough relax for a while in the cooler for an hour covered and you can do this over night and frozen too.

Let the gluten relax into it's form and then take out of the cooler, let warm in the room 5-15 min, and go with your routine.

When you work out, if you don't stretch before or after you may get tight, your muscels shirnk back!


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