Tense pizza crust

Contributed by Preston Maring, MD

Tense pizza crust

A trusted colleague told me that my pizza crusts are too uptight and retract back into small pizzas despite her best attempts to make a 12" or 14" pizza.  I know what she means and have worked it out in a couple of ways. 

First, pizza dough, like many of us at the end of a day,  needs to relax.  After the first rise, divide the dough into appropriate portions, dust the dough ball liberally with flour, cover with a kitchen towel (dry one), and let rest for 20 minutes or so while you prepare the toppings.  You MAY be able to flatten it well enough on a liberally floured work surface with the palms of your hands without resorting to throwing it in the air like at pizzerias. 

Option two that always works is to go at it with a rolling pin.  This will make a real thin crust that is more or less normal size.  It takes some determination to get it sort of round but it doesn't matter.  I then roll the crust up on the rolling pin and unroll it on the wooden peel which has a liberal amount of cornmeal on it. 

The cornmeal acts like little ball bearings and makes it possible to slide the pizza off the peel unto the hot pizza stone in the oven without having half the pizza slide off and the other half stick to the peel with most of ingredients falling off unto the bottom of the oven (I've been there). 

Good luck. Soon I will share my new favorite best pizza ever.