How to Knead Pizza Dough

You’ve heard it at least one time before: kneading your pizza dough is crucial to pizza success. And it’s true. Kneading pizza provides the structure necessary for rising, turning rock-hard pizza dough into an airy and desirable dough. It just takes some pushing and twirling of the dough.

Hey! I’m Michelle, and I love making pizzas. At first, I hated kneading. I thought it was so time-consuming and challenging. As my love for making pizzas grew, I realized the importance of kneading and now find it to be lots of fun. Just think about the result while you’re doing it!

If this is your first time making pizza and you’re worried about kneading your dough correctly, congratulations – you’ve stumbled across the perfect blog. Below, you will learn exactly how to knead pizza dough for success. Don’t worry – it’s a lot easier than you think. 

Who’s ready to get their hands dirty?

Why is Kneading Necessary?

Some people think that it’s okay to skip kneading or not do it for as long as you’re supposed to. But the truth of the matter is, if you don’t knead correctly or for long enough, you will end up with hard, undesirable pizza. 

Kneading develops the strength and structure necessary for the pizza dough to rise. This is done by pushing, twisting, and turning the molecular ingredients of the dough (gluten and gliadin) until they form a chain of amino acids. 

This strong chain is then able to trap gasses inside of the dough, which allows it to rise. And, if you know anything about pizza dough, you know that rising will allow pizza dough to create soft, airy, and texturally desirable pizzas. Yum!

How to Knead Pizza Dough by Hand (3 Steps)

How do you do it? Well, if you’ve ever seen someone on tv or the movies kneading pizza, it looks like they’re simply pushing into the dough, turning it, twisting it, and doing it all over again. That’s essentially how it’s done. Let’s take a closer look, though.

Step 1: Start by Flouring Your Work Center

Whether you’re working directly onto your countertop or using another material, like a cutting board, it’s important to start by flouring your work center. Otherwise, the dough might stick to the surface, creating a time-consuming and sticky nuisance.

Step 2: Press Down, Fold, and Turn

My favorite method for kneading dough contains three parts: pressing, folding, and turning. 

  • Press down the ball of pizza dough using the palm of your hand
  • Connect the dough from edge to edge and press down once more
  • Turn the dough and fold the edges
  • Press the edges together and turn

If you’re thinking, “What did she just say?” You’re not alone. It can be somewhat difficult to explain something that should really be visualized instead. This video is a great video that accurately explains and depicts the press, fold, and turns method beautifully.

Step 3: Continue Kneading for 10 to 15 Minutes

This is the part that most people groan about, but it’s important. Not kneading your dough long enough will not allow it to create the structure necessary for rising. When using your hands to knead, you must continue for at least 10 to 15 minutes.

If your hands are getting tired, here are two tricks: think about the tasty pizza you’re going to consume in just a few short hours and/or turn on your favorite music and go to the beat of the tune.

How Do You Know When Pizza Dough is Kneaded Enough?

It’s important to know when your pizza dough has been kneaded enough. Overkneaded pizza dough will be sloppy and difficult to stretch, thus making it a challenge to make your pizza. That said, here are a few signs that your pizza dough is kneaded enough:

  • The dough is smooth with no lumps
  • Stickiness is minimal (some is okay)
  • It should be able to hold its shape well
  • Dough springs back when poked
  • The dough stretches without ripping (test – known as “windowpane test”)

How to Knead Dough Using a Mixer

If you don’t want to knead your pizza dough by hand, you can also consider using a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment. A stand mixer will make it a breeze to make pizza dough (and other foods), so it might be a great investment depending on how often you cook and/or bake.

To knead using a stand mixer, simply do the following:

Step 1: Add pizza dough ingredients to the mixing bowl and stir until combined.

Step 2: Attach the dough hook.

Step 3: Start the mixer on low and increase the speed slowly over a 30-second interval.

Step 4: Mix the dough at medium-high speed for a few minutes. If it’s too sticky, add a pinch of flour. If it’s too dry, add a little water.

Continue kneading the dough. Keep an eye on the dough. Look for signs of “doneness” – smooth, holds shape, springs back, stretch without ripping.

Here is a great video that shows how to use a stand mixer for kneading pizza dough.

FAQs

Kneading pizza dough isn’t challenging, whether you’re using your hands or a stand mixer. If you still have some prying questions about kneading dough, then check out these handy, frequently asked questions below.

What is the best way to knead pizza dough?

The “best” way will differ from person to person. I love to knead my dough by hand because I can feel when it is starting to form the strength and structure needed for rising. However, if I am in a rush, the stand mixer is a great option.

How long should you knead pizza dough?

If you’re kneading by hand, you should continue for at least 10 to 15 minutes. When using a stand mixer, the number varies. Typically, the dough should be ready anywhere between five and ten minutes.

Can pizza dough be over-kneaded?

Yes, pizza dough can be over-kneaded, which is why it is imperative to keep an eye on it whether you’re kneading by hand or using a stand mixer. The over-kneaded dough will be incredibly tough and won’t be able to be stretched or shaped. If it does, it will end up tearing.

Do you knead pizza dough before or after it rises?

You need to knead pizza dough before it rises. If you try to knead after rising, you will destroy the gas bubbles built inside the pizza dough. These are necessary for an airy and lightweight crust. Destroying them will render your pizza crust dense, flat, and undesirable.

How wet should pizza dough be?

Before kneading, pizza dough will be on the wet and sticky side. That’s why it’s important to flour your working area. While kneading, most of the moisture and stickiness will subside, although not entirely.

Final Words

Whether using a stand mixer or your hands, kneading pizza dough is critical to pizza-baking success. When using your hands, simply use the “Press, Fold, and Turn” method repetitively for 10 to 15 minutes. If using a dough hook, start slow and work to a medium-high speed.

Have you ever kneaded dough? Do you use my method, or do you have another method for kneading that you’d like to share? We want to hear from you! Comment below.

About Michelle
I have been a lover of sweets since day one. This led me on a self-taught baking journey starting at the age of 13. It's been over 10 years since the start of my baking adventures, and I’ve learned a lot along the way. Now, people rave about my delectable treats, whether it’s a chocolate cake or a strawberry crepe.

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