Shaping your pizza dough into balls before use is an important step. If shaped correctly the balls will tend to expand evenly as they rise, rather than slumping into puddles and sticking together in your tray. They will also be easier to stretch into a nice round pizza base. There are several good methods of making a dough ball but the key principle is to stretch the ‘skin’ of the dough around the ball to create surface tension. This surface tension is what helps the dough ball to hold its shape. This method works well but you can use any method which creates a tight ball.
- Once you have finished preparing your dough according to your pizza dough recipe of choice, take a lump of dough weighed out to make one base.
- Sprinkle a little flour on the dough and your working surface to prevent sticking if necessary. Don’t overdo the flour at this point though, as you want the dough to stick to itself as you form the ball.
- Flatten the dough with the palm of your hand.
- Fold the dough in half.
- Fold the dough again, so that it is now folded into quarters.
- Turn the dough so that the folds are underneath, and you have a flat surface on top. Make a ‘karate chop’ shape with each hand, and press the bottom of each hand against the top of the dough, on the left and right sides.
- Applying pressure, squeeze the top of the dough over itself with the sides and bottoms of your hands and pinch together underneath.
- Keeping the bottom of the dough ball squeezed together, move one hand forwards and the other backwards. The dough ball should rotate in your hands while it squeezes together underneath.
- If necessary, you can pinch together the bottom a little to neaten up, or repeat the previous step. You should end up with a nice round dough ball! Dust the dough ball well with flour and set aside while you roll up the rest of your batch of dough.