Why is pizza dough shrinking? (As Well as What to Do About It)

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Cooking pizza from scratch is typically many times more difficult than heating up a frozen pizza purchased at the grocery. But, the added effort and stress of battling the dough and attempting to get the texture exactly perfect is well worth it for the flavor.

If you want to bake your own pizzas, you need make sure you know how to cope with certain typical pizza-making issues.

When you make pizza from scratch, it is not a simple task. The pizza dough may be difficult to deal with, and no one likes delicate dough.

That being said, if you understand what’s going on with the dough and know what to look for, you’ll find it much simpler to spot and address issues before they leave your pizza dough worthless. One of the most typical issues with pizza dough is its propensity to shrink.

Shrinking pizza dough is generally most visible as you attempt to roll it out to prepare it for toppings and sauces.

You will stretch the dough out, roll it to the correct dimensions, turn around to collect the sauce for the pizza, then turn around again to see that the dough has shrunk several inches in size.

This occurrence is not as unusual as many people imagine.

What Is Causing it?

The difficulty stems from the fact that the gluten network in the pizza dough is a little stronger than it should be. When the gluten in the dough is causing issues, it will continue to rise.

Since there is only a limited quantity of dough, if the gluten inside it causes it to expand in volume, it will begin to shrink in diameter as it utilizes the dough to move higher.

This may also occur if the gluten inside the pizza dough is cold. When the dough is not warm enough, it is more likely to snap back into a smaller form, most likely the original shape in which the dough was kept.

This creates a problem since most individuals do not keep their pizza dough in the form of a pizza.

How Do You Fix the Problem?

There are various approaches you might take to address the issue. Some of these characteristics will be more focused on providing a better environment for you to mold the pizza dough in, while others will need a fresh batch of dough and more time.

At its heart, you’ll want to ensure that the components of the pizza dough are exactly where they should be. Several varieties of pizza dough are intended to have high-protein and high-gluten to achieve the desired crust quality, but in the incorrect environment, this may lead to a slew of problems.

If you know you’re going to be dealing with high-gluten flour, you should attempt to choose one with a lower protein concentration, particularly one that’s between 11.5% and 12.8%.

With a reduced protein concentration but a high gluten content, you may still have the proper texture of pizza dough, but not enough protein for the dough to remember its former shape.

This reduces the length of time the dough snaps back into place, giving you more time to mold and shape the pizza into what you want it to be.

Since chilly rooms might create protein difficulties, you should wait until the dough you’re dealing with is at room temperature. No matter how anxious you are for your pizza, it will be worth your time to wait for the dough to reach room temperature so that you may make a pizza without concentrating on the more difficult components of it.

As you’re waiting for the dough to come to room temperature, brush a tiny quantity of olive oil over the surface where you’ll be working with it.

You’ll only need two or three teaspoons for this, and don’t be scared to get it all over your hands. The olive oil will not only keep the pizza from adhering to the cutting board as the added gluten puffs it up, but it will also promote a crispy crust.

You’ll need to flatten the dough before you can start stretching it. This is a normal element of the stretching and prepping of the dough process. Consider it similar to stretching before participating in a strenuous athletic event.

You should push the dough out from the center using the palm of your hand and your middle three fingers, making a flat dish that is no more than half an inch thick.

This will also assist since you will be able to utilize your body warmth to warm up the dough a little bit more, making it more malleable and less likely to shrink the instant you place it down on the table.

A Quick Fix for in the Moment

If you’ve recently realized that your pizza dough is shrinking more than it should and you’re in the middle of creating pizza and can’t stop for the time being, you may attempt a fast remedy on the dough you’re working with.

This may not be as effective as some of the other preventive steps discussed above, but it will suffice in an emergency.

You’ll want to make the dough as flat as possible, and after it’s flat, you’ll want to place an overturned mixing bowl over it to keep it airtight for a little. Let the dough to rest in this position for approximately 10 minutes.

If your kitchen is chilly and you have a warm location in your home, transfer the dough there to wait. The additional time to rest and the warmth from the sun will both help relax the gluten, while the bowl will assist maintain the moisture in the dough.


How do you fix shrinking pizza dough?

Rest again if necessary.

If your dough progressively shrinks, that is completely acceptable; however, if it snaps back fast, rest the dough for 15 to 20 minutes under a clean kitchen towel and repeat step 3 until the dough keeps its form.

Why does my pizza dough keep shrinking back up?

When stretched, if your dough is not sufficiently prepared, it will want to return to its original ball form. If your dough resists stretching, it may need to prove for longer before baking. Just leave the dough at room temperature for a little longer to let the gluten to grow more.

How do I fix my pizza dough?

If your pizza dough rips after you’ve already put the toppings, a traditional Italian quick-fix is to quickly remove the toppings and then fold the dough in half like a calzone. Next, lay basil beneath the ripped part, flip over, and re-add toppings.

How long should pizza dough sit out before rolling?

The dough should be warmed up.

Allowing the dough to lie at room temperature for 30 minutes to relax the gluten is the first stage in rolling out pizza dough. Because of the protein in gluten that makes pizza dough chewy and stretchy, warming cold dough makes it simpler to roll out or hand stretch pizza dough.

What happens if you overwork pizza dough?

When too much flour is added, the dough becomes hard and rigid. Overworking the dough, whether by hand or with a roller, may produce this. Overworking the dough will cause all of the small bubbles that make the pizza crust so light and fluffy when cooked to burst. The kind of flour you choose might also contribute to the firm crust.

Can you fix pizza dough that didn’t rise?

If your prep location is too chilly, look for warmer spots in your kitchen, such as close to a stove or heater, to set the dough bowl while it rises. If all else fails, try putting the bowl holding the dough in a warm water bath to hasten its rise.

How long should you knead pizza dough?

The procedure usually takes 10 to 12 minutes, but if you use a stand mixer with a dough hook, it will take around 8 to 10. These are some of 11 Inch Pizza’s best recommendations for kneading your dough to perfection: Make sure you’re kneading on a clean surface.

What happens if you leave pizza dough to rise too long?

Pizza dough that has been over-proofed or has been allowed to rise for too long may collapse. The gluten gets too loosened, and the finished result is gummy or crumbly rather than crisp and airy.

Should you knead pizza dough twice?

The initial kneading creates and organizes gluten, resulting in a smooth and elastic dough. It may now retain gases and enable the dough to expand in bulk. The second knead breaks apart these huge CO2 bubbles.

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