There are several ways to determine whether your pizza dough is done or not. This article will discuss some pointers and details to how To tell if pizza dough is kneaded enough?
When making pizza, many people believe that it does not matter what technique they use as long as they know the pizza dough is done. However, it may not be easy to know when the dough is done. It is mainly about the technique that gives you the best comfort and result. You can knead your dough the way you want as long as it comes out great.
Kneading means mixing your dough. It is crucial in making pizza dough because it needs a sure consistency. However, it is sometimes portrayed as a very messy task to do. It is done on a flavored work surface with the aid of hands. This is why it is sometimes dubbed as messy, although it does not have to be that way.
Kneading is vital because it improves the quality of the dough. When making your pizza dough, you will want it to be strong and stretchy enough to prevent it from breaking down. It can be hard to tell whether your pizza is ready or not because it is not possible to tell by just looking at it. The dough might appear to be good from the outside, but how will you be sure that it has become an excellent dough for making pizza?
Here is a list of things to look for in your pizza dough to tell if it is well kneaded. Take a look and see whether your dough has these components.
A Smooth Dough
If you start with the regular dough, it will be naturally rough and lumpy. This means that you will have to do a lot of kneading in order to make your pizza dough strong enough. Once you start kneading your dough, you will notice some visible changes, such as the lumps continuously getting smaller until they all disappear at once.
The dough will start as a mini ocean of sticky flour, and you will notice some small lumps or spikes. You can reduce this by adding some flour, although kneading will work well to remove the lumps.
You can use the flour on your workspace to make your pizza dough less sticky so that you can knead it evenly. Therefore, you will have to continue kneading instead of adding more flour than the recommended amount.
After kneading with your hand for about 10 minutes, you will realize that there will be some noticeable changes in your pizza dough. The dough will start to smoothen up and have a stretchier texture.
To know if the pizza dough is smoothed, you can make a ball and leave it on the surface. If your dough naturally forms an excellent spherical shape without lumps, then it will have been appropriately kneaded.
Pizza dough usually has a lot of water because it needs to activate the yeast inside. It also gives a crispier finish to the dough. Therefore, it is natural that the dough will start off sticky.
Kneading will help to remove the stickiness of your pizza dough. When you begin, you will find it challenging to get the dough off your hands when kneading because the water will not have been evenly distributed yet.
This is one of the most significant things that kneading your dough does. It hydrates the dough properly and keeps the moisture so that the yeast inside it is activated. It is also part of the smoothness test.
When the dough smoothens, it will become less sticky because the dry ingredients will combine to have the water evenly.
The Dough Should Hold Its Shape
Kneading usually makes the pizza dough get strong. If you merely move the ingredients around and mix them, the gluten in the pizza dough will tighten up and make it stronger eventually. Gluten is the key component that holds together the pizza dough. On a microscopic scale, it is like spiral rubber and needs to prevent the pizza dough from ripping off.
Typically, it will make your pizza dough stretchy too. While the gluten is somehow loose, you will find out that some parts of your dough can be stretched while others will rip open and make a whole.
One of the best ways to test if the gluten in your pizza dough has been activated is by holding the ball of the dough with one of your hands in the air for seconds. The dough will be good if it holds its shape. When the pizza dough sags very quickly, then it means that the gluten still needs more stretching. Therefore, you will have to keep kneading the dough until it can hold its shape when held up.
You can also test it by stretching your dough. A pizza dough that has been kneaded well does not easily rip when you stretch it. The consistency will hold up your dough in space. If the gluten in your dough is not stretchy enough, you will notice that the dough will come apart easily when you stretch it.
The Windowpane Test
The Windowpane test can be a good indicator of how well your pizza dough has been kneaded. Once the dough passes this test, then no more kneading should be done. The test is simple. Get the ball of your dough, then lift it in the air. Stretch the dough apart to about seven inches using your index fingers and the pinky fingers to make something like a rectangular plane.
Hold it up to any light source or window, and you should see the light through the dough. If the pizza dough holds up without any ripping and the light shines through, then it will be good enough. This is due to the gluten that was stretched in it. If the gluten is activated properly, then it will automatically hold up the dough.
If you are preparing pizza dough for the first time, then you can begin with a small ball of dough the size of a golf ball or a tennis ball and stretch it. With time, you will do it with the whole pizza dough.
The Poke Test
The Poke test is also related to the gluten inside the pizza dough. It is very easy, and you will only need one of your fingers and the ball of the pizza dough. After kneading your dough, you will have to shape it like a ball and poke your finger in the middle. If the hole fills up immediately, it means that the gluten is holding up and the dough is ready.
If the hole does not go back in shape, you will have to keep kneading it. When the pizza dough is kneaded well, the gluten will pull the dough together and immediately fill the holes. This is one of the best ways to test your pizza dough because you will eventually have to stretch it for the pizza. Therefore, if you want to make a thin and strong dough, you can test it using this method.
An Over-Kneaded Pizza Dough
Although it is a rare occurrence, it is possible for you to over-knead your pizza dough. It is common if you use a stand mixer or a food processor for kneading the dough. It is nearly impossible to achieve an over-knead pizza dough using your hand. You will be tired before you even over-knead it, and your fingers will already have cramps.
This is why it is always advisable to knead with your hands. If you use a mixer, you will not have a feel for the pizza dough. The dough will be over-kneaded if you leave it too long in your mixer.
If you over-knead your pizza dough, it will make the pizza go back to its soft texture. This means that you will find it hard to stretch it without making a hole. It will cause the gluten to be stretched so much that it will not hold the dough anymore. Once the dough is over-kneaded, there will be no going back. You will just have to start over again.
An Under-Kneaded Pizza Dough
The under-kneaded pizza dough is very common as compared to an over-kneaded dough. The two are often confused because they have the same result.
As mentioned earlier, a pizza dough will have a weak bond if it is not ready. As a result, it will not stretch long enough before breaking. This is what happens when you both over-knead and under-knead the dough. However, under-kneading is less destructive. When you under-knead your dough, you will still have a redemption space where you can continue to knead in order to make it better until the lumps on the pizza dough have gone.
Making pizza at home is one of the best ways to make a pizza. However, one of the challenges of making pizza at home is telling if your pizza dough is kneaded enough. Following our list of indications above will help you make great pizzas.