How to Toss Pizza Dough

How do they do it? you wonder. It's a ball, now it's a flat circle – how do they toss pizza dough so perfectly?! Well roll up your sleeves and read on, this time on the Streets of New York blog we're going to tell you how to toss pizza dough to get the perfect crust.

How to Toss Pizza Dough

Now first thing's first, this is definitely an easier skill to learn hands-on than it is to read a how-to. But you came for a how-to so dang it, we're going to give you one!

First - Make the Dough

We're not going to give you instructions here, this assumes you know how to make your dough, just not how to toss it!

Shape the Dough

Before you can start tossing it about, you need to have your dough ready to go in the right shape. Coat the dough ball with flour. Drop it on a flat surface that has been covered in flour. Flip it over and if your hands or the dough start to stick at any point add more flour!

Flatten the dough by slapping the ball of dough with your hand. Don't press too hard or you'll smack out the air you want to keep sealed in, just press it until it is flat but squishy.

Now it's time to focus on the outer crust. Hold your fingers together straight. Press into the dough about half an inch from the edge, form this groove around the entire circle.

Next start pushing the dough outward, gently at first. Keep your fingers straight, holding your hands flat just above the dough, press into the groove you made and fan your fingers slightly. Repeat around the entire crust. This will make that edge a bit thinner and also start making the pizza larger.

Don't press your palms into the dough and/or push in opposite directions. This will make your crust uneven and can cause tears. Use a rolling pin if it is your first time.

Stretch the Dough

Now you're working to get that small circle of dough ready for action. To stretch the dough you're going to hold your fingers straight and together, with both hands pointing towards each other at an angle. Press gently into the dough and with one hand push gently out to stretch the pizza. Rotate and repeat until the dough is getting close to the size you want.

Never push your hands in completely opposite directions this will risk a tear or will create a too thin center of the dough.

Now you're ready to toss that dough!

Tossing the Dough

Slap the dough between your hands like you're tossing a 1960's Greaser punk tossing a knife between your hands. Start with the dough draped over your palm and forearm and then slap it into your other. Each time you slap or toss it between your hands the dough should rotate a bit, roughly a quarter to help the dough get wider. Repeat. If your pizza still hasn't reached the size you're looking for there's one last method...

Alright here it comes,  it's time to toss! Use your non-dominant hand as a fist to support the dough and extend your dominant hand open. Drape the dough over your two hands, supporting opposite sides of the dough.

Rotate your arms towards your body, if you're right handed (so you're using an open right palm) rotate your hands to the left to give yourself the maximum amount of rotation during the throw. This will give the dough more spin, letting it shape better in the air!

Now bring your hands up and around. This movement up will lift the dough and the around will give it that rotation we were talking about.  Bring your open palm around until the back of your hand is in front of you. The fist supports the pizza but it's the open palm that does the toss! You might want to practice this motion a few times without a pizza on the line! Start with less force than you think you need, it's better to err on the side of caution than the side of disaster!

Release! Stop the upward motion of your hands abruptly when your hands are at about face level. This change in motion in addition to the rotation should give your pizza the lift you're looking for, raising up a short distance, spinning and pushing the dough falter and wider – all without pressing out that crucial air we want to preserve in the dough.

Catch the dough using both hands and forearms. Use as much of your arm as you can to help avoid the dough getting torn. Then just repeat as needed!

Depending on how much work you did hand stretching or slapping beforehand, you may only need a toss or two to get your pizza to the right size. But that's up to you! 

Does all that seem a bit too complicated? Made a mess and tear through your dough? Don't worry, we can help. Save yourself the headache and order a pizza from the masters here at Streets of New York!

Order From Streets of New York Today