I made homemade pizza for the first time in a long time last week, and to start, I turned to my new favorite cookbook, Mark Bittman’s How To Cook Everything.I didn’t use the recipe in it because it called for instant yeast, while I only had regular. But the information about pizza yielded the best tip I’ve ever come across: Let the dough rest during shaping.
If you’ve made homemade pizza dough before, you’ve no doubt had the experience (or should I say, frustration) of shaping your pizza and having the dough shrink back. Bittman says that when the dough starts to shrink, you should leave it alone for a few minutes. Depending on how big your pizza is, you may have to do this lots of times, but it works.
I made small, individual-sized pizzas, and I had to leave the dough once or twice while shaping it. (Based on Bittman’s writing, I was generous with the olive oil during shaping, so the dough was in no danger of drying out.) This was the first time I’ve ever been able to get the dough as thin as I like, all the way out to the edges. Marc and I agreed that it was the best homemade pizza I’ve ever made!