How to Shape Pizza Dough

shaping pizza dough
How to shape pizza dough.Todd Coleman

A perfect Neapolitan crust requires a very gentle approach. First, dust the dough in fine semolina so it doesn't stick to your fingers or the work surface. Then, using your fingertips, press the dough outward from the center, working in a clockwise motion, spiraling gradually outward until you get within one to two inches of the edge; this edge will become the crust (Italians call it the cornicione). To stretch the dough while ensuring the crust remains airy and crisp, follow the steps below.

1. Using both hands, pick up the dough by the crust as if holding the top of a steering wheel; rotate the dough, passing it from one hand to the next, as though you were turning the wheel.

2. Taking care not to compress the dough, continue to pass it from one hand to the next; gravity will help it will fall and stretch naturally.

3. Stop when the center of the dough is stretched to about an eighth-inch thick and the diameter is about a foot across.