How To Properly Flip Pizza Dough

The best pizza begins with properly tossed dough.
The best pizza begins with properly tossed dough.

As far as some chefs are concerned, a pizza isn’t truly authentic until it meets a few basic requirements. But before the proper marinara is layered on or the pie is cooked inside a wood stove, true pizza dough should always be flipped or tossed. Part culinary art form and part circus trick, flipping pizza takes the right techniques to really develop the best dough possible. Here are some handy tips on how to properly flip any dough without flipping your lid.

Why flip in the first place?
Speaking with Bon Appétit, celebrity chef Mario Batali said flipping pizza is one of the most effective ways to avoid tearing the dough. By flipping, a chef is able to push or expand the dough outward without having to worry about putting his or her fingers through the dough. It’s also a great way to help the crust retain moisture. Most pizza makers will use a press that, while offering a uniform depth to the dough, can also leave it dried out and crusty. By flipping the pizza through the air, chefs are actually helping to distribute an even amount of airflow, which will inevitably give the dough that perfect balance balance between fluffiness and crunch.

Don’t forget the basics
Before the first flip is ever made, it’s crucial to get the consistency of the dough down pat. All good dough begins with a mixture of yeast, warm water, sugar, oil and salt. Once the mix is done, start adding in the final ingredient, flour. As a general rule, stop adding flour as soon as the mixture becomes too difficult to stir. From there, let the dough sit for up to an hour at room temperature (about 70 degrees Fahrenheit). Just prior to flipping, it’s important to work in some additional flour, as this will lend the dough added durability prior to its aerial acrobatics.

It’s all in the wrists
Flipping a pizza is all about the rotation, and good rotation begins with the appropriate hand gestures. In many ways, dough needs to move and rotate just like a Frisbee or basketball. As such, it helps to stretch the dough out beforehand. Hold the tops of the dough with both hands and move back and forth, similar to making a turn in a car.

From there, it’s time for the actual flipping. To get the right amount of spin, hold the disc of dough with the non-dominant hand; this effectively acts as the base. Then, use the dominant hand to actually spin the pizza, making sure that the direction of the dough is upward and outward (preferably away from the face).As reported, there’s been scientific research done regarding the perfect trajectory a pizza should take. For single tosses, the best flips will result in spiral-like patterns. Meanwhile, multiple tosses should result in a semi-elliptical trajectory, one in which the dough lands slightly at an angle. Be warned, though, as multiple tosses should only be done by someone with extensive flipping experience.

To properly catch the dough, always use both fists. Using flat hands might result in the pizza slipping to the floor or getting stuck between fingers. Even with the right landing, many first-timers will inevitably lose their first few pizzas to the cruel mistress that is gravity.


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