Should Pizza Dough Be Sticky?


Sticky pizza dough can be annoying to work with. As you knead it, it can get really messy, stuck to the bowl it is rising in or even stuck to your countertop. This can cause your pizza making process to not go as planned. 

This brings us to our question, should pizza dough be sticky?

Pizza dough should be a little bit sticky but not too sticky so that it sticks to the surface you are working on. When pizza dough is sticky, it means that it is too hydrated, it contains too much oil, or it needs to be kneaded more.

Should Pizza Dough Be Sticky?

Pizza dough should be a little sticky but not too sticky. If it is too sticky, then it’s going to stick to everything and just be difficult to work with. Plus when pizza dough is too sticky, this means that it needs something. 

So, let’s take a look at the reason your pizza dough is too sticky and how to fix them. These are simple and easy to do to make your pizza dough less sticky and easier to work with. 

If you pizza dough is really sticky it could be:

Too hydrated

When your pizza dough is too hydrated, it contains too much water. Its ratio of water to flour is too high. The more the dough is hydrated, the more sticky it will be. So, how much water the pizza dough is able to absorb will determine its stickiness. It is recommended to use the correct amount of water in your pizza dough recipe to prevent it from becoming too sticky.

Absorbing too much water from using the wrong kind of flour 

The kind of flour you use in your pizza dough recipe can affect the stickiness of it. This is because some flours absorb too much water. A stronger flour with higher gluten content will cause the dough to absorb more water and is going to hydrate the pizza more resulting in a stickier dough. 

This is why it’s important to use the correct amount of water for the flour you are making the pizza dough with. Speaking of water absorption, humid regions will cause the dough to absorb more moisture. The humidity will then increase the hydration of the pizza dough leading to a more sticky dough as well. 

Lacking gluten

Gluten is developed when the pizza dough is kneaded, and the less gluten, the more sticky it’s going to be. To form gluten in pizza dough you have to knead it for a while. This part of the pizza making process may take longer than you expect it to. Kneading pizza dough can take about 15 to 30 minutes if you are kneading the dough by hand. 

As you knead the dough, the stickiness will decrease. For the right amount of gluten in your pizza dough, you should choose a flour with a high gluten content. 

When the dough needs more gluten, it doesn’t just lead to it being sticky but it can also be too compact and tear apart when it’s stretched.

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How Do You Fix Sticky Pizza Dough?

If you want your pizza to taste the best that it can, try to make the sticky pizza dough, well, less sticky. There are few different reasons why your pizza dough could be sticky and ways to fix them. 

So, how do you fix really sticky pizza dough?

You can fix sticky pizza dough by making sure it is kneaded enough, has the right amount of water in it, and you are using the right kind of flour. Sticky pizza dough can be a result of not enough gluten, too much hydration, and using the wrong kind of flour.

But, what if your pizza dough is already sticky? Well, there are a few ways to fix that. 

First, you can knead it. By making sure the gluten in dough is developed properly, you can help it to be less sticky. 

If this doesn’t fix your problem, you may need to add in some more flour. Like we said, the dough is probably too hydrated. So, slowly add in a small amount of flour to the dough while you continue kneading it. 

Don’t add in too much as this will only dry your dough out too much making it more dense. So, just add a little bit of flour at a time until you notice that the dough is becoming less sticky.

Now, there may be times when you want your pizza dough to be sticky. Pizza dough that is high in hydration will give you a crispy and lighter crust with more air bubbles. If you are trying to make this type of crust then you will have to work with sticky pizza dough. 

This can be difficult so here are some things you can do to help the process go more smoothly when working with sticky pizza dough. 

  1. Your dough should be a little sticky but not too sticky. Make sure it isn’t too hydrated, the right kind of flour, and has developed gluten.
  1. Use a dough scraper while kneading. It makes working with the dough easier.
  1. Apply water or oil to your hands and knead the dough. This will keep the dough from sticking to your fingers.
  1. Before letting it rise, add a small amount of oil to the dough. This isn’t always needed since the dough scraper works just fine.
  1. Coat it in flour and shake off the excess. This will form a thin non-sticky layer.
  1. Stretch out the dough on the kitchen counter and add toppings. Use the dough scraper if you need to.
  1. Use the right kind of pizza peel. Wooden or perforated metal pizza peels are recommended as the best options.
  1. Dust your pizza peel with semolina flour to prevent the pizza dough from sticking when you are tossing it into the oven. It can handle the high heat.
  1. You can also use cornmeal on the pizza peel, but it adds flavor to the crust that you may not like. It also doesn’t handle heat well, potentially burning. Wheat flour will also burn and result in an unpleasant flavoring to the pizza crust.
  1. Pizza dough won’t stick to a pizza stone or a pizza steel. Heat vaporizes the moisture in the dough and will make it crispy. No water means that it won’t stick to the surface it’s baking on. So, pizza stones or pizza steel don’t have to be dusted with any flour.

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Final Thoughts

Everyone wants their pizza to turn out good, but it can be challenging when you are dealing with sticky pizza dough. By following the tips mentioned in this article, you can avoid having sticky pizza dough. 

But, remember, your pizza dough should be slightly sticky but not too sticky if you want your crust to be the perfect consistency. 

Hannah R.

Hey, I'm Hannah and I'm the founder of Get Eatin'.

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