Kneading – 2 minutes
The first adult to get back home should take the dough, which will have risen a lot (assuming it was leavened appropriately) and…gently hand-knead it, just to let out some of the trapped gas and to redistribute the nutrients that feed the yeast.
This should be done only if the pizza is still at least two hours from being baked. Otherwise, skip this step and leave the dough as is.
Shaping the dough balls (IT. staglio) – 2 minutes
An hour before baking, make the dough balls. In Italian, dough balls are called palline, panelli, panielli, or panetti, in pizza-making jargon.
This is an important step because it’s the embryo out of which the future pizza will be born. A dough ball should be as close to spherical and as evenly shaped as possible, so that it can become a nice, round pizza. Sprinkle a dusting of flour over a large, clean work surface where you can leave the balls once they’re shaped.
Not sure where to start? Don’t worry; you’ve come to the right place—here’s how to shape the dough balls:
Slide your cupped hand under the dough, and gently separate a handful of dough, taking care not to squash out the gas bubbles within. Then delicately cut it off from the rest, just like you do when you’re forming a ball of fresh mozzarella. Easy, right? Ok, just kidding: look at the photos and the video. Then delicately roll the ball between slightly curved palms to give it a nice, round shape, and place it on the floured work surface. Later you can use the same surface to stretch out the dough.
how to shape the dough balls (video)
Form all the dough into balls (you’ll end up with four to six, depending on their size) and leave them on the floured surface. Re-dampen the rag you used before, wring it out again, and drape it over the balls to cover them.