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pizza-dough

Technique: Shaping Dough Balls

One of the burning questions that probably keep you up at night is: why do pizza bakers shape their dough into balls prior to stretching, topping and baking?

 

Above all, it’s much easier to fashion a round crust from a round ball of dough than from anything else. But even apart from that, it makes sense to have a point in your process where you measure out the exact amount of dough you want to use, and “package” it for the final stretching / baking step. This step is a transition from the dough making phase to the baking phase. You can clean up the dough mess, put away the dough making tools, and start prepping the oven and toppings. And if you are making pizza for guests, or are guest at someone else’s house where you bake (always preferable to bringing already-baked pies and use a Californo mobile pizza oven), this is a good place to stop before you let your guests arrive or before you travel. Make the balls, store them in a container, and stretch/top/bake later.

 

It is during this step that you decide how big you want your pizza to be (not during stretching), by measuring out the appropriate amount of dough. And yes, it absolutely makes sense to accurately measure the dough by weight, instead of eyeballing it. If you want, you can skip the weighing, but your crusts might end up varying more than you will like. Weighing will ensure you can turn out crusts of a consistent size and thickness (and consequently, baking qualities for a perfect crust). Baking constant size pies is also nice because you can make them fit exactly to your baking pans / screens and serveware (for instance, everything I own is made for 14″ pies).

 

I suppose there are many ways to shape a dough ball, and I’m showing here just one way to do it. I use a combination of pulling & folding movements to make the dough come together in a round ball shape. At first the ball will be on its back, but around halfway through I flip it over, then finish up by folding / tucking under more dough to get the shape really nice and round. Be firm and swift, but work with the dough, not against it. You want to try and handle it gently, so you don’t knock all the air out of it.

 

1 kg of room temperature dough, enough for two pizzas (which is why I cut it in two pieces first). This is not fridge dough but a faster, non-refrigerated dough (you’ll have to watch the full video to see the exact recipe :), but when I do use fridge dough (and I do most of the time), I usually use 500-540 grams of it for a 14″ pizza. I use scissors and a scale to measure out the amount I need from my dough bucket:

 

When the dough balls are done, they are allowed to rest again before baking. If you will bake soon (say, within 15 minutes to an hour), you can do the same as I do in the video, and wrap the balls in a well floured kitchen towel. If you don’t plan on baking them very soon, you can keep them in an oiled container in the fridge, so you can bake at a later time (this is what pizzerias usually do). Ideally, you should let refrigerated dough come fully to room temperature prior to shaping (ie. wait 1 – 2 hours), but this is not strictly necessary. Just keep in mind that the cooler the dough, the harder it will push back against your shaping efforts. A room temperature dough, on the other hand, will be supple and easy to shape.

Preparing for our wish trip to Disney and Give Kids the World

Eve was granted a wish through the Make A Wish Foundation earlier this year. We met with our wish granters and we discussed a few different options based on Eve’s likes and abilities to participate. One place that kept coming up in the discussion was Give Kids the World village, a magical place in Orlando that welcomes families from many different wish organizations. The village is wheelchair accessible, fun and we would have all the comforts of home vs a hotel a room. Give Kids the World Village is more than just a place to stay, they have parties, things to do and places to eat. Take a look at this brief video to get a taste of this amazing place.

As part of our stay at the Give Kids the World Village, we would also get tickets to theme parks and other Florida attractions to make our stay fun and exciting. Since Eve loves aquariums and large animals, we also talked about a trip to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium during the week. We were so excited to hear that Make A Wish approved this wish and our entire family was invited to go. They are taking care of all the details, even the smallest ones so we can just enjoy family time. Eve is the happiest when we are all together and this trip will allow time away from the normal busyness of life. I don’t know that we have had a week without medical appointments or therapies this year, so this week will be great respite for all of us.

Since I am a planner by nature, I have found a few ways to keep things organized in a low key way. We are a family of 8 so we do need to plan a bit to give every child a chance to experience something fun. If you are planning a trip to Give Kids the World Village, maybe this will help you too:

Apps

These are my favorite apps for planning as well as while in Orlando. I tend to have a good connection at the parks but you may want to jot down notes if you are unsure.

Happ4Hotels: enter GKTW as the hotel code to get information about events, entertainment and other village news. This app will help you in planning which nights to enjoy parties at the village and when to stay late in the parks.

My Disney Experience is all things Walt Disney World. Make dining reservations, check park hours and even find photopass photographers.

Universal FL is an app for Universal Studios. Out the apps I looked out, this one is free and most user friendly.

Nativoo Orlando if you plan to dine outside the theme parks (or even in the theme parks), this is a great app for discovering Orlando area.

Give Kids the World Village

Give Kids the World Village website has videos and information about the village. I looked through the village guide to get an idea what was in our villa and what activities my children might enjoy. I hear the Christmas party is awesome and it’s held every week.

Facebook groups Make A Wish Disney Trips, Disney Planning Mamas Wish Trip, Disney Wish Trips for Special Needs are great ways to talk to other parents about their Disney and Universal Studios wish experiences. And it’s nice to connect with other families who understand the unique journey we are all on.

Blogs

Disney Food Blog:  food is half the fun at Walt Disney World! Learn about restaurants and best counter service spots before you go. And snacks, don’t forget about the snacks. Dole whips and mickey bars and turkey legs. Yumm!

Kenny the Pirate: where can you find your favorite character? This website will tell you where the characters are and tips on how to see them. They also have helpful crowd calendars which can help you decide which parks to choose while you are staying at the village.

Wish details

Make A Wish gave us a rough idea on what to expect, but we received the final details about a week before our trip at a send off party. If you need to know how much to expect in spending money, flight or rental vehicle details, your wish granter can help you with that. Each wish organization is different in how they handle aspects of travel. Enjoy the fact that they will take care of most of the details, but it’s also nice to know there is someone taking care of things behind the scenes.

Give Kids the World also has people who customize and help you with your stay there. We received an email from the itinerary fairy, we spoke about our dietary needs and decided what parks might be fun to visit.

There are tons of Disney and Universal resources out there. If you have one that made your trip easier, let me know in the comments!

About Me

Hi, I’m the Joyful Journey Mom and this blog is my labor of love. It started out as our adoption journal blog and over the last four years it has morphed into a blog about special needs, adoption and all my favorite things. My husband and I have been married for 21 years and together we have 6 children by birth and adoption. We have children with invisible disabilities and visible differences. Our daughter has a genetic disorder that we strive to learn more about and our youngest daughter has spinal cord tumors. Regardless of how our family has come together or the different abilities, my hope is that you see a family and lots of love.

I am passionate about orphan care, advocating for children with special needs and making our world as inclusive as humanly possible. I love to travel with my family and making memories over buying stuff. We have focused on simple living, buying fair trade when possible and finding ways to raise compassionate children.

I contribute at the Firefly Garden regularly and I have also been featured onThe Huffington Post,  The Mighty, Scary Mommy and Sparrow Fund blog.  I also participate in various projects You are welcomed to share my writing or pictures as long as you link back here and give proper credit.

I love receiving emails and comments on my blog, especially if you need resources for adoption or special needs. You can reach me at angie{at}joyfuljourneymom{dot} com