Why Is My Pizza Dough Too Sticky?

Are you tired of struggling with sticky pizza dough every time you attempt to make your homemade pizza? Trust me, we’ve all been there. 

The frustration and mess that come along with trying to work with a sticky dough can make even the most experienced cooks want to give up on their culinary aspirations. But fear not, dear readers! 

In this blog post, we will share some valuable insights and tips on how to solve the age-old problem of sticky pizza dough. Keep reading and say goodbye to pizza dough too sticky!

What Is Pizza Dough?

Pizza dough is a type of leavened bread dough specifically used as a base for pizza, one of the world’s most popular dishes. It primarily consists of four basic ingredients: flour, water, yeast, and salt.

Some recipes may include additional ingredients such as sugar, olive oil, or a pinch of spices for flavor. The dough is mixed and kneaded until it reaches the desired elasticity and smoothness.

After this, it’s typically left to rise before being rolled or stretched into a thin crust, ready for pizza toppings.

The magic of pizza dough lies in its versatility, as it can be shaped and flavored in countless ways to suit different tastes and pizza styles.

What Factors Contribute To Making Pizza Dough Too Sticky?

A lot of people faced the issue of pizza dough being sticky. It can happen to anyone, regardless of their cooking experience, and it’s essential to understand what causes this problem in the first place.

Here we mention some factors that contribute to making pizza dough too sticky:

1. Too Much Water

One primary culprit of excessively sticky pizza dough is too much water. The optimal hydration level for pizza dough is around 65% to 70% of the flour’s weight.

If you’re dealing with dough that’s too sticky, there’s a reasonable chance that it’s over-hydrated. Adding too much water to your dough can make it tough to handle and shape – it’ll stick to your hands, your work surface, and just about anything else it comes into contact with.

2. Wrong Flour

Another factor that can result in a sticky dough is using the wrong type of flour. All flours are not created equal, and the type of flour you use can significantly affect your dough’s texture.

Typically, pizza dough recipes call for bread flour or Italian ’00’ flour, both of which have a higher protein content than all-purpose flour. These flours produce a dough that’s strong and elastic, and less prone to stickiness.

If you’re using all-purpose flour and finding your dough too sticky, consider switching to a higher-protein flour.

3. Too Little Kneading

Insufficient kneading can also lead to stickier dough. Kneading the dough adequately is crucial as it helps develop the gluten in the flour, which gives the dough its structure.

If the dough hasn’t been kneaded sufficiently, it may lack the necessary structure and end up being too sticky.

Consider kneading your dough for a longer time or using a stand mixer if you’re struggling with sticky dough.

4. Humidity

Humidity, often overlooked, plays a significant role in determining the texture of your pizza dough.

High humidity can increase the moisture content of your flour and dough, making the dough stickier and harder to handle.

This is particularly relevant if you live in a humid climate or are making pizza on a humid day. Conversely, baking in a dry climate might require you to add a little more water to achieve the right dough consistency.

5. Gluten Development

Lastly, the development of gluten plays a key role in the texture and stickiness of the dough.

Gluten, the protein that forms when water mixes with the flour, provides elasticity and strength to your pizza dough.

If gluten isn’t adequately developed, your dough may lack structure and become too sticky. The combination of the right flour and sufficient kneading significantly enhances gluten development, resulting in a dough that’s easy to work with and less sticky.

Some Tips For Dealing With Sticky Pizza Dough

We provide some tried-and-true tips to help you deal with pizza dough too sticky without having to strain your head.

1. Add Flour

One of the simplest ways to combat sticky dough is to gradually add more flour. But, be careful not to overdo it as too much flour can make your dough dry and tough.

A good rule of thumb is to start by adding 1 tablespoon of flour at a time, kneading it into the dough, and continuing this process until the dough reaches the desired consistency.

2. Keep Kneading

The stickiness in your pizza dough can also be resolved with more kneading. A well-kneaded dough will be smooth and elastic, not sticky.

Aim for at least 10 to 15 minutes of kneading by hand, or about 8 to 10 minutes if you’re using a stand mixer. As you knead, the dough will become less sticky and easier to handle.

If the dough is still sticky, you can apply some other kneading techniques such as kneading, patting, and folding the dough with one hand.

Remember, persistence is key when it comes to kneading pizza dough!

3. Use Oil

Using a bit of oil on your hands or work surface can work wonders in combating sticky pizza dough.

The oil creates a barrier between your hands (or work surface) and the dough, preventing it from sticking.

You can lightly oil your hands before you start kneading, or you can drizzle some oil onto your work surface before placing your dough on it. This way you can knead and shape the dough without worrying about it sticking to everything.

4. Use Parchment Paper

Another effective way to deal with sticky pizza dough is to use parchment paper. This is particularly useful when you’re rolling out your dough.

Simply place your dough between 2 sheets of parchment paper and then roll it out. The dough won’t stick to the parchment paper, making it much easier to achieve the thinness you want.

Once your dough is rolled out, you can easily transfer it, parchment paper and all, onto your baking stone or tray.

5. Chill The Dough

If your dough is excessively sticky even after trying the above methods, you might want to consider chilling it. When the dough is cold, it’s less sticky and much easier to work with.

You can wrap your dough in plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to an hour. Once your dough is chilled, take it out, and you should find it much easier to handle and shape.

Remember to give it a few minutes to warm up slightly before you start working with it, as this will make it more pliable.

Finding The Right Hydration Level For Pizza Dough

As we have mentioned above, the hydration level of your pizza dough is a key factor in determining its texture and workability.

Ideally, pizza dough should be moist but not overly sticky.

The optimal hydration level for pizza dough typically falls between 65% and 70% of the weight of the flour. This means that for every 100 grams of flour, you should use about 65 to 70 grams of water.

A lower hydration level may result in a dough that’s too dry and tough to knead, while a higher hydration level could lead to a dough that’s too sticky to handle.

Remember, the exact hydration level can vary based on factors such as the type of flour you are using, your kneading technique, and the environment’s humidity level.

Experiment with different hydration levels until you find the right balance that works for you.

How Sticky Should The Pizza Dough Be?

Besides knowing some factors that will affect and make pizza dough too sticky, people need to discover the proper stickiness level of pizza dough should be.

When it comes to the proper stickiness of pizza dough, it should have a slight tackiness to the touch.

If you press your finger into the dough and it springs back without leaving any residue on your finger, then it’s typically at the right stickiness level.

A well-hydrated dough will feel somewhat moist and a bit sticky, but it won’t stick to your hands or the kneading surface.

Remember, slight stickiness is desirable as it indicates that the dough has enough moisture to create the perfect chewy pizza crust. However, if it’s too sticky and clings to your hands or the counter, additional flour might be necessary to achieve the ideal texture.

Is a Less Sticky Pizza Dough Always Preferable?

The answer is not necessarily. While a less sticky dough can be easier to handle and shape, a certain level of stickiness in your pizza dough can be a good thing.

Stickiness is a sign that your dough is well-hydrated, which can result in a lighter, airier crust once baked. Some professional pizzaiolos prefer a slightly sticky dough as it tends to produce a pizza crust with better texture and flavor.

However, there’s a fine line between slightly sticky and overly sticky dough. While the former can lead to a superior pizza, the latter can be a challenge to work with and may lead to a dense, tough crust.


In conclusion, dealing with pizza dough that is too sticky may seem like a daunting task, but fear not! With the tips and tricks shared in this blog post, you can now confidently handle any pizza dough too sticky that comes your way.

Remember, an optimally sticky dough can yield a crust that is light, airy, and full of flavor. So you can even utilize the stickiness of the dough to your advantage!

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