Author Topic: The Neapolitan "Slap" Technique for Stretching Dough  (Read 24293 times)

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Offline Bill/SFNM

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The Neapolitan "Slap" Technique for Stretching Dough
« on: March 26, 2010, 02:27:40 PM »
I've been mesmerized by the videos from this very talented Japanese pizza maker:

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CIqS8c8nmps" target="_blank" class="aeva_link bbc_link new_win">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CIqS8c8nmps</a>


Could I learn how to do this? If so, would my pizzas be any better? So, despite being a bit of a klutz and with only this video as a guide, I decided to make some extra dough balls and see what would happen. It ain't pretty; maybe after a few thousand pies like the Japanese guy I could make it look pretty. But I was stunned that even on my very first attempt, it worked! Like I said, it ain't pretty. I wish I knew what he was saying, but after seven dough balls, here are some preliminary observations based on my dough, which may be softer than the one in the Japanese video:

1. When initially pressing out the ball, keep fingers and hands as flat as possible to avoid creating any irregularities that could become weak spots when the dough gets thinner.
2. Keep the thumb on the right hand away from the dough. It can easily poke a hole in the dough as it is being thrown around. All fingers need to be kept together for the same reason.
3. The main stretching is done by step 1 in which the left hand pulls the dough over the right hand. The next step, the slapping step, seems more for positioning the dough in place for the next stretch.
4. The speed of the motions are not about show. It seems important to keep the dough in motion so that gravity doesn't let the fingers poke weak spots.

Even for a first attempt, I really liked this method: more uniform thickness and better control. Maybe. Will have to keep trying. Here is a video. Did I say it wasn't pretty?

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kimpqh7tRl0" target="_blank" class="aeva_link bbc_link new_win">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kimpqh7tRl0</a>


I'm definitely going to keep trying! It was fun!.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2010, 05:04:10 PM by Bill/SFNM »


Offline scott r

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Re: The Neapolitan "Slap" Technique for Stretching Dough
« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2010, 02:44:48 PM »
I had a neapolitan pizza instructor over to my house recently.    He did the slap technique, and in seconds had the most perfectly flat completely even skin possible.  I was amazed at how large he could make the skin when compared to the more traditional american techniques where you end up with a pizza with a larger rim and some taper.   He told me that at right around 50 attempts most people get pretty good at it.   Good luck Bill!

Offline jcamador

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Re: The Neapolitan "Slap" Technique for Stretching Dough
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2010, 02:59:58 PM »
Bill-looks good...I'm impressed!

I've been working on this as well...it can be kinda difficult with wet dough. What is your hydration%? What would you estimate the hydration to be in the first video? Thanks...keep it up!
jason

Offline pizzanapoletana

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Re: The Neapolitan "Slap" Technique for Stretching Dough
« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2010, 04:03:02 PM »
Bill,

I like this video by one of the Sorbillo's family member (an older relative of the more famous Gino). He starts slowly and then speeds up.
Looks closely on how he position the hands from start to finish.

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZUC8lep5c0I&amp;feature=related" target="_blank" class="aeva_link bbc_link new_win">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZUC8lep5c0I&amp;feature=related</a>


Good luck,

Marco

Offline jeff v

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Re: The Neapolitan "Slap" Technique for Stretching Dough
« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2010, 04:05:11 PM »
Nice job Bill, surely you'll be a pro in no time. You should do another video after 25, 50, 75, and 100 attempts-my challenge to you.  :P

Your dough looks perfectly proofed BTW-very nice.

Jeff

Offline BrickStoneOven

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Re: The Neapolitan "Slap" Technique for Stretching Dough
« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2010, 04:19:09 PM »
Watching all the videos that I have of pizzaiolo's in Naples, I have noticed something. They use their either finger to press down the dough not just their finger tips, I use my finger tips... I never really gave it any thought because I was thinking that is the way they learned how to do it. Reading what Bill said I realized that it serves a purpose. I have been doing this technique to open the ball for the past 2-3 weeks trying to get better.


1. When initially pressing out the ball, keep fingers and hands as flat as possible to avoid creating any irregularities that could become weak spots when the dough gets thinner.

« Last Edit: March 26, 2010, 04:25:45 PM by BrickStoneOven »

Offline scpizza

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Re: The Neapolitan "Slap" Technique for Stretching Dough
« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2010, 04:51:26 PM »
I've been mesmerized by the videos from this very talented Japanese pizza maker...I wish I knew what he was saying

After thezaman mentioned this fellow and his videos I checked them out and also was impressed with his willingness to share information, albeit in Japanese.  I had a Japanese friend translate a few videos, may post some of it here if there is interest.  A lot of what he is saying is just descriptive of what's seen in the video e.g. "now we add flour," but he does add some interesting bits too.

Offline hotsawce

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Re: The Neapolitan "Slap" Technique for Stretching Dough
« Reply #7 on: March 26, 2010, 04:55:47 PM »
That's exactly how it looked when I did it....only difference was I got frustrated. I could not maintain any sort of rhythm like the original video  :P

Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: The Neapolitan "Slap" Technique for Stretching Dough
« Reply #8 on: March 26, 2010, 05:07:59 PM »
Bill-looks good...I'm impressed!

I've been working on this as well...it can be kinda difficult with wet dough. What is your hydration%? What would you estimate the hydration to be in the first video? Thanks...keep it up!


My hydration is about 62%. No idea what the Japanese guy is using. But stickiness of dough is not just about hydration. Things like the kind of flour and how it is mixed, kneaded, fermented and proofed all contribute to how the dough acts when forming the crust.
 

Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: The Neapolitan "Slap" Technique for Stretching Dough
« Reply #9 on: March 26, 2010, 05:09:29 PM »
He told me that at right around 50 attempts most people get pretty good at it.   Good luck Bill!

Thanks, Scott. My initial take is that I would have this method pretty well down by the end of the year. Now I'm thinking that 50 attempts is definitely doable.


Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: The Neapolitan "Slap" Technique for Stretching Dough
« Reply #10 on: March 26, 2010, 05:16:40 PM »
Bill,

I like this video by one of the Sorbillo's family member (an older relative of the more famous Gino). He starts slowly and then speeds up.
Looks closely on how he position the hands from start to finish.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZUC8lep5c0I&feature=related

Good luck,

Marco


Thanks, Marco. It is hard to see due to the poor quality of the video, but I think I get the idea. That will be my goal to shape pies like this maestro.


Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: The Neapolitan "Slap" Technique for Stretching Dough
« Reply #11 on: March 26, 2010, 05:31:09 PM »
I appreciate everyones' comments and encouragement. Just because this method looks impressive (well, the others, not me), what are the benefits? For the professional operator, it seems, as Scott confirms, that this method may be the fastest way to pump out large numbers of well-formed crusts. But are the results any different? Any better? Since I just started with this method today, I can't really say the pies were better than my old way. Too early to say. Edge-to-center uniform thickness isn't much of an issue for me since, as you can see from all my photos, I like a big, big, big puffy edges.

But I have the feeling that the less the dough is handled at the final stages, the better the dough will be - lighter and more tender. So far, this method seems to involve less handling. Stay tuned. I'll do blind taste tests once I feel confident enough.

 

Offline scott123

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Re: The Neapolitan "Slap" Technique for Stretching Dough
« Reply #12 on: March 26, 2010, 05:40:16 PM »
1. When initially pressing out the ball, keep fingers and hands as flat as possible to avoid creating any irregularities that could become weak spots when the dough gets thinner.

...and make sure that you avoid any and all contact with the rim. Pressing the rim will not only deflate it, but it will activate the gluten and create a less tender crust.

Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: The Neapolitan "Slap" Technique for Stretching Dough
« Reply #13 on: March 26, 2010, 05:44:03 PM »
...and make sure that you avoid any and all contact with the rim. Pressing the rim will not only deflate it, but it will activate the gluten and create a less tender crust.

I press the rim all the time. Not a lot, just enough to shape. Never deflated, always tender.


Offline pizzaboyfan

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Re: The Neapolitan "Slap" Technique for Stretching Dough
« Reply #14 on: March 26, 2010, 05:47:42 PM »
I thought the Don Corleone hat was a nice touch.

Offline andreguidon

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Re: The Neapolitan "Slap" Technique for Stretching Dough
« Reply #15 on: March 26, 2010, 05:59:06 PM »
well bill at the VPN class, there was a reason why the dough should be opened like that, cause wen done right at the right speed, the air bubbles go from the center to the corniccione....  it makes sense to me...

heres is a video of me doing it... iam better now...
 
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iy8uSJrpWFI" target="_blank" class="aeva_link bbc_link new_win">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iy8uSJrpWFI</a>
« Last Edit: March 26, 2010, 06:01:08 PM by andreguidon »
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Offline scott123

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Re: The Neapolitan "Slap" Technique for Stretching Dough
« Reply #16 on: March 26, 2010, 07:14:24 PM »
I press the rim all the time. Not a lot, just enough to shape. Never deflated, always tender.

If you're pressing the rim, it will be less tender and more deflated than if you don't. Take another look at the video. Even without understanding Japanese, from 1:29 to 2:27, it's crystal clear that Makishima is instructing viewers, over and over again, not to press the rim.

Offline scott r

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Re: The Neapolitan "Slap" Technique for Stretching Dough
« Reply #17 on: March 26, 2010, 07:52:10 PM »
I think that avoiding flattening the rim might be unusual in Neapolitan pizza shaping.   When I was walking around naples I was paying close attention to this and didn't see anybody trying to avoid the rim.    Maybe Marco can chime in and let us know what is typical there.   I remember once asking Marco if the rim was avoided in the pictures he posted of the pizzas with massive voids in the rim.   He said that the edges were flattened right along with the rest of the crust during shaping, and that the pizza was still exceeding tender and light.   
« Last Edit: March 26, 2010, 08:06:01 PM by scott r »

Offline BrickStoneOven

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Re: The Neapolitan "Slap" Technique for Stretching Dough
« Reply #18 on: March 26, 2010, 07:59:58 PM »
I press my rim all the time not to hard though. I thought that pressing the rim would degas it but I tried it one day and it didn't matter. If you watch videos of pizza makers in Naples you can see them press the rim a as well. Watch this video(0:58) you can see him pressing the rim, not hard but still pressing.
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ReBcXSIoEOo" target="_blank" class="aeva_link bbc_link new_win">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ReBcXSIoEOo</a>

Offline simpleman

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Re: The Neapolitan "Slap" Technique for Stretching Dough
« Reply #19 on: March 26, 2010, 10:09:40 PM »
Bill,

I too have been mesmerized by pizzaiolopasquale and other pizzaioli who use this technique.  Before reading this thread I assumed this method was too hard to even attempt.  But you've inspired me!!!  I'm totally committed now to giving this a go.

Thanks so much for the inspiration...

Michael