That said, I’ve always wanted to take a more organized look at the bread I was baking and to solve some of the issues that I — and other home bakers — have had in the past. Chief among these are the dough’s slackness and its propensity to spread into a pancake-like loaf, baking up flat and dense, if even lightly mishandled.
This all has to do with elasticity and extensibility. Elasticity is a dough’s ability to spring back when you stretch it, like a rubber band. Extensibility is the flip side of this: the ability for a dough to stretch without snapping back or tearing. Finding the right balance between these two is the trick.
With pizza dough, for instance, extensibility must be high to stretch a ball of dough into a thin, crisp crust that retains enough structure to stand up to wet, heavy toppings. This same extensibility