There are these nights when you are hosting friends, and you have no idea what to cook for them. Pizza is the easiest way out. Still, you want them to feel at home, so you do not like to order take out.
You would want them to enjoy homemade pizza. You can order frozen pizza dough balls if you do not have your homemade pizza dough in the freezer.
To make your pizza, you will first have to unfreeze the pizza dough. You might have thought of using a microwave to thaw since it is fast. Please do not do this. A microwave will start cooking your dough, which will interfere with the texture.
You need to know the right way to unfreeze your pizza. If you fail to unfreeze it well, you might end up with bits of frozen pizza at some places. This makes it hard to stretch out your pizza.
Below I have listed the several correct ways to thaw frozen pizza dough.
Methods for thawing pizza dough
There are six main ways you can defrost your pizza dough. Starting with the best method:
Thaw in a refrigerator
The cool temperatures in the freezer are extreme, which makes the pizza dough stone-like. This is what we call the frozen pizza dough. When you know you would want to cook your pizza tomorrow, it is wise to remove your pizza dough from the freezer and put ion the fridge.
Make sure the dough has enough room to rise and expand.
Let your dough sit in the refridgerator overnight or for at least 8 hours. The dough will keep rising while in the fridge. When you look at your pizza the next morning, it will have some tiny air bubbles. It will also feel soft.
Pull out your dough and let it rest at room temperatures for 30 minutes so that it can warm up. After this, your pizza dough will be ready for you to stretch if had already had the first rising.
If you had not let it rise before freezing, it would be wise to give it some hours to rise.
Advantages of thawing in a refrigerator
It is safe. A fridge has low temperatures. High temperatures support fermentation since it supports the growth of bacteria. This would fasten the rate at which the dough would become stale.
When you put your dough in the fridge, the process of the dough fermenting is slower. Therefore, when you cook your pizza, you will have a fresh pizza with a delicious crust.
Disadvantages of thawing in a refrigerator
It is slow. To thaw in a refrigerator, you have to start early. It would take you more than twelve hours to have your pizza since the dough has to stay in the fridge for an extended period to thaw.
Thaw on the countertop
If you do not have a fridge or the time to wait, then you can quickly thaw your dough on the counter. This is where you remove your frozen pizza dough from the freezer and remove the freezer bag. Put it in a bowl and let it rest under room temperatures.
Depending on your location, this will take up to 2 hours. This time, this time will be considerably shorter for a person in a hot place than a person living at the north pole.
However, you should be careful with this method. Do not let your pizza dough outside for more than four hours. This is because bacteria multiply and grow faster. You do not want to have a spoilt dough.
You should be extra careful if you have a gluten-free dough. These tend to spoil even faster.
Thaw in cold water
This is one of the best methods to use when you want to thaw your pizza dough quickly. It is faster than using a refrigerator and just putting it on top of the counter.
In this method, remove your frozen pizza dough from the freezer. Do not remove the freezer bag since you do not want your dough absorbing more water and interfering with the texture. Put your dough in a bowl that is enough to accommodate when it starts rising.
Add cold water into the bowl and cover it up. Let it rest. It is advisable to change this water every thirty minutes since the water gets colder with time. If you do not replace the water, then it might take longer than it should.
It will take your pizza dough an hour or two to thoroughly defrost.
After defrosting, you will notice that your pizza dough has increased in size.
Advantages of thawing using cold water
Faster than some other methods. Using cold water takes a considerably shorter time compared to using a refrigerator or thawing on the countertop.
It is safe and does not interfere with the integrity of the pizza dough. This is what we want.
Allows the dough to keep rising. The best airy and sponge-like crust is made from the pizza dough that has risen well. This method of defrosting makes it easier to achieve this kind of crust.
Disadvantages of thawing using cold water.
You have to keep changing the water. This can be exhausting. You want a method that makes your work easier.
It is not fast during winter. During winter, it might force you to use other faster methods. During winter the water is cold. There is no significant difference between using a refrigerator and cold water.
Thaw using warm water.
An alternative method for thawing your pizza is using warm water in a bowl. However, you should use this method as one of your last options unless you are a pro. You risk having your dough start cooking with this method. Therefore, be careful.
In this method, remove your pizza dough from the freezer. While still in the freezer bag, put it in a bowl. Ensure that the bag is airtight and no air is trapped inside. Put some warm water into the bowl. Let it sit for ten minutes, then replace the water with equally warm water. Do this repeatedly until the pizza dough defrosts. You keep changing the water because it gets colder when it gets into contact with the frozen dough in the bag.
Advantages of thawing using warm water.
It is fast. Defrosting is considerably quicker while using warm water than while using cold water. Therefore, using this method will make the preparation process shorter. It is your go-to method whenever you are in a hurry.
Disadvantages of thawing using warm water.
Risk of the dough starting to cook. The high temperatures of the water might make the dough start cooking. If this happens, it will become hard to stretch out the pizza.
There is a limited rising. Unlike in the above method, where the dough is given ample time to grow well, the dough does not rise too much. It might affect the outcome of the crust.
Thaw using a microwave.
This is the go-to option for many people because of the limited time it takes to defrost the pizza dough. However, it is one of the methods that we least recommend. This is because it cooks the dough if not done with a lot of expertise.
Here you need a microwave and a plastic paper. Take your frozen dough and remove it from the freezer bag. Apply oil on the microwave plate. This is where you will place the dough. Additionally, apply oil to the frozen dough. This will help it from sticking to the surface. You can also apply olive oil onto the plastic paper and then wrap the dough with it.
Put your dough on the plate and change your microwave settings to a high. Put a timer of twenty-five seconds. Let it heat for the next 25 seconds. This will not make the dough partially cook.
Remove it and change the side upside down. Repeat the process again—heat for 25 seconds. Do not put more than 25 seconds as this will make the dough start to cook. However, this only kick starts the thawing process. It does not entirely defrost the dough.
Then change the settings of the microwave to defrosting mode. Depending on the size of the dough, put the timer to between three to five minutes. Threes minutes for a little dough, five minutes if it is a lot.
After microwaving, remove the dough, put it in a big enough bowl, and let it rise until it is ready. You can now stretch the dough and cook your pizza.
Advantages of thawing using a microwave.
It is one of the fastest methods. In cases where you are in a hurry, this method comes in handy. You will have your pizza dough defrosted in no time.
The disadvantages of thawing using a microwave.
Partially cooks the dough. Unless you are extremely careful, you run the risk of partially cooking your pizza. This method is not the safest—we advise you to use other methods.
The dough might become too sticky. Because of the oil that is applied and the water produced due to heating the frozen dough, the dough might end up being topo sticky and lose the right texture. However, if it gets too sticky, you can just add flour and knead. The flour will ensure the amount of water balances that of flour.
Thaw using an oven
This is the least recommended method. If you can, it would be best to use the means that have cool temperatures. Anyway, in the circumstances where you have to, then you can use the oven.
Take your frozen pizza dough. Remove it from the freezer bag. At this point, the dough feels like stone. Put it in a pan. Please ensure that you grease both the pan and the dough well before pitting the dough onto the pan.
Cover the pan with a plastic paper. GHeat the oven to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. This will provide the right temperatures to ensure that the dough does not become partially cooked. Give it an hour.
The dough should have defrosted in an hour. In case it has not, give it an additional thirty minutes to complete;y defrost. By this time, the dough should have expanded to twice the initial size.
You can now remove it, stretch it and finish the process of cooking your pizza.
Advantages of thawing using an oven
Fastest. It is the quickest method of defrosting pizza dough. It takes a maximum of one and a half hours to defrost and rise the dough ultimately.
Disadvantages of thawing using an oven
This method has the highest risk of partially cooking the dough. You have to be extremely careful when setting the heat in the oven. Suppose you have a gas oven use the least temperatures available. If your oven has a bread proofing setting, then that is what you should use.
Factors that you should consider when choosing a defrosting method
Time determines the defrosting method you will
What you should always do when defrosting
Always cover the dough. It is essential to shield your dough when defrosting. You can use plastic paper or a clean towel. Covering the dough helps to keep away ait from the dough. A lot of air on the dough makes the dough dry out and lose moisture.
Dough that has dried out is hard to spread when shaping the crust. Additionally, it produces a low-quality crust that is dry and hard.
The Donts of thawing pizza dough
There are myths and hacks you must have heard about thawing pizza dough. However, it is essential to note that as much as thawing pizza is not rocket science, a simple mistake could lead to food poisoning or a hard, undesirable crust. Below are things you should never do when thawing pizza dough.
Always choose the fastest method.
You might be tempted to go for the fastest method when thawing your pizza dough. It is wise to remember that the quickest way is not always the best method. Thawing in a fridge is the best method, but unfortunately is the slowest.
The fastest methods involve using heat. When thawing happens, ut starts from the outside to the inside. Remember, high temperatures above 40 degrees Fahrenheit catalyzes the growth and multiplication of bacteria.
When you use heat to thaw your frozen pizza dough, the outer parts become more vulnerable to bacteria before the central part is defrosted. That is why it is vital to defrost your pizza dough evenly using cold temperatures like in a fridge.
Forget to check your fridge temperatures.
It is crucial always to check the temperature of your fridge. Make sure that the temperature of your fridge does not go beyond 40 degrees Fahrenheit. If you set it any degree below this, then your pizza dough will probably take longer to thaw. If you set it higher than this, you risk having your pizza dough thaw faster but risk having it spoil, as well as other foods in the fridge.
Cook without thawing
Cooking without thawing is not advisable. Of course, you will be unable to cook pizza dough balls without thawing since you will need to stretch it out to make your pizza crust. You can not stretch out frozen pizza dough because it is hard and stone-like.
However, if you had stretched out your pizza already(we do not recommend this), you might be tempted just to add your toppings and cheese and cook your pizza; this is not advisable. Some foods can be cooked without thawing, things like vegetables and frozen pizza. Please note, frozen pizza dough is not one of them.
Leave the pizza dough for more than 4 hours on the counter.
Thawing the pizza for more than four hours on the counter is not safe at all. By the fourth hour, the bacteria would have fully grown, and this dough might not be suitable for consumption.
Additionally, the dough’s texture would have changed as the yeast should have eaten up the sugar and the starch. Therefore it is not recommended to leave the dough for that long on the counter.
Use hot water to defrost.
Hot water makes it faster to thaw food. This might seem attractive, but it is not safe. Using hot water will expose the dough’s outer parts to more bacteria since it will raise the temperature to over 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
Safe thawing is a slow process that requires a lot of time to be done right. It is therefore recommended to let your pizza dough thaw in the refrigerator slowly. However, life can be too busy, and time can be a scarce resource. In this case, you can use a microwave to thaw your dough. We, however, do not recommend this method of defrosting.
When you decide to use heat to thaw your dough, remember to be careful and ensure your dough does not start cooking, as this will interfere with the texture of your dough, making it hard to roll and spread.
Whichever method you choose, be sure to follow the above guidelines, and you shall be safe.