If you love pizza like me, then you know one pizza is never enough. We always end up ordering more than enough pizza. You have probably realized by now that making your pizza at home is cheaper and convenient.
Cheaper because you do not pay for labor and convenient because you can customize it with different toppings and have your favorite pizza.
However, you might want to make a lot of pizza dough at once to make it easier to bake your pizza the next time you have a craving. Or maybe you are just too excited about making pizza at home and end up with more pizza dough than enough.
What do you do with the pizza dough? Throw it? Probably not. You do not like the idea of wasting food. Use it for something else? Maybe, but what? Freeze it? Is that even possible?
Can you freeze pizza dough?
Yes. You can freeze your pizza dough if you do not want to bake it immediately. This will make work easier for you when one evening you are tired from work and just want a fast dish to fix. However, you need to know the right way of freezing pizza dough.
How do you freeze pizza dough?
Freezing pizza dough is effortless. Different styles of pizza might have different types of doughs. For instance, Quad cities-style pizza dough has molasses and malt. Neapolitan-style pizza has only yeast and salt, yet St. Louis style pizza is unleavened. This might be confusing as you would not know how to freeze the different types of pizza dough.
Do not fret. The good news is all pizza doughs are frozen the same way. All you need is a freezer, fridge, freezer bags, olive oil, and pizza dough.
You can choose to freeze your pizza when it is at the point of fermentation. This is after it has risen and you are about to cook it. You can also decide to freeze it first before the rise. This is also okay. All you need to remember is to let it rise when you want to cook it.
Freezing risen pizza dough.
After making your pizza dough, you should let it rise to the point of baking. Only this time, you will not bake it but freeze it instead.
Divide the pizza dough into pieces. Take note that when you stretch the sections, they should be enough for one pizza crust. Make the pieces into balls.
Take each piece and coat it with olive oil. It would be easier if you used a spray to spray the oil onto the dough. This ensures that you are not overhandling the dough. Overhandling the dough might affect the texture of the crust after baking. Secondly, it might be unsanitary.
After oiling the pieces, there are two main methods you can follow.
Put all your pieces on a baking sheet. Spread them out on the tray. They should not overlap.
Wrap and cover with plastic paper tightly. Ensure that it is airtight.
Put it into the freezer.
Unfortunately, this method takes a lot of space. To conserve space, let it freeze overnight and remove it.
Detach the pieces from the baking sheet. The pizza dough pieces should be frozen and hard by now.
Put each piece in a freezer bag. Seal the freezer bags and put them back into the freezer.
Ensure the pieces do not unfreeze before you return to the freezer in the bags.
The pizza dough will last up to 3 months.
The above method is quite lengthy and complicated. This second method works better and is straight forward.
Put the pieces in freezer bags. Each section should have its freezer bag. Remember to squeeze out all the air from the freezer bag before sealing it. The air in a freezer bag causes oxidation. This will make your pizza dough spoil faster. Worse, it also changes the flavors in the pizza dough.
You want to make sure that you have removed all the air in the freezer bag. You cannot remove it with your bare hands. You can either use a vacuum sealer to seal your freezer bag after putting in the dough pieces or use water.
How does water work? Disclaimer, we are about to dive a little into physics.
Water displaces the air in the bag. All you have to do is is seal your bag almost entirely. Leave half to an inch unsealed. Lower the freezer bag gradually in a basin of water. This causes pressure on the outside of the pack. The force in the water pushes the air out of the bag through the one-inch opening.
Seal it entirely before you entirely submerge the freezer bag.
Wipe away the water on the outside of the bag and write the date on each bag. This will help you remember for how long you should store the pizza dough.
Place your pizza dough in the freezer bags into the freezer. This can last a while, so do not worry.
How to thaw risen pizza dough
There are two main ways to thaw frozen pizza dough. Depending on the time you have, you can choose what works for you.
Method one: using a fridge
To thaw a frozen pizza dough, you have to let it rest for at least 8 hours. You can not do this at room temperatures because bacteria will start forming after two hours. This will make our dough go bad. Worse, the crust can cause poisoning and stomach upsets.
To be safe, put the frozen pizza dough balls in the fridge for 8 hours. Do not remove them from the freezer bags. After 8 hours, the dough would be unfrozen and soft.
Remove them from the fridge. Let the dough warm to room temperatures for 30 minutes. Remove the dough from the bags.
You can now begin to stretch your pizza dough to prepare for baking.
Method two: using cold water
Alternatively, you can use cold water instead of a fridge to thaw the dough. Be careful not to open or remove the sealed freezer bags. Put the frozen dough in a pot of water and let it rest for 30 minutes.
Keep changing the water every thirty minutes until it completely thaws.
This method is faster than the first one.
How to freeze pizza dough that is yet to rise
This pizza dough has only been kneaded and is frozen immediately after kneading. This comes in handy if you have no time to wait for it to rise.
You put the dough on a baking sheet. Flatten it evenly on the dish. You can cover it with plastic wrap.
Put it in the freezer. Ensure you put it flatly, not tilted but straight. Let it freeze for an hour.
After an hour, it should be stiff and frozen. Remove it from the freezer and the pizza dish. Wrap it with aluminum foil or plastic wrap.
Put it in an airtight freezer bag or container. Ensure you do this immediately. This is before it starts to thaw. The dough can last up to 4 weeks in this state.
How do you thaw frozen dough that is yet to rise?
When you want to bake your pizza, yet you froze your dough immediately after kneading, you will need to let it rise after thawing before you bake it.
Remove the frozen dough from the pizza. Put it in the fridge to thaw. You should do this overnight or, specifically, for 12 hours.
When you remove it the next morning, it should have unfrozen by now. Grease a baking sheet. Remove your dough and put it on the sheet.
Cover the dough on the baking sheet and then let it warm and rise. This is the first rise. It will take a considerably more extended period to grow than if you had allowed it to rise after kneading. This is because the dough has to warm up first and get to room temperatures. Therefore be in no rush and give it almost twice as much time as usual.
After the first rise, punch the pizza dough down. Shape it into round balls and give it time to rise again. It should take around one hour. This is known as the second rise.
Your pizza dough is now ready to stretch and be baked.
When to freeze pizza dough
When you have pizza dough that you cannot bake for one reason or another, it is wise to freeze it. This preserves it and ensures that the next time you are ready to bake and enjoy your pizza, your dough will still be fresh to produce that delicious pizza. But when do you freeze the pizza dough?
There are two main points in the process of making a pizza that you can freeze the dough; this is immediately after kneading your dough or at the end of fermentation.
When you freeze your pizza immediately after kneading, it means you have not given it time to rise. For most pizzas, the dough should rise twice. When you freeze your pizza immediately after kneading, rather than before the first rise, note that you will have to let it rise before you cook it. It would be wise to mark the freezer bag before you put it in the freezer. This will remind you to let it rise when you unfreeze the dough. It is also important to note that letting the dough rise after freezing takes twice as much time as if you had allowed it to rise before you froze it.
The second point you can freeze your pizza dough is just after the first rise. Some people call this stage the place of fermentation. This is the best point to freeze your dough. It ensures that you will go directly to baking or give the dough a second rise immediately after you thaw your dough.
Both methods are acceptable, but in my experience, the second method works best.
How long does pizza dough last in the freezer?
Pizza dough lasts approximately three months in the freezer. Some people have said that it can last longer, but that is not safe. After three months, the dough becomes sour, and instead of airy because of the air bubbles, it becomes rigid and dense.
The smell of the dough, as well as the color, also changes with time. For instance, the color becomes greyish. The texture also changes, and it becomes a bit dry. This means the dough is not safe for consumption. Additionally, if the dough has freezer burns, beware; it will not taste as fresh as it should.
However, this time limit will vary depending on the amount of yeast you used, the temperature, other ingredients, and the protein in the dough.
Yeast allows fermentation of the dough to take place. The more yeast, the higher the fermentation process. When the dough ferments, it produces alcohol, CO2, and some flavor. This is the flavor we want when we add yeast to the dough.
But as the dough keeps fermenting, it becomes sourer every day. For this reason, it is crucial to ensure that you use the right amounts of yeast when making the dough so that the dough can last as long as possible.
The great news is fermentation thrives in warm temperatures. Low temperatures tend to slow it. However, it is still wise to keep in mind the amount of yeast used to ensure the dough lasts up to three months in the freezer.
As we have mentioned above, high temperatures accelerate the process of fermentation. Bacteria thrive in warm climates. That is why pizza dough gets stale in a few hours under room temperatures, take a bit longer in the fridge but longest in the freezer.
If you have a freezer that allows you to adjust the temperatures, use maximum freezing temperature settings.
The lower the temperatures, the more days your pizza dough will last in the freezer.
The protein found in flour is responsible for the gluten. The more the protein, the more the gluten. The gluten ensures that the pizza dough maintains its feel, texture, and look. When there is little gluten, the dough will not keep its structure for long. This means that gluten-free flour lasts a shorter time than flour with gluten.
The ingredients in a pizza dough have a significant effect on the lifespan of the dough. The most notorious component is eggs. Eggs help in binding together all the other ingredients. Not all pizza dough recipes use eggs, though, but a few do.
Together with other add ons in the dough like sugar, the eggs hastens the dough going bad.
How long does frozen pizza dough last in the fridge?
Frozen pizza dough can last up to five days in the fridge. However, this is not always the case. Many variables come to play when thinking of the lifetime of pizza dough in a refrigerator. Things like:
- For how long was it at room temperature after you removed it from the freezer?
- What are the temperatures in the fridge?
- The temperatures of the water that you used in making the dough. This is because fermentation starts sooner when you use warm water than when you use cold water.
How long does frozen pizza dough last on the counter?
Frozen pizza dough can last as little as three hours to as much as 6 hours. A frozen pizza dough’s lifespan will depend on the amount of yeast used, the type of flour used, the location or season.
Pizza dough with a lot of yeats will ferment faster than one with less. Therefore it is wise to monitor the yeast you have used. If you bought your frozen dough, read to know the amount of yeast used to monitor the time.
The type of flour
As we have established before, a gluten-free flour loses its structure faster than flour that has gluten.
The location and season in place
If you are in a coastal town that experiences warm whether the temperatures are higher than in cold regions, this means the bacteria growth will be higher and faster in a warmer area.
When it is summer, frozen pizza dough thaws faster at room temperatures and goes stale more quickly. During winter, the opposite is true.
Can you freeze pizza dough with yeast?
Yes, you freeze pizza that has yeast. Low freezing temperatures do not affect the yeast. High temperatures might kill the yeast, but low temperatures make the yeast dormant. It even slows down the fermentation process a great deal.
You can either let the dough rise before freezing or let it grow after. If you will let it rise first, remember to make it into balls that will be enough for a pizza each. Coat the dough balls with olive oil.
Can you freeze pizza dough after it rises?
Yes, you can freeze a pizza dough after the first rise. The dough will not lose its volume. Let it rise until when it is twice as massive as it was before it rose. This takes around thirty minutes. After that, you can divide the dough into sections and shape them into balls. You can then put them in separate freezer bags.
Alternatively, you can put them in an airtight container. Do not let the balls touch, but instead give them enough space for more expansion that might occur.
When you removed it from the freezer and thawed, give it some more time for the second rise.
Must you shape the pizza dough into balls?
It is necessary to shape your pizza into balls. This is because of three main reasons.
First, it is easier to roll out a pizza ball that is round to form a circular shape for a circular crust. Only round balls can create a circle flat crust. For cases where the crust is square, you might not find the round ball necessary.
Secondly, it allows for uniform rising. When the pizza dough is round, it will grow in all directions.
Lastly, it is important to have the pizza in balls since it would be easier to maintain a consistent size. You can easily tell which ball is bigger than the other. This is important if you have no other means of ensuring a consistent size.
Is it safe to eat dough that has over fermented?
Over fermentation means that the pizza has passed the required fermentation. At this point, it starts to lose its original structure. It might begin to have new weird characteristics like the change of color. It might become greyish or have greyish patches. It might also have some odd smell and sour taste because of the alcohol produced during over fermentation.
This dough is flat, liquid-like, and hard to roll out and spread. If you cooked this dough, high chances are it will not be puffy. You can still cook this dough, but it will have a sour taste. You will not get poisoning, but you might not enjoy the pizza as much.
If you’re going to cook this dough, remember you need to cook it thoroughly. If it were up to me, I would say it is not worth the hustle.
If your dough has started showing these signs, it is not safe to eat it. Toss it into the dustbin and make a new one.
Freezing pizza dough is a daily thing for a pizza chef. Freezing pizza dough is relatively easy, and it is the best way of ensuring your pizza dough remains fresh.
However, ensure your pizza reaches the point of fermentation first before you freeze it. This makes it easier for you when you are ready to bake your pizza. But if you are pressed for time, remember you can let it rise after defrosting.
Ensure you only use airtight containers and freezer bags when freezing your pizza dough. This will help keep the air at bay since it dehydrates the dough.
Additionally, store the pizza dough in the form of round balls. This will help you in stretching out the dough to form perfectly shaped crusts.
Follow the above-listed guidelines on how to freeze pizza, and you will always have your pizza dough fresh ready for your delicious, fresh pizza.