If you have excess pizza dough or leftover pizza dough then you can always freeze the pizza dough so that you can make pizzas whenever you want.
It is easy to freeze and thaw pizza dough and if you do not know how to freeze pizza dough and thaw it properly then do read this guide carefully for instructions.
Thawing and defrosting pizza dough has to be done the right way else your pizza dough can end up stressed and it won’t stretch out properly.
Usually, I just put the dough balls I made in the fridge as I cook pizzas often. There are different things you can make with pizza dough so do try different recipes if you are done with pizzas.
This can make the dough last for days, but it is best to freeze them properly if you want them to last longer.
The other challenge you will have to face is thawing it.
You might have made too many dough balls and you cannot spend or cook them in the next few days so you need to store them.
It is hard to make enough dough for just one pizza as there will always be extra.
So you need to store it the right way to make it last longer and be of use for your next pizza meal.
Having some pizza dough balls in the freezer or the fridge is very time-saving.
You no longer need to wait for hours to let the pizza dough rise or prove it before you can cook it.
With this post, I will be sharing with you the proper way of storing your pizza dough in the freezer and the fridge so that you have pizza dough ready whenever you want to cook.
Can I Freeze Pizza Dough?
I do this all the time so yes, you can freeze pizza dough for longer shelf life.
There is no need for a lengthy process before you can freeze the pizza dough as well.
You just need to allow it to rise and then place each dough ball in a container with a flat bottom.
From there, you can cover the dough balls and then allow them to freeze within 2 hours.
Never leave the fresh dough ball at room temperature exposed to bacteria and contaminants for more than 2 hours. Make sure to store all the dough balls in the freezer before you start cooking.
Freezing the dough balls will allow them to last for up to 6 weeks. Beyond that, and you might need to consider checking whether the dough balls are still good or not before you use one.
I prefer freezing the dough balls individually rather than placing all of them in a single large container.
That way, I do not have to separate the hard dough balls when I need one.
How to Freeze Pizza Dough
Storing Pizza Dough In The Fridge
If you need to use the pizza dough in the next few days, freezing it will be the best way to store it.
You just need a container, a little bit of oil or oil spray, and plastic wrap for sealing.
After you have kneaded and allowed the pizza dough to rise, divide the dough into smaller dough balls, each dough ball should be enough for one pizza before you store them separately.
Lightly oil the container and place the dough ball in it. Cover the container with plastic wrap to seal it properly before you put the actual cover of the container and then place it in the fridge.
From there, the dough will last for up to a week. While the dough will still be good for cooking in a week, I recommend using it before the fifth day in the fridge to get the same quality as before.
How Long Can You Freeze Pizza Dough?
I always make sure that I use the pizza dough within 2 months if I have frozen it to ensure that it has similar quality as the ones that I use fresh but you can store it for longer in the freezer.
If you properly store the dough ball in the freezer, it can last for up to 3 months.
You will need to make sure that the container is sealed or end up with contaminated dough balls.
There are clear signs that the dough ball has gone bad even if you freeze it.
It can develop molds or freezer burns if you did not wrap or seal it properly before freezing it.
The dough ball can even last up to 4 months if the container is sealed and is not exposed in any way.
I usually use the pizza dough after a month, but it is still good after 4 months when I forget it.
One thing you should remember is to never re-freeze the dough. Once you have frozen it and thawed it, you need to cook it right away and never put it back in the freezer.
Can You Freeze Pizza Dough After It Rises?
The proper way of freezing pizza dough is to allow it to rise before freezing it.
Allowing the pizza dough to fully rise before freezing activates the yeast and the gluten in the dough.
Fully risen pizza dough is usually the best state where you can freeze it.
The pizza dough will not go bad easily as the process is slowed and almost stopped when frozen.
The concept here is that you activate as much of the yeast as possible to not get damaged when frozen.
That way, the dough will have risen properly and is ready to use when thawed.
Do not freeze the pizza dough before you have allowed it to rise as the gluten will stay tough in the flour.
This will result in either crumbly pizza dough or something that does not stretch.
Best Way To Freeze Pizza Dough
The best way to freeze the pizza dough is to seal it in a container. Take the leftover pizza dough and make dough balls and store them in a container.
This will prevent both contamination and freezer burns that can surely destroy the pizza’s taste and texture.
Allowing it to rise is also essential so that the yeast can still work in the few hours before the pizza dough is frozen. You will need a sealed container to create safe storage space.
I use zip lock bags as they are much easier to use and can be sealed.
You need to make sure to spray the inside of the zip lock bag so the dough does not stick to it.
I experienced that spraying the interior of the zip lock bag is not as effective, so I tried oiling the dough balls instead, which works much better in preventing the dough from sticking.
Now let us get into the guide on how to freeze your pizza dough properly.
I always follow this guide whenever I want to freeze the extra pizza dough balls I have made.
Step 1: Always Make Great Dough
The best way to freeze a good pizza dough ball is to start with an amazing recipe.
I have another post about making the right pizza dough recipe down to the type of flour you use.
Follow that and you will be able to make up to 3 pizza dough balls and store the two in the freezer for you to use later. Make sure that you have the right ingredients and tools for it.
You can increase or decrease the quantity of the ingredients and make more or less pizza dough. You can store the leftover pizza dough in the freezer and later make more pizzas.
Honestly, there are different things that you can do with leftover pizza dough and that’s the reason I always make more and freeze leftover pizza dough.
Step 2: Allow The Dough To Rise
This step is also included in the recipe which you can find in another post on this website.
You will need to knead and stretch the dough first for a little bit to start activating the gluten in the dough.
From there, allow the dough to rest as a whole. By doing this, you will be putting the dough under a process that develops both the texture and the flavor of the crust when cooked.
Place the dough on the countertop covered with a damp cloth and then rise for 2 hours.
This process can be quicker depending on the surrounding temperature.
Your main basis is to see if the dough has almost doubled in size.
That is when you know that the yeast is almost exhausted and has done its job of working the gluten from the flour.
Step 3: Divide The Dough
Once it has doubled in size, get the large dough ball and use a pastry cutter to divide it into two balls.
Use the other one to cook your pizza right away and the other dough ball to be stored.
For the dough, you will store, knead it a little more and then fold the edges inward to create a small ball of dough and seal the air pockets inside the dough.
First, place the dough ball on a tray and cover it with plastic wrap.
Place the tray in the freezer and allow the dough ball to become first, this will take around 2 to 3 hours.
Step 4: Freeze The Dough Ball
Once the dough ball is firm, remove the tray from the freezer and place the dough ball in a smaller container.
Again, make sure that the container is slightly oiled and can be sealed.
Plastic containers are great but I usually prefer using glass containers with almost rubbery lids.
It is also better if you wrap each dough ball in plastic wrap to prevent freezer burns.
From there, you can place the dough ball in the container and then seal it with plastic wrap before placing it in the freezer. Use within the next couple of months for the best pizza snack!
Does Freezing The Pizza Dough Kill The Yeast?
The activity of the yeast in the pizza dough depends on the temperature that it is exposed to.
The higher the temperature, the faster the yeast will spend its energy as they rise the dough.
When you place the dough in the refrigerator, the process is slowed down but the yeast still acts on the dough. When you freeze it, the process practically stops but it does not kill the yeast.
There are, however, ways that can affect the yeast. The moisture within the dough creates crystals that can affect the yeast cells and make it less effective in rising the dough.
When the dough is then thawed, the yeast will reactivate and start proofing the dough again, the yeasts affected by the frozen crystals will not be reactivated.
Putting more yeast on the dough is my counter to this problem.
If I knew that I was going to freeze the dough but if it is just in the fridge, I would put the usual amount of yeast.
How do you Thaw Frozen Pizza Dough balls?
There are two main ways that I practice when thawing the frozen pizza dough.
First, you can do it in the refrigerator if you have time or at room temperature on the countertop for a quicker process.
When doing it in the refrigerator, you need to bring out the frozen pizza dough from the freezer and transfer it to the refrigerator to allow it to thaw at least overnight or for 24 hours before using it.
I figured that you will still need to bring the dough to room temperature after letting it thaw in the fridge so I rarely use this technique.
The other is by placing the frozen pizza dough on a baking tray and covering it with plastic wrap.
The plastic wrap will keep the dough’s moisture and prevent it from forming a hard outer shell.
At room temperature, the pizza dough will take about 2 to 3 hours to thaw. You can do the poke test to see if the dough has truly thawed and if it is ready to be kneaded and stretched.
How long to defrost frozen pizza dough?
If you ever wonder how long to defrost frozen pizza dough then I never go longer than 4 hours and give my frozen pizza dough a minimum of to hour and a half.
This is the ideal time for which you should leave your pizza dough to defrost.
Once the pizza dough reaches room temperature, you can start making pizzas but I usually wait for the pizza dough to proof a bit before I can start making pizzas from it.
So, my total wait time is around 3-4 hours depending on the room temperature. In winters, it can take longer but in summers, 3 hours is a good wait time.
Proofing Frozen Pizza Dough
Do you know when you allow the dough to rise once more before you cook it?
That is what proofing is and it is needed to reactivate the yeast inside the dough and create the fluffy interior of the crust.
This improves the texture and the taste of the crust later on. With frozen pizza dough, you need to proof it after you thaw it so it will also take up time when you proof it.
Aside from the 3 hours of thawing the dough, you will need to prove it for another 3 to 4 hours to relax the pizza dough.
If you do not do this, the pizza dough gets stressed and it will be difficult to stretch it.
Do not go past 4 hours as the yeast might get exhausted and no longer make the dough stretchy.
After 4 hours, the dough usually becomes weak and just a small stretch will tear it apart. You can still solve this problem by kneading the dough once again and stretching it.
How To Freeze Pre-made Pizza
So you have cooked your pizza and you have some extra.
You can also freeze the leftover pizza to have something for later when you want some snack or a full meal.
Step 1: Make Your Pizza
Get a ball of dough and shape it to the size of the pizza that you want.
Place your pizza sauce and the toppings of your choice and then get your pizza oven ready.
Step 2: Preheat The Pizza Oven
Set the temperature of your pizza oven to the highest temperature and then let it preheat for 15 minutes.
This kills the bacteria and other contaminants in the oven before you put the pizza in.
Step 3: Cook The Pizza
If your pizza oven can reach a temperature of at least 850 degrees Fahrenheit, that is great.
Place your pizza in the pizza oven and let it cook for 90 seconds.
When the crust is crispy and the mozzarella cheese has melted over the toppings, remove the pizza from the oven.
Let it cool down a little bit before serving it warm.
Step 4: Let The Pizza Cool Down
For your leftover pizza, you need to allow it to completely cool down before freezing it.
Once the pizza has come to room temperature, wrap each slice with plastic wrap and aluminum foil.
The plastic wrap protects the pizza from contamination while the aluminum foil prevents freezer burns.
Place the pizza slices in a container and then seal the container with plastic wrap.
Step 5: Freeze The Pizza
Once ready, place the container in the freezer and then let the pizza freeze.
This will last for months and you can always reheat the pizza slices whenever you want to.
We have another post that talks about the proper ways of reheating a frozen pizza so it is safe to consume while also keeping the quality of the pizza that you have cooked.
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