Pizza is an amazing recipe as you can make it at home and it cooks quickly especially if you have stored your pizza dough.
So if you have leftover pizza dough, you should know how to store pizza dough properly for future cooking.
Pizza dough does not last a long time unless you store it properly.
Luckily, you have many options for storing the dough and ensuring that it stays fresh for cooking your next pizzas.
You can either make the pizza dough last for days or even months so you do not have to make a new one every time you want pizzas.
Making the dough is the first part of the process of storing.
See, making your dough at home is not the fastest thing to do as you need to wait for the pizza dough to rise. It is perhaps the longest part of the process when making your pizzas.
There are even instances where I would need to make the homemade pizza dough recipe days before cooking it.
That is why I needed to find ways to store the pizza dough and stay fresh.
So I am sharing the pointers that I have made to store the pizza dough properly.
This post will also answer some of your questions when it comes to the pizza dough.
How Do You Know Pizza Dough Has Gone Bad?
Aside from the fact that you could taste a pizza dough that has gone bad, there are other physical implications that the pizza dough is no longer good to eat or cook for your next pizza.
Some of these signs that the dough has gone bad are caused by improper pizza dough storage. This also depends on how long does the pizza dough stay in the fridge or the freezer.
First, you can tell by its look that a bad pizza dough generally has a tough outer part.
The fresh pizza dough should still stick to the container that you used. Not to the point that there are bits of it left on the surface of the container but you can see that it is still a challenge to pull it out.
The dough that has gone bad will have a dry and tough surface that easily detaches from the airtight container.
If this happens, confirm it by touching the surface and if it is hard, the dough is not fresh.
The smell of the dough also tells a lot about whether it is fresh or not.
If it produces an aromatic combination of flour, sugar, and yeast, the dough is fresh and can still be cooked.
On the other hand, you should not cook with sour-smelling dough.
That means that its basic ingredients are way over the expiration date and are mostly contaminated with bacteria.
There are also indications that the dough has gone bad based on the looks.
The dough that has gone bad usually has gray spots on the surface indicating that the yeast has died and is now an inactive yeast.
The gray spots and whitish spots on the dough are usually caused by storing the dough improperly or if it has gone too long.
The signs of freezer burns can also be the cause of this phenomenon. This is where you will find visible freezer crystals when you store frozen pizza dough in the freezer the wrong way.
The look and smell of the pizza dough are the easiest ways how to spot if it has gone bad.
How Long Can You Let Pizza Dough Rise At Room Temperature?
The best way to keep the dough fresh is to either refrigerate it or freeze it. If you store pizza dough in the freezer, the slow yeast fermentation process will still continue.
However, if you would need the pizza to cook on the same day, you need to allow it to rise at room temperature.
Many factors come into play when you let the pizza dough rise at room temperature.
First, since you leave it outside the fridge, some contaminants might get into it.
You need to properly cover the dough with a wet towel or cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
Allowing the dough to rise at room temperature will make it rise faster than in the fridge. That is why it is better to refrigerate pizza dough after it rises or store it at lower temperatures.
Letting the dough rest and rise at room temperature usually takes around 2 hours.
It can extend to 4 hours but I do not recommend going that long as it will have a higher risk of being contaminated.
By 2 hours, most pizza doughs would have risen and doubled in size.
So even before the 3-hour mark, you can store the pizza dough in the freezer or process it for cooking once it has doubled in size.
How Long Can A Pizza Dough Sit On The Counter At Room Temperature?
After you have allowed the dough to rise at room temperature, make sure to process it right away. Pizza dough should not sit too long before cooking.
Do not leave the dough on the kitchen counter for too long or else it will become bad quickly.
Never leave the dough on the counter at room temperature for more than 3 hours after letting it rise. It is important to store the pizza dough for a few hours but not for too long.
Even at room temperature, the dough will still form an outer core that makes it harder.
How long does it take before this happens? Well, that depends on the temperature but it usually takes only 2 hours before you can see the dough start to harden.
Pizza dough that has been sitting too long before cooking dries out the dough which messes up with the hydration level of the flour and the dough itself.
Aside from that, the dough will start to rise too much until its weight collapses on itself.
This is why some dough left to rise for too long looks flat instead of getting a doubled size. The best time to let pizza dough sit before cooking is no more than 2 to 3 hours.
Technically, it might have doubled in size but the dough becomes flat instead of a large ball.
We can also refrigerate the pizza dough after it rises if you are not planning on cooking it right away.
How Do You Store Pizza Dough In The Fridge?
It is very simple to store the pizza dough overnight in the fridge as you only need a sealed container.
The best way to store the pizza dough overnight is to separate it into smaller pieces and place the smaller pizza dough balls in separate airtight bags or plastic containers like Tupperware containers with airtight lids..
Once you are ready to store the pizza dough, you can then oil a container to not stick to the container.
Place the dough in it and then seal the container with plastic wrap.
You can also use a zip lock bag by spraying some olive oil first for the same purpose and then putting the dough in the zip lock bag. You can also try to get some of the air out of the plastic bag.
Place the bag or container in the refrigerator to store the dough overnight.
You can then allow it to continue to rise and grab one ball of dough when you are ready to cook your pizza.
You do need to let the pizza dough sit before cooking for about 30 minutes to let it warm up a little bit so it becomes easier to knead and stretch.
Do You Store Dough Before Or After Letting It Rise?
This is one of the common questions asked about the dough.
After letting the dough rise and cutting it into smaller pieces, you can store the pizza dough in the fridge right away.
You can store pizza dough overnight in the freezer or in the fridge at almost any point in the process.
The first rise will start to activate the yeast and storing it will be best for this part of the process.
Storing the pizza dough before it has risen is also not a problem.
It will, however, be better to refrigerate the pizza dough after it rises so you do not exhaust too much yeast in the dough.
How Long Can Pizza Dough Be Refrigerated?
I prefer storing the pizza dough overnight in a zip lock bag as it is easier to store and does not take up too much space in the fridge. It also can retain the shape of the pizza dough.
Once you have placed the dough in the zip lock bag, you can then press as much air out as you can.
Store the pizza dough for a few hours in the fridge to allow the dough to rise a bit more and store it properly.
In the refrigerator, the dough can last and stay fresh for up to 2 weeks.
That means that you will have a pizza crust ready anytime you want to cook pizzas as a meal or even just as snacks.
Most food stored in the refrigerator can only last for four days.
The reason why dough can last for 2 weeks in the fridge and stay fresh is that it has not been cooked yet in any way.
The same goes for when you store ready-made pizza base in the fridge. If you store ready-made pizza base in the fridge, it does not last longer compared to fresh dough in the fridge.
You will need to bring out the readymade pizza base in the fridge before the 5th day of storing. Check the expiration date and see how long the readymade pizza base has been in the fridge.
Should Pizza Dough Be Room Temperature Before Using?
Once you are ready to use the dough, you can remove it from the container and into a clean mixing bowl.
If you have stored the pizza dough for a few hours in the freezer or the fridge, you still need to let it rise a bit.
Before stretching or kneading the dough, allow it to warm up a little bit on the counter.
Allow the dough to come up to room temperature before kneading it so it can stretch easier.
Lightly flour the bowl or the work surface before putting the dough on it for stretching.
The pizza dough should be at room temperature before you stretch or knead it as it will be easier that way.
The gluten is tighter inside the dough when they are in a cold environment.
This makes the pizza dough stretch but it will easily come back to its shape when cold.
Allowing the gluten to warm up a little will relax it and make the dough easier to knead and stretch.
How Can We Tell If Pizza Dough Is Overproofed?
The goal of proofing the dough is to allow it to become bigger. We can store pizza dough for a few hours but we also need to make sure that it thaws before using it.
This will also help stretch and knead the dough as the yeast acts on the gluten inside the flour you use.
Proofing is easy as you do not have to do anything but wait.
However, you can mess it up if you have the wrong timing and overproof the dough, making it bad.
Overproofed dough can be easily detected as it does not retain its shape.
Overproofed dough means that the dough has stretched too large and can no longer hold its round shape.
After a while, the yeast will continue to act on the gluten and exhaust all its strength.
That is why the dough balls will spread and no longer look like dough balls with their flat surfaces.
Another indication is that the pizza dough has more than doubled in size.
The dough should not proof more than its double size so make sure that the dough still has the right size.
Large bubbles will start to form on the dough which means that there is already too much carbon dioxide inside the activated yeast. This is a early sign that the dough is over-proofed.
What Can I Do With Overproofed Pizza Dough?
Luckily, the over-proofed dough does not mean that it will go straight to waste. You can do some things to salvage the dough and still make great pizzas with it.
This simple guide will teach you how to bring back the pizza dough that you have left at higher temperatures and overproofed to a good shape.
Step 1: Proof Of Overproof
Use the finger test to confirm whether the pizza dough has been over-proofed.
Press one area of the dough with your finger for two seconds and then see if it bounces back.
If the dent comes back to its original shape, then the dough is still fresh.
However, after a few seconds and the dent is still there, the dough is most likely over-proofed.
Step 2: Knead Again
After you have confirmed that the dough has been over-proofed, place it on a floured surface and then knead it with the heel of your hands. Push it outwards and allow the air to escape.
The idea behind this is to allow fresh air to enter the dough again.
So you can either lift the dough and squeeze the air out of it or use your fists to push out the air from the dough.
After that, you can either store the dough once again for future use or use it right away.
The more times you fix an over-proofed dough, the large the possibility of the edge of the pizza crust having large bubbles.
So it depends on how you want your pizza to be. If you love those large air pockets on the edge of your pizza, then you can knead the over-proofed pizza again and make your favorite pizzas with it!
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