Nothing beats the taste of home-baked pizza covered in cheese and a layer of your favorite toppings. Unfortunately, making new dough every time you crave pizza can be a little bit of a hassle because of all the time and work that goes into it.
And perhaps this may leave you wondering, can you freeze pizza dough?
Short answer – yes, you can. In fact, pizza dough can stay in a freezer for up to three months. Just roll your dough into small balls, put it in freezer bags and you can grab some any time you miss homemade pizza.
What Does Freezing Do to Your Pizza Dough?
When you put your pizza dough in a freezer, yeast activity slows down due to the drop in temperature. In the refrigerator, this activity is just minimized but when in the freezer, the yeast becomes inactive completely. However, the yeast itself does not die no matter how low the temperature goes.
As soon as the dough is taken out of the freezer and starts to defrost, the yeast reactivates and produces a gas that causes the dough to rise.
How to Freeze Pizza Dough
Follow these quick and easy steps to freeze your pizza dough and you will have enough supply of dough for today, tomorrow, and days to come.
You will need:
- Pizza dough
- Freezer bags/plastic wrap
- Olive oil
- Marker pen
Step 1: Make Pizza Dough
You can’t freeze pizza dough without having the dough in the first place. So, prepare your dough using the guidelines of your desired recipe.
And assuming you would like this dough to last you a while, it is best to choose a couple recipes so you can have a different variety for each pizza day.
Step 2: Allow the Dough to Rise
Once you have pounded your pizza dough, do not cut it into packaging pieces yet. Give it time to ferment as one piece. Allowing your dough to ferment in bulk helps enhance its flavor. You can either leave it for two hours on your kitchen counter or for a day in the fridge.
Some people, however, freeze their dough before it has had a chance to ferment. Truthfully speaking, no rule dictates whether doing it before is better than doing it after.
You can choose whichever option works for you. All you need to do is mark the dough so you can know whether it needs fermenting when thawed or whether it’s ready to spread out into a pizza.
For future convenience, though, it would be best to allow the dough to ferment before freezing. That way, you won’t have to wait for it to rise when rolling it into a crust.
Step 3: Shape the Dough into Balls
After your pizza dough has fermented, cut it into small balls. How many balls you make will depend on your specific recipe. Make sure each ball is the appropriate size for the crust you intend to make in the future.
Step 4: Oil the Balls
Oil your dough balls before packaging. This will make it easier for you to pull them out of the freezer bag once they have defrosted. You can apply a light coat of olive oil or spray with baking spray. Or you can just use your favorite cooking oil.
Step 5: Bag Up
Put your balls of dough in a freezer bag and close it or just wrap them up with a cling film. We recommend storing each ball in a separate bag so they don’t freeze on to each other.
Use a marker pen to label the contents. Make sure the label has a date and a note to say whether the balls need fermenting before baking or not.
Step 6: Store in the Freezer
Put your dough balls in the freezer. They can stay here indefinitely but it is best to use them within three months.
Now we have no doubt that you know for sure you can freeze your pizza dough for future use. And as you can see, it is a really simple process. It should work for any recipe and floor type.
How to Defrost Frozen Pizza Dough
In the morning of the day you wish to bake your pizza, transfer the dough from the freezer to the refrigerator and let it sit for about 12 hours.
Once this time has elapsed, remove the dough from the fridge and place it on the kitchen counter. Leave it here for about 30 minutes to come to room temperature.
If you can’t wait for the entire 12 hours, you can defrost the dough in a container of cold water. Just make sure it is still properly sealed and you are changing the water every 30 minutes.
You can also thaw your dough on your kitchen counter. It will take about 2 ½ hours for the balls to completely defrost. However, you will need to refrigerate after this period to prevent bacteria growth.
After your pizza dough has thawed properly, take it out of the freezer bag and spread it out into a crust. If you had not fermented your dough before freezing, you will want to do it before doing this or continuing with the rest of your pizza recipe.
Will Freezing Change the Texture or Taste of Your Pizza?
How freezing works is that it converts the moisture in the dough into ice, causing it to expand. Over time, these ice crystals can break through the walls of the dough cells, slightly changing the texture of the dough.
So, yes, freezing can change the texture of your pizza balls, meaning fresh dough is, to some extent, always a better option texture-wise.
The taste of your dough, on the other hand, will remain unchanged. Unless your wrapping bags are not sealed properly such that the taste is being contaminated by other foods in the freezer, your dough should be able to taste just as good as it did the first time you made it.
Can You Refreeze Your Pizza Dough After Thawing?
No, you cannot. After you have frozen your pizza dough once and put it out to defrost, it is a bad practice to put it back in the freezer.
The yeast responsible for fermenting the dough is usually dormant while in the freezer. But once the dough is taken out, this fungus revives very quickly and goes back to its job of converting sugars into alcohol and carbon dioxide.
If the dough is left to sit at room temperature for too long, say 6 to 12 hours, it will quickly become sour and develop a coarse texture, which will lead to a considerable loss in quality.
Now, if you put this dough back into the freezer, you will not have the best results the next time you make pizza out of it.
Sure, the fermentation process will stop as soon as the dough adjusts to the freezer temperature, but the sour taste and the hard texture the dough acquired while outside won’t go away.
And while the resulting pie may still be safe to eat, working the dough itself will be an uphill task because the extended fermentation process will have robbed the dough of its moisture and elasticity.
If you are thawing your dough at room temperature, make sure not to leave it outside for more than 2 ½ hours. This is especially true if you suspect you won’t be using it all to make the crust.
Tips to Remember When Freezing Your Pizza Dough
While freezing pizza dough is a fairly easy task, there are a few things you should keep in mind to get the most out of the process. Read on!
Keep Dough Balls Away From Strong Foods
Foods that are strongly scented should be stored much further away from your pizza balls to avoid tainting the smell or taste of the dough. If your freezer is divided into compartments, you can use one section to store the dough and another to store strong foods.
If you have to store these two together, make sure to seal the dough properly. You could even put the bagged dough in a separate air-tight container.
Ferment At Least Once
If you don’t allow your pizza dough to rise, you will be dealing with flat, lifeless dough. Decide whether you want to ferment your dough before or after freezing.
Don’t try to speed up the defrosting process or you will ruin the dough texture and the resulting pizza. Let the dough thaw slow and steady, preferably in the refrigerator.
If you came here because you were wondering whether you can freeze your pizza dough, now you know the answer. Freezing pizza dough is a convenient way of speeding up your pizza-making process.
Just cut the dough into small balls, put it in bags, and throw it in the freezer. And when it’s time to cook, leave it to thaw slowly in the fridge and don’t let it sit too long on the kitchen counter.
Still got questions regarding freezing pizza dough? Write it down in the comment section.