Are you looking to make pizza dough ahead for later use? You can prepare the dough and freeze it for up to 2 months.
When the time comes to defrost the dough, you will have to be extremely careful not to cook it accidentally. The best way to do this is to use cold thawing methods as much as possible and resort to warm methods if you are in a pinch and need to make the pizza quickly.
I have tried a couple of methods, and in this article, I will show you how to defrost pizza dough safely and efficiently. Keep reading to learn more.
Supplies You Will Need
- Plastic Wrap
- Microwave and microwave-safe plate
- Baking pan
How to Defrost Pizza Dough
I will show you five easy ways to defrost pizza dough. These include transferring to the fridge, using a microwave, oven, or defrosting at room temperature. The method you opt for will largely depend on how much time you have.
1. Refrigerator Method
When I am not in a hurry and plan to prepare pizza the next day, I prefer using the refrigerator method to defrost the dough. With this method, there is no risk of cooking the dough. The dough also comes out firm enough to spread by hand. There are two ways to do this.
To get started, remove the dough from the freezer and retain it in the storage bag. Then, place it in a bowl large enough to accommodate the dough when it rises.
Place the bowl containing the dough in the refrigerator and allow it to thaw overnight. If you want to make pizza later in the day, thaw the dough in the fridge for up to 8 hours.
The only downside to this method is that the storage bag or plastic wrap tends to stick to the dough and make a mess. If you don’t mind having some of your dough stuck on the bag or wrap, you can use this method to defrost pizza dough.
When you are about to use the dough, remove it from the fridge and store it at room temperature for about 1 hour.
This second method minimizes the ‘sticky’ problem. Remove your dough from the freezer, place it on a flat surface, and unwrap it.
Bring out a medium-sized plate and spray some cooking oil on it. Cut a new piece of plastic wrap and spray a small amount of cooking oil on it too. The cooking oil protects the dough from sticking to the plastic wrap and plate.
Tightly wrap the dough using the oily plastic wrap. Make sure that each part is fully covered to keep moisture and surrounding odors from contaminating your dough.
Then, place the wrapped dough on the plate and stash it in the freezer overnight or for a couple of hours. As the dough thaws up, softens, and rises, you will notice tiny bubbles on the surface.
An hour before you begin to prepare your pizza, bring out the dough and place it on the countertop. This will allow the dough to acclimatize and thaw evenly for easier stretching.
2. Room Temperature Method
To defrost pizza a bit faster, you can bring it to room temperature. The advantage of this method is that the dough will retain its texture and elasticity.
Remove the dough from the freezer. Take it out from its storage bag and/container. Cut a sizeable piece of plastic wrap, spray it with a small amount of cooking oil, and cover the dough with it.
Next, place the wrapped dough in a large bowl. Store it at room temperature on a countertop. The dough will warm up and rise in about 2 to 3 hours in time for you to make your homemade pizza.
3. Water Bath Method
An even faster method of defrosting pizza dough is thawing it in a water bath. You can use a warm or cold water bath, and you will end up with a soft, stretchy dough. A warm water bath will thaw faster, but you should be careful not to cook the dough accidentally.
Remove the dough from the freezer but leave it in the plastic freezer bag. The bag should be sealed and not let in any water; you want to keep the dough as dry as possible.
Fill a large bowl with room temperature tap water and place the bag of dough inside the bowl for 1 to 2 hours. Completely submerge the bag for faster and even freezing. As the dough thaws, it will rise and soften, and you will notice small bubbles on the surface.
It helps to acclimatize the dough to room temperature before baking it. After 2 hours, take it out of the cold water bath, remove it from the freezer bag, and place it in a large dry bowl on the countertop. Allow an acclimatization period of 1 hour for the dough to be ready for baking.
To defrost pizza dough faster, use a warm water bath. First, fill a large bowl with warm water. Then, put the bag of dough in the bowl of water, making sure that it is fully submerged. The dough will cool the water, so you will need to keep replacing the water until the dough thaws.
4. Microwave Method
The microwave is greatly convenient for thawing foods, but you will have to be careful when using it to defrost pizza dough. Without the correct precautions, the microwave will quickly cook the dough.
That said, the advantage of the microwave method is that you can thaw your dough in less than 15 minutes, allowing you to get pizza ready in no time. The trick is to prevent the dough from sticking and cooking.
To get started, spray some cooking oil on a microwave-safe plate and a piece of plastic wrap. Cover the dough using the plastic wrap and place it on the plate, ready for microwaving.
I like to set the microwave on high for about 25 to 30 seconds, depending on the size of the dough. This will get the dough thawing without cooking it.
When the microwave goes off, spray some oil on the plate again, turn the dough, and microwave it for another 30 seconds. By now, it will rise and feel soft to the touch.
Next, use the defrost settings to continue the thawing process safely. Set the microwave to defrost for 5 minutes. Then once the dough has finished defrosting, bring it out and place it on the counter until it rises and is ready for use.
5. Oven Method
As with the microwave method, you need to be careful not to cook the dough. On the upside, the oven does a good job of thawing dough evenly.
Spray oil onto a baking pan. The pan should be large enough to accommodate the rising dough. Place the dough in the pan and cover it tightly with plastic wrap. It is a good idea to spray some oil on the plastic wrap too.
Set the oven to 100 degrees Fahrenheit or the lowest setting if yours is a gas oven. Then, place the baking pan in the oven and allow the dough to thaw for 1 hour.
After the 1 hour is up, bring out the baking pan, unwrap the dough, and touch to check if it has thawed. It should rise and feel soft. If the dough still feels hard, put it back in the oven for an additional 30 to 45 minutes, depending on the size of the dough.
Avoid thawing in the oven for longer than 2 hours as this can cook or harden the dough. If the dough is still slightly hard, place it on the countertop for an additional 1 hour. It will rise and soften, ready for baking.
Pro Tip: Pop a small bowl of water in the oven to keep the dough from drying out.
- The middle part of the dough takes time to thaw. To speed along the thawing process, gently squash the dough to expose this middle section.
- If you have a large chunk of dough, consider cutting it into two or more pieces. When thawing using a microwave or oven, place the cut side down to increase the surface area and hasten the defrosting process.
- The next time you prepare pizza dough, freeze it in small balls, which you can later combine into one big ball to bake your pizza crust. It is easier to defrost small balls of pizza dough.
- Remember to wear protective gloves/mittens when handling frozen food or food coming out of the oven.
Defrost Pizza Dough Without Sacrificing Quality
Freezing pizza dough is smart and will save you a ton of time. But, thawing should be done right in order to bake a scrumptious pizza crust. Follow the tips outlined here on how to defrost pizza dough safely and efficiently, and you will be well on your way to making pizza on demand—even on those busy weeknights!