You’ve whipped up more of your from-scratch pizza dough but you don’t plan on using it today. This article will tell you the best ways to store the dough for later use.
What are the best ways to store homemade pizza dough? The best ways to store homemade pizza dough are in the fridge, freezer, or in a room-temperature environment. The dough lasts the least amount of time on the counter and the most time in the freezer.
In this guide, I’ll further explore the best ways to store homemade pizza dough as well as how long each storage method lasts. By the time you’re done reading, you’ll be able to choose the most suitable method for keeping your dough!
The Best Ways to Store Homemade Pizza Dough
In the Refrigerator
If you know it will be a while (i.e., at least a few days) before you’ll get to your pizza dough, then fridge storage is an excellent idea.
Here’s another benefit of keeping your homemade dough in the fridge.
If you just made the dough, it’s still fermenting.
Refrigerator storage draws the fermentation process to a halt, allowing the yeast in your homemade dough to consume the sugars more readily.
Thus, carbon dioxide releases continually but gradually, producing a deeper, more complex, richer flavor than if you proofed the pizza dough faster.
When the time comes to use your fridge-stored pizza dough, you will have to give it a bit of time to thaw, especially if you’ve relied on the fridge storage method for several days.
I’ll have a section on thawing homemade pizza dough later, so make sure you check that out!
In the Freezer
Are you someone who likes to prep your meals well in advance?
Or perhaps you don’t get time to make pizza dough often, so when you do make it, you like to double up your batch. This way, you can enjoy homemade pizza in the immediate future and then in the further distant future.
Regardless, freezer storage is the option for you.
There’s an art to freezing homemade pizza dough to ensure the dough is usable on a later day.
You want to start with room-temperature dough, not cold or warm dough.
Next, split the pizza dough into two or three servings according to how much dough you made.
Transfer the dough portions into airtight containers. You can use plastic Tupperware with a lid or heavy-duty freezer bags for pizza dough.
Then stash the dough in your freezer until you’re ready to use it!
If you’re anything like me, you tend to fill up your freezer with assorted meals, desserts and projects like my ongoing collection of bananas I freeze until I’ve got enough for my next batch of banana bread.
On the Counter in a Room Temperature Environment
The third option for storing homemade pizza dough is the easiest and fastest but is also designed for the shortest-term storage (I’ll talk more about recommended storage times for each of these methods coming up).
You can always just keep the dough on your kitchen counter or elsewhere on your counter if you know you’ll get to it within the same week as when you made it.
If you’re making Neapolitan pizza dough, this isn’t optional anyway.
Unlike standard pizza dough, which only needs an hour or two to proof, Neapolitan dough requires anywhere from eight to 12 hours.
Keeping Homemade Pizza Dough in the Fridge – How Long Does It Last?
As promised, next, I want to discuss how long each of the three storage methods above will keep homemade pizza dough, beginning with fridge storage.
You can store your pizza dough in the fridge for a week.
All along, even though fermentation has slowed, it hasn’t ever stopped.
Overfermentation is an issue, and it’s something that will come up a lot throughout this section.
When your dough over-ferments or over-proofs, the dough is not going to be the high quality that you’re used from your homemade pizza dough.
It will have a tough, dense texture that makes it very difficult to work with and even more difficult to eat once the pizza is baked.
If you know that you’re going to keep your dough in the fridge for an extended period, then I would cut back on the amount of yeast that usually goes into your homemade pizza dough recipe.
Too much yeast can encourage overfermentation, after all!
Keeping Homemade Pizza Dough in the Freezer – How Long Does It Last?
By far, the best option for long-term dough storage is the freezer.
After you’ve divided your dough and put it in airtight containers, the dough will last for up to three months in the freezer without any kind of risk of fermentation.
Why is that? Pizza dough ferments the warmer it is.
Cold conditions like your fridge can slow the process while very cold conditions such as your freezer halt fermentation entirely.
Thus, you don’t have to worry about coming back to over-fermented pizza dough even if it’s been more than a month since you froze yours.
That’s a good feeling!
Keeping Homemade Pizza Dough on the Counter – How Long Does It Last?
As I said in the section prior, keeping pizza dough on the counter is by far the shortest storage method.
I’m not even talking days here, but a matter of hours.
If yours is standard pizza dough, then the longest you want to leave it on your kitchen counter is four hours.
Neapolitan pizza dough, since it takes longer to proof anyway, can spend up to 24 hours on the counter.
I want to stress that you shouldn’t exceed those storage times. If you do, then your dough risks overfermentation, and you already know you don’t want that.
How to Thaw Homemade Pizza Dough
Tonight is pizza night! It’s time to bust out your homemade dough and lovingly bake it in the oven.
If your dough has been in the fridge or freezer for an extended period, you can’t always pull it out the same day and use it.
Rather, using the dough requires some preplanning, as the pizza dough needs time to thaw. Exactly how much time? Let’s explore.
Thawing Homemade Pizza Dough from the Fridge
If your pizza dough has been in the refrigerator all along, then good news! The dough never got overly cold and thus can thaw in not a lot of time.
You can take the dough from the fridge and bake it up within the same 24-hour period.
If the dough weighs half a pound, then it will need at least 30 minutes to thaw.
If you have one pound of pizza dough, then double the time to 60 minutes. You’d triple the time to 90 minutes for one and a half pounds of homemade dough, and so on.
You can simply leave the dough on the kitchen counter or in another room-temperature environment until it’s fully thawed.
Thawing Homemade Pizza Dough from the Freezer
Homemade pizza dough that’s been chilling in the freezer will need more time to thaw.
I recommend defrosting the dough to start.
You’d take the homemade pizza dough from the freezer and stash it in the fridge overnight.
The dough won’t thaw entirely because the fridge is still cold, but it will begin defrosting, and that’s all you need.
Then, the day that you want to bake the dough, you’d take it out of the fridge and follow the timetable per the paragraphs above to thaw it.
You can also take the dough directly from the freezer and keep it on your countertop, allowing it to thaw that way.
It will be upwards of three or four hours until the pizza dough is pliable and warm enough to use, so make sure you have ample time in your schedule for the dough to thaw.
Can Pizza Dough Go Bad When Stored? What Causes It?
Pizza dough doesn’t go bad easily, but it’s not impossible for it to happen either. Here’s what’s really going on with your dough.
If you open your airtight bag or container and you notice a pungent, sour, rancid smell emanating from your homemade pizza dough, that’s a sign that something has gone amiss with the dough.
The acidity in the dough is too high, and if it smells bad, it will taste even worse.
So what happened here? That’s simple – overfermentation. The alcohol and acidity levels have risen past a point that most people find palatable.
Mold spores come in an assortment of colors, some that are more easily detectable than others.
If you have black, blue, or green mold, you will easily see it on light-colored pizza dough. Gray or white mold though might be tougher to spot.
Mold and mildew prefer dark, wet, warm conditions. If you leave your pizza dough on the counter for too long under a bright light, then the dough can become a hotbed for mold.
If even a little bit of your pizza dough has gone moldy, you should throw the entire thing out.
You can’t say for certain that there isn’t mold hidden in another portion of the dough, so it’s not wise to use it.