Freezing pizza dough, can you do that? The answer is simple: Yes, you can. In this blog I show you which is the best moment to freeze your pizza dough, and how you can do this.
Making pizza dough
Many hobby chefs find making the pizza dough (and letting it rise) the most time-consuming part of baking pizzas. In cook books and online you can find many pizza dough recipes that you can use to make 1 or 2 or even 4 to 6 balls of dough.
For most people, this is enough for one baking session. But, since you are already taking the effort of making your own dough, why not make a bit more pizza dough to freeze in? It is pretty handy to have some dough at hand for moments when you have less time to make it and to let it rise for a long time.
Freezing pizza dough: an excellent solution
An example: the official Neapolitan recipe for pizza dough uses 1.8 kilo of flour. Good for about 10 to 12 pizzas. For an average pizza night this is probably too much. That is, if you are not having a bunch of very hungry friends coming over…
This recipe is very good, but it also requires quite some work. The dough must rise and rest for approximately 8 hours. And although to the people of Naples, freezing dough is probably like swearing in church, I think it’s an excellent solution for us hobby chefs (and hungry family members).
I must say though: the cold from the freezer of course does affect your dough. Simply said, the dough just doesn’t like -18 ºC of freezing cold. But the advantage of a homemade dough supply definitely outweighs the disadvantage. Because there is indeed a small disadvantage to freezing that must be mentioned. It makes your dough a bit less flexible.
Freezing pizza dough: the best moment
So, what is the best moment to freeze dough? It is the moment when you have turned your dough into little balls and when your dough is well-risen. Let me grasp back to the Neapolitan recipe as an example. In this recipe, the dough must rise twice. The first rising is the bulk rise. In other words: all your dough rises as one large ball.
After two hours you divide this large dough ball into approximately twelve smaller dough balls. Following the Neapolitan recipe these balls must rise for another six hours at room temperature. The best moment to freeze your dough is after this second rising time.
Also, if you are using a different recipe, the best time to freeze is when the rising of your dough is done. The reason not to freeze until this moment is actually pretty logical. Yeast cannot handle freezing cold. Thus, the yeast should already have done its work.
Freezing pizza dough: how do you do that?
Finally, a tip for how to best freeze your dough. You could put the dough balls in separate freezing bags and place them in the freezer right after the rising process. But because the dough will still be soft, your dough balls will lose their shape. Especially if you have one freezer drawer with a large open grid, the dough might fold itself around the grid and then once the dough is frozen you will no longer be able to move it.
A better way is to place the dough balls you want to freeze on a small baking tin per 2 or 3 balls. Wrap the balls and the tin in cling film and make sure there is no more room for air. Subsequently place the tin in the freezer for a few hours, until the dough balls start to become hard. If wanted, subsequently you can place them in a freezing bag. Separately or a couple of them at the same time. This way they will also take up less space than in a baking tin.
It is also recommendable to dust the dough balls with a bit of flour before freezing them. This will prevent them from sticking when they defrost.
Defrosting pizza dough
For defrosting your dough, you should hold at least 3 to 4 hours into account. This is an indication and strongly depends on your room temperature. All you have to do is take the freezing bags or the baking tin with the balls out of the freezer in time on the day that you are going to use them.
Your dough should reach room temperature before processing it. Cold dough doesn’t work well. Should, after defrosting, your dough no longer be beautiful and round, you can always shortly knead it and form a new ball. Don’t knead longer than needed.