You can store pizza dough in the freezer (see my tips and other methods in my article about storing pizza dough), and it will last for one or two months. When you are ready to defrost it, it is important to try to avoid using a microwave or any method that might partially cook the dough.
The best way to defrost pizza dough is to use a cold defrosting method. Once you defrost your pizza dough, make sure that you use it within a few days so that the yeast doesn’t have a chance to break down the gluten and make it sour.
1 – Defrost Pizza Dough in the Refrigerator
Remove your pizza dough from the freezer, and keep it in the storage bag. Normally it will be stored in an airtight bag. You can put it into a bowl that is big enough for it to expand. Place it in the refrigerator, and leave it there overnight. You should see tiny bubbles appear on the dough in the morning. The dough will start to soften and rise overnight.
Now you can remove the dough from its storage bag and rest it on the counter for approximately one hour. At this time it will be ready to use.
2 – Give the Frozen Pizza Dough a Cold-Water Bath
Another great method for defrosting pizza dough is to give it a cold-water bath. This method will not harm the dough or accidentally begin to cook it. Once you remove the pizza dough from the freezer, keep it in its storage bag and put it into a bowl that is medium in size. Fill the bowl with cold water, and make sure that the pizza dough is completely covered by it.
Leave your pizza dough in the bag under the cold water for one to two hours. You will notice that it is soft, and it will begin to rise. You should be able to see tiny bubbles on the dough when it is ready.
You can remove the pizza dough from the bag and let it sit in the dry bowl for approximately one hour. At this time it will be ready for you to bake your pizza.
3 – Defrost Pizza Dough in a Bowl of Warm Water
You need to take care when using warm water because you don’t want to partially cook the dough, but this method will have your pizza dough ready to use rather quickly. Make sure that your pizza dough is in an airtight plastic bag. Remove as much of the air as you can, and seal the bag.
Fill a medium sized bowl with warm water, and put the dough in it. You will need to change the water every 10 minutes because the dough will cool it in that time. Changing the water is necessary until the dough is thawed.
4 – Using a Microwave
You should try to avoid using a microwave, as this method may partially cook your dough. However, if you need to make sure that your pizza dough thaws quickly, you can very carefully use a microwave.
Begin by spraying your microwave safe plate with oil. Coat the dough with oil as well. Place the dough on the plate, and wrap it in plastic wrap. You should also spray the plastic wrap with oil so that it doesn’t stick to the dough.
You can set the microwave to high for 25 seconds. It will not cook in this short time, but it will give it enough heat to start the thawing process. Remove the dough, spray the plate, dough, and plastic wrap again, and flip the dough over on the plate. Recover it, and put it back in the microwave for 25 more seconds.
Remove the dough again, and it should feel cool. It should not have risen. Now you can put the dough back in the microwave on the defrost setting for three to five minutes. This will thaw your dough evenly. If your dough is a smaller amount, you will thaw it for closer to three minutes, but for larger dough pieces, it will be closer to five minutes.
Once you have finished, you can set the dough on the counter at room temperature so that it will rise. After it rises, it is ready to bake.
5 – Using an Oven
As with the microwave method, you need to be very careful not to cook your pizza dough in the course of defrosting it. The cold defrosting methods are preferable, but you can use an oven to thaw your pizza dough.
Take a cooking pan that is large enough to allow your dough to expand, and spray it with oil. Spray the dough as well. Put the dough in the pan, and cover it with plastic wrap that has also been sprayed with oil.
Place the pan in the oven at 100 degrees Fahrenheit. For a gas oven, you will use the lowest setting. If you have an oven with a bread proofing setting, this is the perfect setting for defrosting dough.
After one hour, remove the dough and check it. You need to check to see if it has been fully defrosted, and it should have risen. If it is not fully defrosted, you can put it back in the oven for 30 minutes. The dough will rise to twice its size when it is ready.
When the dough is fully thawed and has risen, you can place it on the counter and prepare your pizza. It will be ready to use at this time.
6 – Leaving Your Pizza Dough on the Counter
You can use this method, and it will take approximately two hours for your pizza dough to defrost. Take your pizza dough out of the freezer, and remove it from the plastic storage bag. Put it in a container that is large enough to allow for expansion, and cover it with plastic wrap. The dough will thaw and rise, and it will take around two hours.
Any of these methods will defrost your pizza dough, but try to use the cold defrost methods if you have time. However, the warm defrost methods are faster and will do the trick if time is a factor.