It is always nice to be able to make food in advance, making mealtimes faster and easier. However, pizza is definitely one of those foods that tastes best when it is hot out of the oven.
So how can you prepare pizza ahead of time while still making it taste super fresh? Just make the dough in advance! Unless of course you’re making pizza without dough.
There are a few ways in which you can store pizza dough while keeping it fresh and delicious. Store your pizza dough the right way and you will be able to quickly throw together a pizza, baking it on-demand, anytime!
How to Make Pizza Dough
Pizza dough is actually quite easy to make. In just a few simple steps, you can have a perfect, restaurant-worthy dough that will be the perfect base for any pizza (even ones without sauce!).
To begin, active yeast and water are mixed together and left to sit for several minutes, making the yeast come to life. Next, the remaining ingredients (usually flour, salt, sugar, and olive oil) are added and the dough is kneaded together (make sure not to over-knead).
After a smooth dough has formed and you have kneaded the dough as directed in your recipe, the pizza dough will need to rest.
During this time, the yeast will begin to expand and release gases, causing the dough to rise (see why this is so important). This is what makes for a nice fluffy pizza crust (or any kind of fluffy bread!).
After the dough has risen, you will punch it down, deflating the dough and shaping it into your pizza crust. Some recipes will call for the dough to rise again before baking while others will say the pizza dough is ready to use after just one rise.
Read your directions carefully- both ways work well!
Portioning Dough for Storage
If you are making pizza dough, you really might as well double or triple the recipe, making extra to prepare for your next pizza night.
Most pizza dough recipes will multiply just fine, giving you the same dough results for 4 pizza crusts that you would attain when making just a single batch. So why not make more! You may have to knead the dough a little longer but that can easily be done.
When you make a big batch of dough, it is a good idea to portion the dough before you store it. So, if you made a 4X batch of pizza dough, after the dough has risen once, divide it into 4 equal pieces before storing. It is much easier to use the dough later on when it is nicely divided like this.
Anytime you are ready for a pizza, you can just take out one of your pre-portioned doughs and make your pizza! No need to cut dough apart or mess with mixers every time you have a pizza craving.
So take the time to separate the dough before you store it- you will be happy that you did!
If you find that your dough doesn’t want to stretch, try the steps mentioned in this article.
When To Store Pizza Dough
After you have mixed the pizza dough and let it rise one time, you should store it using your preferred method. Divide the dough and store as desired (keep reading to find out the best way to store pizza dough!).
Before you make your pizza, you will need to let the dough warm up and rise one more time. However, this is much easier and less time consuming than making dough from scratch every time you want pizza!
Storing Pizza Dough on the Counter
If your dough was just left at room temperature, on your kitchen counter, for example, the yeast would continue to expand the dough, causing the dough to over-ferment and giving it a bad taste.
When left at room temperature, the yeast will grow for a while and then die.
If you bake pizza dough with inactive yeast, it will not rise since all the power of the yeast has already been used. Instead, the dough would just be a tough, chewy, solid, unappetizing crust.
So, the lesson is, if you want to store pizza dough, it needs to be chilled in order to prevent the yeast from growing too fast and dying. Chilling the dough slows down the yeast, causing it to go dormant.
Think of the fridge or freezer as a place your yeast can go to hibernate, resting and waiting until you are ready to enjoy a pizza!
Storing Pizza Dough in the Fridge
After you have let your dough rise once and divided it into balls the size of one pizza crust (mini or big), wrap the dough well in an airtight container.
You can simply place the dough in a plastic storage container with a lid or you can wrap the dough directly in plastic wrap. It is also easy to place the dough in a large zippered bag, press the air out of the bag and seal it.
Once wrapped, the dough can go right into the fridge. Pizza dough will keep for about 2 weeks in the fridge. When you are ready to use the dough, remove it from the fridge, unwrap the dough and place it on your counter or in a lightly floured bowl.
Cover the dough loosely and then let it come to room temperature. For a ½ pound ball of dough, this will take about 30 minutes. Roll the dough into a pizza crust and then add your favorite toppings and bake!
Storing Pizza Dough in the Freezer
Storing pizza dough in the freezer is much like storing it in the fridge. You will need to wrap the dough tightly in an airtight container to prevent it from drying out.
Then, place the portioned dough in the freezer until you are ready to use it. Pizza dough will keep in the freezer for about 3 months.
When you are ready to use your frozen pizza dough, you should move it from the freezer, into the fridge to let it thaw overnight. Then, take the thawed dough out of the fridge and unwrap it.
Move the dough to a lightly floured surface, loosely cover, and allow it to come to room temperature. Once warmed, roll or stretch the dough into your pizza crust, bake and enjoy!
If you need to speed up the process, try one of these alternative ways to defrost pizza dough.
As you can see, it is quite easy to store pizza dough. The dough will bake perfectly, no matter if it were frozen or simply refrigerated for a few days.
You should definitely never make a single batch of pizza dough ever again- make 3, 4, 5 times the amount of dough, wrap it and store it! It is the perfect, easy solution to making fresh pizza at home anytime you’d like!
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.