Having pre-made pizza dough balls on hand allows you to make fresh, comforting pizzas whenever you crave them. To create the perfect pizza pie, you need to defrost your frozen pizza dough effectively. Failing to do so can cause freezer burn and uneven results in the bake. While thawing pizza dough the right way will take more time, you will notice a massive difference in pizza quality.
How to Best Defrost Dough
There are three tried and true methods of defrosting pizza dough. Which way you choose can depend on the time you have before baking.
Moving dough from the freezer to the refrigerator is the best defrosting method. You may think that it would make more sense to defrost frozen food out on the counter and in a warmer environment, but this is not the case. When frozen dough defrosts at room temperature, the defrosting process can be very uneven. The outer layers of dough will soften, proof, and ferment much quicker than the center, leaving the center not fully proofed when it comes time to bake. Your dough may look ready to use before it actually is.
Defrosting dough in the refrigerator will require around 24 hours before making pizza. Place frozen dough into the refrigerator in a dry and covered bowl. When the dough is defrosted and ready to be removed, it should be wholly thawed but not puffed up or proofed. From here, let the dough proof at room temperature for one or two hours. Allowing dough this time to slowly proof will have yeast activating and gluten strands relaxing, producing the highest quality, chewiest crust.
When you do not have 24 hours to wait for hot, fresh pizza, defrosting with cold water is an excellent alternative to the refrigerator. Water conducts heat and will defrost frozen dough more evenly than leaving it at room temperature.
To defrost your pizza dough ball in water, seal it entirely in a secure plastic bag and place it in a large bowl. Fill the bowl with cold water. Be sure that there are no holes in the bag and that no part of your dough touches the water directly. Defrosting frozen dough using this method will take around two hours. To speed the process up, change the water out every half hour. Once the dough has completely thawed, it should be taken out of the water bath and left to proof at room temperature for one or two hours before being made into pizza crust.
The microwave may be your best option if you want your pizza as quickly as possible while maintaining a quality crust. However, using the microwave to defrost frozen pizza dough can be a little tricky. First, place the pizza dough ball on a microwave-safe plate and cover it with a microwave-safe bowl. Be sure that your microwave is on defrost mode and run it for two and a half minutes. This amount of time will not wholly defrost your dough, so once it is out of the microwave, let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Warming the dough in the microwave for any longer may start to cook it.
Just like with the other two methods, once the dough thaws completely, it will still need to proof slowly. Let the defrosted pizza dough proof on the counter for another one or two hours before shaping it.
How to Best Freeze Pizza Dough
To ensure you end up with the highest quality pizza crust from frozen pizza dough balls, you should first ensure the dough is frozen correctly. Follow these steps for optimal frozen dough.
1. Make Your Pizza Dough
Prepare your pizza dough as you would when making it fresh, and allow it to rise. For the best fermentation, the dough should sit in a floured, airtight bowl for at least an hour and a half.
2. Divide the Dough
After the dough has risen, shape it into individual pizza-sized balls. Ball size will depend on the size of the pizzas your plan to make.
3. Protect Against Freezer Burn
To keep the dough safe from freezer burn, coat each dough ball with oil.
Place the oil-coated dough balls onto a baking sheet and put it into the freezer for around three hours.
5. Bag the Dough Balls
Place the now-frozen dough balls individually into plastic bags. Be sure to squeeze all air out of each plastic bag to further prevent freezer burn.
6. Freeze and Store
Frozen pizza dough balls may be stored in the freezer for three months. When you are ready to bake a delicious pizza, follow the defrosting instructions above.
It is easy to make high-quality pizza crusts from frozen pizza dough as long as the dough is frozen correctly and defrosted with care. Be sure to take adequate steps to avoid freezer burn, uneven freezing, uneven thawing, and flat or soggy crust. Whichever defrosting method you choose, it’s essential to use the time you have to do it right.
Pre-made pizza dough is ideal when the craving for homemade pizza strikes. However, defrosting it properly beforehand is integral to making sure you get that perfect crust after baking. Fortunately, this infographic will show you three different methods of quickly and effectively defrosting your pizza dough, regardless of time.