Does Pizza Dough Go Bad? – Full Analysis

by Charlie

Does pizza dough go bad? Yes, it does but it is not always easy to identify when it does. Many foods when they go bad show notable signs like curdling, mold, or a bad order but not pizza dough, especially when you are storing it in the refrigerator. It is even harder to know when it has gone bad if it is not in a package with an expiration date that is clear. Two ways you can tell is a change in texture or color.

How Long Does Pizza Dough Last? [Shelf Life] 

Counter TopRefrigeratorFreezer
24 hours if wrapped tightly in plastic wrapUp to a week but only 2-3 days if yeast is used in excessUp to 3 months or longer if stored properly

How to Store Pizza Dough

When storing pizza dough in the refrigerator or freezer, you need to prepare it as if you were going to use it immediately. You need to make sure that you let it rise once or twice before storing it. 

Refrigerator

When you put your dough in the refrigerator, you do not need to keep it in the bowl but can wrap it to save room. The first thing you need to do before wrapping then is to knead the dough into balls. It can be one, two, or more. It all depends on how much dough you made. Once this is done, wrap the dough in plastic wrap. You should wrap it in a couple of layers. This is to make sure that no air gets to the dough to cause it to dry out.

Freezer

As when putting it in the freezer, always make sure that it is tightly wrapped to prevent freezer burn. If you have a food sealer bag, you can use this to make sure that no air comes in contact with the dough. This will ensure it stays fresh.

Thawing out Frozen Pizza Dough

When thawing pizza dough, it will work better if you let it thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Once it has thawed out, then you can remove it from the plastic wrap and let it come to room temperature before rolling it out for your pizza. Ideally, pizza dough should thaw at least 12 hours in the refrigerator but sometimes that is not possible and you want it to thaw faster.

If you forget to take pizza dough out of the freezer and let it thaw overnight, there are ways you can thaw it quickly. When thawing out your pizza dough, avoid using the microwave or any other way that might partially cook the pizza dough. Make sure that you use the pizza dough within a few days after thawing it out. You can also thaw it out using the following methods

  • Cold water bath: After taking the pizza dough from the freezer put it in a zip lock bag if it is not already in one. Put the bag in a medium-size bowl that is filled with enough cold water to completely cover the bag of pizza dough. Make sure that the bag is sealed so no water gets inside to ruin the pizza dough. Leave the bag in the cold water for one to two hours, then put it in a dry bowl for another hour.
  • A warm bowl of water: Be careful when using this method as you don’t want the water to be hot enough to cook the dough. Make sure that the pizza dough is in an airtight bag with as much air squeezed out as you can. The drawback with this method is that you will have to change the water every 10 minutes because the dough will chill the water quickly. Continue doing this until the pizza dough is thawed.
  • Leave it to thaw on the counter: Using this method, it will take about two hours for it to defrost or thaw. You will need to make sure that it is not in the storage bag if you used one. Also, it needs to be unwrapped. Put it in a bowl that is big enough to allow it to expand and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. As it thaws it will rise.

How to Tell if Pizza Dough is Bad?

Color: If the pizza dough has turned a greyish color, this can be due to the enzyme-catalyzed oxidation of fatty and phenolic acid compounds that you find in flour naturally. Over time, it will cause pizza dough to have this greyish color. It will impair the flavor and is an indication that the pizza dough is going bad. The color may also be off-white.

Texture: All pizza dough is mostly water and flour mixed and the key is to get it to the right consistency to become pizza dough. The water in the dough will start to diminish over time and cause the texture of the dough to alter and become drier. The appearance will also change to a crustier or flakier look. It will have an orange peel like texture. 

It may also feel odd, like some of the elasticity has gone. It may also tear easily so it will be harder to shape it to fit a pizza pan. If it is really bad, you may find mold spores on the dough.

Smell: The dough is made with yeast so it starts a fermentation process, which means that it is converting sugars into carbon dioxide and alcohol. The normal smell of pizza dough and alcohol or beer smell. If the fermentation process continues, it can cause over fermentation. This will give the dough a sour smell with a stronger smell of alcohol and eventually give it a sour taste.

Signs of freezer burn: If the frozen pizza dough shows signs of freezer burn like visible freezer crystals or whitish spots it is no good and needs to be thrown away.

If your pizza dough exhibits any of these things, it is best to throw it away and make a new dough. 

Pizza Dough vs. Bread Dough

Some feel that bread dough and pizza dough are the same but they are not. Although they use the same ingredients, which include water, flour, salt, and yeast, pizza dough is made with a higher protein flour. 

Conclusion

  • When you refrigerate or freeze pizza dough the yeast stops working but once it is warm, it will reactivate the yeast.
  • The actual time it will be good in the refrigerator will depend on several factors, such as the ingredients that were used in making the dough.
  • If you eat bad pizza dough, you could get food poisoning.
  • Always wrap your pizza dough in plastic wrap to help prevent oxidation, which can speed up the growth of bacteria.
  • When you take your pizza dough out of the refrigerator, let it come to room temperature before rolling it out. This will usually take about 30 minutes.
  • With store-bought pizza dough, go by the expiration date on the package.
  • Before you freeze your pizza dough, make sure that you put a light coating of oil over each dough ball.
  • Always make sure that when putting pizza dough in the refrigerator or freezer that it is wrapped tightly to keep out air and moisture and then put it into a zip-lock bag that has as much of the air squeezed out as possible.
  • When leaving it on the counter to rise, also make sure that it is covered to prevent contamination.

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