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Freezing Thin-Crust Pizza Dough

By Cook's Illustrated Published January 2016

Our Thin-Crust Pizza dough relies on refrigeration to slow down the fermentation for better flavor and texture, but this technique has the added benefit of convenience—you can make the dough on one day, place it in the fridge, and then it’s ready to bake anywhere from one to three days later. We recently confirmed that it also works well if you want to freeze the dough for later use, something typical room-temperature doughs aren’t well suited to.

Our Thin-Crust Pizza dough (see related content) relies on refrigeration to slow down the fermentation for better flavor and texture, but this technique has the added benefit of convenience—you can make the dough on one day, place it in the fridge, and then it’s ready to bake anywhere from one to three days later. We recently confirmed that it also works well if you want to freeze the dough for later use, something typical room-temperature doughs aren’t well suited to.

Freezing pizza dough involves putting the yeast into suspended animation. The problem with doing this with room-temperature doughs is that as they thaw, the yeast awakens from its slumber and the dough can easily overproof if you don’t bake it at just the right moment. But with refrigerated doughs, the process is slowed down enough that the flexibility remains intact.

Here’s the method: Place prepared dough in refrigerator and allow to proof for 24 hours. Divide and shape dough into balls, then place on baking sheet or plate lined with parchment paper. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and freeze until firm, about 3 hours or up to overnight. Wrap frozen dough balls individually in plastic and store in zipper-lock bags in freezer for up to 2 weeks. To thaw, unwrap ball, place in lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic, and let sit in refrigerator for 12 to 24 hours before making pizza.