Figuring out how long the food in your refrigerator will last can be confusing sometimes. Do you have pizza dough that you aren't ready to use but don't know if it'll expire? Well, we've done plenty of digging and have the answers waiting here for you. Let's get into it.
Pizza dough will typically last between three and five days inside the fridge. For homemade dough, expect it to last a bit longer than store-bought options, usually closer to five days, so how you prepare your pizza dough will affect its shelf life.
That said, you may only get 24-48 hours of refrigeration before your dough starts to go bad if you don't wrap it correctly, so this varies for everybody.
As we begin, we will cover all things pizza dough and discuss how long you can store it in the refrigerator. Whether you're new to making your dough or regularly purchase it from the store, we're here to offer some help. With that said, let's dive right into this topic!
How Long Can Pizza Dough Sit In The Refrigerator?
The longest you want to let pizza dough sit in the fridge is about 3-5 days. Anything past this can result in an expired product, which you can't use for cooking.
Like we said above, homemade pizza dough tends to outlast store-bought options as it is fresher, so this applies mainly to those who make their own.
Again, how you store your dough inside the fridge can also affect its shelf life, so the tighter it's wrapped, the better.
Does Pizza Dough Go Bad In The Fridge?
Yes, it's certainly possible for pizza dough to go bad in the refrigerator. This will typically happen after more than four or five days have elapsed, and your dough will develop a sour taste or smell.
Considering that most pizza dough is made using water, it loses its freshness and flavor the longer it isn't cooked, so this isn't a good long-term refrigerated option.
On top of that, the temperature inside your refrigerator can affect the shelf life of your dough, so if it's on the warmer side (closer to 40 degrees), you may only see yours last 48 hours.
How Can You Tell If Refrigerated Pizza Dough Is Bad?
Most times, refrigerated pizza dough that has gone bad will feel very dry and have a crusty appearance. Your dough might also have a sour smell and taste, so make sure to give your food a whiff before preparing it.
Expired pizza dough also changes color, looking grey rather than a fresh white or beige, so that's also something to look out for.
Furthermore, if your dough has been in the fridge for a few days and you see it isn't covered properly, it's probably spoiled, so it's best to throw it away. You want to try and use the dough as soon as possible to avoid spoiling.
What Does Bad Pizza Dough Smell Like?
Oddly enough, bad pizza dough tends to have a strong alcohol smell. This is because pizza dough ferments as it ages, resulting in a potent yeast/alcohol scent.
That said, it is normal for dough to have a slight alcohol aroma, so unless yours smells super strong, we don't think you need to worry.
Again, if your dough has been in the refrigerator for more than a few days, changes color, or develops an off-putting smell, those are good signs to toss it.
What Happens If You Eat Expired Pizza Dough?
If you accidentally prepare a pizza using expired dough, expect a stomach ache. In general, the expired dough will contain bacteria that can cause you to get very sick, similar to food poisoning.
Mold can even start to develop on rotten pizza dough, which, if you ingest, will likely cause you to experience shortness of breath, nausea, an elevated temperature, or even diarrhea.
With that said, make sure to thoroughly inspect your pizza dough before using/eating it, regardless of it's store-bought or homemade, to prevent sickness from happening.
Why Does Store-Bought Pizza Dough Expire So Fast?
If you have store-bought pizza dough and notice it goes bad faster than homemade options, this is normal. Considering that dough from the grocery has likely been frozen already, placing it into the fridge for a few extra days can cause it to spoil faster than if you made it.
If the dough you purchase contains milk-based ingredients or eggs, it will also have a shorter shelf, so that's something to think about.
Is It Better To Make Pizza Dough From Scratch?
Although you don't necessarily need to make pizza dough from scratch, it will taste better and last longer. As we said, homemade dough will last up to five days in the refrigerator, while store-bought tends to expire after two or three, so we recommend it for storage purposes.
Furthermore, homemade pizza dough is fresher than pre-made, so if you want the best taste and quality, you may want to consider making yours next time.
Is It Better To Freeze Pizza Dough?
If you don't plan on using your dough in the next few days, freezing may be the better option. In general, dough will stay fresh in the freezer for up to three months, which is great for anybody not wanting to cook a pizza right away.
This goes for both store-bought and homemade pizza dough, so you are okay to freeze either of them for a few months before eating.
With that said, you want to make sure your dough (if homemade) fully rises before putting it in the freezer, so make sure to allow for enough time beforehand.
Can I Freeze Pizza Dough For More Than 3 Months?
Unless your pizza dough is vacuum-sealed, you don't want to freeze it for more than three months. On the other hand, if you can store your dough in vacuum-sealed bags, it will last up to four months inside the freezer, so you might want to consider trying that for longer periods.
That said, you don't want to keep dough frozen longer than 3-4 months as it will start to lose its flavor and quality, so make sure to use yours before that timeline.
Can I Use Pizza Dough Straight From The Fridge?
As long as your dough isn't expired or frozen, you should be able to start cooking with it immediately. To do this:
- Take your dough out of the fridge and place it on the countertop.
- Unwrap the pizza dough and sprinkle fresh flour on top of it.
- Allow your dough to come to room temperature, and you're ready to cook!
Something to note, make sure not to use too much flour on your refrigerated dough, but rather a small amount, so it doesn't end up tasting funny.
How Long Should Pizza Dough Sit Out After Being Refrigerated?
Like we said above, it's essential to let your pizza's dough sit out to reach room temperature. With that said, we recommend giving your dough around 2.5 hours or until it reaches 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
Of course, everyone's dough may be slightly different, so your timeframe may vary if you have thinner or thicker pizza dough.
The amount of time your pizza dough sits in the refrigerator can also affect this, so if it's been a few days, you may need to wait closer to three hours.
Should You Use Pizza Dough As Soon As You Make It
If you want to make your pizza dough the same day you prepare it, this is certainly okay. Considering that fresh dough will taste better than if it's been in the refrigerator a few days, it is a great idea to use yours sooner than later.
With that said, you want to put your dough into the fridge before cooking with it (at least 12 hours) to settle/ferment properly, so don't forget that step.
Furthermore, pizza dough can be challenging to work with if it isn't refrigerated before cooking, so the fridge isn't all bad.
To Wrap It All Up
Whether you want to make a pizza from scratch or have already bought the dough, it is essential to know how long it can stay in the fridge. We found that pizza dough will last between 3-5 days inside the refrigerator, although this can vary depending on ingredients.
We also found that homemade pizza dough tends to outlast store-bought options in the fridge by a couple of days, so that's something to think about. On top of that, you can freeze dough for up to four months if you store it in vacuum-sealed bags, so we recommend those for long-term storage.
Regardless, make sure to check the appearance and smell of your dough before cooking, and don't forget to have fun!
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