You've stored the pizza dough balls overnight, and now it's time to use them! But maybe you lost the recipe page you were using. Or, they're store bought, and you have no idea what to do next. If this describes your situation, we researched the topic for you!
In its frozen state, the dough ball will be rock solid. You will need to let it defrost in an airtight container for 24 hours. After this period, the dough will be noticeably bigger yet not proofed enough. After an additional 24 hours, the dough should be double in size. At this point, it's ready to use.
There are more details to discuss. For example, how do you thaw the pizza balls? And, after waiting, how can you tell if the dough is ready for use? These are some topics we discuss in greater detail in this post. To learn more, keep reading ahead.
Out of the Freezer/Packaging
Whether you prepared the dough yourself or bought it from the store, it all looks the same out of the freezer. It should have kept its shape. In other words, it's circular with a relatively small size.
They're going to be frozen solid. You can knock on the dough balls, and your knuckles wouldn't make a dent! In addition, there might be an ice cap on the surface that keeps it nice and fresh.
Depending on the ingredients, it could be shiny on top too. If this describes the state of your dough ball, we're ready to move ahead.
How Do You Thaw Frozen Pizza Dough Balls?
Now, there's another concern. How can you thaw a frozen dough ball properly? Before we get to that, let's quickly go over what happens if you don't thaw it out correctly.
It might not seem like a big deal, but if you don't thaw a frozen dough ball correctly, there will still be ice crystals inside. So, while the surface will be easy to handle, the inside won't.
As you're trying to shape the dough, you'll find that it's nearly impossible to do. In addition, with ice still present on the inside of the dough, you're going to end up tearing it. If you didn't already know, tears aren't a good thing for pizzas.
Does it mean the end of the world for your dough? Not really; there are ways to rescue it. But, that's another topic for another time.
Thawing the Dough Properly
Thawing the pizza dough depends on how quickly you need it. If you don't mind waiting, you can pop it in an airtight container. Then, put it in the fridge to thaw for 12 hours or leave it there overnight.
If you want to make the pizza within the day, you can set it on the counter at room temperature. This way, it can take anywhere from 2 to 3 hours to defrost. Even if you let it thaw on the counter, you want to make sure it's covered.
Use plastic wrap or a moist tea towel to cover the container that holds the dough. Without a cover, air will quickly dry out the dough. This process makes the surface hard. So, when you stretch it out, you'll find that it will crack easily.
Additional Way to Thaw the Dough
There's another way to thaw the dough that most pizza enthusiasts wouldn't recommend doing. It involves using the dreaded microwave. We've heard it all before—the microwave is usually no good if you want to make quality food.
But, if you're rushing, you might not have a ton of time to wait. So, yes, we're going to use the microwave to help.
Preparing the Frozen Dough
To start, you want to sprinkle flour lightly on a plate. Grab your frozen pizza dough and flip it bottom side up. Then, you can put it on the plate. Lightly coat the dough with flour too.
You don't want the dough to lay flat entirely. If it does, one side will cook faster than the rest. Regardless, place a plate on top to cover the dough. Finally, you can put the entire thing in the microwave.
Microwaving the Dough
Once it's in there, press the defrost setting. This setting should limit the power to 30%. Then, set the timer to 2 minutes and 40 seconds. After this period, the surface should be nice and fluffy.
However, the middle of the dough still needs more time to thaw. So, leave it on the counter for 30 more minutes. After this period, it should be ready to use.
It's important to note that you should be careful not to leave the dough in the microwave for too long. If you do, the sides will cook too much. As a result, you might have wasted the pizza dough in the process.
Here's a YouTube video demonstrating the microwave method:
Do You Need To Let Frozen Pizza Dough Rise?
After thawing the dough ball, can you use it right away? Or, do you need to let it rise? That's all up to your preference.
So, you can use it right away to make pizza for you and your guests. Or, you can let it rise for 24-48 hours. Letting the dough rise after thawing does make a difference in the texture and flavor of the crust.
Thus, it's up to you to decide what you want to do from here. Maybe you have more than one dough ball. If you do, you can experiment with them.
Make one pizza right away after thawing, and let the other dough ball rise for 24-48 hours. See which one produces the results you like the most. Regardless, let's look at what happens if you go either way.
Using the Dough without Letting it Rise
So, let's say you thaw the pizza dough, and you want to use it right away. What will the result be? It will usually depend on the quality of the dough. In any case, it will generally be harder to handle.
When you cook the dough, you will see tiny bubbles forming as it's cooking. So, you're going to have to dock it to make sure it's nice and flat. If you're not familiar with docking, it's the process of poking holes in the dough to make sure it doesn't puff up during the baking process.
Otherwise, some claim your crust will be flat, dense, and tough. The quality will be similar to Chef Boyardee's pizza kits. Is it an exaggeration? You can't be too sure. Everyone has different tastes.
There seems to be a 50/50 chance it will either come out well or not the best quality. In some cases, you can use the dough right away without messing with the crust's quality. However, the dough was proofed beforehand.
In any case, if you still have the packaging of the frozen dough ball, you can follow the instructions. Some will tell you to let the dough rise until it's doubled its size.
Letting the Dough Rise After Thawing
After thawing the dough, let it rise. If you compare a thawed dough ball with no proofing to a dough ball allowed to proof, you can see the differences. The dough ball that wasn't proofed will be slightly smaller.
It will be firm. And, if you press your fingers on it, the indentations will stay there. It indicates the dough is still slightly not ready to go in the oven to create the perfect pizza.
On the other hand, a frozen dough ball that was allowed to thaw and rise will be noticeably bigger. It will be a bit more yellow. And, if you perform the poke test, the dough springs back slowly. In this state, it's the ideal form to make pizza.
You can let it proof longer than that. In general, it will be good to use even after three days of proofing. Any longer than that and you run the risk of the dough collapsing.
How Do You Cook Frozen Pizza Dough?
Cooking a frozen dough ball follows the same procedures as a freshly made dough ball. There are only slight differences. After thawing the dough, you can let it rise or use it.
Then, you can flour the dough lightly. Shape the dough and stretch it to size. Add the sauce, cheese, and toppings. You can get as creative as you want to.
Finally, you can preheat the oven at 450 or 500 degrees Fahrenheit. After preheating, you can place the pizza inside for 10-14 minutes. Check on the pizza periodically to see if it's ready.
That's all there is to it!
Cooking with frozen ingredients can be a pain sometimes. If you don't thaw them correctly, the result can be a stale dish. As you can see, using frozen pizza dough balls isn't too difficult. All that's left to do is prepare the dough on your own. Good luck!
Before you go, do you have other pizza concerns? Do you need tips on dealing with how sticky dough can be? To learn more, check out this post:
Maybe you're thinking about preparing another frozen item! Is it a pie? Should you thaw it before baking? If that's your concern, find out more here: