Once the pizza dough has been produced, it has a limited lifespan and must be kept in the proper conditions to keep.
If you store the dough in the wrong way or leave it for too long, then it will start to taste bad and cannot be shaped. It pretty much becomes a blob of dough
Furthermore, it may make you sick. I’ll show why this happens and how to keep it going for a while longer.
So, How long does pizza dough last?
- At Room Temperature – 4-18 Hours
- In The Fridge – 3-5 Days
- In The Freezer – 3 Months
The type of dough and yeast will impact how long it lasts because not all dough types and yeast react to the conditions in the same way.
It will also vary on the pizza dough recipe you follow. Some are more flexible than others and may actually last longer.
So to be on the safe side, you should assume that an average pizza dough recipe will give you between 3-5 days in the fridge and 3 months in the freezer.
What Can Affect How Long Your Pizza Dough Can Be Stored For?
The gluten and the fermentation are what impacts how long it can last.
The longer you ferment the dough, the more the gluten becomes broken down and becomes elastic. This is what allows you to stretch it out without it breaking.
However, like every biological process, there’s a limit before it begins to go bad and become unusable. When too much of this happens then your dough will begin to taste bad and cannot be used.
The pizza dough continues to ferment, if left too long you might find it becomes over fermented.
When this happens it will start to release acids that create a strong sour taste. It will still cook but it wont taste very nice at all.
As it’s left longer, it won’t be able to keep its shape. This is because gluten relaxes too much. You’ll find the dough won’t rise when cooking, even when using a pizza oven. It won’t have air bubbles, so the pizza dough will become very dense.
To understand how to make your pizza dough last longer. You first need to know what impacts the storage life and the fermentation. These are the amount of yeast used, the temperature it’s stored at and the protein in the flour.
Let’s go into these in a little more detail.
The amount of yeast you have will impact how long the pizza dough will last. The more yeast you use, the faster it will ferment and this pushes some of the limits of how long it can be stored.
The Temperature is also a big factor in how long pizza dough lasts. The higher the temperature, the quicker the dough will ferment. Naturally, the dough won’t last as long if it ferments quicker.
The type of flour you use can impact the pizza dough storage life. The higher the protein content, the more gluten it will develop.
Put simply the more protein the flour has, the longer the pizza dough lasts. If it has a lower protein content then it wont be able to last as long.
This is why it’s recommended to use ’00’ or strong white flour, as it has more protein.
So should you just ferment it for less time, so the pizza dough last longer?
No, you want it to ferment for the right period of time. This is when you get the optimal flavour and texture out of it.
If you ferment for too short a time, then this will give rise to some bad yeasts and create an acidic flavour in the dough which you do not want.
The optimum fermentation is when it’s fermented long enough for it to develop a strong flavour, but not too long for it to over ferment and lose its shape.
One of the best ways of doing this is by fermenting the dough slowly at a low temperature. You can do this by having it proof and rise in the fridge.
How Long Does Pizza Dough Last In The Fridge?
Pizza dough should last you between 3-5 days in the fridge. This is assuming that it’s been made fresh and then immediately place it into the fridge.
This is because as soon as it’s made, it’s already fermenting which will have pushed its limits of how long it can last.
The main way of doing this is by slowing down the fermentation. Making sure that temperature is at a steady cool temperature and done slowly also helps reduce some of the yeast production and stop over-fermentation from taking place. By doing both of these things, you can extend its storage life by a few days.
It may only last 3 days if you use warm water in the recipe and/or left it at room temperature to start proofing. You should get a good 5 days in the fridge if you kept it cool.
Personally, I aim for no more than 3 days in the fridge. Even if you keep it cool after the 3 days, you might start getting hints of different flavours or a slightly sour smell.
How Long Does Pizza Dough Last At Room Temperature?
The amount of yeast in the dough has a big impact on this. The dough will ferment quickly as it is now at a warm temperature. If you do look at two pizza dough recipes, you might see they use different amounts of yeast.
This is because the more yeast you need, the quicker the dough will ferment. I went into calculating yeast and bakers percentages in this guide on pizza hydration.
As a quick example if you went for a 2% yeast (which many quick dough recipes ask for). If you had 1kg flour, you would need 20g if yeast which is 2%.
We have all been in a hurry and needed pizza quickly and this is why you would normally have a lot more yeast. It simply doesn’t taste as good as the flavour has not developed during the fermentation period.
Because of the high yeast content, it will probably only last a total of 4-5 hours at room temperature.
This doesn’t mean you cannot keep the dough for a long proofing time at room temperature. You can proof at room temperature for 16-24 hours. You would just use a much smaller amount of yeast, such as 0.2% instead of 2%.
Remember even if you do have your dough in the fridge, it would need to be left at room temperature for a bit before use
How Long Does Pizza Dough Last In The Freezer?
Freezing pizza dough is a very common practice for a lot of people.
The benefit of doing this is you can use it whenever you need to without having to make an extra batch. This may be convenient if you have guests over and need more.
The shelf life for pizza dough is about 3 months. After that, it will start to change in colour, flavour, and texture. Making the fresh dough is always better. While you might be able to keep it a bit longer, the new dough tastes better than the old dough. It’s also very cheap to make pizza dough.
You need to defrost it in the fridge for 12 hours when you want to use it after freezing. The yeast will then start to work again and the dough will begin to rise. Even though frozen, once defrosted it’s just like normal dough. (You might want to check for freezer burn though)
It should then last for 3 days in the fridge.
Do not use the dough straight from the fridge. Once it’s fully defrosted and you’re ready to use it, allow it to get to room temperature.
This will normally take around 2-4 hours, depending on how hot it is. Remember to keep it in an airtight container.
How To Store Pizza Dough Properly?
The best way to store your pizza dough is in airtight containers and then putting them in the refrigerator. You need to keep your dough airtight to avoid drying it out and forming a hard shell on the outer layer.
It’s up to you if it’s easier to store as one large piece of dough or if you decide to split it into dough balls.
If you have a lot then it’s often worth keeping it all together, as this will save space. You don’t need a separate container for each of your dough balls. When you need some, simply cut away 250g pieces per pizza.
However, I do tend to ball the dough first and then store them in the refrigerator or freezer. I just know exactly how much dough I have, then I know if I need to make more.
Before using, I’ll take the dough balls out and place them in an airtight container for 2 hours to get to room temperature.
If you’re taking a piece from a bulk of dough then ill shape the ball and cover it on the counter for 2-4 hours. This is important as it will allow the dough to rise again, as messing around with it and reduce the stretchiness.
Allowing it to rest after balling will help the gluten to relax and produce a much better pizza.
How To Store Store-bought Pizza Dough
It’s not always easy to answer how long store-bought pizza dough will last. It really depends on when it was made.
if it was made that day then you can simply put it in the fridge as quickly as possible. Again keeping it out will cause it to ferment. You don’t want it to over ferment.
Once you are ready to use it, get it out and leave it on the side for 2 hours. Making sure to cover it in plastic wrap or something airtight.
If however the store-bought dough is frozen then take it our the freezer and allow it to defrost in your refrigerator. Again once ready to use, let it rest on your countertop for 2 hours.
Usually, the store-bought dough will last the same amount of time in the fridge as the dough you have made. Which would be 3-5 days.
Is Over Fermented Dough Safe To Eat?
To put this in a less technical term, when dough ferments for too long, it becomes over fermented. It will start to smell and taste very yeasty and might be very hard to handle correctly.
Now you shouldn’t want to eat over fermented dough. To reassure you, it should still be safe to eat. Unless it smells off, is slimy or looks discoloured. If it has any of these 3 then it wouldn’t be safe to eat.
How Can You Tell If Pizza Dough Has Gone Bad?
It’s usually pretty easy to tell if pizza dough has gone bad. It will either have one or several of these;
- A sour smell.
- Poor texture.
- Feels and looks dry
- The dough may look grey or have flecks of grey.
Can Pizza Dough Be Left Out Overnight?
Yes, pizza dough can be left our overnight. You just need to make sure the yeast content reflects this and that it’s not going to risk becoming over fermented.
Just remember to make sure you keep it in an airtight container.
Can I put my flour in the fridge or freezer before making my dough?
You can put flour in the fridge or freezer but generally, there is no reason to unless you live in a very warm climate. Or if prone to get pests in your flour as it will kill them.
As long as the flour is airtight, it’s fine in your cupboard. If you do put it in the fridge or freezer, you will need to make sure it is room temperature before you use it.
So there we have it, hopefully, know you know how long pizza dough lasts. As well as some useful tips on how to actually store it. If you want to simply prepare dough for the future then you can freeze it for 3 months.
Looking to make dough for the weekend then perhaps keep it in the fridge for 3-5 days. And finally, if you’re making a pizza in the next 24 hours, you could store it on your worktop. (as long as it’s covered)
The one thing that is very important is planning. Make sure you have it fully planned on when you will need the pizza dough.
Personally, I prefer to keep it in the fridge, as it just produces the most amazing flavour.