How to Thaw Frozen Pizza Dough (Best Methods)
Frozen pizza dough is an excellent way to quickly enjoy a piping hot pizza without making the dough from scratch. But before you do that, you must first learn the right technique to thaw frozen pizza dough to keep it from drying or cracking.
How to thaw frozen pizza dough? Frozen pizza dough can either be defrosted in the refrigerator overnight, or it can also be thawed in the microwave. You can even try defrosting it at room temperature before assembling and baking the pie!
Read below to learn all about frozen pizza dough, how it’s made, how to store it, and how to efficiently thaw the dough without compromising its quality.
Frozen Dough Vs. Fresh Dough – What’s the Difference?
Fresh pizza dough is generally considered to be better due to its freshness, but the advances in modern manufacturing techniques have made it possible for frozen pizza dough to have almost the same level of freshness.
Let’s first take a look at how homemade dough is made:
Homemade Dough and Its Challenges
The thing with fresh dough is that it can be difficult to make, especially if you don’t have any cooking experience. Homemade dough requires exact measurements and quite a lot of skill and know-how to get right.
If the proportions are off, or if the pizza dough is not adequately proofed or even rolled out, then the homemade dough will likely not provide a great flavor or texture.
Homemade dough also takes a lot of time. On average, a dough made from scratch can take up to 8-12 hours to make.
The majority of this time is devoted to proofing the dough, where it sits at room temperature while the yeast creates air bubbles inside the dough.
This step is extremely important because it results in a light fluffy texture with just the right amount of chew.
If the dough isn’t proofed correctly, then it will be dense and may even be difficult to chew.
Once the dough is proofed, the pizza dough will then have to be shaped evenly. This is where things get challenging!
To make a circular and flat dough, you have to first roll out the dough into just the right thickness and then shape it either using your hands or a rolling pin – both of which require experience to get right.
Finally, when the dough is ready, it can be baked as usual, but this is where another challenge surfaces: storing fresh homemade dough.
Storing homemade dough can be difficult and can even take up a lot of storage space. Fresh dough is also very delicate and if it isn’t stored properly, it can tear, break, and even deform.
Also, fresh dough will not last as long and will need to be consumed within a few days for maximum quality.
It may be able to last in the freezer for up to a few weeks, but unless it’s properly stored, frozen homemade dough will likely lack in texture when thawed compared to most commercial frozen doughs.
Frozen Pizza Dough
Commercial frozen pizza dough has enabled pizza lovers to enjoy fresh pies at home without the added effort.
Frozen pizza dough is often made using a maze of industrial machines.
Each machine is designed for a specific task. For example, the journey of frozen pizza dough begins at the mixing machine where all of the necessary ingredients (including preservatives and stabilizers) are added to the mixer.
The mixer uses high-powered motors to efficiently mix all the ingredients to form a pliable dough. The dough is then proofed using precise controls which allows the dough to form an ultra-fluffy and delicious crust.
In fact, many pizza chains, including Domino’s use advanced machinery and an array of sensors to accurately proof and produce high-quality pizza dough!
Once the dough is proofed, it is then automatically transferred onto a conveyor belt that takes the dough along several different machines.
First, the dough is rolled out using precise specifications. It is then cut into round shapes and punctured to release excess air bubbles.
The dough is then par-baked to increase its structural integrity. Par-baking is an important process that involves half-baking the dough at high temperatures so that it is cooked all the way through – but not enough to form a crispy crust.
Par-baking ensures that the pizza dough will maintain its shape when its frozen and the process also makes it easier to apply the toppings without the dough getting soggy due to the added moisture in the sauce and cheese.
Finally, the dough is then either packaged separately or is further processed into a finished pizza with sauce and toppings.
Maintaining the Quality of Frozen Pizza Dough
The quality of frozen pizza dough depends on how well they are kept.
Every manufacturer that produces frozen dough transports them in temperature-controlled vehicles which guarantees the quality of the pizza. This process is usually referred to as “cold-chain supply management”.
Once the pizza dough arrives at supermarkets, they are immediately transferred into freezers that keep the dough frozen at 0F.
Now comes the important part!
Once you buy pizza dough, it starts to thaw almost immediately.
This is why we recommend that you follow these basic steps to maintain its quality:
Keep Frozen Dough at the End of your Shopping List
A common mistake that many people make with frozen dough is that they purchase it early while making a grocery run.
This is a bad practice that is generally bad for all types of frozen food.
If you want to maintain the quality of the dough, then we highly recommend purchasing it just before you go to the checkout counter. Keep in mind that the dough will begin to defrost as soon as it leaves the freezer!
Buying the dough (or any frozen food) at the end ensures that you get enough time to drive home and store the dough back in the freezer.
Running Errands After Purchasing
If you have a few errands lined up, then we recommend that you get done with them before going for a grocery run. Just like in the above example, leaving the dough in the car, especially on a hot day, is a very bad idea.
Not only will this ruin the quality of the dough, but it may also cause it to deform or worse, become compromised due to bacterial growth.
We recommend not keeping the frozen dough out for more than 30 minutes and storing it immediately after getting home for the best experience.
Storing Frozen Dough at Home
Following the right storage techniques ensure that the dough remains fresh and is easy to work with when it thaws.
Try to always keep the dough flat in the freezer. We recommend reserving a separate shelf to make sure that it doesn’t contort in the freezer.
Also, never put anything on top of the dough or it might depress it or cause an indent that may become permanent, especially if the dough freezes with weight over it.
Store the dough at 0F and keep it away from the door for the best experience. The frozen dough will last up to the best-before date printed on the back of the packaging.
Since most frozen doughs have stabilizers and preservatives, they should be able to last up to 1-2 months.
Thawing Frozen Dough
When you’re ready to bake the frozen dough, you will need to use the right thawing techniques so that the dough thaws evenly and doesn’t get overly soggy due to moisture.
Here are the top method for thawing frozen pizza dough:
- Refrigeration Method
- Room Temperature Method
- Microwave Method
- Direct-Cooking Method
Thawing the pizza dough in the fridge is probably the best way to evenly defrost it. This method ensures the quality of the dough and also guarantees that it thaws without losing moisture (more on this below).
Refrigeration thawing can take up to a few hours so make sure that you use this method only when you plan to bake the pizza later in the day or the next day.
Here is how to defrost the dough in the fridge:
Step 1) Take out the frozen dough from the freezer and store it at the back of the fridge on a flat surface. Make sure that the dough lays flat!
Step 2) Leave the dough to thaw overnight for the best experience. You can also let it thaw for a minimum of 6-8 hours.
Step 3) After thawing, gently test the dough by pressing it down with your finger. If your finger creates an indent that springs back up, then the dough is ready to be baked!
Room Temperature Method
This method is suitable for people who plan to prepare the pizza within 3-4 hours.
Pro Tip: For this method to work properly, you will have to cover the pizza with a dry cloth or cover it with an inverted pan to keep it from drying out.
This tip is particularly important if you live in an area with dry and warm air. For the best results, we recommend keeping the dough in the packaging until it thaws.
Here is a step-by-step guide for this thawing method:
Step 1) Place the dough on a flat surface at room temperature. Do not keep it near a window or in direct sunlight!
Step 2) Allow the dough to thaw for about 2-3 hours. Then check it using your finger. If the dough presses easily, then it is ready to be baked.
Thawing food in the microwave is the quickest way to defrost it while maintaining its freshness and quality.
Microwaves heat food from the inside out which makes them highly effective for frozen food but there are a few things that you need to keep in mind before using this method.
First, always thaw food using the defrost setting on your appliance. If you don’t have a dedicated defrost setting then we recommend using the lowest possible setting on the microwave to thaw the frozen dough.
Thawing the dough at a higher power setting will cause it to overcook and dry out. Remember, microwaves heat food by evaporating water from the food, so you will also need to thaw it in intervals instead of leaving it on for 2-3 minutes.
Here is the right way to thaw the pizza dough in the microwave:
Step 1) Set the microwave at the defrost setting and then place the frozen pizza dough (without packaging) in the microwave using a microwave-safe plate.
Step 2) Thaw the pizza dough in 15-20 second intervals. Check the dough after each interval to see if it has defrosted properly. If the dough has unevenly defrosted, then it’s best to leave it out at room temperature so that it finishes thawing.
Direct Cooking Method
This method involves defrosting the pizza dough at room temperature for at least an hour before assembling it.
The direct cooking method is suitable for people who need to quickly prepare pizzas for guests – or hungry family members.
Here’s how you can use this method:
Step 1) Remove the pizza dough from the packaging and put it on a wire rack so that the dough doesn’t get soggy as it thaws.
Step 2) Allow it to thaw for at least an hour. In the meantime, preheat the oven according to the baking instructions on the back of the packaging or preheat it to 425F.
Step 3) Begin assembling the pizza by first putting a layer of pizza sauce on it. Continue assembling the pizza and then simply bake it for about 15-18 minutes or until the crust is golden.
Tip for Baking: Bake the pizza by placing the pre-heated baking tray on the middle rack. You can also optionally add oil to the surface of the baking tray to keep the pizza from sticking to the tray.
Here is a quick table for the thawing times for frozen pizza dough:
|Thawing Method||Thawing Time||What You Should Know|
|Fridge (40°F)||6-8 Hours (or overnight)||This method is the most recommended and safest method for thawing pizza dough. The low temperature will prevent the growth of bacteria while also allowing the dough to slowly thaw and rise.|
|Room Temperature (70°F)||2-3 hours||Thawing pizza dough at room temperature is faster than in the fridge but increases the risk of bacteria growth. It’s best to use this method if you plan on using the dough immediately after thawing.|
|Microwave Method (Defrost Mode)||Up to 1-2 minutes||Microwaving pizza dough is the quickest way to thaw it, however, it can also make the dough tough and hard to work with. It’s best to use this method as a last resort.|
|Direct Cooking Method*||1 hour to defrost||Cooking the frozen pizza dough directly on the grill or in the oven can be an effective way to thaw and cook it, but it will result in a different texture than a traditionally thawed and risen dough.|
Thawing frozen pizza dough is easy if you follow the right techniques and best practices. Now that you know how to thaw it for fantastic homemade pies, here are a few related questions:
Can I refreeze thawed pizza dough?
We recommend that you avoid refreezing the dough once it is thawed or once you have added all the toppings. The best way to get the most out of the quality of the dough is to first cook it and then store it in the fridge or freezer.
Baked pies will last about 2-3 days in the fridge at 40F in an airtight container while frozen leftover slices will last about 1-2 weeks at 0F. Keep leftover pizza in a freezer-safe container/bag to avoid freezer burn.
Can you assemble the pizza while the dough is frozen?
Thawing the frozen dough is recommended because it will keep the pizza from becoming soggy as it thaws and will also allow it to cook evenly in the oven.
Also, the pizza sauce and toppings may not adhere properly to the surface of the dough when it is frozen and the ingredients may even trap the extra moisture which will affect the dough’s texture and quality after it’s done baking.
The only time you should directly bake it is when using a fully-prepared and ready-to-go frozen pizza.