Can You Freeze Pizza Dough?

Q. I love homemade pizza, but I don’t always want to go through all the steps of making dough.  I want to make several batches of dough at once and freeze some for later. Can  you freeze pizza dough?

A. Pizza dough can be easily frozen, and is great to have on hand for quick pizza dinners. The key to great frozen dough is proper packaging so that freezer burn doesn’t occur.  If making pizza dough from scratch, follow through with the entire recipe before freezing.  If the recipe makes enough dough for more than one pizza, divide into the number of portions the recipe makes.  Place the balls of dough on a cookie tray and place in freezer until the outside is just chilled and no longer sticky when touched.  Wrap each ball of dough carefully in plastic wrap, and then place each ball of dough in individual freezer bags.  Seal bags completely, then label and date with a permanent marker.  Frozen dough should be used within three months of freezing.

It is important to both wrap the dough in plastic wrap and place in a freezer bag because the dough will still rise slightly in the freezer, and there is a chance it may push through the plastic wrap a little.  Tightly wrapping the dough minimizes this, and the second layer of the freezer bag protects any dough that escapes the plastic wrap.  Dough that’s frozen without the double layer of protection may end up with hard pieces or freezer burn on the exposed areas of dough.

When ready to use, remove dough from freezer and thaw in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight.  Dough must be completely thawed before using. Place in a covered bowl in a warm location and allow dough to rise again before baking.  Top with pizza toppings and bake according to recipe directions.

Prepared pizzas can also be frozen, making for an even more convenient meal.  Prepare pizza dough according to recipe, shape into a pizza and par-bake.  This means only cooking the dough for a fraction of the baking time, until slightly firm but not cooked all the way through.  Cool, and add sauce and toppings.  Carefully wrap pizza in a double layer of plastic wrap and then cover in aluminum foil for protection against freezer burn.  To cook, pizza can be cooked from frozen or can be thawed in the refrigerator before cooking.  Bake until cheese is bubbly and crust is cooked through.

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