If you ask me, I think it is 100% a good idea to make a big batch of pizza dough ahead of time and store some for later. Let’s face it – making pizza dough isn’t a walk in the park, and making fresh pizza dough every time can be quite a hindrance.
That said, you’re likely jumping on board with storing pizza dough. But how long can you keep pizza dough in the fridge? I wouldn’t recommend storing for longer than 3-5 days. Otherwise, your pizza dough might over-ferment. If you need longer storage, I recommend placing it in the freezer.
Hey, bakers! My name is Michelle and if there is one thing I love making, it’s pizza. That’s why I am a big fan of making big batches of pizza dough to store for later use. I’m here to teach you how long pizza dough lasts in the fridge as well as some other useful tips and tricks.
Let’s talk about pizza!
- How Long Does Pizza Dough Last in the Fridge?
- 5 Signs That Your Dough is Over-Fermented
- How to Store Pizza Dough in the Fridge
- Final Words
How Long Does Pizza Dough Last in the Fridge?
This isn’t a cut-and-dry answer. Some sites will tell you three is the maximum, while others will tell you five. Well, I agree with the three-day rule. A three-day fridge stay will allow your dough to stay at its peak of freshness and fermentation.
Does that mean you can’t stick it out for five days? Maybe. But why risk it? If you’re going to wait more than three days, there is no harm in freezing the dough ball and taking it out the night before to thaw in the fridge. In fact, it’s practically the same thing.
Another thing to consider is that some dough will last longer than others. So, while a freshly made dough might over-ferment by the fifth day, another will be a-okay. What’s the deal? There are three factors to consider.
1. Amount of Yeast
Even though your dough ball is sitting in the fridge, it’s still going to ferment thanks to the presence of yeast. However, the more yeast your pizza dough has, the faster it will ferment.
With that in mind, it’s clear that pizza dough with a lot of yeast will ferment faster than those with less. Double-check your pizza dough recipe to see how much yeast you’re using compared to others to get a good idea of how long your dough might last in the fridge.
2. Temperature of the Dough
If you leave your dough out on the countertop in the middle of August in Florida for a few hours and then put it in the fridge, it’s not going to last five days. Why? Because the higher the temperature surrounding the dough, the quicker it will ferment.
What should you do? When you’re done kneading your dough and have placed it inside the container for rising, put it in the fridge right away. The longer you leave it out, the shorter lifespan it will have in the fridge.
3. Protein in the Flour
Protein doesn’t just power up your muscles after a good workout. It also keeps gluten nice and strong, too. Why does this matter? Well, flour needs a strong gluten network to create an airy and texturally desirable pizza crust.
Flour with a lot of protein (bread flour or 00 flour) will be able to hold onto the structure longer than flour with low protein content. So, using high-protein flour will give your dough an extra day or two of fridge life.
5 Signs That Your Dough is Over-Fermented
It’s true that the longer you let your dough ferment, the better texture, and flavor it will develop. However, if you let your dough ferment for too long, it can take a turn for the worst. There is such a thing as over-fermentation and it will ruin your pizza dough.
The good news is, there are a few key signs that will determine when you’ve gone too far.
1. Sour Smell
Remember the infamous yeast we were discussing earlier? Well, when yeast is over-fermented, it will give off a sour smell. It can also smell similar to alcohol, considering alcohol contains yeast. If it smells “off”, it’s no longer usable.
Pizza dough looks like a delicate beige ball of goodness. But when it’s over-fermented, that delightful look is gone. Over-fermented pizza dough will typically turn an off-grayish hue. It may even have specks of orange. Needless to say, it doesn’t look appetizing and it should be thrown out.
Another clear-cut sign of over-fermented pizza dough is that it’s dried out. While you should be placing your pizza dough in the fridge 100% covered, that doesn’t mean it won’t still dry out over time. If it’s dry, flaky, and hard to maneuver, it’s over-fermented.
Now, most people aren’t going to take a snip out of their refrigerated pizza dough and give it a taste. So, you might not notice the off-taste until the pizza is already entirely baked. If you think your pizza tastes “off”, start over again with some fresh dough.
You would likely have to wait quite some time before pizza dough ended up moldy in the fridge. Regardless, if you see mold on your dough, throw it out immediately. Don’t think that you can tear off the moldy piece and get cooking. If you see mold, it’s present in places you can’t see it, too.
How to Store Pizza Dough in the Fridge
Storing your pizza dough in the fridge is easy. As long as the entire pizza dough ball is covered, you’re good to go. Any exposed areas will dry out during the fermentation process. There are a few options:
- Airtight container
- Wrapped in plastic wrap
- Placed in a zippered freezer bag
- In a bowl covered with plastic wrap, cellophane, aluminum foil, etc.
Pizza dough will typically last anywhere between three and five days in the fridge, although this number can change depending on the amount of yeast, the temp of dough, and the protein in the flour. Still have questions? Keep reading these frequently asked questions.
Does refrigerated pizza dough go bad?
Yes, pizza dough goes bad in the fridge. Even though your dough might still be “usable” after five days, it doesn’t mean your pizza is going to turn out “good”. I wouldn’t use any dough after the fifth day.
What does bad pizza dough smell like?
Pizza dough that has gone bad will have an “off” smell in general. This smell may have a sour twinge to it or may even smell like alcohol due to the presence of yeast.
Is over-fermented dough safe to eat?
Safe? Sure. Taste good? No. Not only will over-fermented dough be a challenge to work with, but it will also create a crust that is highly unpleasant.
Most pizza doughs will last three to five days in the refrigerator when stored properly. However, I recommend using pizza dough within the first three days of fridge storage so that it is at its peak of freshness. Always check your dough or over-fermentation before using it.
Have you ever stored pizza dough in the fridge? How long did your pizza dough last? Share your successful (or unsuccessful) stories in the comment section below!About Michelle