How Long Does Pizza Dough Last In The Fridge?

How Long Does Pizza Dough Last In The Fridge?

How Long Does Pizza Dough Last In The Fridge?
Updated on
July 21, 2023
Gareth Busby
Gareth Busby

Pizza’s a funny one when it comes to recipes. There are so many styles and types of recipes, not to mention the range of time they take to make! So if you are about to make pizza and are wondering how long you can store the dough in the fridge, continue reading as I’m about to tell you how long and how to make pizza dough that lasts as long as possible!

Can you make pizza dough in advance and keep it in the fridge?

Most of the world’s pizzerias will make their pizza dough at least a day in advance of baking. Doing so enhances the pizza’s ability to stretch without tearing and develops sweet flavours and aromatics. Storing the dough in the fridge slows down the activity of the yeast so it doesn’t deteriorate quickly.

How long does pizza dough last in the fridge?

Depending largely on how much yeast is used, pizza dough will stay good in the fridge for 1-2 days, sometimes up to 5 days. If longer is required, changes to the recipe and ingredients can be made to keep your pizza dough at peak condition for longer.

Pizza dough is shaped into balls and left in the fridge

Why does pizza dough deteriorate over time?

Pizza dough deteriorates due to it either becoming overly gassy or the gluten weakening and becoming unable to stretch. Preventing this from happening too quickly requires careful selection in the amount of salt and yeast used in the recipe and the type of flour that is used to make the dough.

When talking about pizza dough, the proofing process is divided into a first bulk rise, followed by a second proof or rest after it is divided. During the first rise, the dough develops flavour and gluten strength (ability to stretch). Once the dough is divided and shaped into balls, it is left for a minimum of 2 hours to relax at room temperature or in the fridge for up to 48 hours.

The amount of yeast

Yeast creates gasses in the dough, producing the puffed-up crust we enjoy on our pizzas. Pizza dough isn’t like bread dough. It doesn’t require proofing to inflate it. Instead, pizzas are baked in a hotter oven, where the hot encourages the yeast to create gas quickly in a process known as oven spring

Because the oven spring is so prolific on the crust, and the topping area of the pizza doesn’t rise much (unlike focaccia), little yeast is used in traditional pizza recipes.

Using a higher quantity of yeast is acceptable where a short development time is required. But if too much yeast is used or the proofing temperature is too warm, the dough becomes overly gassy. Carbon dioxide gas produced by the yeast will stretch the gluten pockets in the dough structure. If the gluten becomes overly stretched, it becomes weaker, and the pizza dough pieces will not stretch.

Yeast blooming in water

Too much gas produced before the pizza is baked can produce an unpleasant alcoholic flavour. It can also result in too many sugars being consumed, resulting in a less-sweet taste and not enough sugars remaining in the dough to puff the crust during the oven rise.

Salt slows yeast activity

Add salt to pizza dough to slow fermentation

Salt diverts water to slow down the activity of the yeast. The amount of salt in pizza dough is a large topic, with many opinions and no correct answer. However, it’s generally accepted that pizza dough will contain between 2% and 3% salt. If the amount used is near the end of this range, the dough will ferment much slower than if it was at 2%.

Water quantity

How stiff or wet a pizza dough makes a big impact on the rate of dough development. A wetter dough provides more “free water, ” enabling a faster transaction between cells, therefore a more active dough. Pizza doughs tend to be low-hydration to slow yeast activity. This means they can be stored for longer in a pizzeria, allowing more time for starch to be broken down into sugars, making a sweeter base.

The quality of the flour

A flour with more gluten offers a crisper “bite” but has little impact on how long a dough can be left. It’s the quality of the gluten that has the biggest impact on how long pizza dough lasts in the fridge. If the gluten in the flour withstands stress for longer periods, it can be left in the fridge (or at room temperature) for longer. 

What is the “w-index” of flour?

The W-index is the metric used to determine how long flour can stretch. To produce this figure, hydrated flour is placed in a machine where air bubbles inflate the gluten, and the amount of stretch and time stretched is noted as the W-value. 

Flours with a low W-index are not suitable for a long rise. Flour with a high W-index rating will last several days in the refrigerator and need to be fermented for several hours to develop an acceptable texture.

Here’s a table of flours with typical W-index and proofing durations. 

Protein %W-indexProofing time
11.5240-2608-12 hours
12290-31012-24 hours
12.5300-32024–48 hours
13300-32048-72 hours
13.5320-34048-96 hours
14.25360-40048-120 hours
Note: High protein flours make a crisper base.

How to tell if pizza dough has gone off?

You’ll know that your pizza dough is deteriorating when you go to shape your pizza, and it tears easily. In this case, you can still use the dough piece, but you’ll have to be less vigorous when shaping and accept a thicker base. An increased aroma of alcohol is likely. However, if it looks mouldy or smells rancid, it’s gone off, so through it in the bin!

How to make pizza dough last longer in the fridge?

To make your pizza dough last as long as possible, make a stiff dough (56-63% hydration) with high w-index pizza flour, only a little yeast (0.05-0.2%) and 2.5-3% salt. Cover it in an airtight container and place it in the fridge as soon as possible.

If you’ve enjoyed this article and wish to treat me to a coffee, you can by following the link below – Thanks x

Buy Me A Coffee

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Keep up to date with the latest Articles, Recipes & Bread Baking info by joining my mailing list

Join The Weekly Bread Baker's Newsletter!

Join my weekly baking newsletter to be notified with the latest bread baking tips and trends.
Busby's Bakery

© Busby's Bakery. All rights reserved.
Designed by Joe Joubert.