I don’t think you can beat a homemade pizza. The dough tastes so much nicer than any store-bought pizza. Not to mention the fact that it is so much cheaper!
The problem is, we haven’t always got the time to make the dough from scratch with work, family, and social commitments.
Luckily though, pizza dough can be frozen ready to use whenever you want. So you can have one big pizza dough baking day and save the dough for another time.
After defrosting the dough, you only need to throw some sauce and toppings on before cooking. So even on a busy night, you can have yummy homemade pizza!
There isn’t usually a button on the microwave to defrost pizza dough, so how do you defrost it?
A Guide to Defrosting your Dough
There are a number of ways to defrost frozen pizza dough. Which one you choose will depend on how much time you have. It’s best to think ahead and let the dough defrost naturally over time, but if you are in a hurry you have some options.
We’ve listed the methods in order of the time they take to defrost the dough. Have a read and find the one that will work for you.
If you’ve planned ahead and you’ve got time, the best way to defrost your dough is to leave it overnight in the fridge. This is called cold defrosting because you aren’t using any heat. Instead, the dough heats up to the temperature of your fridge naturally.
You need to leave the dough in the bag or plastic wrap it was frozen in. If you take the dough out of the bag you expose it to the air which will dry it out.
Place the bag of dough in a bowl that has enough room for the dough to expand and place it in the fridge overnight. By the morning, you should see bubbles on the surface of the dough. This shows that the dough has softened enough to let air rise.
Once the dough is soft and has risen you can take it out of the bag and leave it on the counter at room temperature to rest. You should leave it to rest for about an hour before you start rolling, tossing, and shaping the dough.
Cold Water Method
If you want pizza sometime today, cold defrosting is going to be a bit too slow for you. In that case, you can use a cold water bath to defrost your dough.
Place your dough, still in the bag, into a bowl. As with the cold-defrost method, the bowl should be large enough to allow the dough to rise. Fill the bowl with cold water until it completely covers the bagged dough. The water doesn’t need to be chilled. You can just fill the bowl with water from the tap. Leave the dough for about 2 hours until it is soft and has bubbles forming on the surface.
You might find that your dough defrosts in less than two hours, particularly if the room is warmer. That’s fine, just make sure that it is soft all the way through.
Room Temperature Method
This one is easy! All you need to do is turn the dough out into a bowl that has plenty of room for it to rise.
Cover the bowl in plastic wrap and leave it on a counter at room temperature. You should have defrosted and risen dough in about two hours. The time will vary depending on how warm or cold the room is. If you find that it is taking too long try moving it to a warmer area.
You must cover the bowl otherwise your dough will dry out in the air.
Warm Water Method
For an even quicker defrosting method, use a warm water bath. Do as you did for the cold water method, but this time use warm water.
The water must be warm but not hot. Hot water can begin the cooking process and will make it really hard to shape and toss the dough. Basically, you want the water to be warm enough to put your hand in without it turning red. You could probably achieve this with the hot water tap.If you must, for whatever reason boil water and add cold water to it, make sure the temperature has come right down.
You will need to replace the water every so often. Initially, this will be fairly regularly as the frozen dough will make the water temperature drop. Aim for every ten minutes, maybe more frequently in the first few minutes.
Using this method, you should be able to defrost the dough in about an hour.
Using the Oven
As with the microwave, an oven can accidentally start cooking your dough so you need to keep a close eye on it. Place the dough on a baking tray or dish that has enough room for the dough to double in size. Coat both the dough and the tray in oil to prevent sticking.
Set your oven to the lowest possible setting. If you have an electric oven this is usually about 100° Fahrenheit. If your oven has a proofing drawer or setting you should absolutely use this! Leave the dough in for about an hour before checking. The dough should have doubled in size and be soft all the way through.
If it’s still a bit frozen you can leave it in for a bit longer but keep checking on it. Once it’s twice the original size you should take it out and start rolling immediately.
Using the Microwave
Ok, we get it. You want good pizza and you want it now. The microwave was made for exactly this situation. And it is a wonderful invention that speeds up a lot of tedious kitchen processes, but microwaves, like standard ovens, are not intuitive. They can’t tell when they’ve gone too far.
The problem with using a microwave to defrost the dough, or any food, is that it may begin to cook the dough. To avoid this, you need to go slowly and carefully. The first thing you need to do is coat a plate in oil, a spray oil is perfect for this.
Onto the oiled plate you are going to put your frozen dough, also coated in oil. Then you need to wrap the plate and dough in plastic wrap. Again, you need to coat the wrap in oil so that it doesn’t stick to the dough. Put this well-oiled dough wrap into the microwave and use the cook function for about 25 seconds.
After the beep, flip and recoat the dough, plate and wrap and blast on cook for another 25 seconds. These short bursts of high power won’t cook the dough but it will start to thaw it out. Your dough should feel cool but not cold by now.
You can now use the defrost setting on the microwave to evenly defrost the dough. You want to go for about 3 to 5 minutes depending on the size of the dough.
Check it regularly to see if it is soft and squishy all the way through. Stop when the dough is ready even if this is before the timer has run out.
After defrosting in the microwave, you need to give the dough time to rise. Leave it on a counter at room temperature to rise. You will need to make sure that you get rid of the plastic wrap so that it has space to rise.
So there you have it! A defrosting method to suit even the strictest time frames.
The cold defrosting methods are always the best because there is absolutely no way that the dough can start cooking prematurely. However, you haven’t always got the time. We do appreciate that.
If you need dough quickly you can use any of the other methods but just remember to be careful when using heat.
One final thing to note is that sometimes you need to give the dough time to rest and rise after defrosting. If you’ve used a cold method then you need to give the yeast time to warm up and start producing carbon dioxide which will cause the rise.
If you’ve defrosted it quickly, like in the microwave it's the same thing. The yeast needs time to wake up and do its job, time it doesn’t get in the microwave.