Having your dough proofed properly is key to making a delicious pizza. Chef Luke from Alive & Kickin’ Pizza Crust is here to show you how to take a dough ball from frozen to a fabulous crust.
TRANSCRIPT – Perfectly Proofed Pizza Dough
Properly proofing dough is probably the most important thing you can do to ensure pizza quality, and the process is easy when you follow these tips:
Color should be yellow, not gray or white. When frozen, dough balls are fairly white with perhaps a little off-white mottling. Proper proofing will result in dough that’s yellow in color. Under-proofed dough will be a shade of white that’s close to the color when frozen. Over-proofed dough will appear gray instead of yellow.
Proofed size is 1.5-2x larger than the frozen dough ball. A frozen dough ball is fairly small. When proofed, it expands to about twice the frozen size.
Proof for a minimum of 24 hours. You can get by with proofing your dough for a 24-hour period, but 48 hours is better and 72 hours (three days) is ideal. Since yeast is a living organism, dough balls are good for about five days from the time you pull them out of the freezer until the yeast is spent and no longer working. Spent yeast will compromise dough proofing and rise.
Use a sheet pan and speed rack. The best option is to proof your dough balls on a sheet pan and place the pans on a speed or bakers rack.
Some people use dough trays or red, white or green fiberglass dough totes. Trays and totes work, but the issue is that they are not consistently open all the way across the tray. When the dough is placed in totes, stacked and put into the refrigerator, the expectation is that the dough will be ready in a day – but it’s not true. Most of the time the top layer of dough balls will be well proofed, and the bottom layers are still practically frozen.
You need as much even airflow as possible for proofing, which makes using a bakery-style sheet pan and speed rack your best bet.
Maintain a 34°–40°F proofing temperature. Ideal proofing temperature range is 34°–40°F. Anything under 34°F and the dough isn’t thawing enough to actually be proofed; over 40°F could raise health department concerns.
The Consequences of Over- or Under-Proofed Dough
Under-proofed dough won’t brown properly or crisp up. It will also be extremely bubbly in the oven, so you’ll have to constantly watch it and pop all of the bubbles while it’s cooking. Over-proofed dough tastes good and will get crispy; however, it will be flat and lifeless. There’s far less lift in the pizza because the yeast is spent.
Establishing and following best practices for dough proofing is a great way to maintain consistent pizza quality. Before you walk the walk, learn the talk of the pizza industry in our free resource, the Pizza Glossary. Click the button below to download your copy.