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Quick Tips for Determining Crust and Dough Freshness

February 24 2016 by Nick Charles

Crust-And-Dough-Freshness.jpgPizza aficionados and novices agree: the crust is the most important part of the pie. A thin crust’s crunch or a deep dish’s satisfying chew is rewarding and memorable when prepared with fresh crusts and dough.

Not sure if the crusts and dough on your shelf or in your freezer are in peak, patron-pleasing season? Here are some tips to keep guesswork low and quality high.

Numbers Don’t Lie

The easiest way to stay on top of crust and dough freshness is to keep an eye on the calendar. We recommend these guidelines for gauging maximum useful life:

  • Live dough products are best within 120 days from the date of manufacture (180 days maximum)
  • Par-baked products are at ideal freshness within 180 days from the date of manufacture (365 days maximum)
  • Dough balls should be used within 90 days frozen (180 days maximum), and within 2 to 4 days if refrigerated

One final important note about timing: Should you choose to store crusts and dough for their respective maximum useful lifespans, there is no food safety risk, provided you use proper procedures to prepare pies. However, quality — and possibly your reputation — will suffer.

What does perfectly proofed dough look like? What are telltale signs the dough is under- or over-proofed? Read the guide below!

How to Achieve Perfectly Proofed Pizza Dough

See For Yourself

We understand that time flies, and sometimes dates escape even the most diligent calendar watchers. There’s no need to panic! Crusts and dough have physical “tells” which let you know they’re past their prime and could underperform.

Dough Balls

  • Appear gray in color instead of the light yellow that signifies freshness
  • May be speckled with gray dots from yeast that dies off after being frozen too long
  • Doesn’t proof well or bake to a crisp finish

Live Dough/Rising Crusts

All of the indicators for dough balls apply to live dough/rising crusts, but you’ll also want to check for:

  • A gray appearance after baking
  • A lack of air pockets that denotes failed cell structure and dead yeast activators

Par-Baked Crusts

Of the available crusts and dough, par-baked is the most forgiving type. The crust is already baked, so as long as it remains properly frozen and isn’t exposed to mold or other contaminants, there is no health risk in using it up to a year from manufacture. However, there is a likelihood of:

  • Freezer burn
  • Compromised taste
  • Diminished texture

Monitoring shelf life and working with Alive & Kickin’ pizza crust experts will keep your crusts, dough and reputation for satisfying pies fresh. Give us a call today at (920) 662-0304. 

Custom Crust Tip Sheet CTA

Categories: Performance/Quality, Pizza Crust, Dough Balls

Nick Charles

Written by Nick Charles

President, Alive & Kickin' Pizza Crust