It happens that you plan to bake pizza or bread in a few hours, but life gets in your way, so you must change your plans, but you already kneaded the dough.
So, in this case, you need to know how much you can store the dough in the fridge. Also, I guess the exact same question can be in your mind if you work at a pizza place and want to know if it’s safe to bake pizza with the dough that you had in the fridge for some time.
I did some research and found out a few interesting things about this situation.
How long does dough last in the fridge?
The dough can last up to three days in the fridge if it’s stored properly. But there are big chances that the quality will not be as good after the first 24-48 hours.
So if you want to get the best out of it, you should use it as soon as you can.
To make sure that you did all the right steps before you place the dough in the fridge, make sure that you oil the dough, put it in a mixing bowl, and seal the bowl very well using plastic wrap.
The refrigerating process should slow down the yeast effect and prevent the dough from rising too much. But it is better to check from time to time, especially in the first hours, since it can take some time until the dough reaches the refrigerator temperature.
If the dough has already risen, you can store it in the fridge the same way, only this time, you can use a clean towel to cover the bowl if you want.
How long does dough last out on the counter?
The dough can last outside up to four hours if it is yeast made and up to six hours for the sourdough one.
This can depend a bit on the quantity and how much yeast you used when making the dough.
Also, the room temperature can have an impact on how fast the dough rises. Lower room temperature means that your dough needs more time to grow.
How long does the dough last in the freezer?
The dough can last in a freezer for up to three months if stored properly. This applies only if your dough is made with the basic ingredients: flour, water, salt, yeast.
If you somehow used other ingredients, especially dairy ones, the time that you can store the dough in the freezer will be significantly shorter.
It is nice to have dough in your freezer and be ready to cook whenever you want it. I know how much I like a nice homemade bread, especially when it is still hot.
I even used to buy buns from the market, put them into the freezer, then take one or two out, and put them 10 minutes in the oven, and they were almost as good as fresh ones.
Nothing compares with the smell of hot bread at breakfast.
How to know that dough has gone bad
The dough can go bad if you don’t store it properly. So make sure that you don’t keep it more than three days in the refrigerator, three months in the freezer, and not more than 4-6 hours outside.
For the one you had in the freezer, you will most likely not notice that it has gone bad until it defrosts completely.
The first sign of a dough that has gone bad is the color. It should not change the color too much, so if you see a grey color or weird spots that shouldn’t be there, you most likely need to throw it away.
The texture is another sign. If you store it for more than it should, it will probably be drier and crustier than it should because its water content will diminish.
The last one is the smell. Since it has yeast, it is normal to smell a bit like beer or weak alcohol. But if you notice a sour smell or a strong alcohol smell, it means that the yeast fermented inside your dough, and most probably, it is not good to use it anymore.
Pizza dough vs. bread dough is it any different?
Pizza dough and bread dough usually have the same ingredients, so you can substitute one for each other without any problem.
However, how much of each ingredient you use can often differ a lot. For example, you will usually need less yeast for making pizza dough than for making bread dough since you don’t need your pizza dough to rise that much.
Suppose you find yourself in a situation where you need to store your dough for a bit more time than expected. Ensure that you don’t keep it in the fridge for more than three days. Otherwise, I suggest you put it in the freezer.
Also, check for the signs if your dough has gone bad before you start baking it.
Don’t forget that bacteria can grow inside without you noticing, so I would rather prefer to be safe than sorry and don’t store your dough more than the recommendations above.