Best Pizza Dough Proofing Temperature (Temperature & Timings)


If you want to make a good batch of pizza dough, proofing will make a world of difference. However, many baking fanatics are unsure as to the best temperature for proofing pizza dough. If you aren’t familiar with these types of recipes, it can result in the dough balls not going through the fermentation process properly, and your pizzas will not be as fluffy or crisp.

In this article, we will be looking at how to get your pizza dough to rise perfectly every time and the ideal temperature for proofing dough.

Pizza dough should proof at room temperature for at least 2 hours. However, there are some variations on this, with some people claiming that 90 minutes is sufficient.

However, certain factors will allow you to determine the best temp, and these may include how much dough has been made and how large the dough balls are. Furthermore, leaving the dough ball overnight will allow the fermentation process more time, and therefore more carbon dioxide would be created, giving you even fluffier dough.

What Is The Best Temperature For Proofing Dough?

It is easy for a baking enthusiast to be told that dough should be proofed at room temperature – but what does this mean? The kitchen in one home may be more cold or more warm than the next, so common sense would tell us that there isn’t a true room temp.

Most experts agree that before making pizza, your dough should be proofed in a kitchen that sits comfortably at around 23ºc or 75ºf. However, there is the option to cold proof your dough in the refrigerator, and in this instance, you would be looking at making the temperature much lower, below 10º. However most refrigerator temperatures are far lower.

How Long Should Pizza Dough Proof At Room Temperature?

One of the most important factors when making pizza dough is to ensure that the dough is left proofing at the right degrees and that you allow it to work for the right amount of time. You should try to leave the dough as long as possible – and then a little longer if you can. If you want to improve the pizza’s flavor and texture, leaving to proof for longer is one of the better ways of achieving this.

A lot of people who are new to this concept are known to leave the dough for just an hour, thinking that this will be sufficient. However, to get the most incredible pizza and a fluffy crust, an hour simply isn’t enough. 90 minutes is potentially OK but aiming for two hours is preferable.

When your dough has gone through the slow proofing process, you should return to check it – leaving it longer could cause it to proof too much, and this will have a negative effect on the dough. You might notice that the texture is not as good and that the dough becomes floppy. If this dough is used in baking pizza bread, the crust will likely contain holes.

How Long Should I Proof Dough In The Fridge?

If you have opted to use a cool method, then 3 days in the fridge will work well. If you opt to place in the dough in the fridge, you must first be sure to have followed one of the dough recipes correctly and have spent a good amount of time kneading the dough to help the gluten to relax.

Cover the dough with plastic wrap and place it inside. When the three days are over, you will need to let the dough warm up before you place it into the oven for baking.

This is because the gluten within the dough becomes compacted in the fridge – even during proofing. Allowing it to reach a warmer temperature on the counter top will prevent the dough from being too chewy.

Unfortunately, people who are new to pizza making may think that an overnight stint in the fridge will be sufficient, but this is not the case – you must use the full 3 days to get an excellent pizza. Patience is the essential dough for pizza is being made, and you should try to stick to the suggested times as best as you can.

Why Is Temperature Important In Proofing Pizza Dough?

You need to think about the temperature you will be using when you make pizza dough and begin the proofing. Before you place the dough into the oven, it should be at room temp – even without proofing; for this reason, you must try to let your dough warm up if it has been in the refrigerator.

Some people will want to start cooking without having first proofed the dough, and in the case of a thin pan pizza, this is OK.

However, if you are looking to make one of the deep pan recipes and get a fluffy crust with a great flavor, you need to let the yeast rise. Pizza bread is known for its soft texture, which contains many air bubbles, which is down the yeast going through fermentation.

What Does Dough Proofing Do?

In essence, proofing your dough over the course of some hours at either a moderately warm temp or a cool one in the refrigerator achieves several things.

  • Fermentation occurs – this is when the yeast produces carbon dioxide as it consumes sugar. This causes that wonderful pizza dough texture and a delicious crust, which means that you can make pizza bread just like a professional recipe.
  • During the times of fermentation, many by-products are created, and as a result, the flavor and intensity of all the ingredients and other things are increased. You will notice that the flavor of proofed dough is vastly different from dough that could not be put aside to ferment.
  • As the gluten relaxes during the hours that the pizza dough is left to rise, you will see that more holes occur within the pizza dough. There is some speculation that leaving the dough long enough will result in the best outcome. However, it is important to know that when the gluten is given too long to work, this can cause the pizza dough to become too holey. The best way to ensure that the dough is proofing correctly is to keep going back to check. When you are happy with what you see, you are free to top the pizza bread with your favorite toppings and put it into the oven.
  • It’s no secret that stretching the dough into shape is difficult at times – even with ample kneading, a lot of home chefs find this a challenge. The secret to a dough that will stretch well is proofing. You must take the hour or two that you need to improve the consistency, texture, and quality of the dough.

Achieving a better result is easy if you follow our great tips for making perfect pizza dough every time. Couple these tips with the correct temp, and investing a little time will deliver pizza dough that is just like the dough at your favorite pizza restaurant.

Tips For Making The Perfect Pizza Dough

Following any kind of food, recipe requires you to thoroughly read through and know just how much time you need to get the best results. Before you start cooking your pizza dough, be sure to check our tips for better dough results, no matter how many times you make it.

  • Once you have gathered all of the things you will be using to make your pizza dough, you will want to choose a recipe and stick with it. You will find that there are various methods all over the internet, but combining these won’t give you an even result. Take your favorite and keep using this as your go-to. Not only will your pizza dough be consistent, but you will soon learn the method by heart and will get used to doing it.
  • The type of flour you use will play a part in the quality of the pizza dough, and a lot of experts suggest using bread flour.
  • Adding a little sugar to the pizza dough will give the yeast something to feed off, which will mean that the dough can rise more effectively.
  • If this is your first time proofing dough, it is vital to remember that this fermentation must take place over several hours – getting a good pizza requires time and dedication. Ensure that you have all of the relevant equipment, such as a bowl and plastic wrap first.
  • Pizza dough proofs far more easily when it is separated – you will find that the yeast will rise far more effectively if you part the dough and make individual dough balls. The dough used in each piece will need to be the right amount for a single pizza – too much, and you won’t let the yeast rise enough or the gluten to relax for that authentic flavor.
  • Before you let the food rise, it is important to be sure that it is properly covered over. This will give you that all-important fluffy crust, plus it will prevent any drafts from having an effect on the yeast as it begins to rise.
  • You might like to let the pizza dough ferment for a little longer, but you will want to bear in mind that once you see more obvious air bubbles, this is an indication that the yeast has had the right number of minutes to rise.
  • A common mistake for those who are new to pizza baking is that they may go back to kneading the dough after it has risen. Kneading is a way to distribute the gluten, and if it is done after the dough has been proofed, you will be taking a step back and removing the air bubbles that give the dough its texture.
  • The flavor and fluffy crust of your pizza are all in the baking, but it is essential to remember that pizza bread requires quick cooking in high heat. Once the proofing is complete, you will need to get your oven to a good temp and keep it maintained throughout cooking.

What Happens If I Proof My Dough At The Wrong Temperature?

One of the most common cooking mistakes that home bakers make is that they follow the dough recipe to a T, put their dough ball ingredients together perfectly and then keep kneading the dough until it is great, however, they then put the dough balls in a bowl for proofing but do not leave the dough at the correct temperature.

If you fail to allow the dough to work at the right temperature, you will notice that the fermentation process is unable to start, or at least, it won’t be as good as when it is proofed at room temperature.

If you attempt to proof the dough between 10º and 20º, you will notice that the yeast cannot react and form those all-important air bubbles. The only time that yeast will go through fermentation at cool temperatures is when you do a cold dough proofing in the refrigerator.

In contrast, if the dough is made and not proofed in a hot enough environment, the fermentation will slow down significantly.

Furthermore, it is essential that after kneading the dough and putting it in a bowl, the temperature remains consistent. There is very little point in placing the bowl in a kitchen where it may be exposed to different temperatures. For example, if the recipe is left in a location where there are potential draughts, the yeast will not be able to rise as effectively. Alternatively, you should think about the heat of the home in terms of heating – are you intending to turn up the thermostat during the time that you will be proofing the dough balls?

Can You Proof Pizza Dough In The Oven?

If you don’t like the idea of a slow proofing, there is the option to do this in as little as an hour – this method involves placing the dough into an oven and using warm water to boost how quickly it will rise.

  • Heat the oven to 100 degrees.
  • Use a shallow dish and add some boiling water – you can also use the oven to boil the water if you wish.
  • Pop the dough onto a baking sheet and put it on the shelf above the water.
  • The high levels of humidity will cause the dough to rise in a similar way to when done outside the oven.
  • Check the dough after an hour; you can always return it if you don’t feel it is ready.

Summary

Getting the perfect pizza crust is something of an art but if you want an incredible result every time, proofing your pizza dough before cooking is a guaranteed way of doing this.

Proofing is the process of allowing the dough to rise before cooking the pizza and will give it a far nicer texture. Whether you are new to at-home pizza making or have been doing it for some time, knowing the best temperature for proofing the dough is crucial to a crispy, delicious pizza!

Further Reading

Pizza Dough Proofing – full article

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