There is something of a significant debate in the pizza dough world, but what is the truth? Is it important to proof your dough before baking, or is this an unnecessary process? In this article, we are going to find out.
If you have prepared your own pizza dough, it will need proofing as this will give you a more authentic pizzeria result that will be lighter, have a better texture and be far more tasty.
Does Pizza Dough Need Proofing?
If you want the most professional and delicious pizza, then proofing the dough will give you this. But it is important to remember that this process isn’t simply about resembling your favorite pizzeria – proofing your pizza dough is something of a science. Let’s take a look at this…
When you are making pizza, one of the first parts of the creation will be to create good quality dough balls ready for baking into a delicious, crispy pizza crust. One of these dough balls’ key ingredients is yeast – an agent that will allow the dough to rise.
However, yeast cannot do its thing in a short amount of time – it needs at least an hour, preferably more, to achieve fermentation.
Fermentation is the process in which yeast creates carbon dioxide as it consumes sugar. As these air bubbles expand enough, this causes the dough to ‘grow,’ known as proofing. Not only will it make your pizza fluffier, lighter, and improve the flavor. However, you will find that proofing pizza dough will also mean that you get a far thicker pizza crust, and so is especially important before baking thick crust pizzas.
Does Store-Bought Pizza Dough Need To Rise?
If you have purchased your pizza dough from the store, it will likely have been tightly packaged – this means that it will not have had enough time to rise properly.
In this instance, it is important to allow the pizza dough to reach room temperature – as the dough balls become warm, they will expand even more. Whether you have made pizza dough at home or purchased it in a ready to make form, dough proofing is essential.
What Happens If You Don't Proof Pizza Dough?
When pizza dough is not properly proofed, the texture and flavor will be affected. If you have put your dough into the oven before it has reached room temperature, it will likely come out far flatter and a lot denser. This is because the yeast has not had a chance to perform the fermentation process, making a far less desirable dough.
You are likely familiar with the bubbles in a pizza crust that make it so good, but if the carbon dioxide hasn’t been allowed to expand the dough during proofing, the crust will be thinner. This is perfect for thin-crust pizzas, but proofing is a must if you want that authentic thick crust.
Do You Proof Pizza Dough Twice?
Often, proofing pizza dough once is enough; however, some like to do this twice – this will give the ingredients, namely the yeast, a chance to expand further. However, it does pay to be mindful that doing this will cause the pizza crust to have holes and be detrimental to the recipe.
How To Proof Pizza Dough
It is possible to cold-proof the dough, but this is quite slow and is done by keeping it in the refrigerator for 3 days. If you have the time to spare, then this is a perfectly viable way of proofing your dough at home. If you are proofing dough using this method, you should remove it from the refrigerator 2 hours before baking in the oven.
However, most people will want fermentation to happen much more quickly, so proofing is normally done over the course of two hours.
To get the best results, you first need to place the dough into a bowl or other container. It should then be covered over with a plastic wrap and left on the kitchen counter top for up to 90 minutes, although you can leave it a little longer, up to three hours.
At this point, you will notice that the dough has risen significantly, and it can now be baked.
Proofing your pizza properly will ensure that there is enough air within it and warm before going into the oven. The dough must be at the right temperature before cooking, and when you place cold dough into an oven, you will not get as good a result.
While dough proofing can be done in the refrigerator, this will be a long wait, whereas using a bowl and some plastic wrap and leaving the dough balls in the kitchen will see you enjoying your pizza far more quickly.