Make-Ahead Freezer Pizza Dough

I’ve been wanting to try this for a while – pizza dough you can make in a large batch in the food processor (or stand mixer with dough hook if you are lucky enough to have one!) then store in the freezer until you want it.  Supposedly you make the yeast dough, do one rise, punch down, then freeze until you want it – before using you thaw in the fridge, then room temp for 30 minutes, and you’re ready to bake.

There are many recipes on the internet for this, I adapted this one – I wanted a double batch, but I think I will do the batches separately in the mixer, because I don’t want to overload – so this is the single batch recipe – as usual I added ground flax seed for nutrients and because I’m tired of looking at it in my freezer door.

Make-Ahead Freezer Pizza Dough
3 1/4 cups white flour
3/4 cup ground flax seed
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 tablespoon oil
1 3/4 cups warm water

Combine flour, flax, yest, oil, and 2 pinches salt in  food processor.  Pulse a few times to mix.

With the food processor on, slowly, over about 30 seconds pour 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cups of warm water. Stop adding water when the dough form a single ball.  Not sure if it was the addition of the flax seed or not, but my dough only needed 1 1/2 cups water.  If you add too much water and the dough gets sticky, just add a bit more flour.

Mixing the dough.
Mixing the dough.

Process about 10 more seconds to knead the dough a bit. Place the dough ball in an oiled bowl, cover it with a towel, and allow it to rise for about an hour in a warm draft free place.

The double batch of dough, kneaded and ready to rise.
The double batch of dough, kneaded and ready to rise.

I usually do this in my oven with the light on, with a pot or bowl of water I’ve boiled in the kettle – this way it stays moist, no need to cover the dough, and its nice and warm. Its a dough sauna, basically.

Dough in its rising "sauna."
Dough in its rising “sauna.”

After the dough has doubled (about an hour, depending on how warm it is) form dough into a ball. Divide it into four equal parts and either freeze it or allow it to relax for immediate use.

Use now:  Cover a ball of dough with plastic wrap and let it relax for 30 minutes on the counter.  Roll / stretch the dough into a 10 inch diameter circle.  If the dough resists (bad dough!) let it rest for 5 minutes and try again.  Bake as directed in your pizza recipe. (My recipe says to heat skillet in the oven on the upper middle rack until the oven reaches 500’F, then remove skillet, place dough round in skillet, top and cook for about 7-8 minutes)

To freeze: Place each dough ball in a zip-top bag and put in the freezer (or wrap each ball in plastic to keep separate, then put in one ziplock!). Thaw the dough in the fridge overnight before you plan to make pizza. About 30 minutes to an hour before making the pizza, take it out and allow it to relax on the counter, covered with plastic wrap.

Dough balls, ready for the freezer.
Dough balls, ready for the freezer.

My Pizza Tonight:  For our first try with the skillet and this dough, I’m using a jar of President’s Choice Pesto as the “sauce” and broccoli, sauteed mushrooms and onions, canned roma beans, and skim mozzarella cheese as toppings.

Tonight's toppings.
Tonight’s toppings.
Into the scary 500'F oven!
Into the scary 500’F oven!
...And out again!
…And out again!

Result:  The actual pizza we made was awesome.  I give all of the credit for this to the super hot skillet baking, and not so much to all the rest of it.  The crust did turn out very nice, super crispy but not hard on the outside, and quite tender on the inside.

The next time I try this dough, I will dissolve the yeast in 1 cup of the warm liquid before I add it to the dough, not sprinkle the yeast directly into the dry ingredients.  Hopefully it will still work out, but as of now as I worked with the risen dough it looks like there are grains of undissolved yeast throughout – we will see what happens!


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