dough balls in rows

Pizza dough is permitted to rise during the proofing stage so that the yeast can ferment and give flavor and texture. The carbon dioxide bubbles from the proof are essential for making a good pizza. When baked, these spaces disappear, leaving behind a fluffy, light dough. It’s essential to the texture and flavor of the crust, which would otherwise be paper-thin, cracker-like, and flavorless without it.

As the yeast ferments the carbohydrates in the flour, the resulting carbon dioxide gas forms bubbles throughout the dough, which are kept together by the gluten. There are byproducts produced in this process, including alcohol, which contribute to flavor development like beer does.

So, what should you do? The time you have at your disposal will determine the correct response. Do you need a quick dough to create a meal within the next few hours, or are you willing to plan ahead and put in the extra time to make a better dough? This article will help you to decide.

Proofing the pizza dough and making the pizza


Step 1: After mixing and kneading your dough, place it in a lightly oiled mixing bowl and cover it with a clean, damp cloth or plastic wrap.

Step 2: Set the bowl in a warm, draft-free place and let the dough rise until it has doubled in size, which can take anywhere from 1-2 hours, depending on the temperature and humidity of your environment.

Step 3: Once the dough has been proofed, gently punch it down to release any excess gas and divide it into equal-sized pieces.

Step 4: Shape each dough into a ball and place it on the table. After that, cover the dough balls with a damp cloth and let them rest for about 20-30 minutes. You can also use a plastic wrap. This process, called “benching,” allows the dough to relax and makes it easier to stretch and shape.


Step 5: Preheat your oven to its highest setting and lightly dust a pizza peel or rimless baking sheet with cornmeal or semolina flour.

Step 6: Use some flour on the surface, and roll out or stretch each dough ball into your desired shape using a rolling pin or your hands. Transfer the dough to the prepared pizza peel or baking sheet.

Step 7: Add your desired toppings to the dough. After that, leave a small border around the edges.

Step 8: Carefully slide the pizza onto the preheated baking stone or baking sheet in the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes.

Step 9: Remove the pizza from the oven. Place it outside and let it cool for a few minutes before slicing

The complete process of proofing the pizza dough

Pizza dough needs to be proofed in two stages: first, the dough must be fermented in large quantities, and then, each individual pizza ball must be proofed. But there’s more: shaping the dough into balls after it’s been made and kneaded. Dough-making comes first. Let’s see what to do next!

Knead the bread

In baking, kneading the dough is routinely skipped despite its centrality. Too often, people need to knead their dough long enough, which leads to unpleasant results. And when you want to start the dough rising, you’ll have trouble because of this.

Intense kneading of pizza dough causes the gluten in the flour to form, resulting in a web of tiny walls. These walls will contain the CO2 produced during fermentation when yeast consumes the sugars in the flour. To prevent the CO2 from escaping, it is crucial that gluten is developed correctly, producing strong enough walls to contain it. To accomplish this, the dough must be kneaded. A dough’s gluten walls will become more robust the longer it is worked. The stiffer the walls, the longer the dough will retain its form.

The dough will not absorb the CO2 if it is not kneaded long enough. The walls aren’t thick enough; therefore, carbon dioxide will leak out. Make sure not to overwork the dough, or it will become hard and difficult to shape. You also won’t achieve the ideal airy texture for a pizza crust.

As much effort as you think you’ll put into kneading the dough, there’s more to it. The gluten content of the wheat you use will determine how long you need to knead the dough. However, it takes around 20 minutes of hand kneading for standard double-zero flour to form gluten properly. The same time is required when using a stand mixer at a low speed.

The process of gluten hydration and autolyze

Simply adding water will cause gluten to grow. By letting the dough rise for a long time, you can encourage the development of gluten. Although no-knead dough can be prepared, the gluten structure will develop differently if mechanical work is applied in kneading. This will result in a gluten structure that is more robust and resilient.

One method for making bread is called autolyze, and it consists of combining water and wheat and letting the dough sit for 15-30 minutes before kneading. Since the gluten will already have a head start, the time spent kneading will be reduced. The kind of flour use is also a factor to consider, like using OO flour (double zero flour) which doesn’t need much water than regular flour.

Fermentation process

Bulk fermentation is the next process that will take place. You’ll let the dough rise at this stage until it’s a cohesive ball. Most of the volume increase will occur during bulk fermentation. This is because yeast performs better when used in a cohesive dough ball than in smaller portions.

You can bulk ferment your dough in a plastic-wrapped bowl or another airtight container. It needs to be sealed, so the dough doesn’t dry out on top. Bulk fermentation can last anywhere from 2 to 24 hours, depending on the recipe.

Balling or dividing the dough

The term “balling” refers to separating the pizza dough into individual balls.

You should start by crushing the dough. The yeast can be more evenly distributed during the second rise by deflating the dough. Then, separate the dough into individual balls with enough for one pizza. This is normally 200–250g for a Neapolitan pizza and 300–400g for a thicker crust 12–14 inch pizza.

Proofing the dough balls

The dough balls’ final stage is to be proofed. As a rule, this is the phase that takes the most time. Final proofing might be done at room or lower to slow it down.

Proofing your dough at a greater temperature than room temperature is not advised. It’s because you’d rather take your time than rush things along. Herein lies the secret to your pizza’s deliciousness and chewiness.

Pizza made in the Neapolitan style benefits from an 8-12 hour proofing period at room temperature. Put the dough balls in a rising box or another airtight container.

How to confirm that the pizza dough is proofed?

Do a poke test

The poke test is a standard method for determining when bread dough has finished proofing. To test if the dough is ready, just poke it gently. You will not see the indentation in the dough when it is done proofing, in contrast to the poke test for checking for gluten formation as you knead the dough.

Check whether the volume has increased or not

Another technique to tell if your dough is ready is to measure its volume after rising. Most doughs can be expected to rise to around the same height. Thus, additional proofing time is required if the dough has not significantly increased in volume.

Check whether the volume has increased or not

On the internet, you may get proofing containers with secure closures that are ideal for refrigerated proofing. This is especially helpful if you are proofing individual portions of dough.

In most cases, bowls inverted on their sides are the best option for resting dough on the counter surface. You can reuse the bowl you just washed, which will be airtight enough for this purpose.

Using plastic wrap to seal the airtight containers is also possible, though this method can be difficult to master. Using plastics that can only be used once is bad for the planet.

Best way to proof pizza dough

Keep the dough in the fridge in an airtight container or plastic wrap to halt fermentation; cold temperatures won’t kill the yeast. A least 24 hours of proofing is recommended, but the flavor will continue to improve for days afterward. The best storage time is around two to three days before it begins to degrade.

Ovenproof pizza dough

Yes, pizza dough can be over proofed. Even in the best-case scenario, the excessively proofed dough might produce a dense, hard dough that produces subpar pizza. You can still get good results from using dough that has been over proofed. Your pizza won’t be as good as it could have been if you had given the dough more time to proof. Dough that has been left out to proof too long becomes tough to work with, is easily torn apart and results in a dense, heavy pizza.

Is over-proofed dough safe to eat?

While over-proofed dough may contain high levels of phytic acid, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it isn’t safe to eat. If consumed in very small amounts over a long period of time, over-proofed dough should not pose a significant health risk. However, over-proofing should still be avoided when possible as it can negatively impact the texture and taste of baked goods.

How long should pizza dough be proof at room temperature?

Pizza dough should be proof for at least an hour and up to 24 hours at room temperature. The time required for pizza dough to rise after being refrigerated varies (between 24 and 72 hours).

What should be the temperature to proof the pizza dough?

Time and temperature are intertwined; therefore, we should address that first when considering the proofing temperature. This means that the proofing time is temperature-dependent. The yeast’s metabolism speeds up in warmer conditions and slows down in cooler ones.

Pizza dough is ideal when it is proofed at room temperature. You’ll need to reduce the oven temperature to make a Neapolitan-style pizza or show off your sophistication by cold-fermenting the dough.

Most pizza recipes will only tell you when you should proof the dough. It’s reasonable to conclude that this refers to a temperature of roughly 21-24 degrees Celsius (70-75 Fahrenheit). Consequently, pizza dough should be proofed at room temperature in most homemade pizza recipes.

How to use the oven for proofing the pizza dough?

Refrigeration is essential for long-term proofing. It’s normal for the air to smell somewhat alcoholic when you open the lid of fermenting dough; the concentration of the air is due to the yeast.

Having said that, uncooked dough with this complex, raw flavor doesn’t taste great, so be sure to cook dough that has been fermenting for a long period for a good long while.

How to use a refrigerator to proof the pizza dough?

Pizza dough benefits greatly from refrigeration to “proof,” which deepens the flavor. Cold fermentation describes this process. For best results, refrigerate the dough for at least one day and up to three.

By decreasing the temperature of the dough, a process known as “cold fermentation” is achieved, slows down the yeast. Since the yeast will have more time to ferment at a lower temperature, more sugars in the flour will be broken down, yielding better, more complex flavors.

The freedom to proof for a few hours, more or less, is another benefit of proofing in the refrigerator. The dough can be refrigerated for many additional hours or even overnight if your guest is running late or if anything unexpected arises.


Whether you’re a pizza-making rookie or a seasoned pro, you must have learned something from this article. This article with a better understanding of proofing and some advanced techniques for getting the most out of your dough. After the ingredients have been combined and worked into a dough, it must be proofed. Likewise, before stretching or rolling out your dough, it is best to let it ferment once as a mass, punch the air out, divide it into balls, and proof once more. The process of proofing is intricate. As a result of the higher temperature, more carbon dioxide is produced, and the fermentation process proceeds more quickly. Still, the taste develops more slowly, and the pizza dough has less time to relax.

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