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The recipe is 500g flour, 325g water, 20g cake yeast, 10g salt and 20g of olive oil. After kneading I split it into 4 and store them individually in oiled freezer bags and store in the fridge at 1C.

Usually I eat them within a week but sometimes it happens that the last dough gets baked after up to 2 weeks of refrigeration. Today was one of those days and it got me wondering, how long can it really last?

Googling gave me the answer of 3 days... yikes

I've probably made over a hundred pizzas well past the 3 day mark though and even at 2 weeks they come out perfectly good.

The flavor peaks at around 48h of refrigeration IMO, after that it keeps getting more sour and yeasty but not to the point where I'd consider it bad. Also the rise that goes into the edge of the crust isn't as impressive after 72h but pizza is mostly flat anyway!

So.. whats the real limit?

5

As long as there's no mold in it your dough should be ok. Flavour and texture will start to degrade due to the yeast dying out (as you found already).

Technically, you'd get better results if you feed that dough regularly with more flour like a sourdough - which can last virtually forever!

Other than that you could also freeze the dough balls and just defrost a day before you use it. Frozen dough should last for months with no change in texture or flavor if there's no freezer burn.

  • I didn't know that dough freezes so well. I've generally had pretty poor results with freezing stuff but I'm a fan of preparing big batches for later use so I gotta try this out. – user81993 Aug 8 at 5:43
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    @user81993 I usually split my pizza dough in balls after the first proof, brush them with olive oil and freeze them in ziploc bags. Whenever I want pizza I just put one in the fridge overnight and take it out 1h or so before shaping it. – Luciano Aug 9 at 8:26
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There isn't a specific limit.

Two bad things will happen to dough in the fridge as it ages:

  1. The yeast exhausts all available food and dies, leaving the dough underinflated, sour, and even alcohol-tasting;
  2. The dough gets moldy, which happens at some undefined time based on the presence of viable mold spores in the dough or in the fridge.

As you've already observed, if you're lucky both of the above things can be at tolerable levels even after a few weeks.

Wheat gluten is extremely stable (7-10 years), so I don't think it will degrade within reasonable refrigerator times. Presumably other ingredients in the dough would suffer some kind of degredation over weeks or months, but I don't know what those would be.

That said, if you're planning to keep your pizza dough for more than a few days, consider putting it in the freezer where it will last for months to years.

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