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I’ve been making pizzas on the go with a portable pizza oven and it’s been going really well but sometimes if I don’t time things right I’ll end up with huge seemingly overproofed doughs that become harder to work with as they keep rising. When this happens should I knock them back down again and let the dough proof again in the box?

  • Can you clarify? Do you mean that you portion dough into balls, that are awaiting being shaped into pizzas...and those are rising while you are working on other pizzas? – moscafj Jun 5 '19 at 17:29
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    Hey, what kind of dough recipe are you using? For pizza, I prefer a lean dough with very little yeast, giving a nice slow rise. This obviates the sort of problem you're facing. – Benjamin Kuykendall Jun 5 '19 at 18:12
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    We need more information on your process. Are you using high levels of yeast and doing a quick room-temperature ferment, or lower yeast and a longer cold ferment? – NSGod Jun 6 '19 at 21:01
  • I find the step to punch down dough unnecessary, I've been told it makes for a more elastic and stronger dough but I've never had a problem with that after developing a good kneading technique, even without high protein flour. Now if your dough does blow out and you don't like it, you can reshape it and let it rise again if you want, there should be enough yeast farts to do this a few times actually. Personally I don't find it to be that important though, for me the yeast is more about flavor than the rise in a pizza. Blown out dough is harder to handle but not impossible. – user81993 Aug 7 '19 at 7:24
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Over-proofed dough can be saved. So, if your dough is truly over-proofed. Degas it, reshape it (in a ball for pizza), and allow it to proof again.

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What must be happening is that your dough that is waiting while you model the others in the shape of pizza, is getting dry. If you keep the dough well moisturized should facilitate your handling, I advise throwing some water using a spray in the doughs that are resting while you work with the others.

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It depends on your dough type and recipe, but I personally don't find somewhat overproofed pizza dough to be a major problem. Just pop any large bubbles as you are stretching it and handling it, but otherwise just bake it normally. I frequently overproof my pizza dough on purpose, as I often like the resulting flavor a bit more.

If the size and number of bubbles in the dough still gives you an undesirable result, you can either knead the dough slightly and proof again (as OP suggests), or you can be more aggressive about degassing while stretching the dough for pizza, perhaps employing a rolling pin.

I'm not sure precisely what "harder to work with" refers to in the question, but overproofed doughs can become dried out (if left out) and harder to stretch or more sticky (if kept in a humid environment). The remedy for the former is just to cover the dough while you wait; for the latter, just be sure hands and surfaces are well-floured. The last thing that sometimes happens is that overproofed dough can become very slack and less elastic, making it stretch very easily and perhaps tear. In that case, only gentle handling is typically needed to stretch the dough. Rather than tossing the dough or handling it roughly, all that is often needed is the weight of the dough itself to stretch itself over ones hands. Once it becomes thin in the center, lay it down on the surface where it will be topped, and just stretch out various sides farther as needed. The resulting pizza may not be as perfectly round as a tossed one, but it will usually still bake fine.

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