What to do with leftover pizza dough? Let me share the best leftover pizza dough ideas so you will not waste pizza dough anymore!
Today we will mainly focus at alternative Neapolitan pizza dough balls re-usage. We all know that this is one of the most wanted and complicated authentic Italian pizza and I really want to avoid you wasting it. Moreover this is a very specific pizza when it comes to leftover. In fact other pizza styles give you more options to re-use the leftover. We will be talking about it shortly. Nevertheless you can apply the majority of the topics in this article also for other pizza styles. For example my best leftover pizza dough ideas are perfect also if you produced too much of high hydration pizza dough.
But let’s dig deeper all the topics to save your leftover pizza dough:
- How Long Does Leftover Pizza Last
- How to Store Pizza Leftover
- What Is Special in Neapolitan Pizza Leftover
- Re-use Old Pizza Dough In New Dough
- How to Make Bread from Pizza Dough
- How To Make a New Pizza Style
- Freezing Pizza Dough Balls
What follows is coming from my experience and is applicable to both home made pizza and professional pizza environments. In the latter case with some caveats though. Please also keep in min that in this article we will be talking mainly about Neapolitan Pizza.
How Long Does Leftover Pizza Last
Let’s say that you prepared a certain amount of pizza dough for your party. Or you are pizzaiolo in a new Italian pizzeria and you are still calibrating your pizza recipe. It is common to overestimate the pizza dough production.
Well, as a starting point no worries. With help of fridges you can easily extend the life of a pizza dough. But the question is then how long does leftover pizza last? Well this is not always an easy question to answer. So we have to take in consideration multiple variables and most importantly how we want to use the leftover pizza. But before going there giving you the best leftover pizza dough ideas let’s try to think a bit deeper about our starting point.
First of all, let’s consider what pizza dough recipe and process we followed. For example is pretty common practice to have the Neapolitan pizza dough balls proofing in fridge. In this case you can easily extend the life of your pizza leftover by other 24 hours. We simply keep the dough balls in the fridge for one more day. (Pay attention: this is not something you want to do in professional environment. The pizza that comes out will be different than your standard pizza).
On the other end, if you prepared Neapolitan pizza dough in 6 hours, or 8, you probably used a slightly different amount of yeast. In this case it will be a bit more complicated to manage the pizza leftover for other 24 hours. But it ‘s not impossible if we have the fridge at around 4-5 Celsius degrees.
Let’s say that as a rule of thumb we don’t want to re-use leftover pizza dough after its life was extended for more than 24/48 hours. In some situation you can push the limit to 72 hours. However those life extensions also depends on what we are going to do with the pizza dough leftover. Because you normally don’t use this old dough just to prepare one more pizza and serve it to your guests.
In conclusion, I think you can extend the life of your pizza leftover up to 72 hours after your dough balls were initially ready to be baked. Of course having them stored in fridge at 4-5 Celsius degrees:
How To Store Pizza Leftover
Remember that we are focusing on storing pizza leftover that is not yet baked. In other words we are talking about the dough.
In this case you don’t really need to have a dedicated pizza proofing container different than the one you used for rising. Simply put those same containers in the fridge. That’s it.
If you really need to save some space and move the dough in smaller pizza box then you will have to chose how you are going to re-use the leftover pizza dough. For the simple reason that you will need to manipulate the dough to have it out of the original proofing box and then in a new one. In such case it would be best to do some bread or to freeze the dough. More on that later.
And now let’s focus on why the Neapolitan pizza leftover is the main subject of this article and why is so special.
What Is Special In Neapolitan Pizza Leftover
Neapolitan pizza leftover has something special in my opinion. Differently than other pizza styles, Neapolitan pizza is a real fast food. Stretching and baking a Neapolitan pizza happens in a matter of 2-4 minutes. Moreover you eat Neapolitan pizza when it’s very hot, just out of the oven. The reason for that is in the ingredients used and process followed.
Without going in too much details, the nature of Neapolitan Pizza process, its high temperature baking and its ingredients, makes the pizza not pleasant or good after it becomes cold. In the majority of cases the crust becomes chewy. Moreover the taste of topping ingredients is changing.
The first consequence is that you don’t want to bake Neapolitan Pizza dough leftover if you are not eating it immediately. In other words you miss the usage of one of the most common techniques when it comes to pizza leftover: precook the base of Neapolitan pizza. In fact, while with other pizza styles like Roman Pizza or pizza by the slice you can precook the base of the leftover pizza dough and then regenerate it later on, you don’t do same with Neapolitan. Let alone that baking a Neapolitan pizza and then eat it cold or warm it again is a no-go (in my humble opinion).
So the only option that remains is to find ways to increase the life span of the dough itself. Alternatively you have to think out of the box and use the dough for something different than a Neapolitan pizza! It’s time now to discuss those options!
Re-Use Old Pizza Dough in New Dough
The first method I want to talk you about to extend the pizza dough life is a very old one. My grandmother was using it when making bread. It consists of re-using the old pizza dough in a new pizza dough. How?
Easy: take the leftover pizza dough from a day (or more) before and add it to to a new, freshly made pizza dough. It will act as a kind of sourdough or acid dough. Technically this is called in Italian “Pasta di Riporto“. If we want to translate it we can say it is something like “re-used remaining dough“. My grandmother defined it “Criscito” (something like grown dough).
Of course the easy part ends with the concept of reusing an “old” leftover pizza dough in a new fresh dough. After the concept you need to consider what this old dough brings to the new one. In fact the leftover pizza dough will bring with it some new level of acidity, it’s specific hydration as well as a reduced amount of sugars that were meanwhile eaten by the yeast.
So the first question to answer is how much pizza dough leftover you can reuse? This is not that obvious as you may think. Because of course you cannot make a new dough using 50% of old dough… it would be very hard to manage especially during the stretching! Ideally I think you should never use more than 20% of leftover pizza dough in a new dough kneading. And with that you are already at a huge and impacting amount!
Consider also that when you use this old pizza dough, you are going to speed up the pizza dough proofing. This can be very tricky if you are preparing again Neapolitan pizza dough.
So, although this method is pretty common in big pizzerias, it is not always as easy as you may think. If you really want to try it, I recommend to use a pizza calculator to help you managing other ingredients. Moreover, I think it will be better to explore the following pizza leftover options as a better alternative.
How To Make Bread From Pizza Dough
Making bread from pizza dough is one of the easiest and most common idea to reuse leftover pizza dough. Especially used in restaurants, you can definitely take advantage of it at home.
It is super easy to make bread with pizza leftover. So easy that you will love the results. Let me explain in details how I do it.
First of all I start taking out of the fridge the pizza dough after no more than 48 hours it rested as leftover. In theory you can use this leftover pizza idea also with a 72 hours old pizza dough. But in my experience the best results are within 48 hours.
After you take the pizza dough out of the fridge you want to make a bit of folding and rounding. In fact the pizza dough leftover will be most probably plenty of air bubbles. Let alone it will be pretty sticky. Here is what I do step by step:
It is very important to check the dough from time to time. If your gluten mesh is strong enough you will see that the dough ball will keep its shape while proofing. Essentially you don’t want to see the pizza dough going flat. However, if this happens do once again a bit of folding and then rounding. After that find a smaller container where the dough is touching the borders so that proofing is sustained by the container.
As soon as the dough doubled in size is time to bake. Let me show you the process using again pictures:
As you can see it is very easy to make bread with pizza dough. This is definitively one of the best options especially in professional environments. In fact it is easy and fool proof. I could not miss this as one of my best leftover pizza dough ideas.
How To Make a New Pizza Style
The third of my best leftover pizza dough ideas is to work on a different pizza style. I have to admit that I simply love to use leftover Neapolitan pizza dough to prepare a fantastic pizza in tray.
What gets out of leftover re-usage is a crunchy pizza. If you do it with tomato sauce also the borders are super crunchy and the tomato sauce gets a special flavor that you can’t miss!
To prepare pizza in sheet tray with leftover Neapolitan pizza you ideally want a round pizza tray. I use a iron pizza tray. I think this is the best option to have that crunchy effect. However you can also use other pizza trays materials.
Also in this case, let me show step by step what I do:
You probably noticed that this pizza has a quite pallid color. It’s not deep brown as you would normally expect. Can you tell why? If so let me know with a comment 🙂
Freezing Pizza Dough Balls – How to Freeze Pizza Dough
Last but not least let’s explore if freezing can be mentioned as one of the best leftover pizza dough ideas. And we have to begin with a question: can you freeze pizza dough that is already mature to be baked?
In my opinion is never a good idea to do so, especially after maturation process. Of course my thought is not based on science but more on common sense. In fact the risk is that you freeze a pizza dough that has already passed the ideal proofing point. Then when you unfreeze it to bake it, it will be extremely hard to guess when the pizza dough is ready and at the right temperature. Let alone that it will be probably completely without nutrients for the yeast.
However, nothing is lost! There is a way I think will be good to freeze leftover pizza dough balls! It only requires a bit more efforts before you will be good to go.
Essentially you will need to take every leftover pizza dough ball and move it to your countertop as you wanted to stretch a Neapolitan pizza. However, instead of stretching, you do folding and then rounding. In this way you are giving to your dough ball a new life, especially you help the gluten mesh and yeast to find more food thanks to the new air incorporated.
This is also what I did before when preparing the leftover pizza to make bread. However in this case you don’t wait for the dough ball to double. Instead the pizza dough ball goes straight in your freezer for later usage. Remember though that once you want to bake your frozen leftover pizza dough balls, you will need to wait for them to proof one more time after they unfreeze. So keep in mind that it will take several hours before you can bake your frozen pizza dough.
And here we come to the end of this article. Making authentic Italian pizza requires time and efforts. Better not to waste pizza leftover! I hope you enjoyed and if so please consider to share this article on social media and with friends.