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Can Pizza Dough Go Bad? (Simple Ways to Tell When It Does)

Can Pizza Dough Go Bad? (Simple Ways to Tell When It Does)
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Many pizza dough recipes tell you that you can put some dough in the freezer or fridge. That way, whenever you’re craving pizza, all you have to do is roll out the dough, top it with sauce and toppings, then bake.

Having pizza ready to go is never a bad option. However, you may be wondering how long you can store pizza dough before it goes bad. There’s nothing as disappointing as getting excited for the prospect of homemade pizza for dinner, only to find out that the dough won’t work anymore.

While pizza dough does go bad eventually, it can last for a while in the fridge or freezer. If anything, knowing that it will eventually go bad gives you an incentive to have pizza night more often.

How Long Can Pizza Dough Last in the Fridge?

How long your dough can last will depend on the ingredients and on where it is stored. Dough that is stored in the fridge will last longer than dough that is sitting on the counter because the cool air prevents bacteria from developing.

Pizza dough lasts longer than other dough because the main ingredients are yeast, water, olive oil, salt, and flour. Enriched doughs that contain eggs, butter, or other milk-based products spoil much faster.

Pizza dough stored in the fridge will usually last about five days. If you used milk instead of water in your recipe, it will only last about three days.

Wrapping it in plastic wrap or storing it in an airtight container will increase the time that it can spend in storage.

How Long Can Pizza Dough Last in the Freezer?

Pizza dough lasts longer in the freezer than in the fridge. As long as you store it in the right container, it can last for three to four months. However, after a few months it will develop freezer burn and be hard to work with.

Is it Dangerous to Eat Old Pizza Dough?

When pizza dough is too old, usually what happens is the yeast overproves. This means that the yeast exhausts all of its resources and no longer has any starch to interact with or cause a rise.

Usually, the only consequence of using old pizza dough is that it won’t rise. Your pizza may turn out more like a cracker than a pizza and it won’t be very tasty, but it probably won’t be dangerous to your health.

However, if you notice visible mold spots or other signs of spoilage on the pizza dough, don’t eat it. If the dough gets contaminated by another ingredient while it is in storage, then it could cause food poisoning.

How to Tell If Pizza Dough Is Too Old to Eat

There are a few tell-tale signs that your pizza dough is not only too old, but also sometimes dangerous to eat.

Odor

There might be a strong odor after your pizza dough has been sitting in storage. Pizza dough contains yeast, which will continue fermenting as long as it has sugars and starches to feed on. If the dough has been fermenting for too long, it will start smelling like beer, alcohol, and other fermented products.

However, if the dough smells rancid and off-putting instead of musky and fermented, that is a sign that it’s gone bad. Throw it away to be on the safe side.

Color

Your pizza dough may not develop mold patches, but if it turns grey or has silvery freezer burn patterns, then it is too old and should probably go in the trash.

Texture

Dough will have crusty patches and a hard, dry exterior if it is spoiled. It may not be dangerous to eat, but it won’t be pleasant and will not rise the way that it should.

Mold Patches

If you notice black, blue, or green spots with fuzzy edges on your dough, throw it away immediately. That means that the pizza dough developed mold.

Some people think that you can just cut away the moldy patches and eat the rest of the dough. However, once there are visible mold spores in your food, that means that there is a mold infection below the surface that you may not be able to spot and cut out effectively.

If you decide to risk it and eat moldy dough, the worst that will probably happen is a stomach ache or nausea. However, the pizza dough will no longer taste like dough and will taste like mold instead—which is not a pleasant flavor at all. If you have a mold allergy, which many people do, eating the old dough will cause an allergic reaction such as coughing, sneezing, and swelling of the throat.

When in doubt, throw the dough out and make a new one. It’s not that difficult, it will taste better, and it’s much healthier for you.

How to Store Pizza Dough

Storing pizza dough properly will increase its shelf life and prevent it from spoiling.

The first rule is to store the dough in a cool place. Never let it sit on your counter for longer than two hours as that gives the dough time to spoil. Make sure that your fridge and freezer are working properly—the temperature should never be above 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Store pizza dough in an airtight container or tightly wrapped in plastic wrap. Air exposure makes the dough go bad faster, so preventing that will increase its shelf life.

If you know that you are making pizza dough to use later, decrease the sugar and yeast content as that will help the dough last longer. You don’t need to speed up the proving process anyway since the yeast will have several days to interact with the starches.

Final Thoughts

Pizza dough can go bad if you store it for too long, but if you store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator, it can keep for five to seven days. Usually, old pizza dough is not dangerous for your health, but the rancid flavor and crusty texture will not make for a pleasant eating experience.

Look out for changes in color, texture, odor, or mold spots before rolling out your dough.