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~How and Why to Proof Pizza Dough Two Easy Ways~

IMG_1638Wouldn't it be great if the moment the smooth, round ball of pizza dough was kneaded we could slap it on the pan, pat it out, slather it with sauce, layer it with toppings and pop it in the oven? It sure would, but, unfortunately, we can't -- well, we can, but the end result is somewhat less than palatable. "Proofing" pizza dough, meaning, "the time it takes for the dough to rise after it has been kneaded and initially bulk-proofed", is the most important step in the pizza making process. Sadly, it's all-too-often not taken seriously -- it gets rushed.  Great crust comes to those who wait.

  Plan ahead.  A great crust comes to those who wait.

After the ingredients have been mixed and kneaded together, everyone knows to cover the dough, place it in a warm place and wait for it to double in size.  This takes roughly 45-60 minutes.  During this time, the dough fills itself with carbon dioxide (CO2) bubbles --  this is what gives the finished crust a light, airy texture. After this initial "bulk rise" it's time to give the dough another brief knead, to knock the big bubbles out, split dough into balls and give it the all important second proof, which develops more flavor and texture. This second proof requires time, a couple hours or overnight, via either the "quick-proof method" or the "cold-proof method".

As for the quick-proof method:  It's indeed faster.  Let's face it, when the craving for pizza hits, no one is in the mood to wait any longer than necessary.  This method will produce a dense, sort of chewy, decidedly thinner crust with a hint of the taste of the yeast.  It will take a bit of time, 10-15 minutes, to pat it out in the pan, as it doesn't stretch as easy as the the cold-proof method.

As for the cold-proof method:  The tortoise and the hare scenario.  The flavor is much improved. Tick, tock.  The time spent waiting allows this dough to develop lots of extra air bubbles, resulting in a decidedly lighter, airier, thicker crust with a crispier bottom.  It only takes a few moments, 2-3 minutes, to pat it out in the pan, as it stretches much easier than the quick-proof method.

For demo purposes:  An all-purpose pizza dough recipe.

IMG_16341 1/2  cups warm water

2  tablespoons olive oil

4 1/2  cups unbleached, all-purpose flour

2  teaspoons sea salt

2  teaspoons sugar

2  packets granulated dry yeast

Yield:  2-pounds, 2-ounces dough/2, 12" pizzas.


Short on time?  The quick-proof method.

Place 1 ball of dough on a lightly-oiled 9" plate:

IMG_1663Cover w/a large glass bowl & set aside 2 hours:

IMG_1664Uncover & proceed w/recipe as directed:


Got time on your side?  The cold-proof method.

Place 1 ball of dough in a lightly-oiled 2-quart bowl:

IMG_1649Cover w/an oiled lid or plastic wrap.  Refrigerate 24-48 hours:

IMG_1653Return to room temp (2 hrs.) & proceed w/recipe as directed:



IMG_1895 2"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2020)


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