Proofing Pizza Dough

How to Proof Your Pizza Dough: Comparing unproofed dough with proofed dough

Great pizza takes a good dough recipe, high quality ingredients – but perhaps most importantly, it's all in how you prepare it. The first step in preparing any pizza is called proofing. Proofing is the act of allowing your pizza dough to properly rise at room temperature for one (or up to 3 or 4) hour(s) before you shape it into a pizza. While it seems like a simple task (and really it is!) it’s something that's often overlooked. In this blog we’ll talk about how to properly proof your pizza dough and why it’s so important to the pizza making process.

Dough Rise and Yeast

If you read our blog about yeast, then you already know that yeast produces carbon dioxide as it feeds on sugars in your dough ingredients. To accomplish this, yeast needs time to do its thing, which is also known as “proofing.” So what happens if you don’t proof your dough? You’ll still get your pizza, but dough that’s cooked while in a cold state can have one or more undesirable qualities. First, your dough will most likely bake flat and dense. Since the yeast didn’t have proper time to feed before being baked, you won’t get those large bubbles in the crust that makes pizza so airy and fluffy. Second, you may end up with a giant balloon-shaped pizza crust (assuming you’re using a high-temperature oven to cook your pizza). I can’t say I know the science behind this second undesirable effect, but when I’ve used dough in the Pizzeria Pronto that hasn’t properly proofed the whole thing inflated like a party balloon – not cool!

Achieving the Proper Proof

So how do you properly proof your pizza dough? The answer depends on the answer to this question: how active is the dough you're using? Whether you’re using store-bought pizza dough or homemade pizza dough, each recipe will behave uniquely. Some doughs are very lively and can proof in as little as 30 or 40 minutes. Other doughs take much longer and need anywhere from 1 to 4 hours to properly rise.

Using dough that’s too cold isn’t the only way to make a mistake when preparing your pizza, because you can also over-proof the dough too! Letting dough sit out too long before using it can have the same effect. If the yeast expends all of its gas-producing energy and the dough continues to sit, it may deflate as you prepare your pizza, once again leaving you with a flat and dense pie.

The best way to find your ideal proofing time (providing your recipe doesn’t provide one) is to experiment. Make a batch and proof two or three dough balls for different lengths of time. Inspect each pizza after it's cooked and see which increment of time worked the best. Take notes! After some trial and error, you’ll soon find out what works best for you and your recipe. Each pizza (and each pizza maker!) is unique and special – creating your perfect pie takes personalization and testing. With results as delicious as a fresh-baked pie, I don't think you'll mind trying out your results.

Check out some of our other pizza tips: 

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1/4 cup of warm water and 1 packet of Fleischman’s yeast + 2 tbs of sugar (wait about 10 minutes)
Add 2 tbs of vegetable oil + 2 1/3 cups of Gold Medal Unbleached Flour and mix counter-clockwise with a spatula.
Keep mixing until you get a smooth ball of dough. Keep the dough in the bowl with a little sprinkled flour in the bowl so it doesn’t stick. Let it proof for about an hour then remove it from the bowl. Roll it into a ball again and then roll it out to prepare it for the pizza pan. Oil the bottom of the pizza pan and place dough in it. Spread it to the edges. Now put your pizza sauce and cheese on it and cover it up fr another 30 minutes. It’ll rise a little more. Heat up the oven at 525 degrees and bake away. Enjoy!


how do I make a julienned vegetable pizza with flakes of molten gold?


Santo Pietro Beverly glen LA


I have been looking for the recipe for Santo Portos pizza in LA. One of the chefs commented it was just over proofed pizza dough. The dough was a touch sweet. Any ideas about what this means?


Hi Greg!

There are a couple of things to keep in mind about this deep dish dough recipe. First thing you will notice is that the dough is on the wetter side. Also the dough stretches its self in the pan. This makes it great for parties because once the dough is made and in the pan you have plenty of time to get other things ready.

Detroit Deep Dish

3 1/2 all- purpose flour 2 1/2 teaspoons of kosher salt 1 packet of yeast 3 tablespoons plus more for cooking of extra virgin olive oil 1 1/2 cups of room temperature water Combine all dry ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the dough hook attachment of you mixer turn it on low for 30 seconds to combine all the dry ingredients. Turn the mixer to medium and add the water and olive oil. Keep mixing the dough until the no dry flour remains and the dough appears smooth. Add a liberal amount of oil to the bottom of a 13×18 rimmed pan. It should completely cover the bottom of the pan. There should be enough oil that when the pan is tilted you can see its moving. Place the dough into the center of the pan and cover with plastic wrap. Allow the dough to rest for 1 to 2 hours or until the dough touches all sides of the pan. Preheat the oven to 550F and carefully push the dough into all the corner. It is very important to be gentle because you will want to keep all the bubbles in the dough. Add sauce and toppings to your liking.

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