Dear Nigella team, is it possible to freeze pizza dough and other dough that has yeast in it and has risen? Will this not affect the texture? Thank you
Yes it is possible to freeze pizza and bread dough that contains yeast and has already risen once. Yeast is killed off at higher temperatures but remains relatively unaffected if frozen (you can also freeze blocks of fresh yeast to use at a later date). The texture of the bread should als not be affected.
The best time to freeze bread dough is after it has had its first rise and then been knocked back/punched down and shaped onto rolls or loaves. Freeze the rolls on a baking sheet or in a loaf tin (Pan) lined with clingfilm (plastic wrap) or baking parchment (parchment paper) as once the dough is solid you can remove it from the baking sheet or tin and store it in tightly sealed plastic freezer bags.
To thaw the dough put rolls on a lightly greased baking sheet or loaves into their loaf tins - which should also be greased. Cover with oiled clingfilm or a damp tea towel and leave in a warm place to thaw and rise - the time for this will vary depending on the side of the roll/loaf and the temperature of the room. You will need to check the dough regularly, it needs to be baked as soon as it has competed its second rise properly (it should have roughly doubled in size, feel slightly puffy and your finger should leave an indentation of the dough is pressed lightly). If the bread proves for too long then the carbon dioxide bubbles in the dough will start to over-expand and the bread will become mis-shapen when it bakes.
For pizza dough the dough can be frozen after it has risen and been knocked back. Divide the dough into your preferred portion sizes, wrap loosely in clingfilm and seal each ball of dough tightly in a freezer bag. Thaw the dough overnight in the fridge, or for 2-3 hours at room temperature, then roll out, spread on toppings and bake.