Did you ever have one of those days where you look at the clock and realize dinner time is in half an hour and you haven’t given a single thought about what to make? We occasionally have those days and calling for delivery or going out to eat isn’t really an option for us since we live in the country. Instead I always make sure I have some quick and easy meal options ready to whip up in less than fifteen minutes. We eat a real food diet so for us this means no frozen processed foods. It means frozen homemade meals. It means frozen homemade pizza dough to quickly thaw out and whip up a delicious homemade pizza that tastes better and costs a fraction of the price of pizza delivery or frozen grocery store pizza. This pizza dough recipe has saved my tail countless times and helped me serve a last minute, easy, healthy meal to our family!
I’ve been using the same pizza dough recipe for the last decade. The recipe is easy to make and so delicious. This makes a thin crust pizza that is easy to roll out on the pizza pan. I always used to make the recipe for just one pizza at a time. The problem was, sometimes I wanted to make pizza for dinner but didn’t have enough time to let the dough rise. I found myself buying frozen pizza dough from a local bakery in town. After using the bakery pizza dough a couple times, I realized I should try making a large batch of my pizza dough recipe and freezing it. Well, the first time I tried it was a couple years ago and we’ve been doing this ever since! This pizza dough recipe is actually quite versatile. I’ve used this dough to make homemade foccacia bread, dough for calzones or stromboli and even use it to make homemade hot dogs wrapped in dough!
Now we always have frozen pizza dough in the freezer to use for a quick and easy meal. I make a large batch of dough that is enough for four large pizzas. What makes this whole process even easier is using my bread machine (this is the one we have and love it!) that my husband bought me for my birthday a couple years ago (read more about why we love our bread machine in this post). When making this pizza dough recipe, I just throw all the ingredients in the bread pan of the bread machine, push a few buttons and come back 45 minutes later and have a nice big pan of fluffy pizza dough that has risen and is ready to be divided to use or freeze. Since I started out making this pizza dough recipe the traditional way without the bread machine to mix it all, I’ll share both directions below so you can choose the one that fits for you!
Making the Pizza Dough Recipe
-4 1/2 tsp yeast
-6 1/2 cups all purpose flour (can use half wheat flour and half all purpose flour)
-2 TBS unrefined sugar
-3 tsp sea salt
-4 TBS olive oil or liquid coconut oil
-2 cups warm (but not hot) water
Directions for mixing the dough by hand:
- Combine the yeast and warm water in a large bowl. When dissolved, add in the sugar, salt, oil and 1 1/4 cup of flour. Mix until smooth.
- Add the rest of the flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until a stiff dough forms.
- Knead the dough for about five minutes. Then place it in a greased bowl and cover with a dish towel. Let it rise until double in size, which takes about an hour.
- When it is done rising, punch the dough down. Then divide it into fourths.
Directions for using a bread machine to mix the dough:
Place all the ingredients in the bread machine pan in the order listed. Turn the bread machine on to the “dough” setting and hit start. Our bread machine has a dough setting that lasts 45 minutes and there is a low temperature warmth in the machine. When the bread machine stops after 45 minutes, we leave the dough in the bread machine with the lid closed to keep the warmth in. In an hour, the dough doubles in size. Punch the dough down, divide it into fourths and it is ready to be used or frozen.
Directions for baking the pizza dough:
- Preheat the oven to 420 degrees.
- Roll the pizza dough out on a greased baking sheet. We use coconut oil to grease our pans and never have any sticking (this is the kind we use and love).
- Put your preferred sauce and toppings on the pizza dough.
- Bake the pizza at 420 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until the crust and cheese are lightly browned.
Freezing the Pizza Dough
Once the dough has risen, divide it into fourths. Keep out the dough you plan to use immediately. You can also place the dough in a covered, greased bowl in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours if needed. Just remember that it will rise while in there so make sure the bowl is big enough for the dough to double or it will pop the lid off your bowl (yes, we’re speaking from experience on this one!).
We have a drawer full of reusable plastic containers we use for freezing things in the freezer. These are basically various sized plastic containers from foods like yogurt, sour cream, cottage cheese, etc. I’ve tried freezing in glass jars but we had a couple broken glass incidents in the freezer over the last couple years so tend to not freeze foods in glass anymore because of this.
To freeze a ball of 1/4 of this pizza dough recipe, I place it in a 32oz yogurt container and put on the lid. The dough ball fills about half the container which leaves a little room for the dough to rise, which it will slowly, until it is completely frozen. We keep a black marker in the kitchen to write on the lid of the container what the contents are. That way we don’t have to open up frozen containers in search of a specific food but select exactly what we want by reading the labeled lid.
Thawing the Pizza Dough
There are a couple ways we thaw this pizza dough recipe once it is frozen. If I remember to get the pizza dough out 3-8 hours before I want to start making pizza, I can just sit the container on the counter top and let it thaw at room temperature. In the winter, I like to sit the container of frozen dough on a stool near the wood stove where it is nice and warm. If you read our post on cooking on a wood stove, you wouldn’t be surprised I use it to help thaw frozen foods like this!
If we don’t get the frozen dough out of the freezer more than two hours in advance, we have to help the thawing process along. To do this, we sit the container of frozen bread dough in a large bowl or pan. Then we fill the bowl or pan with hot water, covering about half way up the container holding the bread dough. We let the dough sit in the hot water and it will speed up the thawing process. If the water cools off and the dough isn’t thawed, we dump out the cool water and put in more hot water. We do this until the dough is thawed. We’ve been able to thaw the bread dough in less than an hour in this method.
Do you freeze pizza dough or other foods to use as last minute healthy meals?