How To Easily Repurpose Over-Proofed Pizza Dough

Homemade pizza is a staple in many a household. It's one of the few meals that can be customized to satisfy the pickiest of eaters. Pepperoni, sausage, onions, olives, pineapple, cheese — there are so many ingredients to choose from. But before you can even think about those toppings, you need to make that two-ingredient pizza dough. When you make homemade bread or pizza dough, a critical step in the process is proofing. According to Mama-cucina, proofing is that step in the dough-making process where the yeast ferments, which is just a fancy way of saying it eats the sugar, releases carbon dioxide, and allows the dough to rise. They go on to explain that pizza dough needs to double in size during this phase before you take a rolling pin to it and make your flat disks.

However, overproofing is real. It's easy to get distracted and have your dough more than double its size. Why is this bad? MasterClass explains that when your dough gets too large in size, the power of the yeast may have been used up and your dough won't rise in the oven as it cooks. Masterclass then shares that instead of a springy dough full of air, you get a flat, "dense" bread. 

If this happens to your pizza dough, don't fret. You can either repurpose your overproofed pizza dough or potentially fix it.

Use it for a flatbread pizza

MasterClass explains that overproofed pizza dough has some tell-tale signs that include being overly sticky and stretchy. Additionally, you may find the dough to be concave and flat, and may even smell like alcohol. But according to chef Apollonia Poilâne, all is not lost if you find your pizza dough is overproofed. Poilâne suggests that if it hasn't take on a smell of beer, you can use your dough to make a flatbread pizza instead. Additionally, you can bake the pizza dough and turn it into croutons or bread crumbs. 

Still, Mama-Cucina says you can save overproofed pizza dough by using the "knockback" technique to fix it. To knock back your overproofed pizza dough, Mama-Cucina explains you need to remove the excess air that caused your pizza dough to swell-up. This will give you an opportunity to reproof it. To do this, simply take the overproofed dough and place it on a countertop or other flat surface. Push down on it to release all the air as if you are kneading the dough. Then, you will want to pick-up the dough and squeeze to ensure no air is left. Once you've done this, you can fashion the dough into a ball, and you should be in pizza-making business.