Defrosting frozen pizza dough

I usually defrost on the counter top prior to baking, of course how long depends on the warmth of my kitchen.
I have read that you can defrost frozen pizza dough in cold water, also in warm water but you have to keep changing it as the water will get cold next to the dough.
That sounds an ideal use of my APC.
I have already stored the dough I made in a vacuum bag in the freezer. What temperature would you suggest for defrost?

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Not sure what is best but for reference most kitchen hot water is set at 120°F or 49°C.

As Brooklynites like to say, “Not for nothin’”, but is the effort of setting up the Anova, waiting for it to heat up and then the time for the actual defrosting exceed the time for simply defrosting at room temperature (I understand it’s an hour/pound) or cool water (15 minutes a pound)? As much as I love my Anova, sometimes it’s just not the right tool for a job. Having said all that, I will be curious to read how you fared!

Wouldn’t it be easier to thaw the dough overnight in the refrigerator? Maybe not, and pizza can be a relatively quick alternative to ordering in.

Before considering temperature, how did you shape your frozen dough? Hopefully it’s in a disk shape and not a ball because a disk will thaw faster and more evenly, two important considerations.

You have two challenges in successfully defrosting dough. You don’t want to unevenly proof your dough and more certainly don’t want to kill the yeast by exceeding its thermal death point. Using too warm water will initiate a second proofing so you want to thaw evenly but at a temperature that allows you to meet your meal time target. Consider running your APC at about body temperature for a degree of balance between even thawing while retarding uneven proofing. Please let us know your results.

Nestor, no waiting required with frozen dough, just place it in the circulating water and the heat transfer begins immediately and more effectively. Liquid water is always warmer than frozen food.

Interesting results from the mini experiment incorporating advice from chatnoir and nestorph.

1 frozen doughball, a 230g ball (well, half ball), I put in the Anova, 1 on the side at room temperature and 1 in the fridge.

The defrosting with the Anova gave easily defrosted and manageable dough in the quickest time. I put the dough in the warm water for 1 hour at 100F / 38C.
The room temperature ball was ready in about 2-3 hours.
The dough in the fridge was defrosted and made excellent pizza 8 hours later. It could easily have been used earlier but that fitted in to our meal time.

What is interesting is the none of them over-prooved and needed reworking due to collapse so it is simply a matter of time and convenience.
All 3 doughballs were of similar characteristics and no harm was done to them, how ever they were defrosted.

Hi @nestorph

When I read your post and you mentioned heat up time as a factor I thought about it and realized that you probably would not be using water any hotter than you’d get out of the tap for this “dough thawing”. With this in mind I think a sous vide setup would be up and ready to go in only a couple minutes! With this in mind it just might be the right tool for the job of “accelerated defrosting” of dough.
Personally if I knew early on that I’d need the dough I’d probably just let it thaw in the refrigerator, but if you realize last second that you need some frozen dough thawed a sous vide bath sounds like an easy way to apply a controlled temperature to the task!

Interesting observation that the dough did not over proof when “quick thawed”! I need to tell my wife about this…she does most of the baking around here! :slight_smile:


the only thing I can add is never exceed 115F, that temperature will kill the yeast. Yeast dough loves 85.5F for proofing.


Tony, the next time you feel like experimenting with pizza dough let time do some of the work. See if you like the flavour a longer ferment time gives you before freezing the dough shapes.

I assemble a 77% hydration dough and give the primary fermentation about 18 hours at room temperature and then up to 3 days refrigerated where it develops a pleasant tang, somewhat like a mild sourdough pizza. You might want to experiment with less time according to your taste. At that point portion, shape, and use or freeze.

I have become aware that dough will develop flavour by a long and / or cold ferment but you are very brave! I will try longer, slower, perhaps overnight prooves. And pre-ferments like poolish or biga.
The wettest dough is a challenge for me but I may use a folding technique for French Bread in the bulk ferment stage to see what a high hydration does to the structure.
A little off topic, but do you have a favourite baker that I could learn from?
The advantage of using an Anova to defrost is, with a little experiment, you can plan meals, and service, in good time.

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Not brave Tony. Just why only preferment some of the dough? And why not do it long enough to make a noticeable difference? And yes, wet dough can be sticky to handle, so i hardly handle it at all. I prefer to follow the centuries-old tradition of letting time and fermentation do the work. Resting the dough for a minimum of 18 hours means you only have to do a few easy folds and a final stretch to shape your pizza. However, it’s not really about the time. It’s for the distinctively delicious flavour and chewy outcome that elevates it above a mere carrier of toppings.

My current pizza dough was first adapted from a recipe that appeared in the New York Times many tears ago by Jim Lahey of The Sullivan Street Bakery in NYC. He eventually wrote a book about bread and pizza.

I’m a traditionalist by nature so i have no interest in all the flourless baking going on now. For mastering the traditional basics I’d go to Dorie Greenspan’s new baking book for her style and knowledge. Like most of our Community you’re probably far to young to remember the young lady who appeared on Julia Child’s TV baking shows. That was Dorie and she really knows bread and pastry.

The America’s Test Kitchen has an excellent Bread Illustrated book that is aimed at the novice baker and their Baking Book that is more varied and complete. I like how their detailed recipes are dependable and how they explain the food science supporting their recipes. Knowing why is as important as how.

For my taste the book i consider my bread bible to be Tartine Bread by San Francisco’s Chad Robertson. Although how someone who lives the life-on-a-hamster-wheel existence of a professional artisan baker could find the time to produce such a beautiful, carefully written and illustrated book is an amazement. Chad’s naturally leavened bread is exceptionally serious bread, - and it’s not for everyone.

2020 could be the year that obliges many people to make involuntary career changes. Chad’s book may be the inspiration to consider bread baking as a satisfying and rewarding career and successful small business choice. In my neighbourhood artisan-like loaves are priced at C$6.00, and some higher. Only my fruit, seed and nut breads have ingredient costs that exceed 50¢ and i’m using a premium locally grown and milled whole grain flour. There’s profit in bread.

Thanks Frank,
Most of the viewing / reading that I have done shows me how much I have to learn!
Still, even if my French Bread looks more like an omelette than a stick, at least it has a good taste.
I might be the first in the queue for a proper loaf.

A day without learning is a wasted day. Let you be the baker of that proper loaf.

From your French Bread description we know you have mastered pizza dough. If you were aiming for a loaf, your flat shape is an indication of too little or the wrong flour. Are you using a bread flour milled from hard spring wheat with ample protein for structure (12% to 13%)? And are you weighing flour for consistent results and accurate hydration?

So as to not corrupt this Community’s focus we should continue further discussion on bread via messages.

Keep well, stay safe.

Frank since this thread had its origins in sous vide I have no issue with the bread discussions that came from it. Since I am the only one moderating these pages lately I guess no other moderator will complain.

You have an oven with steam correct? What impact do you see on your bread?

OK John, i didn’t want to arouse the Anova Police even though it seems to be a fashionable activity these days.

Yep, steam assisted bread baking, - and cooking, has its benefits. For bread, the initial oven cavity moisture creates a shatteringly crisp crust while adding to oven spring.

The same Jim Lahey created a lot of interest from another NY Times item when he described his simple technique for No-Knead Bread to Mark Bittman. Have you tried making it? It’s not for everyone because of its crustiness and open crumb structure, but its simplicity and flavour are impressive. All it takes is a heavy Dutch oven.

I might get back to baking. Here in the Chicago area we are spoiled by all the ethnic bakeries (and meat shops). Before solitary confinement I liked to take short trips to get Polish, Russian, French to name a few breads, charcuterie and sausages. We don’t often eat enough to invest in the ingredients.

One of the reasons I like many things done sous vide. I can make it in meal sized batches eat what I want while quickly cooling then freezing the rest.

John, we both use the benefits of advanced meal preparation. It makes so much variety available while taking advantage of reduced meat prices.

I’m a former citizen of Downers Grove.