How Long to Let Pizza Dough Rise? – Let’s Get Technical

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The hardest, as well as the most satisfying bit of making a pizza from scratch, is getting the dough right. How long you let the dough rise will determine the flavor and structure of the pie. There are many factors that can affect how long to let the pizza dough rise. This includes temperature, humidity, yeast type, and age, as well as gluten development.

The general rule is to let pizza dough rise until it has doubled in size, which could take anywhere between 1-1.5 hours. This will give the yeast time to activate and create a light, airy texture in the crust.

However, I personally prefer cold-fermenting the dough for 48 hours for extra flavor.

That being said, this article will give you some general guidelines for when to shape and bake your pizza so that it turns out perfectly every time.

Importance of Proofing a Pizza Dough

The proofing process is what allows the yeast to activate and release CO₂. This process results in a light and airy texture in your pizza dough. Letting the pizza dough rise also relaxes the dough and helps with gluten development.

How Long to Let Pizza Dough Rise

This strengthens the gluten and forms a protein network that traps air bubbles when you bake your pizza. This is why you are able to get that nice and crispy crust on the outside but maintain a soft, tender interior.

Warmer temperatures will speed up the fermentation process. But it’s important not to let your dough rise too quickly or for too long. Overproofing can result in an overly fermented dough, resulting in a bitter flavor and lack of structure. This is why it’s important to know when enough is enough.

Pizza Dough Not Rising: 5 Main Reasons Why Your Pizza Dough Is Flat Even After Proofing

Despite your best efforts, there are several reasons why your pizza dough might not be rising. In my experience, there are usually five reasons for this:

1. The yeast is dead

If your yeast is more than a few months old, it might not be viable anymore. Try using fresh yeast or proofing the yeast before adding it to your dough.

You can test whether your yeast is active by mixing up some water and sugar (making sure it’s 100% dissolved), then adding in a small amount of the yeast mixture (1/4 teaspoon). If bubbles form within 15 minutes, you know that the yeast is still good.

2. Incorrect water temperature

Your water temperature is too hot or cold, and it killed the yeast while proofing. This can happen if you add warm water straight from the tap (which is typically around 100 degrees F). The best way to test this is by using an instant-read thermometer.

This will tell you whether the water temperature is between 100 and 110 degrees F. If it’s too hot, let it sit until it cools down a bit. If it’s too cold, warm it up in the microwave for about 30 seconds before adding the yeast.

3. Too much flour

The most common reason for flat, under-proofed pizza dough is adding too much flour to your recipe. Adding too much flour to a pizza dough recipe can cause the yeast to die off before it has had a chance to ferment properly and form those air bubbles.

4. Too much yeast

Adding too much yeast to a pizza dough recipe will cause the dough to rise too quickly and then collapse when it comes time to bake. This is why many recipes call for “proofing” their yeast before adding it to the batter.

By letting your active dry yeast sit in warm water for 10 minutes or so, you can test the strength of your mixture by seeing if bubbles form on top of the water.

5. Overproofing

Can pizza dough rise too much? Hell yeah! Been there, done that.

Overproofing the pizza dough keeps it from rising in the oven while baking because the yeast has consumed all of the sugar in the pizza dough. The only way to rescue an over-proofed pizza dough is to knock back the dough.

To do that, take the dough out of the proofing box/container, and press it down with the heel of your hands. Lightly punch the dough to release all the air out, reshape it, and put it back in the container.

How Long to Let the Pizza Dough Rise?

I’m afraid there’s no single answer to this question. The rising time can vary from 30 minutes to 5 days, depending on the following factors:

  • The temperature of your kitchen
  • The yeast type you are using
  • The amount of flour and water used to make the dough

The texture you are going for. Longer fermentation will yield a crust with more complex flavors and a light, puffy interior with a soft and chewy interior. I personally like to let my dough rise for 24-48 hours.

How Long to Let a Pizza Dough Rise in the Fridge?

I know it sounds crazy, but you can actually chill the dough for up to 5 days. This will slow down the fermentation process and give you more control over the texture of your crust.

Cold fermenting for 3-5 days can dramatically improve the flavor of your dough, and it’s a great way to get the perfect balance between chewy and airy. When you are ready to use chilled dough, take it out of the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for 1-2 hours before rolling it out or shaping it into balls.

That said, I understand that not everyone has that kind of patience or time. A one-day quick ferment in the fridge will still result in a delicious, albeit relatively denser crust. It won’t get you that leopard spotting Neapolitan pizzas are known for because it won’t have as many air bubbles as a longer-proofed dough.

On the bright side, it takes an oven hotter than 700F for the dough to blister up. Domestic ovens usually don’t get that hot. So unless you own a pizza oven, fermenting the dough for 3-5 days would be overkill for you.

Stick to overnight chilling, and you will end up with a uniformly browned, delectable homemade pizza, I promise.

Best Place To Let Pizza Dough Rise

The best place to let pizza dough rise is in a warm, draft-free spot. You can use an electric blanket set on low heat and put your pizza dough in a wooden bowl covered with a towel.

The goal is to create a warm and humid environment that gets the yeast moving. The more freely the yeast moves inside the dough, the better rise you get.

Pizza Dough Rise

In cold weather, it’s best to let the dough rise in the oven. Preheat the oven to 100°F for about a minute or two, then turn it off. Place your pizza dough in a greased, heat-proof bowl, cover it with a damp towel, and place it in the oven. Let it sit there for 45-60 minutes before use.

Alternatively, you can also boil a cup of water in the microwave. Once the water is boiled, move the cup of water aside and put the bowl of dough in the microwave.

Shut the door, and turn off the microwave. The dough should double in size in 30-45 minutes. This is by far the best way to make your pizza dough rise faster.

How To Know Pizza Dough Is Ready

If it springs back too fast, let it rise for about 15 more minutes and check again. You can also use a thermometer to test how warm your pizza dough is; if it registers above 65 degrees, then you are good to go. Anything colder than that will be too difficult to stretch.

Pizza Dough Is Ready

A little poke test is the most foolproof way to ascertain whether the dough is ready for the bake. Use your finger or a wooden spoon to poke the dough. If it springs back slowly, leaving a small indentation, it’s ready for the oven.

FAQs About Pizza Dough Rise

How Long Can You Let Pizza Dough Rise With Instant Yeast?

Because instant yeast works differently than active dry yeast, it doesn’t take as long to rise. You’ll want to let it sit for about an hour before you begin making your pizza dough. This is because instant yeast doesn’t need any time to activate; it will be ready to use right away after mixing with water and sugar.

What Happens If You Don’t Let Pizza Dough Rise?

If you don’t let pizza dough rise, then it will not be able to trap the air bubbles that make for a light and airy crust. This will result in flat and dense bread that won’t have much flavor or texture.

How Long to Let Pizza Dough Rise at Room Temperature?

It really depends on the room’s temperature. A warmer environment leads to a faster rise. At 70-75 degrees, the dough can take anywhere between 1-3 hours. You can leave the dough to sit at room temperature for up to 6-10 hours to proof it as well. If you wish to let it rise for longer, put it in the fridge.

Can You Let Pizza Dough Rise Twice?

Yes. And in fact, letting dough rise twice is highly encouraged if you’re making Neapolitan-style pizza. This is because it gives a lot more time for the yeast and dough to interact with one another and create that perfect, chewy crust.


My Takeaway

All in all, it’s important to know how long to let pizza dough rise. You don’t want your dough to be too dry or too wet—you want it just right. And this takes some experimentation on your part. But once you’ve found the perfect combination of ingredients and have the right amount of time for rising, your pizza will come out perfect!

Tim Anderson
Tim Anderson

Tim Anderson is the founder of pizzapeopleaz® and has been in the pizza industry since 1998. Since then, his mission has been to make a pizza lover's guy into a personal pizzaiolo. And each year, he continues to help more people with Pizza chemistry, pizza Crust, pizza oven, and oven troubleshooting.

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