It’s tempting. You want to make pizza NOW but don’t have a time machine handy to help you travel back 24 hours so you can get the fermentation party started. So you buy some dough from a local grocery store or pizzeria, right? I mean, someone already mixed up the ingredients, kneaded whatever has to be kneaded, and packed it up in a neat little package. EASY, right?
But pre-packaged pizza dough comes with problems of its own and you have to be ready for them. You know how the dough shrinks back a bit when you try to stretch it? Yeah, that’s partially because of the grocery store situation. This ins’t a dough store so they don’t know the delicate nature of dough. Piling it up in a mountain like in the photo above shows just how severe the issue is. That pile is a nightmare of degassing, leaving your dough tough and over-elasticized.
Then they throw it into a grocery bag only to chuck a container of sea salt right into it, degassing it even further! You can’t really get mad, they’re just treating dough like any other product. But it’s not any other product. Dough should be treated like a tiny puppy. Be gentle and cradle it. It’s not even hard, it’s actually super simple. But words won’t do it justice, so I made a short video with some tips for successful pizza making using store-bought dough. Check it out here!
If you DO like reading, I’ll give you the skinny right here. Just three simple steps is all it takes to make awesome pizza without making your own dough.
1. Stores usually package dough in bags, but taking the dough out of the bag degasses it. Remove your dough from the bag as soon as you get home and transfer it to a lightly oiled bowl that’s at least 50% bigger than the dough ball. Cover the dough bowl and let it rest until it’s soft to the touch.
2. Instead of pulling the dough out of the bag, pull the bag off the dough. I know it sounds like the same thing, but it’s completely different in practice. You’ll preserve way more of the dough’s fermentation gas.
3. If you have a few hours before pizza time, re-ball the dough so it can rise in a more orderly fashion. Stretching a misshapen dough straight from the bag can give you a funky shape with cracks and crevices. To avoid that, re-ball the dough.
I hope this helps you in your quest for home pizza making bliss! Of course, making your own dough is neither difficult nor time consuming, but I completely understand that pizza parties are often spontaneous and the grocery store is a solid option.