Sometimes time isn’t on your side, and you need to proof pizza dough fast and speed up your rise so you can get making that pizza as soon as possible. It’s not the best idea to rush the important phase of proofing as it develops texture and flavor. But there are some tricks you can do to get it to rise faster and i’ll show you how in this article.
How to proof pizza dough faster:
- Use more yeast and sugar for more fermentation
- Put the dough in a warmer place in your house
- Put the dough in the oven no higher than 100F (38C)
- Put the dough in the microwave with a boiling cup of water
- Don’t proof it at all
I think the easiest way is to use a microwave with my method below. Using that, follow my best pizza recipe, which is suitable for making fast dough.
More Yeast And Sugar
When the dough proofs, the yeast is consuming the sugar and producing carbon dioxide gas to make the dough rise. By adding more yeast and sugar to your recipe, this allows more fermenting to take place and so more gas will be produced.
You will get a stronger taste of yeast in the crust, and it will obviously be sweeter too. Just make sure your temperature is above 68F (20C) for optimum growth.
Adding Warmth And Moisture
The fermentation activity of the yeast increases in higher, humid temperatures, which is why dough is always instructed to be left in a warm place. So find a warmer place in your house if you can – the kitchen is usually warm from the oven, or perhaps on top of your water boiler, or house heating unit.
Cover the bowl in a damp kitchen towel, as the moist environment is ideal for the yeast.
If you don’t have a warm spot, then you can use one of these methods below as a hack to get some extra warmth.
Be warned: yeast dies at hotter temperatures so do not exceed these guidelines. There is a sweet spot for optimum activity.
- 68F (20C) – 100F (38C) is the optimum temperature range
- 122F (50C) and above will kill the yeast
If you go too warm, you will proof your dough unevenly. The outer parts will proof faster and the inner core will stay under proofed. So keep it realistic, and ensure the amount of dough you are using will heat up evenly in the time and temperatures you have.
Proofing Pizza Dough In The Oven
In professional baking, bakers will use a proofing box get their dough to rise consistently. This is a chamber which has a set temperature and humidity level so that the dough proofs perfectly every time.
A home oven has a minimum temperature that is too high for it to be used as a proofing box in a straight forward way, but there is a few tricks you can do.
Turn the oven on high for a minute to take the chill off the air. Use an oven thermometer to ensure the temperature is below the 100F (38C) advised temperature otherwise you will start to kill the yeast. You can keep the light on in the oven for some extra heat.
Fill a shallow pan with boiling water and place it on the bottom of the oven. Put your dough on a baking sheet on the shelf above. Close the oven door and wait until proofed. The heat and humidity of the water will fill the space and provide perfecting proofing conditions.
Proofing Pizza Dough In The Microwave
I think this is the easiest way as the chamber inside the microwave can easily be turned into a warm area.
Fill a microwaveable cup with water and heat on high for a few minutes until boiling. Add your pizza dough to the microwave and leave the cup of water inside. The heat and steam will create a temperature that is warm, but not too hot the for dough. And the extra humidity is an ideal environment for the yeast to activate.
If you need to reheat the microwave, then remove the dough and repeat the process with the water. Do not work the microwave while the dough is inside – it will cook the dough.
What Happens If I Don’t Proof The Pizza Dough?
If you don’t proof the dough then you will get a crust which has very little rise and small air pockets. Some dough are like this though – think of flat bread and other unleavened bread which contains no yeast.
You can still make a delicious pizza like this, but it will just be slightly different. I would advise you add good toppings to this, as it also won’t have much flavor. You shouldn’t let the crust do the talking on this one.
The pizza will be quite dense and chewy if you make the crust thick. So I would advise to roll the dough out thinly, and make more of a cracker style pizza base. Get it nice and thin, and then crisp it up.
Why Proofing For Longer Is Better
When the dough is proofing, the ingredients in the dough are actually fermenting. Yeast consumes sugars in the flour and produces alcohol and carbon dioxide. It is this gas which makes the dough filled with bubbles, and rises up.
Fermentation also affects your dough in two other ways. Byproducts of the fermenting process adds a depth of flavor and the longer rest improves the texture. This is because the stretchy gluten network you built up during kneading relaxes over time. A more relaxed dough will be able to rise more easily when cooked, so it will be less dense, making it crispier and full of large holes.
The warmth speeds up the yeast activity so it produces more carbon dioxide and rises faster, so you may think you are helping yourself. But the flavor takes more time to develop, and there is nothing to speed this one up.
So while it is tempting to try and speed your dough process up – it won’t produce a pizza which has a good taste or texture. It will likely be a bit cardboard like – with little flavor and aroma, and a dense chewy texture.
I did another full article on Proofing Pizza Dough: Ultimate Guide, Tips And Advice.
Try Cold Proofing Your Dough
Flavor will develop over a few days. But if the yeast is warm, this will mean it will ferment so quickly that it runs out of sugars to consume. The dough will be over proofed to becomes floppy and full of gas, and it won’t bake well.
So you want to slow it down by reducing the temperature. You do this by placing the dough the refrigerator in one piece after it has been kneaded.
It couldn’t be easier – leave the dough overnight, and take it out the next day when you need to use it. Push the gas out of the dough, shape it into individual balls and let it proof at room temperature for an hour before baking.
The dough will be easier to stretch out and the pizza will be full of flavor with a crisp, light bite.
Pizza dough can be frozen for later, which I write about in my article how to freeze pizza dough.
There are a few ways you can speed up your rise which can be used to get yourself out of an emergency. So I would recommend you use them now to get yourself unstuck, but it isn’t a good solution for every time.
You should plan ahead with your dough, make it the night before and leave it in the refrigerator. The pizzas you will make will be much better for it. Follow my pizza dough recipe which has all the instructions to produce perfect dough time after time.
To make the best pizza you need to cook your dough on something very hot. A pizza stone is more well known, but a pizza steel is a newer method which will produce even better results. The steel conducts heat more efficiently, so the searing hot surface will cook your base in no time. They also don’t shatter like a stone does. I have this pizza steel and can fully recommend it (click to see on Amazon). If you’d rather get something a bit cheaper, then at least get a pizza stone made of cordierite like this one from Amazon. It is less likely to crack like other pizza stones. See all the essential tools I recommend on my pizza equipment list guide.
How do you proof dough without a proofer?
Use a bowl covered with a damp kitchen towel and proof it at room temperatures. Alternatively, transfer the dough to an airtight container and proof the dough in the refrigerator overnight for better flavor and texture.
What temperature do you proof pizza dough?
The optimum temperature is in the range of 68F (20C) – 100F (38C). This is usually just above room temperature, so try and find a warm spot in your house. The kitchen or boiler room are good places which are warm and consistent.