When you make homemade pizza dough, you usually have to let it rise twice. Each time it’s rising, there’s a chance the dough could become dry and harder than it should be.
But not to worry because there are things you can do to lessen the chances of that happening, and they are very simple things to do.
To keep your pizza dough from drying out keep it covered with plastic wrap, a damp kitchen towel or container while proofing,
If your pizza dough seems to dry out every time you let it rise, here are a handful of things you can do about it:
1. Keep it Covered
Always keep the bowl with your dough in it covered to stop it from drying out. Use a damp kitchen towel, reusable shower cap, plastic wrap, an airtight plastic bag, and even an airtight container with a lid.
In fact, even a cake carrier will do because it has a lid and is airtight after that lid is put on the carrier. This will reduce the air contact with the surface of the dough and stop it from drying out.
2. Avoid Dry Environments
Avoid leaving your dough in dry and drafty environments. When the weather is warm keep it out of the way of fans and air-conditioning.
Avoid the “cool, dry” places in your home when finding a place to let your dough rise. They may be acceptable for storing certain foods but not for working with homemade pizza dough. Dry and drafty environments will cause the dough to dry out quicker.
3. Add a Tiny Bit of Oil to the Dough
Even if you plan to cover the dough, it’s not a bad idea to take some olive oil and lightly coat the surface of the dough with that oil.
Gently sprinkle a few drops of oil onto the dough and wipe it over with your hand. Make sure the layer of oil you put on the ball of dough is a very light one, but also make sure you cover all of it.
This will create a barrier between the dough and the air to stop it from drying out.
4. Check the Type of Flour
The gluten in your dough serves a very important function; most notably, it creates the elasticity you need when working with the dough. Sometimes, the gluten loses its strength, which can cause pizza dough to be too dry.
When this happens, it could be one of two reasons. First, the flour you’re using may be too old. Second, the flour might be low in quality. When making pizza dough, make sure your flour isn’t beyond its expiration date and that it’s a good brand.
5. High Elevations Can Affect Pizza Dough
If you live in a high-altitude area, check your instructions for any extra steps that might be necessary.
Flour doesn’t hold nearly as much moisture at higher elevations, and, therefore it is likely that the dough mix will need more moisture. Add small amounts of extra water with your hands to the dough until it reaches the right consistency.
6. Consider What the Weather is Doing
Believe it or not, the weather outside can directly affect the moisture content of your pizza dough. Low humidity levels will mean that your dough will need more moisture.
If it is sunny and dry, add an extra 1–2 teaspoons of water to the dough.
High humidity or rain will often mean that you need a little less moisture and more flour for your dough.
7. Knead the Dough Longer
Kneading by hand is hard work and takes a long time, so it’s tempting to cut the time by a few minutes and go on to the next step, but this is never a good idea.
Not kneading the dough long enough is one of the main reasons why people have problems with dough that is too dry. Knead your dough for at least 7-12 minutes for the first knead to get it soft and soft and supple, without crumbs or flakes.
This will mix the water through thoroughly and ensure that all of the dough stays moist.
8. When Proofing dough in the Fridge Use a Container with a Lid
The second rising is called proofing, and many people keep their dough in the refrigerator overnight for this step
If you’re going to do this, put the dough in an airtight container with a lid. If you simply place a towel or plastic wrap over a bowl, it might become loose, and the dough will get too much air, causing it to dry out in the end.
Why Does Pizza Dough Dry Out?
Pizza dough can dry out for several reasons, but if it’s drying out as it’s rising, the most common reason is that it isn’t covered properly.
Keep in mind that when pizza dough is uncovered for even 20 minutes, it can start to dry out and therefore cause dryness in the dough. In addition to keeping the right flour-water ratio, you also need to keep the dough well-covered the entire time it’s rising.
How Long Can Pizza Dough Sit Out Before Cooking?
If you set it out at room temperature, it can’t sit out for more than 4–8 hours. If the indoor temperature is cool, it can sit out for 24–48 hours before you cook it.
The warmer the temperature, the less time you have to leave it out on your counter.
How Do You Make Pizza Dough More Moist?
The best way to make pizza dough more moist is to add just a tiny bit of extra water. And by “tiny bit,” we mean one or maybe two teaspoons at the most. Some people find that merely adding a few drops of water does the trick. If you add too much water, you’ll need more flour to balance out the equation.
How to Store Pizza Dough in the Fridge or Freezer Without It Drying Out
Whether you put it in the refrigerator or freezer, pizza dough has to be properly covered. If it’s already risen twice, you can wrap it tight with plastic wrap and keep it in the fridge for two weeks. If you choose to freeze the dough, it can be wrapped tightly and kept in the freezer for up to three months.
The perfect pizza dough is not difficult to make, but it can dry out in certain circumstances. The good news is that following the suggestions mentioned in this article helps a lot, and the most important tip to remember is to keep the flour-water ratio just right.
I am an accredited practicing dietitian, experienced gardener and a dedicated cook. I love writing and sharing my experience so you can learn from my successes and mistakes.