How to Tell if Pizza Dough is Bad

How To Tell If Pizza Dough is Bad: Signs To Look For

Last Updated on June 20, 2024 by Lori Walker

Being a devoted home cook, I’ve **mastered** making pizza dough and now totally understand its **vital** role in crafting the **perfect** pizza.

However, there are moments when life gets busy, and we find ourselves with leftover dough or the desire to prepare pizza ahead of time.

While making pizza for later consumption when you crave it is not such a bad idea, how long does dough generally last? 

Read on to discover the signs on how to tell if pizza dough is bad, what to do if it goes bad, and tips and tricks to improve its shelf life.

How To Tell If Pizza Dough Has Gone Bad

Making Pizza Dough

If you have an old and forgotten dough, the obvious signs that your pizza dough has gone bad are dry and crusty texture, mold and bacterial growth, change in color, and rotten smell.

During yeast fermentation, glucose molecules are broken down, and then carbon dioxide creates air bubbles responsible for a rose bread or dough.

Consequently, the dough will develop acid and alcohol hints. If this process continues for too long, the over-fermented or grown dough will taste unpleasant due to bacteria.

Yeast is the culprit for spoilage in many foods and beverages [1]

4 Signs To Look For

1. Dry & Crusty Texture

A raw dough left at room temperature for a few hours develops a dry and crispy texture. It is the reason for creating a hard crust.

Though it doesn’t necessarily mean that the dough is bad and unsafe to eat, most prefer making a new dough.

2. Mold Growth

If you notice your dough has black spots or a bluish frizzy surface, throw it away. It means it has developed mold, and the pizza dough is past its expiration date.

Once it reaches this state, throw it away because it possesses harmful bacteria which is unsafe to eat.

Find out if you can get poisoning from pizza here.

3. Discoloration 

The discoloration is another clear indication that you have bad pizza dough. A greenish tincture indicates that the flour used was already contaminated with mold spores.

A streak of greyish color with flaky or orange peel may indicate an over-fermented dough, freezer burn, or past its expiration date.

4. Foul Smell

If your dough smells funny, it’s fine. Yeast continually ferments when sugar and starch are present for absorption. Bad smells are the smell of yeast.

Over time, a long-fermented dough will smell sour or like acid or alcohol, which is also fine. But if it smells rancid, discard it.

But how long can you keep pizza dough in the fridge before it goes bad?

What to Do if Pizza Dough Has Gone Bad

pizza dough

Throw it in a bin. A spoiled pizza dough contains bacterial toxins which are unsafe to eat.

A dough left for too long to over-ferment will result in a sour, flat pizza dough that cannot hold any desired shape you may want.

“Everybody likes pizza! It’s a quick and easy clean-up meal.”

— Buddy Valastro, Baker

When it has been left at room temperature for too long, this results in an overpowered smell of yeast and bacterial growth.

Also Read: How Long Do You Knead Pizza Dough In A Stand Mixer?

Tips & Tricks To Make Pizza Dough Last Longer

Avoid using dairy products. Use simple ingredients in making a basic dough, including dry flour, yeast, salt, olive oil, and water. 

Store your proofed pizza dough balls in an airtight container or a plastic bag with a food sealer machine. Refrigerate or freeze them and let cold fermentation do the job. 

“When pizza dough turns bad, it’s a reminder that even the simplest ingredients require our attention and care.”

Leonelli Bakery

Don’t add sweeteners, as the active yeast feeds on them. A sweetened dough enables the yeast to ferment faster. 

Use a tiny amount of yeast. More yeast would only speed up the fermentation process, and over-fermentation would result in the dough having a very weak structure.

Also Read: 6 Quick Tips In Cutting A Pizza Without Pizza Cutter


Does pizza dough get bad easily?

Yes, especially if your fresh pizza dough has not been stored properly or left sitting at room temperature or in fresh air for too long. 

But, the length of time dough tends to last depends on the pizza dough recipe.

Find out how long you can microwave the pizza rolls here.

How long can pizza dough last in the fridge before it gets bad?

Storing pizza dough in the fridge helps it to last for 3 to 5 days, whereas storing it in the freezer will last up to 90 days.  

However, if you notice visible freezer crystals, it is a case of freezer burn. It is still edible, but it won’t taste good.

Find out if you can refrigerate pizza dough after it rises here.

What will happen if you eat spoiled pizza dough?

You can get food poisoning if you eat spoiled pizza dough [2]. Regardless of what kind of food it is, as long as it is already spoiled, it is no longer safe to eat.

Common symptoms are nausea, vomiting, mild fever, headache, weakness, abdominal cramps, loss of appetite, and diarrhea.

But at what temperature should I set the oven to keep the pizza warm?

Can you fix a bad dough?

If your raw pizza dough smells sour or has molds and discoloration, then no. But if it’s only dry and has a crusty texture, then yes, it is workable.

But what causes my pizza dough to tear so easily?

Final Words

By paying attention to the appearance, smell, and texture of your dough, you can easily determine if it’s still good to use.

If you notice any signs of spoilage, such as a sour smell, discoloration, or sliminess, it’s best to discard the dough and start over with fresh ingredients.

By following these tips, you can ensure that your pizza crust will be light, fluffy, and flavorful every time.


Lori Walker

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