The best pizza dough bakes up crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside, but if you place pizza dough in the freezer, it dries out, yielding a crust as tough as leather.
Frozen-pizza manufacturers use gums, protein film formers, extra leaveners, and surfactants (wetting agents) to address the loss of moisture and flavor— not very successfully, judging by the way the stuff tastes—but what’s a home cook to do?
The test kitchen developed an ultra-hydrated pizza crust recipe (reinforced with half-and-half, cornstarch, and baking powder) to stand up to the punishing effects of the freezer. Here are a few tricks to work with the floppy, wet dough—and to ensure great homemade frozen pizza.
The dough is ready when it forms sticky strands around the outside, but the center is uniform, after about 5 minutes of mixing.
To keep the loose, almost pourable dough contained, pat it into disposable pizza pans.
To prevent moisture loss, wrap the assembled pizzas twice, first with plastic wrap and then aluminum foil.
For easier transfer in and out of the oven, place the frozen pizza on a sheet of parchment paper when ready to bake.
MAKE IT NOW: Our recipe for Make-Ahead Pizza is free through August 18, 2013.