Make-Ahead Pizza Crusts

by Sara on September 17, 2009

I’m about to share with you an easy make-ahead recipe that could potentially save you from losing your mind during the middle of a busy week: the make-ahead pizza crust.

par-baked pizza crust

Think about it. The crust is often the part that has you nixing the thought of making homemade pizza during the week, and good intentions for a fun Friday night dinner might fly out the window when you’re simply too tired or hungry. Enter the make-ahead crust.

pre-baked pizza crust

All you need to do is take an extra hour or two on the weekend to make your crusts, then pop them in the freezer until an emergency strikes. Of course, these crusts are so awesome that you just might have an emergency a few nights in a row. Not that I’m speaking from experience or anything.

Make-Ahead Pizza Crusts
makes 3 pizza crusts

1 package active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1 tablespoon honey or sugar
1 1/2 cups bread flour*
pinch of salt
1 tsp dried Italian herbs (optional)
1 tablespoon olive oil

Combine yeast, water, and honey in a liquid measuring cup. Let sit for 10-15 minutes. You will smell the yeast and the mixture will look very foamy on top – if this does not happen, toss it and start over – the yeast was bad. (By the way, this step will ensure a perfect pizza crust for you, since you’ll know right away whether or not your yeast will give you any trouble. So for those of you afraid of trying anything with yeast, trust me on this, you’ll get good results from this dough.)

Meanwhile, combine the flour and salt (and herbs, if using) in a medium-sized bowl. With a spoon, make a well in the middle of the bowl and add the olive oil. Pour the water into the well. With a spoon, stir the flour and water. When it gets difficult to combine the flour and water (usually after five or six strokes), use your hand to mix. If the dough seems a bit dry, add a small sprinkle of water. When the dough comes together in a ball (the texture will still be rough), knead the dough about 10 times or until smooth. I have a shallow enough bowl that I can knead the dough right in the bowl, but kneading on a floured board works as well.

Coat the same bowl with olive oil. Toss the dough in the bowl so it’s evenly coated with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit for 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 475*F. Spray large baking sheet with cooking spray or brush with oil.

Divide dough into 3 balls and press into circles on baking sheet for a rustic look (if you want more perfect looking circles, go ahead and use a rolling pin). Bake on lowest rack for 6 minutes.

Cool crusts completely on a wire rack. Freeze until ready to use (I just put them all in a large plastic bag with waxed paper in between the crusts).

To make a pizza: Take out the number of crusts that you need. Preheat oven to 450*F. Top each crust with desired sauce and toppings, bake for 7-8 minutes on the middle rack for a cheese pizza, more like 9-12 minutes if you add toppings.

Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes. Cut and enjoy!

*You can substitute half of the bread flour with whole wheat flour. You can also use 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour in place of the bread flour. Don’t, however, do half all-purpose flour and half whole wheat flour…there’s just not enough gluten to produce gread results.

par-baked pizza crust

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Vanessa September 17, 2009 at 7:04 pm

I always have some pizza dough in the freezer! It’s a great idea and such a time saver! Maybe I’ll have to start baking them off. I bet that would take up less space and save a step! Thanks!

Donna September 17, 2009 at 10:06 pm

What a fantastic post.. great idea for busy weeknights.

Barbara September 18, 2009 at 9:06 am

What a super idea- and I agree- I might have several emergencies in a row!

Sara September 21, 2009 at 6:12 pm

Vanessa – I guess you could say I graduated from the pizza dough in the freezer to the pre-baked crust. Hey, anything to give a quick dinner option is fine by me.

Donna & Barbara – Thanks!

Alex January 8, 2011 at 1:48 am

I haven’t tried freezing these crusts yet, but I used it to make fresh pizzas and it was delicious! I’ve been using the Pioneer Woman’s pizza crust recipe for a long time, but yours is definitely my go-to recipe now. Everyone loved it!

Sara January 8, 2011 at 10:08 pm

I’m so glad you like them. One of these days I plan on posting my thin, crispy crust, as well.

Christine January 29, 2011 at 12:51 pm

Sara – we loved these crusts! We had them for my son’s make-your-own pizza party for his eighth birthday. It was so much easier! One issue I had was that some of them puffed up like balloons (like they do when you make pitas). Poking the dough with a fork (at least 10 times) fixed this. Thanks for the great, easy recipe!

Sara January 30, 2011 at 6:40 pm

Christine, I’m glad they worked (mostly) well for you. I’ve had a bubble or two in the crust before but never had it all puff up like that. Maybe I’m taking my frustrations out on the dough more when I’m flattening it. :)

Darren August 8, 2012 at 7:23 pm

I pre-bake my cupcakes as well…this gives them the chance to burn all the way through.I dont like school buses…or is it busses?

Dewey August 8, 2012 at 7:24 pm

that Darren sure is silly……….wwweeeeeeeeeee

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She provides useful advice on such things as gluten-free baking
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