What It Means To Cure Pizza Dough And Why It's Absolutely Worth A Shot

Making pizza dough from scratch can be a finicky process. Let's be honest: Dough-making intimidates a lot of people. Using yeast and ensuring the dough rises the correct amount without being over-kneaded can be stressful. Making pizza dough might seem simple by comparison, but it's no exception to this complex process. That said, there are plenty of ways to make homemade pizza — from quick fixes to days on end of proofing. While you're likely familiar with letting the dough rise, fermentation, and proofing, you may be less familiar with curing pizza dough. Don't worry, you are not alone.

Chef J. Kenji López-Alt shared his pizza dough-making method with The New York Times. His recipe for Chicago thin-crust pizza dough involves the usual suspects: bread flour, sugar, and yeast. Then, the dough is left to ferment for at least a day — but the longer, the better. The notable difference in his recipe? Curing the dough! López-Alt explained his process of rolling the pizza dough out and letting it sit uncovered overnight in the fridge to cure. "This is the secret to getting the crunchiest, most cracker-crisp crust, and it also makes topping and moving the pizza a snap," said López-Alt. That doesn't sound too bad! Of course, it means you'll have to make your dough much further in advance, but achieving the perfect thin crust is worth it.

Trust in the pizza dough curing process

Bubba Kuhn, a chef from Long Island, New York, shared his pizza-making secrets on an online pizza-making forum inconspicuously named Pizza Making Forum. His best tip sounds familiar: Use your refrigerator to cure the pizza dough. Kuhn said, "The dough is not ready to use until it has cured or is slow-proofed for at least 24 hours." This method seems to yield an amazing thin-crust pizza, so it's definitely worth a shot. 

Chef J. Kenji López-Alt described his pizza dough that cured overnight as developing "the texture of cured leather." This doesn't necessarily sound appetizing, but it makes sense: The drier the dough, the thinner the crust! Lower hydration doughs yield thinner, crispier crusts like New York-style thin crust pizzas are known for having. So, the method of taking that extra step and rolling the dough out the night before to let it dry out and stiffen up increases the odds of creating that perfect thin pizza you crave. 

While curing the dough in the refrigerator overnight does add one more step to the pizza-making process, the results speak for themselves. Sometimes the best things in life are worth waiting for, including your pizza dough!