The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Can I use OLD PIZZA dough from Fridge as STARTER??

Rico Laguna's picture
Rico Laguna

Can I use OLD PIZZA dough from Fridge as STARTER??

Folks, I have some old left over pizza dough that I had made that I put in a Ziplock bag (about 2 dough balls) that has now been in the fridge for about 8 days and has developed an acidic fruity aroma that probablly smells more intense than my actual stored starter!  (go figure!)


I was wondering if there is any use for this pizza dough as a starter or to mix in with my starter that is in the fridge?....any ideas?


The pizza dough consists of not just flour water yeast and salt, but it also has some sugar and olive oil in it......does this matter?


is it safe/recommended to just mix it all in with my starter and then feed it?



I dont really want to throw it out, but I cant make pizza with it either as it has kind of went past the 3-4 day flavor limit.....what do you think I can do with it?




G-man's picture

I think it might be fun to mix it up and feed it like a starter for a while to see what develops. It might take a while if you fed it with commercial yeast for it to turn into a true sourdough starter, since that stuff is going to stay dominant for a while and, to my knowledge, isn't friendly to anything except itself.

I won't recommend mixing it with an existing starter, though, for the same reason. Mix it like you're refreshing a starter and see what it does. Perhaps it can be used to make pizza after all.

Ford's picture

I like G-man's advice,  Go for it!


foodslut's picture

Outside of sourdough baking, use it as pate fermentee/old dough where the formula calls for it.


mkelly27's picture

I often use my old unused pizza dough as a pre-ferment.  It is especially well suited for BBA pane siciliano.

SourdoLady's picture

Portion it out and freeze it for use in future doughs. Just put portions in ziploc bags that have been lightly misted with oil and put in the freezer.

SylviaH's picture

Rather than leave my extra pizza dough sit out unused for days, I freeze and it makes a nice old dough.  I used it HERE for J.H. Baguettes and it makes a  nice coffee cake or sweet rolls with added flavor.

please excuse all the bold print, it doesn't show when typing, just pops up when I save, my mac I'm still learning!!



Janknitz's picture

you can use it as such.  Replace up to 1/3 of the recipe dough by weight with some of the old pizza dough.  This should give you a nice crumb and help the resulting bread last longer on the counter. 

lynnebiz's picture

I can't comment on starters (since I've managed to kill all of mine whenever I've attempted them - sort of like the indoor plants my kids insist on giving to me on holidays, lol). However, I read something years ago - that many professional bakers will keep part of their old dough to throw in, to give their bread a better flavor (pizza dough, to me, is the same as bread dough - I use just about the same recipe for both most of the time). Been doing this for years (can't throw anything away - result of living through meager times).

Have some in the fridge right now that I plan to do the same with. Be sure to post your results. :D

Rico Laguna's picture
Rico Laguna

Ok cool....thanks for all the replies,  I wasnt expecting so many so quickly I gather that I should put a portion of that old cold dough into the mixer and mix it up with a NEW batch of bread/pizza dough or should I knead it into an existing new dough that is already in its 1st or 2nd rise. ( Sorry if thats a silly question...I just am trying to figure out the best workflow for this)


And secondly, how much do you think is the right amount to put in without completely imbalancing my new dough?....A golf ball sized chunk, baseball, softball,....a marble sized peice???


I usually make a batch using approx 5 cups of bread flour with a 70% hydration to give you an idea of the size

Rico Laguna's picture
Rico Laguna

Ok folks...I used the sourdough and the pizza came out tasty altho to be honest, I didnt notice much of a difference in flavor/taste.  


Perhaps its either because I already cold ferment my regular pizza dough overnight?


I didnt use enough OLD pizza?  


My old pizza dough wasnt OLD ENOUGH to make a difference mixed in with the overnite fermented new dough?


any thoughts?...thanks





cranbo's picture

So how much old dough did you actually use? 

If you're re-using old pizza dough in a new recipe, feel free to as much old dough as you want. You could easily go 50%, 75%, even 100%. I'm assuming you're not using it for leavening power, just for flavor, so go wild and see what results you get.

I'm always surprised by the amount of old dough I can add. I've never had lousy flavor as a result of adding old dough.

In fact, I've learned to keep my leftover (overripe) starter in the fridge for 1-2 days and just add it to my recipes (for flavor) when baking. Of course, depending on the hydration & amount, I end up adjusting the flour or salt a little bit. 

hankhus's picture

Well I've baked a straight cheese pizza and got the dough to bake like sourdough.  I used the old dough which had 36 hour in the fridge and used closer 50/50 flour ando old dough . It leavened perfectly and baked like it should And produced a crisp chewy crust.  I might dispense with yeast and try the next batch with 4 kg each dough flour 50% hydration.  also ferment in fridge for 24 hours.  I use the dough in my restaurant in Sabang. Puerto galera philippines. Only one with a wood fired oven.  I also meek sourdough bread in the oven on Sunday mornings for the local expats.

im retired and this is a hobby for me And I just enjoy my retirement. 

hankhus's picture

I just used about 2kg of overnight fermented dough and added about 3.5 kg flour. Mixed in a though of salt and sugar, added water to get the dough working nicely and put in into the fridge. Low and behold overnight the dough doubled and looks good. I'll try the dough this morning as soon my wood oven comes up to temp.  By the way I recon your pizzas look the bees knees.



Ford's picture

It looks great!  Since there are only two slices left, it must have tasted great.  Sooooo -- what is the problem?  With a strong flavors in the topping, it is hard to detect minor changes in the bread flavor.  Continue the good baking.


ChrisMH's picture


Yesterday, I made Roberts's pizza dough recipe from the NYT. All ingredients were new and the water temp I used was under 110 degrees. I did not proof the yeast prior to using it(most of the times I do). Recipe called for AP and 00 flour. This is the first time I've used 00. Followed the recipe exactly, portioned it out and is in the fridge to cold ferment--it has NOT. I'd like to use a fourth of the unrisen dough...It's now out of the refrigerator. Should it come back to room temperature, be used cold and/or, can I add it to another full recipe of the same dough? I'll likely freeze the other 3 pieces. I hate to throw out the ingredients I've already used.

Hope someone can respond quickly as I want to use the dough today, if possible.




LJay's picture

I made the same Roberta’s pizza dough recipe a week ago (no sugar). Let it sit at room temperature 5-6 hours. No rise. Then I refrigerated it 2 days, no rise. I left it covered on my kitchen counter and finally it started to rise on day 4 or 5. I haven’t had time to make the pizzas and it’s now 1 week old, still out on my kitchen counter covered. I too do not want to throw it away. (I really think something is wrong with the recipe). Can I still make pizza or should I throw it away?? It smells yeasty but not offensive. Can I use a portion as sourdough starter? Is it sourdough now?

i know this problem is late coming to the blog but I hope someone more experienced can help me out! Thank you!