What is Retarding Pizza Dough?
The process of retarding pizza dough is one that is highly debatable between true pizza makers. Retarding dough simply means placing it in the fridge to slow down the leavening (or the rising) process. The process can be used for many different reasons. Some pizza makers retard their pizza dough balls to fit their time schedule so that the dough is ready when they need it to be. Others simply allow their frozen pizza dough to retard in the fridge to enhance the flavor of the dough.
The biggest debate doesn’t come from whether you should actually place the dough in the fridge or not, but rather if the dough should be shaped before it’s placed in the fridge. Some believe that in order to retain the shape of the dough after it’s placed in the oven, it needs to be refrigerated in the shape the cook wants it to be. However, many believe that shaping the dough before it’s placed in the fridge only takes up valuable fridge space and that it’s not necessary anyway.
The truth of the matter is that dough really does not need to be shaped before it is placed in the fridge for retardation. The flavor will still fully develop, and the dough will not become misshapen once it is baked in the oven. But, whether or not you shape the dough before retarding it, you wil still get the same results. So if you like to take your pizza dough right from your fridge and then slide it straight into the oven, shaping it first could still work best for you.