Papa Murphy’s is currently one of the most renowned pizza franchises in the U.S. and the one that pioneered the take-and-bake business model in 1995. The take-and-bake approach enables people to buy a raw pizza and bake it themselves in the comfort of their own homes, allowing the business to cut considerable costs associated with oven usage and maintenance, as well as cooking license expenses. This novel system was well received and helped cement their success for years to come. This success also spawned a great number of competing franchises such as Nick-N-Willy’s and Figaro’s. Some traditional dine-in pizzerias also bought into the frenzy and included this service as an additional feature, such as Pizzeria Uno. You’re possibly wondering if there is a possibility to save their unbaked pizzas for a longer period. These questions come to mind. Can you freeze Papa Murphy pizzas? How long does Papa Murphy pizza last in the fridge?
Yes, you can freeze Papa Murphy pizzas. In fact, the pizzeria offers an extra “cold crust” service for that specific purpose. However, some ingredients might not freeze well. The restaurant itself recommends users not to freeze their pizzas if they contain tomatoes, mushrooms, spinach, and/or the Creamy Garlic Sauce found on their Veggie deLITE and Gourmet pizza varieties. These ingredients and components simply do not freeze well. In the case of the veggies, the moisture will cause ice crystals to form and damage their cellular structure. With regards to the sauce, its components will separate and ruin the texture and consistency of the whole pizza.
With all of the above taken into account, the rest of the procedure is as easy as pie (or should I say “as pizza”?)
If you’re planning to freeze the pizza beforehand, ask the counter staff at Papa Murphy to prepare the pizza on a “cold crust”. With this method, the yeast is not yet activated, meaning that the meal will retain most of its freshness by the time you decide to bake it.
With regards to packaging, you don’t even have to do anything at all, simply ask for a double wrap. That way, you won’t need to use your own material.
But for extra protection, you can use another layer or place the pizza in a container to further avoid any chance of freezer burn. Nevertheless, it should be enough with just the double wrap provided by them. Thus, you only need to get home and store the pizza in the freezer.
However, if you did not foresee freezing the pizza and didn’t order the cold crust, there is a good chance that your pizza will not taste as fresh when baked.
If you followed the steps provided above, you shouldn’t notice any distinguishable difference between fresh and frozen Papa Murphy’s pizza. Still, as explained above, some ingredients will not remain fresh once frozen, which is why the pizzeria itself encourages against freezing some of them.
Refreezing is not a thing you should consider, unless you didn’t leave the pizza out of the fridge for more than 2 hours after pulling it out of the freezer. Even in that case, there is a risk of moisture releasing during thawing, which will then turn into ice crystals and alter its texture in a negative way, especially the vegetables.
Papa Murphy’s recommends using the unbaked pizza within 24 hours of purchase. However, the pizza can remain fresh in the fridge for up to 3 or 4 days at a temperature of 40º F or below. After that period, spoilage signs may start to appear and the pizza will not be safe to consume at that point.
They also advise against storing the pizza in the freezer for more than 21 days. This is understandable when considering their quality standards. However, it could last longer in optimal conditions depending on the ingredients included. The pizza will still be safe to eat beyond that time, but its quality may suffer a great deal.
The pizzeria states that the pizza should be thawed for a minimum of 24 hours in the fridge, and then placed on the counter to warm it up at room temperature before baking.
You can theoretically thaw it in the microwave but make sure that you preheat the oven and have it ready when the pizza is ready to be defrosted. This method is not the most preferred, though.
Even when it’s not suggested by the franchise, you can bake the pizza without prior thawing. It might not be as crusty that way but it should still be enjoyable. Simply remove the pizza from all the packaging, put the oven rack in the middle position, and preheat it to 450º F. Then, place the naked pizza inside the oven and bake it for about 15 to 20 minutes. Finally, slice and munch away!