Did you ever wonder how to prolong that moment when aromas of hot, freshly baked loaf fill your home and soul? I’ll show you how to freeze bread so you can recapture that moment every time you crave some pastry heaven!
My husband and kids love my homemade bread and buns, especially if I make them with my unique cheese-nougat spread, but unfortunately, baking daily is impossible for a working mom like myself. A couple of years ago, my old friend shared a secret about how her home always smells just like a bakery – freezing bread and bread dough!
I was surprised after trying her approach despite my reservations!
With this approach, you may enjoy baked products for months, which might be useful if you are pressed for time or following a strict diet and your neighborhood bakery offers the season’s pie.
I’ll demonstrate excellent bread freezing techniques for you to use whenever you choose with your family.
How to freeze bread for perfect results
When I put my first loaf in the freezer, my biggest concern was that it would lose tender crust or worse – bread would be soggy! Classic white bread, local bakery specials, or even banana bread will be, after you thaw them, as fresh as if you just pulled them from the oven – the key is to know how to freeze each bread. There is a difference in how you freeze homemade stuff from store-bought ones. The same goes for the dough, as well.
1. Homemade bread and pastry
Make sure baked bread has completely cooled down before freezing. Although it will take a few hours, doing this will keep the bread from becoming stale or moldy.
Don’t crush the loaves by wrapping them in a plastic wrap too firmly. Instead, snugly but not too tightly wrap each loaf.
Double-wrapping is the key to keeping something fresh. Plastic wrap serves as the initial layer, but aluminum foil or, even better, freezer paper should be used as the second layer of wrap. By doing this, you shield your loaf from freezer burns in the event that the plastic is damaged.
If you bake several varieties of bread, be sure to identify each loaf with the date and its name so you can easily choose the proper one when you need it.
Since baked bread may be frozen for six months, writing the date is crucial. Your bread is at a very high danger of becoming bad beyond that point.
2. Store-bought bread
If the bread you brought from the store is pre-wrapped, you can put it directly in the freezer as long as the plastic is airtight and the loaf is cold.
You can wrap it with multiple layers of foil to stop sharp edges from tearing the original packaging, especially if you want to freeze it for a longer time. The expiration date of frozen store-bought good is six months, too.
Whether you are freezing homemade or bread from the store make sure it is completely cooled down; any excess heat will cause perspiration of plastic wrap, and that can lead to freezing burns or mold.
Slice the bread, pies or cakes you plan to use in slices before freezing. Wrap them separately the same way you would wrap entire pieces.
If you want to freeze rolls, buns or any other single-serving goods, you can use zip-lock bags. When you store them, make sure to put them horizontally, primarily if they have fillings or a larger surface of the crust, to maintain their original look.
How to freeze bread dough
Having a day job and being a mom requires a lot of time and energy, so for me, homemade bread was like a fairytale! Sounds too good to be true.
Baking is my passion, but that demands dedication and time almost like taking care of my kids. I tried a couple of times with the store-bought dough, but even though the results were fine, it wasn’t as nearly as homemade.
So when I say that freezing bread dough is a life-saving trick – I really mean it! Freezing the dough is a simple but genius way to save your time and have a hot loaf on your table anytime you want.
Prepare bread dough of your choosing. If you are making dough with yeast be sure to increase its amount. Some of it will expire during the freezing time so adding extra yeast will ensure that the dough rises as usual.
When freezing bread, the dough should rise only once. The second time you will let dough rise is just before baking; this way your bread will be as fresh as you were making it that day. After the fermentation is done, you can start shaping your dough. Form the dough in a shape that is ready for baking.
Immediately after shaping the dough, put it in the freezer. I usually do this on the baking paper to make it easier to get it in the fridge. The batter should be in the freezer until it is solid or approximately about two hours.
Take a frozen dough and put it in an airtight bag or wrap it in extra-durable foil.
It’s mandatory to label it because you can use it within three months for great results.
How to thaw bread and dough for the finest results
Patience is crucial when it comes time for defrosting your bread and dough. Follow my instructions precisely, and I guarantee you the best results!
1. Thawing baked bakery goods:
When you want to thaw baked bread, you need to remove it from the freezer and let it be on the countertop for three hours minimum. You can, also, leave it in the fridge overnight to thaw slowly.
Important: Don’t remove plastic or wrapping, loaf needs to reabsorb condensation trapped within the packaging.
Bake thawed loaf for about 10 minutes at 350 degrees, and be careful not to overbake it. If patience is not your virtue, you can bake the frozen loaf for 20 minutes on 400 degrees, but keep in mind that by doing so, your bread will lose some of its texture. For rolls, buns, and other pastry snacks, the procedure stays the same.
2. How to thaw a frozen dough
You can put the frozen dough straight in the oven – you don’t need to thaw it, but you’ll need extra 15-20 minutes of baking in addition to what the original recipe calls for.
Thawing and baking bread simultaneously is handy when you are in a hurry. But in my opinion, especially if you made a dough with yeast, it is much safer to thaw it before baking. This way the dough will rise for the second time and develop a more tender crust. More time before baking means more time for the yeast to do its job – your dough will rise and be airy.
Remove the dough from the freezer and put it on the baking tray you will use for baking. Leave it in the tray for about 3 hours or until it is completely defrosted and bake it the usual way.
Thawing Frozen Bread / Dough – Additional tips
When I’m in a hurry with cooking I prefer shortcuts – my first thought is the microwave! But in this particular case microwave is not your friend!
Bread and other baked products are one of the last things you shouldn’t put in the microwave oven. These products are made of flour which means that they have gluten, starch, and sugar.
When you reheat them in the microwave, you melt the sugar molecules causing the bread to be soft and fluffy. But when bread cools off, molecules recrystallize and harden, causing the loaf to become chewy.
The same happens with frozen dough – it becomes sticky and glue-like. If you bake it, bread or buns will have a texture similar to rubber.
Don’t use the microwave when defrosting bread and dough, you’ve put so much effort into planning and preparing it to destroy it at the very end!
Now you can bake without a break – you know how to freeze bread a save yourself some time and trouble! With the tips I shared with you, your home can smell like a bakery in a second or you can treat yourself to the end of a long diet!
Be sure to do everything precisely, watch the dates you carefully wrote on your frozen goods, and you’ll have the best results – there’s no doubt.
As I told you, I’m a busy mom so if you have additional advice or ideas, please be generous and share. I’m always open to your recipes too!