How To Freeze Bread: Catherine’s Cooking Tricks You Should Know
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 for some pastry heaven!
My husband and kids love my homemade bread and buns, especially if I make them with my unique spread, but unfortunately, baking daily is impossible for a working mom like myself.
A couple of years ago, my old friend shared a secret how her home always smells just like a bakery - freezing bread and bread dough!
I had my doubts, but once I tried her method, I was astonished!
With this trick, you can enjoy bakery goods for months; it can be convenient if you are busy or on a diet and your local bakery have that season pie on the menu.
I'll show you how to freeze bread properly so you and your family can enjoy it any time you want!
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 a 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. Same goes for the dough, as well.
1. Homemade bread and pastry
- When freezing homemade bread be sure it's completely cooled down before you proceed. It will take several hours, but it will prevent the bread from going soggy or moldy.
- Wrap each loaf individually in plastic wrap tightly, but not too tightly - you don't want to squish them! The secret of freshness is double-wrapping it. The first layer is a plastic wrap, but for the second layer of wrap use aluminum foil or even better, freezing paper. This way you are protecting your loaf from freezer burns if the plastic gets torn.
- Be sure to label each loaf with date and name, if you make different kinds of bread - so you can pick the right one with ease when you need it. Writing the date is essential because homemade bread can last in the freezer for six months. After that time, the risk of your bread going bad is very high.
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 multiple layers of foil to stop sharp edges from tearing 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 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 as taking care of my kids.
I tried a couple of times with the store-bought dough, but even though results were fine, it wasn’t as nearly like 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 dough rises as usually.
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 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 best results.
How to thaw bread and dough for the best 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 a baked bread, you need to remove it from the freezer and let it 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 on 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, 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!
When you reheat them in the microwave, you melt the sugar molecules causing bread to be soft and fluffy. But when bread cools of, molecules recrystallize and harden, causing the loaf to become chewy.
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 in planning and preparing it to destroy it on 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 on 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 for your recipes too! 🙂