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Freezing bread dough


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I finally got the room for a large freezer and I am now going about stocking it. Now I love fresh baked bread, but I simply do not have the time to make fresh bread every day. As such I wondered whether it is possible to freeze dough or perhaps half-baked breads for later and if so, at what point do you freeze it and why?

"My rule of life prescribed as an absolutely sacred rite smoking cigars and also the drinking of alcohol before, after and if need be during all meals and in the intervals between them."

-Winston Churchill

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Yes, you can freeze bread dough: in my experience it freezes quite well. It obviously takes some time to thaw and rise, and there is typically some yeast die-off (which extends that time), but otherwise I haven't really noticed any adverse effects. Some authors suggest increasing the amount of yeast a bit to account for the die-off, but I just live with the longer rise times.

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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I freeze pizza dough all the time (frozen after kneading and balling). I usually make enough for six pizzas and put one or two in the refrigerator to cold ferment and freeze the rest.

I also buy frozen dough loaves for when I want freshly baked bread.

The regular instructions for the bread is to put in a greased loaf pan, cover with plastic wrap and leave to thaw and rise for 6 hours. In practice this method seems to a take a bit longer so it might be possible to do this before going to work and come home to a fully risen loaf.

For my pizza dough, I usually just transfer it to the refrigerator 1-3 days before I need it. In emergencies I've found that I can thaw it quickly by putting the dough in a ziplock bag, getting rid of as much air as possible and putting it into a sink of room-temp water.

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Well, I didn't think it would be so easy, I figured the yeast would die, guess I'll get started! Though while I am on this tangent, can you also freeze a starter? That might just mean I will never buy bread again!

Edited by Deus Mortus (log)

"My rule of life prescribed as an absolutely sacred rite smoking cigars and also the drinking of alcohol before, after and if need be during all meals and in the intervals between them."

-Winston Churchill

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Yes, you can freeze starter, though you'll still have to defrost it, re-hydrate it and feed it a few times before it is active enough to raise a loaf of bread. It's faster/easier to keep a starter semi-dormant in the fridge; it can sit for weeks without feeding, then can be reactivated & made tasty again with just a couple of feedings.

For long-term storage, some ppl spread a thin layer of starter on a piece of foil, freeze until hard, then crumble it up into shards. The shards go into a bag/container, allowing you to keep the starter for months without any fuss.

I'm a fan of freezing (certain kinds of) completely baked loaves. I like to have different kinds available, so I'll bake & slice/portion some of the baked bread, wrapped tighly in plastic, then stowed in a zipper bag. I can take out just a few slices/pieces at a time. Defrost at room temp & a quick refresh in the toaster oven, and it's (nearly) as good as new. I bake big batches of burger & hot dog buns and store for later use: the enriched, soft white bread seems to freeze especially well.

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Yes, you can freeze starter, though you'll still have to defrost it, re-hydrate it and feed it a few times before it is active enough to raise a loaf of bread. It's faster/easier to keep a starter semi-dormant in the fridge; it can sit for weeks without feeding, then can be reactivated & made tasty again with just a couple of feedings.

That´s good to know, I haven´t had much practice with baking breads yet, but I´m getting pretty excited about making my first starter.

For long-term storage, some ppl spread a thin layer of starter on a piece of foil, freeze until hard, then crumble it up into shards. The shards go into a bag/container, allowing you to keep the starter for months without any fuss.

I doubt I´ll go months without baking any new breads, but it seems like this is a good way to create a backup in case the one in the fridge dies. Is there anything you need to look out for when defrosting it?

I'm a fan of freezing (certain kinds of) completely baked loaves. I like to have different kinds available, so I'll bake & slice/portion some of the baked bread, wrapped tighly in plastic, then stowed in a zipper bag. I can take out just a few slices/pieces at a time. Defrost at room temp & a quick refresh in the toaster oven, and it's (nearly) as good as new. I bake big batches of burger & hot dog buns and store for later use: the enriched, soft white bread seems to freeze especially well.

That is more or less what I'm doing now, but I'm a sucker for the smell of bread baking and lovely warm bread to munch on!

"My rule of life prescribed as an absolutely sacred rite smoking cigars and also the drinking of alcohol before, after and if need be during all meals and in the intervals between them."

-Winston Churchill

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You can freeze starter but there's really no point.

Couple of years ago we went to France for three months. I took some wheat and rye starter with us for use over there (when you get down to it the bread situation in France might even be worse that in the UK)and as an experiment put a small amount of both starters in the fridge and the freezer.

The starters we took came back as refreshed (sorry) as we were. The refrigerated starters bounced back with one refreshment, the frozen ones took another 24 hours.

Mick

Mick Hartley

The PArtisan Baker

bethesdabakers

"I can give you more pep than that store bought yeast" - Evolution Mama (don't you make a monkey out of me)

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