The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Can freezing actually improve a baked loaf?

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dsadowsk's picture
dsadowsk

Can freezing actually improve a baked loaf?

Baked Reinhart's Pain de campagne (BBA 195). Not exactly my greatest Reinhart success: crust less than crackling, crumb too dense. But still tasty enough, especially when eaten fresh.

I baked two boules, one for now, one for later. "Later" was cooled thoroughly (maybe an hour and a half), put in a zip lock bag with the air squeezed out, and left in the freezer for 6-7 days.

Took the zip lock bag out last night, left in bag at room temperature overnight. When I cut a piece this morning I couldn' t believe how wonderful it tasted! Just the right chew, rich taste that I hadn't noticed in the unfrozen loaf. Better, I'd say, than when fresh.

Is it possible that the brief stay in the freezer somehow did some good? Or is it that between the two boules I ate a bread machine white bread (baked mostly for bread crumbs), and I simply noticed the contrast?

 

sue cardiff's picture
sue cardiff

On more than one occasion I have noticed the same thing. It doesn't make sense that the frozen loaf would "get better," but it seems to do just that. Perhaps someone can provide an explanation that makes sense.

Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

Without regard to freezing, many breads improve for 2-3 days after baking.  It does not surprise me that a frozen bread could taste better than its freshly consumed litter mate.

Jeff

 

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

A strange but true fact of sourdough [especially retarded dough] is that it is always better on the second day after the bake.  I'm in the "wonder" category also.  Who would ever think that allowing bread to go slightly stale would greatly improve its taste? I remember that even Lionel Poilâne remarked that his bread was always better on the second day.., 

Wild-Yeast 

MangoChutney's picture
MangoChutney

Sourdough bread isn't always better on the second day, but I have heard that 100% rye breads are.

 

polo's picture
polo

I have the same experience. Without fail, my sourdough breads have better taste and texture after freezing.

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

freeze half a loaf as soon as it is cooled.  The bread always tastes better coming out of the freezer - even a month or more later. 

I have always though this is because the Frozen Grain Gods of Crop Circles have commanded it to be so long ago  - so it is to this day.  It could be due to  something else though - but probably not.

Litebrite's picture
Litebrite

My sourdough loaves always get a more toothsome, chewy quality after freezing.  They are much more satisfying to eat.

dsadowsk's picture
dsadowsk

I think I'll freeze more often, with different kinds of bread to see where it helps and where it doesn't.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

with freezing.  They dry out and become crumbly (crumb more brittle) usually making a big mess slicing.  If frozen too long they turn into cardboard (check out the ice crystals inside the bag) and should be used up within a month or two of baking.  Long freezing of bread can result in the bread taking on "freezer tastes." 

Frozen breads require closed container thawing and often re-heating to freshen them up. 

On a roll's picture
On a roll

Long-time bread baker (30+ years), but still not expert yet. I'm single, so don't chow through loaves like some do. I tend to slice and freeze in baggies. When I take slices out of the freezer in their bags, let them defrost a short time (say, 30 minutes) still bagged, then toss them in a warm (300F) oven for a few minutes, I've found they taste as fresh as possible, have a tender yet chewy crumb that beats anything I get from a fresh loaf, and have a much crisper crust than the same loaf does when freshly baked and completely cooled.

I know this isn't orthodox, but I had to add my support for the mysterious improvement that freezing seems to impart for some of us.

On the other hand, it could just be that my loaves are deficient in exactly the ways that freezing would compensate for. As I said, I'm no expert.

Grenage's picture
Grenage

I'm in the camp that thinks bread isn't generally improved in the freezer; then again, I think most frozen food suffers in some way.  I use it for ice cubes and emergency meals.

 I suppose it depends on the bread, and one's taste.

longhorn's picture
longhorn

I mainly make wet doughs and I find the crust softens rather quickly after baking. I prefer the crust of bread that has been frozen and reheated in a 300 to 350 degree F oven for 10 to 15 minutes over a day old loaf that has not been frozen. To me there is a small loss of aromatics in the frozen bread but the difference is not as significant to me as the crust.

But it is preferably not frozen long! Days or weeks, not months.