The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Please help with sweet bread issue at my bakery!!

suzisweet's picture

Please help with sweet bread issue at my bakery!!

Good day all!

I have a very small town bakery. We have been open for just 5 short weeks. Things have been going well if you do not include lack of sleep and family time!! 

Seeing as I and one other person do all of the making and baking; we have tried hard to come up with ways to save time and produce more. Things aren't bad there either with one familys' prized recipe and creation called the "Birdie Bun". (Picture is a mini version of our bun.) It is a sweet yeast dough that is allowed to rise, then is shaped into a bird, proofed, egg washed and baked. We also use the same dough for a handful of other items....sticky buns, cinnamon rolls and our very well selling tomato rolls. 

Here lies the problem....

In trying to trim time we make a weeks worth of dough for all products. We portion and wrap and let the first rise occur in walk in fridge on racks. The next day we shape items and birdie buns. We then freeze them immediately, well wrapped I might add. We then take them out as needed, leave in fridge over night to thaw and proof in our proofer for 30-45 minutes. We have had success on all of our items made this way with the exception of the birdie bun. They seem to be forming a skin that allows for very little rise in the proofer and when egg washed and baked they have now been covered with tiny little wart like bubbles....they look hideous! BUT the worst is that they are no longer soft and feathery inside and they have even seemed to loose some of their sweetness. I must fix this problem ASAP. We thought maybe a quick freeze, then spray with water so that they get a coating of ice on them then put back in the freezer. Once into the fridge the ice melts and they stay moist. Any thoughts on this? We have not yet had the time to test this but any suggestions will be very much appreciated!! I do not want to loose our following on this roll! We make some of our breakfast and lunch sandwiches on them and lately (probably because of what they look like) people have been choosing to have their sandwiches on bagels and croissants instead!!! UGH!! PLEASE any help....any!!! Maybe a spray of oil?????

DavidEF's picture

No need losing customers while you wait for a solution. If at all possible, go back to the old fashioned way of making the birdie buns. Even if you still make the same dough and freeze it for other products successfully, make the birdie buns in the original manner until you fix your issue. Experimenting with hopeful solutions that may or may not help, while your clientele continue to suffer, may end badly for you. Once you confirm the fix works, then you can start using the frozen dough again for production.

Joyofgluten's picture

Have you tried egg washing them(slightly water diluted) before freezing? This could help or possibly make it worse.....

How much do the dough birdies weigh-pre-baked?

Is the rack they are on during the the refrigerator thaw out, protected with a plastic cover? This would help to cut back on the skinning.

I worked in commercial bakeries a couple of decades back, we did a lot of sweet dough products and made good use of the freezer, i remember though that there were nasty powder additives involved to aid in the recovery from this frozen state. It has to be doable without though. I hope that you find a speedy solution to the problem.

suzisweet's picture

Thank you both for speedy response time! Yes, David, we could revert back for a time but we are so overloaded right now, it's going to be hard. Though if we get a quick solution, say a day or three, we could handle that. Operating on so little sleep right now that that just sounds painful......fingers crossed for quick solution.

@joyofgluten, yes!! we have discussed trying the egg wash prior to is on our experiment list!

Thanks again to both of you.

Franko's picture

A few suggestions for freezing your dough.
Ideally you want use a flour with the best protien quality you can find. This will help with gas retention as freezing tends to damage the gluten that traps the gas. Fresh yeast over instant is preferable for freezing longer than 3 days and increasing the yeast percentage, as well as lipid/fat levels slightly (1-2%) will help ensure a healthy dough when it's thawed. The increased fat content protects the yeast cells while the dough is frozen so that less of them are damaged from the sharp edges of water crystallization First, mix the dough intensivsley, using cool/cold water to keep the dough temperature in check. A warm dough will work against you when the product is to be frozen and try eliminating the first rise and simply rest the dough briefly before dividing and shaping, then proceed with freezing.

Dough to be frozen needs to handled as quickly as possible. From a production standpoint freezing is often necessary but product quality tends to suffer the longer the dough is frozen, and if practical try making up smaller batches that will see you through 3-4 days rather than a full week. Hope this helps.

dosco's picture


It sounds like you have a mismatch between your manufacturing capability (in other words, supply) and the customer demand.

Is it worthwhile to be working 20+ hours per day? Are you making your numbers?

On the other hand, perhaps you can reduce the production of certain items to more closely match your production capability and demand?

Sounds like you can't keep things up at this rate, and you could end burned out in a big way.




mcs's picture

I suggest, rather than freezing your Birdie Buns all shaped and ready to go, that you instead try freezing the dough for those buns already portioned (scaled) but not shaped.  Then each day you put the pieces in the fridge to thaw the night before, warm them up to room (or proofer) temperature, then shape them- new Birdies get shaped each day.  Intricate shapes tend to have a more difficult time rebounding from the freeze/thaw process you're describing as they've been worked/degassed and restricted more than a simple shape. 

Since the process seems to be working for the other shapes that you use the dough for, keep that part the same as you are already doing.


The Loaf Oaf's picture
The Loaf Oaf

The blister come from the cold fermentation process.  I get the same blisters when I put my shaped Bavarian pretzels into the fridge over night to build flavor.  As far as I know the blisters are unavoidable for shaped dough that cold ferments.  I cold ferment my brioche dough (6 hrs freezer/overnight fridge), shape the next day and I have never had blisters on them.

Truth Serum's picture
Truth Serum

I am just wondering it has been a few rises and sets of the sun and what has become of the buns and the bakery?