The Fresh Loaf

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Need help with par baking

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carrtje's picture
carrtje

Need help with par baking

I've been recruited to bake for our church Thanksgiving feast.  They asked me to bake a loaf for each table, which will only end up being 10 or 12.  I thought I'd use my dutch ovens to do the baking, as I'm very comfortable with this way of doing it (15 min covered, 20 min uncovered basic white)


I was thinking I could do this over a couple of days by par baking the loaves and freezing them. Then, on the day of the dinner, put them all on baking sheets and finish them off.  I have, of course my home oven to work with.  Then, at the church I have two ovens.  Am I right in this thinking?


So, how would you suggest I go about doing it?  I was thinking of taking them out after the 15 minute covered bake.  Then when I go to rebake them, bringing them all to room temperature first and spritzing them with a little salt water.  Then toss them into a preheated 500 degree oven.


What are your thoughts?

davidg618's picture
davidg618

There is a number of things (happenings) while bread bakes that you need to consider. Since, you will only be keeping these a short time, and your freezing them, some may be more important than others.


Overall, you want a stable product that won't change biologically, structually, or chemically while its being frozen, during thawing, and final baking, except for browning nicely.


That means you want to complete oven-rise, kill the yeast,  coagulate the gluten, gelatinize all the available starches and stop all enzymatic activity.


I'm using Hamelman's Bread, page 24, as a reference for the necessary internal temperature needed to achieve all the above. Yeast dies about 140°F, gluten coagulates between 158°F and 176°F, i.e., oven-spring will cease, the dough will not collapse. Gelatinization and enzyme active is finished at 194°F.


To insure a stable par-baked loaf, I'd bake it covered for 15 minutes, as you reasoned, but I'd rely on internal temperature to assure all biological, chemical and structual changes in the dough were complete.Finishing the par-bake covered or uncovered isn't critical. I think reaching 194°F will assure stable par-baked loaves, and relatively low or no crust coloration.


However, you may be able to get away with 9 or 10° less. An online source, states the well-known and well-respected La Brea bakery par-bakes bread to 185°F, with satisfactory results. 


Good luck,


David G

breadman1015's picture
breadman1015

I've always found that for parbaking, bake loaves for 75% of the baking time and store at room temperature for up to 20 hours. When needed, bake for twice the remaining baking time. If freezing parbaked bread, just place in oven frozen.


For example: If normal baking time is 40 minutes, bake loaves for 30 minutes and store. When needed, bake for 20 minutes.


Randy

longhorn's picture
longhorn

I freeze bread routinely and do not believe in par baking - at least for lean high hydration artisanal boules. I bake my loaves to 205-207 oF internal temperature at an oven temp of 435. I want the internal of temp to reach that temp and that can only be reasonably done in the first bake. Par baking - unless done at lower temps cannot fully cook the loaf center and reheating can't either. 


My finished loaves are perfectly baked IMO. I freeze any loaves that will not be cut open in the next 24 hours. To reheat them I thaw them for about three hours and reheat in a 325 oven for about fifteen minutes to refresh the crust. 


I have tried the reduced temp pale par bake followed by a hot oven finish bake and I prefer the 325 reheat.


Good Luck!


Jay

Janknitz's picture
Janknitz

I agree with Jay that you're better off fully baking your breads and letting them cool THOROUGHLY (I usually don't do anything with them until the next day, but I usually bake in late afternoon or evening). Then wrap each loaf tightly in foil and an outer layer of plastic wrap for the freezer.  (Minimize the air that gets in to avoid freezerburn). 


You should take them out of the freezer the night before the Thanksgiving Feast and leave them FULLY WRAPPED.   This allows the moisture in the loaves to redistribute back into the crumbs rather than be discarded with your wrappings.   


Let the loaves thaw at room temperature overnight.  A few hours before the event, you can warm them at 325 or 350 for 10 to 15 minutes to refresh the crust.  I usually leave the foil wrapping on loosely if it's a soft-crusted bread.  Then cool them to transport them to the church. 


I promise that they will taste as if you baked them that very morning. 


The church ovens are likely to be busy with the rest of the feast preparation, so I wouldn't count on completing the bake or warming the breads there.  And by fully baking them in the first place, you will be assured the breads are perfect when frozen and thawed.  I see no advantage to parbaking, where you gamble that they may not finish well at the last minute, when it's too late to do anything about it. 

davidg618's picture
davidg618

Despite my post above--I was trying to answer the question--I fully agree with the two earlier posts. I bake everything completely, freeze, the next day, what's not being eaten, and refresh in a medium oven after thawing.


David G

longhorn's picture
longhorn

Hi Janknitz!


I usually only wait three or four hours. I fully agree that a foil/saran combo wrap is desirable if the loaves are to experience extended freezing but I never let a loaf be frozen for more than two weeks and I can't sense any difference between with and without foil.


I almost prefer reheated for the crust is eventhicker and crunchier!


Jay

Janknitz's picture
Janknitz

Sometimes I don't even bother with foil.  I slice the loaves and pack two slices to a sandwhich sized-zip bag with a piece of parchment or wax paper in between.  This keeps homemade bread fresh and it's eaten within the week.  20 seconds in the microwave and the bread is as good as fresh baked.  No more moldy bread in our house. 


But if it's going to be longer than a week, I make sure that the bread is wrapped very well.  Just making sure ;o)