The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Using the freezer as a workflow solution

Urchina's picture

Using the freezer as a workflow solution

More as an academic exercise than anything else, a friend and I are developing a product line for an as-yet unrealized bed and breakfast and small coffeeshop / bakery. 


One of the tips I picked up from a previous career inspecting restaurants and bakeries was to make large batches of cookie dough, portion and freeze it, then bake off as needed. 


I'm wondering if any of you in the professional realm do this as a routine matter of course, to assist with workflow in the bakery, and how it turns out? 


In our little fantasy, we'd mix up several large batches of cookie and pastry dough once or twice a week, portion, and freeze. Then we could go straight from freezer to oven for fresh pastries and cookies at a reasonable hour in the morning. (and again in the afternoon). 


I'll be experimenting with doing the same with bread doughs -- doing a bulk fermentation, portioning and shaping, freezing, then defrosting / proofing in a fridge overnight and baking in the morning. 


As we both have families, anything that allows us to do most of our work when our kids are in school will be a bonus (and if this little venture never gets very far, it will at least help us better plan our baking as it is!). 


Ideas? Experiences? Thanks in advance!

ktgp's picture

The cookies definitely work. Just let them set out to take the chill off (~10 min.) and throw them in the oven! You may need to press them down halfway through baking if you haven't beforehand.

Haven't had much experience freezing bread, but retarding in the fridge can be helpful.

poppyfields's picture

Cookies, Yes!  I worked at a Corporate kitchen for a summer and on of my tasks was pulling large boxes of cookie dough disks out of the freezer, flopping them down onto sheet pans and bagging them up after baking.

I have modified this method for my home use, so hubby can have freshly baked cookies on demand.  I make double batches of 3 kinds of cookie dough (chocolate chip, peanut butter, oatmeal raisin are our favorites) and plop scoops of dough onto wax paper.  I use the wax paper to squish the dough into cylinders (or logs) about 2 inches in diameter, and just long enough to wrap the ends with the wax paper.  The rolled and wrapped logs go into a gallon plastic freezer bag and into my freezer.

When I want to bake, I remove one log, preheat oven to 375 f, and use my bench knife to chop/slice the log into 16 disks and bake for 10-12 minutes.  Ta-da!  Fresh baked cookies in 15 minutes.


I remember reading somewhere how to replicate the frozen Pilsberry bread dough, but don't remember the particulars.  Why not use the No Kneed method and offer fresh baked crusty breads and rolls?

Good luck!

pmccool's picture

Lots of bakeries use the freezer exactly as you describe.  It allows them to make up items during the non-rush periods that can then be baked off at a later time.  Laminated and puff pastry work very well this way.  You can wrap and freeze the finished block of dough, then haul it out to thaw an hour or two before shaping and baking.  You can also shape and then freeze some pastries for later thawing and baking.

Best wishes for your future business.


mimifix's picture

You're on the right track. Bakeries use numerous methods for speeding production - dry mixes (from their own recipes), refrigerating batters and doughs, freezing baked and unbaked products. It would be helpful if you worked in a bakery or restaurant to learn the daily reality of standard production methods.

I owned a bakery/cafe for many years. It's a labor of love. Emphasis on labor. Good luck, Mimi