The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Freezing Dough

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sustainthebaker's picture
sustainthebaker

Freezing Dough

I need to know all about freezing doughs. I have only frozen pizza doughs and do not have experience freezing other loaves. In particular, I have a standard white bread dough recipe that I use for dinner rolls or sandwich loaves. My questions are:  what are the best ways to freeze dough? What point of the proofing stage is best to freeze dough? How long can it be frozen and still rise? Any precautions needed?


 


Ideas?


Thanks.

charles's picture
charles

I have had success in freezing dough.  Emily Buehler in Bread Science recommends that the dough be frozen immediately after mixing - do not allow it to proof at all.


Since freezing kills some of the yeast cells, she suggests increasing the amount of yeast to compensate.  While you can determine the amount to add by trial and error, I have found between .5 and .75 teaspoons of instant yeast works well for a two loaf recipe.


Thaw the dough in your refrigerator overnight and let it come to room temperature the next day. This requires somewhere between 2 and 3 hours depending on your specific room.  Then proceed with your recipe: proofing, shaping, etc.


Hope this helps!


CWM


 

YellowDoors's picture
YellowDoors

When you want to freeze dough, prepare dough as usual. Before you begin proofing place dough in an air tight container, thats very important! Then freeze the dough Quickly. When you pull the dough out of the freezer to use, DO NOT try to proof quickly!!!!! Place the dough still in the airtight container in the fridge until thawed. Then bring the dough (still in the air tight container) to a table or counter top where it will sit untouched until it begins to proof, about 30 - 45 minutes then return to fridge for the remaining proofing. 

If you use a clear container it is easiest to see when the dough is proofed. Keeping dough in the container will prevent a crust forming on the dough before baking and will allow the container and dough to work together for proofing!

Do not over-proof your dough. When the dough is soft, but still firm, and you can press on the dough and it springs back is when your dough is at its top quality for baking. Be sure to knead your dough and shape it before baking.  Keep dough cool until you place it in the oven.

 

 

longhorn's picture
longhorn

If you search on freezing dough you will find that most of us are solidly in favor of baking the bread and freezing bread that is near fully baked. Freezing kills yeast and you will never get the kind of rise from thawed dough that you get from normal fermentation. Note: pizza dough is a lot more forgiving of under/over/bad proofing than bread. 


Frozen bread, reheated in an oven at 350 can be virtually indistinguishable from fresh bread (slighly less aromatic in most cases but often better crust).


Good luck!


Jay


 

gardenchef's picture
gardenchef

hi jay 

do you let the baked and frozen bread thaw before reheating at 350? Or just put it in and thaw while reheating? How long in the oven?
Thanks so much

Cathy 

sustainthebaker's picture
sustainthebaker

Thank you both for your inputs. I will try both methods and find what works best for my work situtation.


 


Cheers!

longhorn's picture
longhorn

I should have mentioned increasing the yeast as an option - it will help...but when you pull it from the freezer you are three hours from where you would have been when you froze it - assuming reasonable size loaves and that you followed Emily's advice to freeze immediately. So you are at least two hours ahead by mixing now rather than reviving frozen!


Much better to retard for up to several days in the fridge and not kill all the yeast than to freeze IMO.


Sorry I didn't mention that but...as I work primarily in sourdough (which IMO should never be frozen) I didn't think of it. I don't think it will take long for you to join the no frozen dough club.


If you do decide to freeze the dough, far better for it to be short duration. The longer it is frozen the more yeast you will lose and the more anemic the subsequent rise.


Good luck!


Jay


 

sustainthebaker's picture
sustainthebaker

Jay


I currently don't freeze dough. I am working with a home caterer and together we are trying to figure out the best economical way to produce weekly loaves/rolls while keeping labor costs down.


I too do indulge in sourdough and agree with you in not freezing the dough.


I will try the increase of yeast and that'll probably be the best option.

longhorn's picture
longhorn

Smaller breads, rolls, and "conventional" thin crust breads are IMO trickier than artisanal boules. 


I have had reasonable success with rolls and such by parbaking to about 185 to 190 depending on the additives. They shouldn't color a lot and can be thawed and then be baked almost normally to yield product very near conventionally baked fresh bread. In my experience they can be frozen for one week unwrapped (in a bag or something but nothing special) or a couple of weeks individually wrapped, without any significant degradation. Around three weeks the crust will begin being affected in my experience.


If you want to freeze the dough I would start by adding 50% extra yeast. Since best results are achieved by freezing immediately on mixing, I don't see how that will save on labor for the bulk ferment, shaping, proofing will have to be done every time you/they bake instead of processing larger volumes and par baking en mass with loaves receiving simple baking.


Good luck!


Jay

joyfulbaker's picture
joyfulbaker

Jay, what type of dough do you find successful in parbaking?  I need to bake in large quantity and this seems like a good tool to have in the repertoire.  I take it you mean baking to 185-190 degrees F., correct?  How would that work with enriched doughs such as challah or sweet dough (for onion pockets/rolls from Inside the Jewish Bakery)--or even bagels?  I think that's how La Brea Bakery managed to ship huge quantities of breads to Costco and then have the local in-store bakery finish the bake.  Lots to learn!  Thanks. --Joy

longhorn's picture
longhorn

Hi Cathy!

I prefer to thaw it and then give it 10 to 15 minutes at 300 to 350. I sort of decide based on how dark the crust is. If it is a bit on the light side I tend to go hotter and longer, if dark, shorter and cooler. I typically set it out about six hours before I plan to serve it and then heat it about two hours before I plan to serve it - four hours out of the freezer, but that is hardly magic. From 6 am to 6 pm is fine if need be. I leave it wrapped in saran and the crust will be a bit damp so the drying out ss very beneficial. And since I typically freeze bread within six hours of coming out of the oven, it is still plenty "fresh" and not stale.

I occasionally do similarly with frozen bread but it takes a lot longer so you are pretty much forced to go at 300 IMO and the crust can get pretty thick and crunchy. But with wet artisanal loaves I don't find that a big problem!

Good luck! Let me know how it works for you!

Jay

joyfulbaker's picture
joyfulbaker

To chime in in this discussion, I remember reading in Hamelman's Bread that frozen and thawed bread, while the quality is pretty well preserved, goes through the "staling point"--about 55 degrees--twice:  once on the way to being frozen and once on the way to being thawed.  He indicated that the difference from freshly baked bread is that the keeping quality is reduced; it will stale more quickly.  I routinely freeze and then thaw and "refresh" both enriched bread (i.e., challah) and "lean" bread (i.e., pain au levain).  Both types of breads taste absolutely fine (delicious, if you will, with crisp crusts and good crumb) when they are reheated (350 dF for 5-6 minutes for the challah; 375 dF for 7-8 minutes, first spritzing lightly with water for the sourdough).  But they do stale more quickly than bread that hasn't been frozen.  My experience anyway.  --Joy