The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Par-bake and freeze

embth's picture

Par-bake and freeze

Has anyone experimented with par-baking and freezing bread?   I have been asked to supply bread for a Thanksgiving gathering several hours drive away.   My daughter who has some bread baking experience would be doing the final bake.

From what I have read, I would process the bread as normal, and bake the loaves to a soft beige crust within about 10 minutes of "done".   Then it should cool to room temperature, double wrapped and frozen.  When ready to use, defrost in the refrigerator (or a cooler while in transport?) still wrapped, then finish the baking.

Michael Suas' book mentions "flash freezing" unwrapped loaves but since I only have a home freezer, I think I would have too much drying if I put it in unwrapped.

I am considering Sweet Potato rolls and Olive bread as these seem to be formulas with a lot of moisture that might hold up better to the freezing.  Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


mcs's picture

Hi Embth,
I don't think there's any advantage of par-baking/freezing/finishing baking over a good complete bake/freezing/reheating.  Of course the best option is to have it all nice and fresh, but since that is not always practical, I would recommend the bake and freeze method.

I am a proponent of 'the baker does all of the baking' method, meaning you do your thing and bake your Sweet Potato rolls and Olive bread as best and as perfectly as you can.  Let them cool for a couple of hours, then wrap and freeze.  On game day, thaw for a couple of hours (on the drive there, perhaps?), then wrap in foil and reheat on a low temperature in your daughter's oven when you get there.  Some people have different re-heating methods (some use steam, some leave the bread uncovered...), but that's how I would do it.


clazar123's picture

I am in the same situation and have asked this same question in holidays past. I tried parbaking one year and completely baking the next and I have to agree-bake it all the way and reheat on  the holiday. As long as it was fresh when it was frozen and well wrapped to contain the moisture, it will be fine.

Is it the same as fresh? As close as you can get. Reduce your stress and enjoy the day! The sweet potato rolls and the buttermilk cluster are great choices! I haven't made the olive loaf but it sounds delicious. So many delicious choices.

mrfrost's picture

I would suggest baking and tasting both beforehand.

Have you done these before?

How did you like them?

Also, if you didn't already know, the first reply is from a professional.

embth's picture

Sounds like the way to go…..I will bake the breads completely and freeze them.  Yes, I have baked these breads before (and buttermilk clusters as well, another nice choice).  So many great breads to try, but so few calories allowed per day.

Thank you all for your time in answering my inquiry.   The bakers of TFL are always a great resource for good information.  

Happy Holiday Baking to All!    Embth

PastryPaul's picture

I have found that there is a fine line between cooking part way and having loaves collapse during the freezing process.

Our solution has been to bake the loaves so they are edible, but not fully baked. As an illustration, if they were roasts of beef, they would be rare to medium-rare. For bread, an internal temp of about 175F. The final bake is then about 5-6 minutes from thawed at 450F.

We allow the loaves to cool to room temp before freezing.


AnnaInMD's picture

bake to a lightly golden brown, freeze, rebake to a darker color. No difference from a "freshly"  baked loaf. However, I had no other ingredients such as olives, cheese, etc, in the frozen dough.



embth's picture

Good morning, Anna…..your comment does make me wonder what changes might develop in the olives when frozen.  Perhaps I should re-think my bread choices.  I have frozen the Sweet Potato rolls and they do fine.  8(F) degrees above zero this morning here in MN; hope it is a bit warmer in MD.    Thanks!