The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Storing in freezer

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SDbaker's picture
SDbaker

Storing in freezer

Hi everyone - I have a question about..gasp..pre-slicing/freezing/storing bread.  Don't shoot!  I am going through a mental exercise considering a small business venture in personal cheffing, where one cooks about a week or two worth of entrees and freezes them for later reheating by the client.  I am thinking of ways to add my passion for baking but would need a method of EASY re-warming/thawing of bread by the customer. Perhaps smaller baquettes would be more elegant.  I don't currently freeze bread, and have heard good and bad about it.  What do you think?

 SD Baker

Rosalie's picture
Rosalie

How about rolls with seeds (maybe mixed seeds)?  Wrap them individually.  You can instruct the client to stick them in the oven (toaster oven if they have it) for a few minutes, first still with the foil still on, then removing the foil.

Rosalie

susanfnp's picture
susanfnp

Would you consider parbaking the bread before freezing? I'm not sure exactly how underbaked you would want it, but you could experiment. I agree that small loaves/rolls would probably work best, and would certainly thaw faster than large loaves.

Susanfnp

http://www.wildyeastblog.com

breadnerd's picture
breadnerd

I freeze loaves all the time. Mini baguettes (say, 4 ounces of pre-baked dough) are great, also ciabattas too since they are small and thaw quickly. I often toast slices for dinner and really the quality is just fine (especially compared to store bought bread). Whole sourdough loaves hold up quite well for several days after thawing too.

I've given loaves away and folks have told me they slice and freeze it with good results, and buns/rolls are a good idea. too.

You could also experiment with par-baked--such as la brioche etc. uses and I've seen for sale at the grocery store. I've seen recipes for rolls where you bake them to ust under-brown (technically done, but without a lot of crust color) that you can then bake for a few minutes with the rest of the meal.

Sounds like a great option for personal chef-ing--good luck and let us know how it goes.

bwraith's picture
bwraith

If you ever so slightly underbake a preferrably high hydration sourdough loaf (underbaking optional but freezes better and restores better this way, works better with higher hydration loaves but slightly underbaked lower hydration OK too), it can easily be cut into a few chunks that will freeze well, and when defrosted will last well for a few days on the counter. For example, I cut the Pane casareccio di Genzano loaves (about 8 pounds of dough each) into 6 chunks and freeze them. I can take out a chunk and let it defrost for a few hours. Then, a slice can be cut off and put it in the toaster oven to crisp it. I keep the bread in an airtight container with a lot of air/volume compared to the bread itself, so it can breath in the container. You might think this wouldn't work, but really a defrosted and reheated slice is not so different from right after it has cooled freshly baked. The airtight bag retains some moisture, so the bread doesn't dry out too much. The reheating will make the crust crisp and remove some of the excess moisture from the slight underbaking and the high hydration. However, it is hard for people to believe it works, so you may have trouble marketing it this way, even though it works well. I suppose you could extend the method to the individual slice, if your customer doesn't want to deal with leaving the bread in a container on the counter and slicing it when needed.

turtlemom's picture
turtlemom

I'd been freezing day old breads for years with great results - slice and unsliced loaves. When the Ol' Curmudgeon started baking a while back, we quickly realized that since it's just the 2 of us, we needed to find a way to preserve the large pullman loaves and the extra loaves. So we just wrap very tightly in cling wrap, and then place in freezer zip bags. The Pullman loaves we have to cut in half. We tried it both ways - sliced and unsliced. It works well both ways. We get the "new" loaf out the night before, and it's ready for slicing (if unsliced) the next morning. If pre-sliced, it's still ready the next morning. 

So I say, go for it. You can always "experiment" with a few loaves and eat your failures (or successes). 

Cheerio!

The Turtlemom