The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Freezing bread dough to bake later

KipperCat's picture

Freezing bread dough to bake later

This topic just came up in the small loaves thread.  What does it take to successfully freeze bread dough for later baking? I assume it's possible because they sell frozen dough loaves at the grocery store.  Are there any special tricks?

StephenJ's picture

I prepare pizza dough in advance. I just cover the dough with Glad Wrap and place it in a freezer bag, date it and freeze it. I have found that it holds well for several months.

I thaw it at room temperature before using and have even given it a microwave zap if I am pressed for time. 

ahvolare's picture

When you prepare your pizza dough in advance (to freeze for later use), do you let it rise before freezing?  Never mind,  What I meant does one let it rise once then punch down.  At any rate, I figured it out, no one responded.

Doc's picture

I say why to take the hassle twice. Bake several smaller loafs when you have the time. You can either take it out of the oven 10 minutes earlier than you would do normally, let cool, freeze, and finish baking when you need the fresh bread....or...simply finish baking, let cool, wrap in aluminum foil, and warm it up covered with the foil in a 350 degree oven (approx 10 minutes).

Interestingly if you warm it up in the aluminum foil the crust becomes nice and chrispy, and not wet and soggy as I would have expected. So for me this is the way to go.

Have fun baking

Rosalie's picture

As I reported in the other thread, I have not had particularly good luck freezing dough because the yeast does not want to revive.  It's not a problem with pizza dough because it doesn't really have to rise again, but it is for loaves.  I might try the brown-and-serve loaf idea.

Commercial loaves are made under conditions that we don't have in our kitchens.  Mike Avery gave a good explanation that foreshadowed my lack of success.  Perhaps he'll chime in here.


Cooky's picture

I think the bake-at-home stuff you buy in grocery stores is not raw dough, but partly baked loaves.  


"I am not a cook. But I am sorta cooky."

toddlorensinclair's picture

I have used some of the "Bake at Home" bread ... they do have spme that are basically par baked bread .. but the ones I've used are a dough that you thaw and rise then bake. It was quite good. 3 loafs for $2.97.

ElaineW's picture

I freeze unbaked bread dough all the time. The only thing you have to remember is to thaw the dough in the refrigerator over night and then allow sufficient time to fully rise the way you would normally let a bread rise.

When I freeze a pan bread such as white or wheat: line your pans with plastic wrap allowing sufficient extra wrap to cover the dough.  I shape the dough then wrap as tightly as possible, so the dough does not have room to expand, then place the whole thing in the freezer.

A freeform bread I just wrap after shaping and place on a pan in the freezer.  I freeze rolls on a cookie sheet until they are solid then transfer to a plastic baggie.

Properly wrapped, plastic wrap and either heavy duty foil or heavy plastic bags, I have kept dough in the freezer for up to 3 months with no quality loss.

Freezing the dough unbaked allows me extra room in the freezer and also the flexibility of being able to have fresh baked breads, cakes and rolls when I either have no time or do not want the mess. You can also use them as gifts to people who whould love to have fresh baked goodies but do not bake breads themselves. I just give them baking directions.


KipperCat's picture

Thank you Elaine!  I like the idea of giving them as gifts. I imagine your friends are pretty happy about it as well.

Arige's picture

But there is another thing i am not sure about: after kneading the dough do i freeze it immediately or wait until it rises?

ErinT's picture

Elaine, do you double or increase the yeast in your recipes when freezing yeast bread dough?  I am wondering if I need to compensate for yeast dying off in the freezing process.

msterbaker's picture

You need to double the amount of yeast in the dough to compensate the yeast dying off during the freezing process.

Davefs's picture

never did that and it works fine.

ElaineW's picture

What I didn't mention before is that when you put the dough in the refrigerator overnight to defrost, unwrap the bread completely, place in or on the greased pan and cover lightly with plastic wrap that has been greased. In the morning, remove pan of bread and allow to rise as you normally would except allow extra time. What I would normally let rise for an hour will take about 2 1/2 hours to fully proof.

When I give breads or cakes as a gift, I use foil pans. I line the foil pan with plastic wrap and place the dough in it so it will have the right shape.  I freeze the pan and all but remove the pan when the dough is frozen.

I found that giving these frozen gifts to be really appreciated. Most people do not make their own breads and such. They either don't know how or just don't have the time. To be able to defrost this when they want and have the instructions to bake it themselves is always appreciated, more than a fully baked item.

When I ran a supermarket bakery, we always purchased the frozen bread dough, roll dough and cake dough. We would pan the dough overnight, cover them and allow to defrost in the cooler. In the AM, the morning baker would slash/shape/brush each item as needed and put the racks of dough in the proofer. The proofer there had moist heat.


Rosalie's picture

I'm gonna try it.  The first time I did this, the dough did rise, but then I guess I expected more out of it and ruined it.  This is the primary purpose for which I bought my convection toaster oven.


ElaineW's picture

Hi Rosalie,

I guess my brain isn't totally working, the moist heat of the proofer is just for getting the dough to rise. It is baked in the oven after that.

I have a convection oven which is great for "some" breads. If you want a crusty exterior and plan on using some form of moisture in the oven than I found that the convection feature does not help. For other breads and cakes the convection feature is teriffic.

Let me know how it works out for you.


msterbaker's picture

  • Double the yeast. Use only active dry yeast - not fast-acting yeast. Mix bread according to the recipe's instructions but double the yeast amount. This is to compensate for the yeast that will die off in the freezing process.
  • Let the bread go through its first rise. Most yeast breads go through 2 rises. Let the dough do its first rise in a greased bowl as per recipe instructions.
  • Shape the dough into loaves. After the first rise, punch down dough and knead. Shape the bread dough into loaves.
  • Place loaves into greased bread pans and cover with greased plastic wrap to prevent sticking. This is done to make sure the dough loaves hold their shape when freezing.
  • Lisa1's picture

    I am trying to make sour dough biscuits, & I was wondering if the dough will rise again, when you freeze it, then let it thaw? How would I be able to do it?

    Leonardo's picture

    I do so: yeast dough for pizza must first climb, and then subjected to freezing. But do not forget that in this pizza dough should be like in cakes. Read here:

    isobel gildon's picture
    isobel gildon

    Whenever I make baguettes, I cook two of them half-way - they spring fully and firm up but don't colour - take them out, let them cool completely and then freeze them. When I want fresh baguettes, I just put them into a hot oven - straight from the freezer - and finish the cooking. To me they taste exactly the same as the ones I cook all the way. And you always have bread in the freezer for cheese or for soup.


    Suffolk, England

    jowilchek's picture

    When I want to freeze biscuits, and I always make a large batch and freeze, so Sunday brunch is easier.

    Just pre-bake the biscuits, to the point they are just starting to brown. Remove from pan and cool on rack. When cooled put back in pan, and freeze. When frozen remove from pan and wrap or bag. They will keep for months. I usually run out before they have gone bad, so don't know exactly how many months they will keep. (sorry)

    My Mom use to do this, and I have followed in her footsteps, so we always have "fresh baked biscuits" when we want them.

    To finish: no need to defrost. Just place in pan, and finish baking and browning as usual.

    adamswifeamanda's picture

    i freeze bread dough every week.

    you do NOT need to double your yeast as one person suggested. yeast does not "die off in the freezer" - yeast is killed in high heat and preserved in the freezer. generally, bread recipes call for more yeast than is really needed. when doubling bread receipes - you generally don't have to double the yeast.

    anyway - back to freezing your dough:

    combine ingredients and wait for the first rise. punch down your dough and form it into loaves. wrap loaves tightly with at least two layers of plastic wrap. then put all the loaves into a plastic grocery bag, tie it shut and put it in the freezer.

    when you are ready to use a loaf, let it thaw in the fridge overnight. then unwrap it and work it in your hands to make sure it is completely thawed. reform the loaf completely - put it in an oiled and floured pan, slash it and let it rise for about 2 hours in a warm spot, covered with a damp towel.  then bake as usual. 

    tracyberglund's picture

    Just curious--if you are planning to work the dough and reshape the loaf after it defrosts, why do you shape it into a loaf before freezing--why not just a ball?

    memadiamond's picture

    If I am going to rework the dough anyway would it make sense to flatten it before freezing? This instead of forming it into a loaf or ball. It would be easy to store in the freezer and it would defrost quickly. Also, can I work in additional ingredients, like nuts or dried fruit, after it is defrosted to increase the variety of what I serve?  

    AGreenButterfly's picture

    adamswifeamanda, do you have to use active dry yeast or is it possible to use instant yeast?

    VickiB's picture

    I'm using my go-to baguette recipe to make french rolls for Easter dinner. I experimented with freezing my dough, without doing any research first (oops!)

    Does "proofing" = the 2nd rise? Not sure I'm completely understanding. 

    So, I shaped my dough into rolls, after 1st rise, then allowed them to rise a 2nd time. THEN I put the u baked, risen rolls into the freezer. From what Ive read here today, I prob should have frozen them *before* the 2nd rise?

    Can you share ideas on the best option for my next step?

    Maybe I'll let this batch thaw overnight then rise a bit more and bake around dinner time tomorrow. I'll have backup bread just in case!! Guess I'll make rolls today & bake completely, then "revive" around dinner time Tomorrow. 

    Thanks in advance!!!! 

    Newbie Vickib :)





    alovera56's picture

    Any suggestions on how to thaw the premade rolls of dough that need stuffing inserted, then allowed to rise again before steaming?

    I was thinking of thawing in the fridge until pliable enough to fill.

    Anyone have any experience with this? What's the best way to go about this?

    Thanks for any suggestions