The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

wrapping bread for swap meet - and baking ahead

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KipperCat's picture
KipperCat

wrapping bread for swap meet - and baking ahead

First I want to say hello! to everybody.  I've missed chatting about bread - and missed baking it even more.  Awhile back I suspected some food allergies, so decided to test some changes in my diet.  To my dismay, I found that I do feel a lot better when I don't eat wheat or dairy.  There was no way I could bake bread all the time and not eat it.

I've changed my focus to another hobby - gardening.  I'm attending my first plant swap in a few weeks.  Since I have almost no plants to trade, I decided to make some bread. With very rusty skills, some no-knead multi-grain seems good.  I'd like to bake it a week or two ahead. I have some of the Glad Cling Wrap to freeze it in. 

I could use some suggestions for thawing. Is there a good way to restore some crispness to the crust?

Then there's the whole issue of bagging it.  Does anyone know where I can buy some paper bags for boules?  I don't mind buying more than I need this time, as I may do this again in the future.  Or do you have other inexpensive suggestions for packaging?

AnnieT's picture
AnnieT

So nice to see your name - and so sad to hear of your allergies! We've missed you! Do hope you are feeling well again. I'm not sure whether my method would work for your needs. I have been cutting my sourdough boules in half and freezing one piece. To thaw them I place them cut side down on the bread board (wood) and cover with my linen cloth. The crust stays crisp and the crumb doesn't dry out. How many loaves are you planning to make? It could take a lot of space, or breadboards. Good luck, A.

KipperCat's picture
KipperCat

Hi Annie :~)

I'll bake at least 6, and maybe a dozen.  I don't want to cut the loaves, but I think your method might work if I placed the entire loaf on a cooling rack.  And I could use my oven racks for extra cooling racks if I have a lot to thaw.  About how long does it take for a half loaf?

AnnieT's picture
AnnieT

Hi KipperCat, I usually pull the half loaf out after breakfast and it is thawed by lunch. I have also sprinkled loaves with water and crisped them in the oven, mainly when I am taking them for supper with the family. Do be sure the loaves are cool before freezing - I recently thawed one and when I sliced it the crust fell off in chunks, probably from moisture trapped underneath. Like cedar shingles! Hope this helps, A.

fancypantalons's picture
fancypantalons

Regarding the crust, unlike AnnieT, I find my baguettes lose their crunchy crust after thawing. However, just 5-10 minutes in the oven at 400F fixes that up quite nicely (after they're thawed out, of course). You'll never know it was frozen! :)

Additionally, if you don't have time to let the bread thaw slowly at room temperature, you can quickly thaw a loaf by covering it with a damp tea towel and then sticking it in the oven at 450F for 5-10 minutes. That thaws the bread without drying it out, at which point you can remove the tea towel, drop the temperature to 400F, and crisp up the crust. Just make sure to monitor the towel so it doesn't try out, lest you be left with a scorched tea towel. :)

KipperCat's picture
KipperCat

I'll aim for an overnight thaw.  I hope I don't have to re-crisp the crust.  I won't have much time that morning - I'll have to leave the house before I usually have my coffee.

It occurs to me that if I want to try a dry run on the process, I need to get some bread baked.  Oh, goodie!

mcs's picture
mcs

Sounds like you already have some good suggestions for freezing and thawing your breads.. As for the packaging, I'm really happy with the 'micro-perforated' plastic bags that I've been using.  They're similar to the bags that are sometimes in the produce section that allow your stuff to breathe.  Plus you can see through them of course which makes it nice.  If you like, I can send you some at cost since I think you can only buy them in bulk.  

-Mark

http://thebackhomebakery.com

KipperCat's picture
KipperCat

Thanks Mark!  I'll probably ask you to do that.  I saw them for sale on several sites, but didn't look at them because I didn't realize they actually work.

How's your bakery coming? Do you get much call for the gluten free bread? The website looks great.

mcs's picture
mcs

KipperCat,
Too bad about your allergies.  I've got a bunch of gluten free ingredients coming in on Friday so I'll let you know how the experimentation goes.  That's going to be fun.  The bags work great.  You can package your bread warm and it has no effect on anything.  Plus if you're at the market, people can pick up the bread to look at it and feel how fresh it is all while it's covered and sanitary.  Of course the shelf life on the bread is only as long as they would be left out uncovered or in a paper bag, so for long term storage they need to go in plastic or however you normally do it.

-Mark
BTW this is where I get them from if you want a bunch:
http://209.216.104.165/product_p/361030.htm

http://thebackhomebakery.com

KipperCat's picture
KipperCat

Packaging warm sounds great!  I never dreamed they would work that well.

Paddyscake's picture
Paddyscake

So are you saying for a few days storage, say on the counter, the bread doesn't go stale? That would be great, and I don't think the price is unreasonable is a group wanted t split a case.

Betty

mcs's picture
mcs

No, I'm saying it's basically like leaving it out on the counter.  So there's no negative effect to bagging your stuff while it's warm since it doesn't trap the steam.  The negative of course means it doesn't hold moisture any more than your crust does.  If I'm selling at the farmers market, the bread is out of the ovens around 9AM, gets bagged soon after that for transport, then can be out in the open for display until night time.  At night, I bag them in regular plastic bags.  The air's very dry up here in Montana (no condensation ever forms on glasses in the summer) so bread dries quickly.  If your bread is fully cooked (hard crust) I'll eat it 2 days after being stored in those bags, but regular customers would think it's too hard. 
If your bread will be in direct sunlight, the bags don't steam up which is also nice.  But once again, it's basically the same as the open air so you can judge how long before staling is adequate for you.
I also use those bags to package my croissants and puff pastries and they keep things nice, visible, and crispy.
One last note, is they are fragile like thin cellophane, so when you're bagging you need to be careful of sharp edges of your bread from scoring, poppyseeds...to avoid tearing of the bags.
-Mark

 

http://thebackhomebakery.com

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I'm writing to get you to work with other grains.

So what if you're allergic to wheat and milk? Hey if it were me, I'd throw the stuff out my kitchen window and never let (the elves drag) it back into my kitchen!  Health is #1. You have the perfect reason to ban it. But now, also, the perfect motivation to use other grains that you can tolerate.

Here's a thought on BROWN RICE. It's taking over in north Asia. Why not get into other areas?

Gee everyone does wheat, expand into "other grain territory!"

The non-wheat masses are waiting!

Mini O