The Fresh Loaf

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When to freeze dough?

Agamemnonsmom's picture

When to freeze dough?

I am making the french bread recipe here and need to know if I should cook both loaves and then freeze one. Or can I freeze a shaped loaf (not risen for the final time) and cook another day.  Two loaves will be too many for my small family.


Thank you so much!




Here's the recipe if it matters:



1 cup water
1 cup bread or all-purpose unbleached flour
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast

All of the preferment
5 cups bread or all-purpose unbleached flour
1/2 cup nonfat dry milk
1 tablespoon malt syrup, malt powder, brown sugar, or sugar
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups water


To start the preferment, mix together the flour, water, and yeast in a small bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Leave out at room temperature for at least 4 hours and as long as 16 hours.

To make the dough, mix together the preferment, water, olive oil, yeast, salt, malt powder, and dry milk in a bowl with 2 more cups of flour. Mix thoroughly. Mix or knead in the rest of the flour a half a cup as a time until you have a slack dough but one that is no longer sticky. Total mixing time should be in the ballpark of 10 to 15 minutes.

Place the dough in a well-greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rise at room temperature until at least 2 times in size, approximately 2 hours. Punch the dough down and let it rise again for half an hour.

Remove the dough from the bowl and divide it in half. Shape the dough into a ball or log, cover with a damp towel, and allow it to relax for another 20 minutes.

Shape the dough into its final shape. Cover again and allow to rise for another hour until doubled in bulk.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven and baking stone, if you are using one, to 425 degrees.

Right before placing the loaves in the oven brush or spray them lightly with water. Place them into the oven and bake for 20 minutes before rotating them. Bake them another 20 to 30 minutes or until the internal temperature of the loaf reads 200 degrees. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least a half an hour before serving.


LindyD's picture

Freshly baked bread can be frozen once it has cooled completely.  It will taste fresh and fine once it's thawed

I'd avoid freezing the dough.  From a time and energy standpoint, it makes no sense because you've got to thaw that block of frozen dough (you can't microwave it), then go through bulk fermentation, shaping, and proofing, plus preheating the oven, and baking.

Just wrap the loaf well in plastic wrap, using a deli-wrap style, then place it in a freezer bag.  I use the one or two gallon sizes, depending on the size of the bread.

KenK's picture

I make our loaves the right size for one meal and freeze them.  I take one out of the freezer when I get home from work and then put it in a 350 degree oven for fifteen minutes about an hour or two later.

I find they actually taste better after being frozen for a day or two but they start to decline after about ten days.  I'm sure wrapping them better as LindyD suggested would extend this.  I just drop them in a gallon size zip lock bag.

This works very well for us since we both have gluttonous tendencies. : )

Agamemnonsmom's picture

Thank you so much for your help. This is great information. Now I can bake 2 loaves on Sunday and enjoy fresh bread all week.

salma's picture

I just froze two half loaves.  I wrapped them in saran wrap and then in freezer bags.  I need them for Tuesday morning.  How many hours before eating should they be defrosted?  Should they be warmed up and if so at what temp and how long?


Broc's picture

I create six pounds of bread dough on Tuesdays, and off they go [after three stretch-and-fold, ten minutes apart] into the fridge.  I have a "basement fridge" I use for such storgae items.

On Wed, I bake off the first two pound loaf.  Yep -- Two pounds is a big loaf, but it's just the right size for my Sassafras stone-ware cloche.  Remove two ppounds of the dough from the frige three hours before baking... shape, yada-yada...

On Thurs, I bake off the second two pound loaf and

On Saturday, I bake off the third.

Never freeze -- and have fresh bread all week.

~ Broc