Quick guide to freezing bread

I tend to bake more than we can consume and freezing bread is a handy way to have homemade bread available at all times. This is particularly nice after a long weekend away or holiday when baking from scratch is not possible. Here are some frequently asked questions around freezing bread which will help you store bread in your freezer for your convenience.

Can you freeze bread dough?

  1. Yes, bread dough can be frozen.
  2. How to freeze bread dough? Once it has gone through the first rise, punch it down to deflate, shape into a ball and freeze in a polythene bag or several layers of plastic wrap.
  3. Take out frozen bread dough and thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
  4. Unwrap, reshape the loaf, cover and allow time to fully prove as normal.
  5. Bake and enjoy.

Can you freeze bread?

  1. Yes, storing bread (also sourdough bread) in the freezer is easy. The best way to freeze bread is to simply put it into freezer bags (polythene bags or similar) and place in the freezer.
  2. You may find that the best way to freeze bread is to slice a loaf before freezing it. This makes it possible to remove individual slices and speeds up defrosting.

Some notes from Andrew Whitley’s book Bread Matters on how to freeze bread: “When bread cools down after baking, the starch begins to ‘retrograde’ or to move from gel to crystalline state. The speed at which this happens is dependent on the temperature and humidity at which the bread is stored. Bread stales most rapidly at +5°C, so it should never be stored in the refrigerator. At -5°C, staling stops, so freezing is a good way of suspending the ageing of bread.”

This means that to freeze and thaw bread, it must be passed twice through ‘the danger zone’ (once as it cools and once as it is thawed) and this is estimated to add the equivalent of a day’s worth of staling at room temperature.

Best way to defrost bread

  1. The best way to defrost bread is to simply take the frozen bread out of the freezer and defrost at room temperature inside the freezer bag.
  2. Depending on the size of the loaf, crumb consistency of your bread and temperature in your room, it will thaw in a matter of a few hours. 

Can you refreeze bread?

  • Yes you can refreeze bread after thawing, but bear in mind that it goes through more staling at the same time (see notes above).
  • Instead of refreezing, I would recommend to just go ahead and eat it 🙂 There are plenty of recipes for stale bread as well.