Can you freeze bread? Bread is a staple food known and used throughout the world. Commercially baked bread stays fine for just a couple of days. Is there a way to extend its shelf life? Can you preserve it to consume it after a week or two if you won’t be able to consume it within the next few days? Of course – you can freeze bread. It’s quite easy to do and many people do that on a regular basis.
Freezing bread – useful information
The first thing you need to remember about freezing bread is that freezing can’t improve the quality of your bread. If it’s already stale, it’ll be stale when you thaw it. Fresh bread is best for freezing – don’t postpone freezing if you know that you’ll freeze this loaf (or loaves) anyway. If you bake your own bread or buy fresh warm bread in a bakery, let it cool down before freezing.
Image used under Creative Commons from Jim Champion
As I’ve mentioned earlier, freezing fresh bread gives best results. If you plan to consume the bread within 2 to 3 weeks, you can put it in the freezer as is, in its plastic packaging. If your store-bought bread comes in paper packaging, you should repackage it into a freezer bag. If you wish to cut the loaf into slices, feel free to do that, just remember to seal the packaging well.
If you’d like to freeze bread for a period of time longer than 3 weeks, you need to take care about the packaging on your own. The most important things you need to remember when freezing bread are that the bread needs to be wrapped tightly and the wrapping shouldn’t let through any moisture and air. The easiest way to achieve that is to wrap it twice. Firstly, wrap the bread tightly with plastic wrap or foil. Now you can put the wrapped bread into a freezer bag. When packaging the bread (both first and second layer) please remember to push out or suck out all air. The less air near the bread, the better it will freeze and preserve good quality for longer.
If you have a vacuum sealer, you can utilize it when freezing bread. But before sealing the package with this utensil, you should flash-freeze the bread. To do that you need to put it on a tray or a cookie sheet and put it into the freezer for an hour or two. That will suppress flattening of the bread when sealing the package.
How long bread can be frozen
In theory, bread (similarly to other products) can be frozen indefinitely, but after some time (like a year) its quality won’t be anywhere near acceptable. If you’ve frozen bread in its original packaging, or any other pretty loose wrapping, you shouldn’t keep it in the freezer for more than 2, maybe 3 weeks. If you’ve packaged the loaf tightly and removed all air, it should remain of good quality for 3 months. If you’ve used a vacuum sealer, it can be kept in the freezer even for half a year. In reality, given periods of time depend on who is going to eat the bread. Some people don’t like its taste after only a week of freezing.
If you decide to thaw the whole loaf, do it in room temperature but don’t unwrap it until its thawed. A one pound (about 450 grams) bread will thaw about 3 hours. Take note that the bigger the loaf is, the longer it takes to thaw it. If you need to thaw individual slices, you can leave them unwrapped at room temperature. You can also use a microwave to defrost bread.
As you can see, you can freeze bread and it is easy to do that.