How To Freeze and Defrost Bread
If you often find yourself with stale bread or waste the end of a loaf, and don’t regularly freeze it, that needs to change. If you’ve ever wondered if you can freeze bread, the answer is yes, you can. And it freezes really well, especially for a shorter period like a few weeks. What makes it even better is that the setup doesn’t take any time at all. There are no excuses for not freezing bread regularly.
Image used under Creative Commons from Jim Champion
One thing you need to remember before freezing bread: freezing won’t make the bread better. If it’s already stale, freezing and defrosting won’t magically make it fresh (but reheating or toasting might help). That means that the best time to freeze bread is when it’s fresh. If you’re buying bread, take as much as you need for the day or two and freeze the rest. If you’re baking your own, wait until it cools down before packing it for freezing.
Interested in freezing bread? Read on.
In This Article
As already mentioned, freezing bread for a few weeks is simple and takes little to no time at all. Here are the steps:
- Cut the loaf into slices. If you’re buying sliced bread, then that’s done for you. Freezing slices has two major advantages. First is that you can easily get as many slices from the freezer as you need for your next meal. There is no need to defrost the whole loaf. Second, bread slices defrost much quicker than the entire loaf. Plus, if you’re making toasts, you can use frozen slices right away.
- Wrap the bread. If it comes in a plastic wrapping, you can freeze the bread in its original packaging, no need for more wrapping. If it comes in a paper bag, transfer the loaf or slices into freezer bags or wrap with aluminum foil. Squeeze out as much air as you can before sealing the package.
- Label the package with name and date if needed.
- Throw it into the freezer.
That’s it. As you can see, the process is straightforward and takes little time. If you’re buying sliced bread in a plastic wrapping, you can literally throw it into the freezer and be done with it.
Making your own bread? You can prepare a big batch of bread dough and freeze it. Then, whenever needed, you thaw a portion and bake a fresh loaf. Or bake several loaves and freeze the extra ones.
Freezing bread for an extended period, like a month or more, is similar to freezing it for the short term. The only difference is that you need to wrap the product adequately to prevent freezer burn. Here’s how to do it:
- Slice the bread. All the reasons for slicing are already mentioned above.
- Properly wrap the bread. As mentioned above, freezing for the long-term requires proper wrapping. Bread should be wrapped tightly, so any air doesn’t go through the wrapping. The easiest way to do that is to wrap it twice. For the first layer, you can use the plastic wrap the bread came in or foil. For the second layer, you can use a freezer bag. For both layers, remember to remove as much air as you can before sealing the package. Alternatively, if you happen to have a vacuum sealer, you can use it to wrap the bread. Before using it put the wrapped bread into the freezer for a few hours until it’s frozen solid. That will prevent it from flattening when using the vacuum sealer.
- Label the package with name and date if you want to.
- Chuck the bread into the freezer.
Not that difficult, right? The bread frozen this way should be of good quality for at least a few months and even more if it’s vacuum-sealed.
Not sure what to do with leftover bread? Consider baking bread pudding, which you can freeze too.
Defrosting frozen bread is easy, and if you went with freezing it sliced, doesn’t take much time at all.
At room temperature. If you’ve frozen the whole loaf, leave the bread on the counter wrapped. It will take a few hours (3 hours for a medium-size loaf) to thaw depending on the size of the loaf. Unwrap once defrosted. If you’ve frozen slices, take as many as you need and put them individually on a plate. In 15 to 20 minutes, the bread should be defrosted and ready to be used. Here’s how to lay them out for fastest thawing:
In a toaster or toaster oven. This only works for frozen bread slices, obviously. If you’re making toasts, feel free to use frozen bread right away. You can also use the toaster or toaster oven to defrost the slices. Chuck the slices into the toaster, turn it on, and warm the bread for a few minutes. Make sure the bread slices are warm and the crust just like you like it.