Bulk Baking: How to Freeze and Thaw Homemade Bread
Someone wants a sandwich or a piece of toast, but the bread is gone. It’s an exasperatingly familiar scenario, but it doesn’t have to be anymore. You can freeze homemade bread and thaw it as needed. It’s really quite easy!
Packaging homemade bread properly for the freezer is key. Incorrect or inadequate packaging leads to the dreaded plague: freezer burn, those icy crystals that rob your bread of its soft texture and wholesome flavor. Freezer burn is easily avoided by following the simple steps I explain in the video.
I created a printable sheet for you! Just click the pink button below.
Steps to Freezing Homemade Bread and Rolls
Thin plastic produce bags with twist-ties
2-gallon Ziploc freezer bags (brand is important)
Cool the bread at least 4 hours at a room temperature.
- Slice or not, as you prefer. If freezing rolls, you may break them apart into an amount you would normally eat for a meal.
2. Double bag the bread. Place it in a plastic bag such as a clean produce bag or bread bag, squeeze the air out, and secure with a twist-tie. Place in a 2-gallon Ziploc freezer bag. Gently squeeze the air out. Label the bag.
3. Rest the bread at room temperature overnight before freezing. This allows the starches to finish gelatinizing and prevents frost crystals from forming on the outside of the loaf (or rolls). It also keeps the crumb (inside texture) nice so that it will slice without crumbling.
4. Freeze the bread on a cookie sheet or tray. Bread will taste freshest if thawed and used within 2 weeks, but will last nicely in the freezer up to 3 months.
5. Thaw frozen bread about 4 hours at room temperature; rolls need an hour or two, depending on size. Remove the outer bag but leave the bread in the inner bag. Wipe out any condensation that forms inside the bag. Alternatively, remove both bags, place the bread inside a Dutch oven or covered roasting pan and heat in a low oven, 275 – 300° F (135 – 150 °C) for 30 minutes, until warm throughout.
Before you freeze, you must bake!
Bake a Large Batch
Once you are comfortable baking a couple of loaves of bread at a time, consider stepping up to larger batches. This is especially do-able if you own a heavy duty stand mixer such as an Ankarasrum Assistent or a Bosch Universal, which can bake seven and five loaves, respectively.
If you enjoy baking by hand, a Danish Dough whisk paired with an extra large mixing bowl, and strong arms will get it done as well. This is what I did for years before I had a heavy duty mixer. Baking by hand makes you a better baker, because it develops your baker’s intuiton. You acquire a feel for the dough that can only be gained by experience.
Use a Trustworthy Recipe
Of course, you need a good recipe. Check out my special family recipe, tailored to each of three different mixers:
Set Aside an At-Home Day
Make sure you have an at-home day set aside. You will need to devote five to six hours your first few times until you are comfortable managing a large amount of dough. Not all of that time is hands-on, in fact most of it is hands-off, but you need to be present to check on the dough and see how it is progressing as it rises and bakes so that the outcome is productive.
Once you have baked large batches half a dozen times, it becomes second nature and can take place in the background of an at-home day, which is very nice.
And for those of us who work at, from, or in the home, it is quite satisfying to be able to produce a month’s worth of bread with not too much effort while putting in a day’s work.
Use the Printable Sheet
I created a printable listing the simple steps to freezing homemade bread just for you!
Follow the numbered steps below (click the “Printable Handout” button to print it) to avoid freezer burn and ruined bread.