How to Make Freezer Bread Dough, bowl and spoon - no mixer

How to Make and Freeze Bread Dough, with a bowl and spoon – no mixer needed!

Bread Dough You Can Make by Hand and Freeze for 4 Weeks

Take your 2 hands, a bowl, and a wooden spoon and mix large batch of bread dough, enough for 4 loaves, but instead of baking it right now, freeze it.

Once a week or so, you can thaw a piece of dough and bake a fresh loaf of homemade bread. That’s right, a fresh loaf of bread each week for a month, and only one mess to clean up.

And you don’t need any special equipment beyond a bowl, a wooden spoon, a freezer, and your oven.

freezer bread dough, whole wheat

Even if you love to bake, there are times it can be a challenge to keep fresh bread in the house! This method is going to save you time and mess and you can do it with your own two hands – no mixer required!

Are you new to baking with yeast? This recipe is dedicated to you.

Are you too busy to bake? This recipe will multiply your efforts, saving you time. 

Do you think you don’t like to bake bread? You will love this method!

I’m gonna change your mind! You can do this.

This recipe also appeal to you if you love to bake, because saving time in the kitchen frees up time for other priorities, and after all time is life.

Whole wheat bread, baked from frozen dough

Watch the video below as I demonstrate how simple it is to stir up a large batch of bread dough by hand with a bowl and spoon, then freeze it for a month’s worth of homemade bread!

I am sharing a special recipe developed for the freezer. It is one I made for several years as a busy working mom of young children. It was the only way I could get bread on the table because even though I love to bake, I did not have large blocks of time available for baking.

Whatever your circumstances, freezer bread dough makes it easier to bake wholesome, homemade bread.

The catch is you need a recipe specially formulated for the freezer, because freezing temperatures affect yeast activity. This special recipe is inspired by one in an older cookbook called Stocking Up III by Carol Hupping.

See how light and fluffy the bread is? This batch is made from three-fourths whole wheat (wholemeal) flour and one-fourth bread (strong white) flour. You can use all whole wheat flour if you like, though I do recommend a practice batch making the recipe as written first.

Affiliate disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission for qualifying purchases. Lehman’s is offering $20 off a $150 order with this link. And be sure to check out the Chocolate Box Cottage Shopping Guide for specific recommendations on quality kitchen items. I only recommend tools I use and love.

Equipment

Freezer ~ this is a freezer recipe!

Extra-large mixing bowl, 8 quarts (7.5 liters) is a good size

Sturdy wooden spoon with a long handle or a Danish dough whisk (even better!)

Bowl scraper or dough card

Bench knife or large chef’s knife

2 large (21×15-inch / 53×38 cm) cookie sheets (with silicone mats if you have them; it’s okay if you don’t)

Plastic wrap or parchment paper

2 – 4 gallon-size Ziploc freezer bags

Bowls and containers for mixing dough
Ideas for dough mixing containers. You surely have something that will work.

The Bowl

Let’s talk about the bowl – it is an important piece of equipment. What if you don’t have an 8-quart (7.5 liter) bowl?

You can use any of these:

Plastic or enamel dish pan or foot soaking basin

Extra-large stainless steel salad bowl

Plastic tub, bin, or bucket

Enamel turkey roaster

Large pot , such as a water bath canner or stock pot

Antique bread pail

Just wash it up with hot soapy water and if your container is enamel, make sure the enamel coating is un-chipped.

Before You Begin

Prepare space in your freezer for two cookie sheets. Line cookie sheets with silicone mats, plastic wrap, or parchment paper and set aside. Label gallon-size freezer bags. This bread dough lasts in the freezer for four weeks, so look at the calendar and count 4 weeks ahead. Mark that as a best by date on the bags. This is the date you will want to bake the bread dough by because that is when the yeast is still active.

Ingredients

3 tablespoons (28 g) yeast (regular or instant is fine)

5 1/4 cups (1192 g or 1245 ml or 1.25 liters) lukewarm water (can use part milk or potato water; water leftover from boiling potatoes to make mashed potatoes)

1/4 cup (84 g) molasses or honey or sweetener of choice

1/4 cup (57 g) olive oil, melted butter, or fat of choice + extra for your work surface and for coating the dough

4 teaspoons (24 g) salt

3 cups (375 g) bread flour or all-purpose flour or (strong white flour)

9 cups (1,080 g) whole wheat flour (wholemeal flour)

If you have a grain mill, you will need 6 cups (1,080 g) of wheat

Print

Whole Wheat Freezer Bread dough, with a bowl and spoon – no mixer needed!

Even if you love to bake, there are times it can be a challenge to keep fresh bread in the house! I am going to show you how to take your 2 hands, a bowl, and a wooden spoon to mix large batch of bread dough, enough for 4 loaves, but instead of baking it right now, you will freeze it! Once a week or so, you can thaw a piece of dough and bake a fresh loaf of homemade bread. That’s right, a fresh loaf of bread each week for a month, and only one mess to clean up. 

  • Author: Michele Pryse, FNTP
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 loaves
  • Category: baking
  • Method: by hand
  • Cuisine: American

Ingredients

3 tablespoons (28 g) yeast (regular or instant is fine)

5 ¼ cups (1192 g or 1245 ml or 1.25 liters) lukewarm water (can use part milk or potato water)

¼ cup (84 g) molasses, honey, or sweetener of choice

¼ cup (57 g) olive oil or melted butter + extra for your work surface and for coating the dough

4 teaspoons (24 g) salt

3 cups (375 g) all-purpose or bread flour (strong white flour)

9 Cups (1,080 g) whole wheat flour (wholemeal flour) 

Note: If you have a grain mill, you will need 6 cups (1,080 g) of wheat

 

Supplies:

Freezer – because this is a freezer recipe

Extra-large mixing bowl, 8-quarts (7.5 liters) is a good size. You want a big bowl that allows room at the top for stirring without overflow. A big crockery bowl, giant stainless steel salad bowl, enamel or plastic dishpan, a plastic dishpan all work

Sturdy wooden spoon with a long handle or a Danish dough whisk (even better!)

Bowl scraper or dough card

Bench knife or a large chef’s knife

2 large (21×15-inch / 53×38 cm) cookie sheets

Plastic wrap and/or parchment paper

2 gallon-size Ziploc freezer bags

 

Instructions

1.  Prepare space in your freezer for two cookie sheets. Line cookie sheets with silicone mats, plastic wrap, or parchment paper and set aside. Label gallon-size freezer bags. This bread dough lasts in the freezer for four weeks, so look at the calendar and count 4 weeks ahead. Mark that as a best by date on the bags. This is the date you will want to bake the bread dough by because that is when the yeast is still active.

 

2.  Measure the yeast and lukewarm water into the mixing bowl, stir, and give it a few minutes to dissolve. Then add molasses, fat, and salt. Add the white flour and stir well. Begin adding the whole wheat flour a cup at time, stirring it in as you go. If you have a dough whisk, you will appreciate how much easier it is to stir than it is with a wooden spoon. The dough will begin to pull away from the bowl and form a mass. When this happens, stop stirring and let the dough rest covered, for 5-10 minutes to allow the bran particles in the whole wheat flour to absorb water. This makes kneading easier.

 

3. Meanwhile, oil a work surface with a comfortable height, such as a table or counter, and sprinkle some of the flour called for in the recipe over it.  

 

3. Turn the dough out onto our prepared surface. Time to knead! Rub a teaspoon of oil into the palms of your hands to keep the dough from sticking. Keep a bowl scraper handy – or a rubber spatula will work. Pick up the edge of the dough farthest away from you and fold it towards yourself. Press down with the heel of your hand, or both hands. Rotate the dough a quarter turn, pick up the dough, and press down. Knead for 8-12 minutes.

 

4. If the dough sticks to your hands, rub a little more oil on them. As the dough starts to stick to the table, scrape it with the dough scraper, rub a little more oil in and sprinkle more of the flour called for in the recipe. Knead with enough pressure so that the dough sticks to itself when folded, without breaking the skin of the dough. You are developing a smooth surface on the bottom on the dough, the side touching the table.  

 

5. Kneading becomes intuitive with practice, so be patient with yourself. If you get tired, you can cover the dough and give it a 5-10 minute rest. You don’t want to let it go longer than 5-10 minutes because you want to save the activity of the yeast for later.

 

6. By the end, the dough should feel smooth and resilient. Bread dough made with whole grain flour will retain a certain amount of stickiness, like the sticky side of a Post It note. 

 

7.  Pat the dough out and use a chef’s knife or a bench knife to divide the dough in 4 even pieces. Shape each piece into a smooth ball, tucking edges under and preserving a smooth skin on top. Rub a little oil on the surface. 

 

8.  Place 2 balls of dough on each of the prepared cookie sheets and press firmly to flatten into disks about an inch (2.5 cm) thick. Work quickly! Cover the cookie sheet completely with plastic wrap or parchment paper. Freeze until firm, about 4 hours (overnight is fine).

 

9. The next day, wrap each piece individually and place in labeled freezer bags. Again, work quickly so that the dough doesn’t have a chance to thaw. Get them back in the freezer as soon as possible! 

 

9. Now, just pause and enjoy the feeling of a freezer stocked with dough for a month’s baking! It is such a good feeling! You did it!

 

To Bake: start the night before. 

1.  Take a disk of frozen dough out of the freezer. Unwrap it and reserve the wrappings. Place the dough on a large, greased plate. Cover with the wrappings and thaw in the fridge overnight. 

 

2.  The next day, oil a work surface and grease an 8×4-inch (20×11 cm) loaf pan. Place the thawed dough on the plate, smooth side up, and flatten evenly with the palms of your hands. Fold in thirds like a letter, then use your palms to pat the dough into a 7×9-inch (18×23 cm) rectangle. Roll the dough up like a log from one of the narrow ends and place in prepared loaf pan. 

 

3.  Cover the pan with the wrappings again and let rise about an hour. It will not reach the top of the pan. Meanwhile, set the oven to 350°F (175°C) to preheat. The touch test will help you determine if your bread is ready to bake. Simply touch the dough. It should barely show your fingerprint.

 

4.  Bake 35-40 minutes, until the loaf is well-browned and done. To test for doneness, carefully tip the loaf out of the pan and inspect the bottom. The crust should be evenly browned and sound hollow when thumped with a finger. A food thermometer will read 190-195 F (87-90 C). 

 

5.  Cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.

Notes

Once you get in the routine of mixing up a batch of freezer bread dough once a month, you will find it is really very simple and you can do it without too much effort or mess. You will notice that the first two loaves rise more than the last two. They all taste good, and I hope you find this recipe to be as big a time-saver as it has been for me. 

Keywords: bowl, wooden spoon, handmade, freezer dough, whole wheat

Did you make this recipe?

Share a photo and tag me — I can’t wait to see what you’ve made!

If you would like to make this recipe with a heavy duty stand mixer, use this recipe. It works with Ankarsrum Assistent, Bosch Universal, and KitchenAid Pro Line mixers. If you have an Artisan series KitchenAid, you will need to cut the recipe in half.

Watch the video below!

Shopping for a Heavy Duty Stand Mixer for bread making? See my helpful comparison of three popular mixers here: KitchenAid vs. Bosch vs. Ankarsrum, the Best Mixer for Bread. You can even print a handy shopping comparison!

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3 Comments

  • I love this! I do make bread every day and love doing so for my (large) family. People have suggested freezing loaf, but I love having the home smell like a baked loaf of bread, so I continue to make it daily – HOWEVER, freezing the dough – brilliant!
    Also, I LOVE your bowl! Did you find it online or an antique store?
    From Canada,
    Gillian

    Reply
    • Hi Gigi, I love that you love baking and do it daily. Yes, then smell is a big part of the appeal! Perhaps frozen dough would be a help to you at times – plus you still get the aroma of bread baking that way.

      About the bowl…
      I was blessed to inherit a few McCoy bowls with the distinctive pink and blue stripes from my German grandmother. Over the years I have found more pieces here and there at yard sales and on Craigslist, FB Marketplace, etc. I’m always looking, they’re such special pieces. Blessings, Michele

      Reply
  • I love this! I do make bread every day and love doing so for my (large) family. People have suggested freezing loaf, but I love having the home smell like a baked loaf of bread, so I continue to make it daily – HOWEVER, freezing the dough – brilliant!
    Also, I LOVE your bowl! Did you find it online or an antique store?
    From Canada,
    Gillian

    Reply

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