How to Freeze and Defrost Bread
Freezing and defrosting your bread is the easiest thing you can do and you’ll have fresh-tasting bread anytime you need it.
Whether it’s a freshly baked loaf of homemade bread or you have too much of that buy-one-get-one-free store-bought bread, freezing it is so easy.
And it doesn’t matter if it’s whole or sliced.
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Preparing Bread for the Freezer
What do you need to freeze bread?
A freezer and bread.
Do you need a paper towel to freeze bread? No. When the bread is defrosting, that paper towel will catch the moisture and make the top of your bread wet, soggy, clammy, or moist, when defrosting.
You can do this in your house if it makes you feel better but in the commercial kitchen, this is a no-no.
How do you freeze bread?
Put it in the freezer.
Plain and simple.
I’ve bought bread and made sure the twist ties were twisted tight and put it right in the freezer in its original packaging.
I’ve got some in the freezer right now.
So yes, you can freeze bread in its original packaging.
But if you’ve bought a loaf from a bakery that wraps it in that really thin plastic-type bag that doesn’t even feel like plastic and can tear at any minute, you need to change it out or put it inside a plastic bag.
How do you defrost frozen bread?
Take it out of the freezer.
Set it on the counter.
Give it at least 3 hours before you need it, it really doesn’t take that long but that’s a good time frame to give you.
Q & A – Freezing and Thawing Bread
Is putting bread in the freezer a good idea? yes, it is especially if you have too much. If you’ve bought an extra loaf or two, don’t waste it, freeze it.
How long can you freeze bread? 3 months. Longer than that you should have used it by then.
Can you freeze a freshly baked loaf of bread? yes, you can, but make sure your homemade loaf is completely cooled down. Do not put hot or warm bread in the freezer.
Whole or sliced, wrap it securely in plastic wrap.
Then if you want, you can wrap it in aluminum foil, but only after it’s been wrapped in plastic wrap.
And if you know that you’re going to want to eat half a loaf eventually, go ahead and cut it in half, wrap each half separately in plastic wrap, making sure that it’s completely wrapped so that no air can get in.
Is it better to freeze bread whole or sliced? that’s up to you because either way is just fine but cutting frozen bread can be a little tricky depending on the thickness, length, and type of bread.
Cutting frozen bread the wrong way because you’ve decided you only need a few slices at a time can break a big piece off or chip off smaller pieces, think of it like cutting a block of ice, you may get a good piece or you might get a lot of chopped-up pieces.
So, just make it easier and safer on yourself, slice it before you freeze it.
How to freeze a loaf of homemade slice bread? keep it as intact as it was before you sliced it, meaning no out-of-shape pieces, and no gaps between the bread, and wrap it in plastic wrap.
Want to freeze half a loaf of sliced store-bought bread?
Put it in a freezer bag, get as much air out as possible, and put it in the freezer, leave the other half in the bag it came in, twist the tie tightly, and put that one in the freezer too or use it.
Want to do a few slices at a time?
Put the slices in a ziplock bag or wrap them in clear wrap securely and put them in the freezer.
Is it better to freeze or refrigerate bread to keep it fresh? if you want to keep your bread fresh longer, freeze it.
Refrigerating bread won’t stop it from losing its freshness, becoming stale or clammy, or growing mold. It actually makes it go bad faster than sitting out on the counter.
What kind of bread can you freeze?
Well, it would be easier to ask me what I don’t freeze, but here’s a starter list of what I do freeze.
- Hot dog buns
- Hamburger buns
- Hogie Rolls
- Sub Rolls
- Dinner Rolls
- Bakery Rolls
- Bakery Bread
- Regular Bread
- Whole Bread
- Sliced Bread
- French Loaves
- English Muffins
- Flour Tortillas
- Gluten-Free Bread
- And Croissants
You name it, I probably freeze it!
And when I have a couple of hundred rolls or loaves, I just put them in a commercial-grade bakery bag, twist-tie it, label it, and go about my day!
What if you froze a whole loaf but now you need a few slices? if it’s store-bought or already sliced and you’ve frozen it, just take out what you need, put it in a plastic bag, squeeze out as much air as possible, seal it, and put it on the counter.
What if it’s a baked whole loaf of bread? well, if you read up top, you’ll know that you probably should have cut it before freezing.
But if you’re cutting frozen bread, be very very careful, make sure you have a good grip on it.
Make sure it is on top of something that will not let it slip and slide while you’re trying to cut it and then slice it right through it.
Then put it in a plastic bag, squeeze out as much air as possible, seal it tightly, and put it on the counter, then after it has defrosted, slice it in slices.
Tightly secure the other half of the frozen bread and put it back in the freezer.
If you wrapped it in plastic, then you need to use new plastic to rewrap it.
Cutting a whole loaf of frozen bread in half or in slices can be unsafe if you don’t have the experience of having to do it regularly.
So, my suggestion would be to just defrost the whole loaf, then slice it, then freeze again what you’re not going to use if it’s a lot.
Will slices of bread stick together after defrosting? no, they will not.
Can you defrost bread in the refrigerator? no, it will get soggy and it will speed up the process of going bad.
How do you put bread in the freezer? make sure it’s leveled and don’t put anything on top of it.
If you have racks in your freezer put the bread on something solid like a sheet pan until it’s frozen or you’ll have frozen rack indents on the bottom of your bread.
Freezing Bread Without Plastic
I’m not freezing bread without plastic because I can’t take the chance that it may protect it or it may not.
So I’ve got nothing for you on this.
Conclusion for Freezing and Thawing Bread
What’s the secret to freezing and defrosting bread without ruining it so that it doesn’t get freezer burn?
It’s all about the plastic, it could be the original packaging, Ziploc bags, giant bun bags or plain plastic wrap.
Doesn’t matter if it’s whole or sliced, white or rye, homemade or store-bought, as long as it’s tightly secured in plastic to keep ice crystals from touching it, your bread will be fine.
The only way you can ruin freezing bread is by letting it get freezer burn and that is by letting the air get to it, while it’s in the freezer or while you’re defrosting it.
And if you’re thawing it out on the counter and you’ve opened the bag to check it, your most likely going to get hard ends or crusty tops, so be patient and give it the time it needs to defrost properly.
If you want to test if it’s defrosted, gently push in the center for softness.
If you want to use aluminum foil, wrap it with foil after you have wrapped it in plastic.
Aluminum foil alone, will not protect your bread. Freezer air will touch it and it will be ruined during the thawing process.
Now I’m getting ready to go eat some thawed dinner rolls, got any questions, let me know.