Freezing bread is a useful way to preserve it and make your loaf last longer since fresh bread tends to have a very short shelf life and will go stale before you manage to eat it all.
You can defrost bread by putting it in the refrigerator overnight, or by leaving it at room temperature for between 1 to 3 hours. You can also cook bread from frozen, so if you want a slice of toast or a grilled cheese, you don’t need to defrost the bread first.
Which Types of Bread Can be Frozen?
Bread is a staple food in most homes, but annoyingly bread typically has a very short shelf life. If you buy a loaf of bread and find that half of the slices have gone stale before you’ve gotten around to eating them, then storing the bread in the freezer will be a game-changer.
You can freeze the whole loaf and just grab a few slices as and when you need them. This works especially well for people who don’t eat bread often, or for those with only one or two people in the household who simply can’t get through a whole loaf in under three days.
It’s good to know that freezing bread is not just appropriate for your regular store-bought, sliced loaves, but you can freeze almost any type of bread.
Fresh homemade bread
If you enjoy baking bread at home you probably know that these fresh loaves will go bad even faster than store-bought bread. The same can be said of artisan loaves you buy at the farmers market, and the reason is the lack of preservatives compared to store-bought alternatives.
Freezing homemade or artisan bread is the best way to make sure it doesn’t go to waste if you don’t think you’ll be able to eat all of it within a day or two. You can freeze an entire loaf, or cut it down the middle to freeze one-half of the loaf for a later date.
However, the best way to freeze a fresh loaf is to slice it before wrapping it in foil and covering it with a plastic bag, then putting it in the freezer. This will mean you can grab a slice or two whenever you get a bread craving, rather than having to defrost a large chunk of the bread at once.
Regular sliced bread
Store-bought bread will last longer than homemade bread because it has preservatives that stop it from going moldy. However, freezing store-bought bread can still be a useful trick to ensure you always have a slice on hand, or it works well if it takes you a while to get through a whole loaf.
Ensure the bread is tightly wrapped with as much air expelled as possible, then move it to the freezer. You can defrost one slice at a time, or defrost the whole load when you need it.
Baguettes freeze well as long as they are properly covered in an airtight wrapping or container. Due to the density of baguettes, they are best defrosted on the countertop at room temperature. You can give the baguette a few minutes in the oven if you want to crisp it up.
Buying bread rolls in bulk can save money, especially if you use these every day for family-packed lunches. Store them in the freezer to stop them from going bad, while always ensuring that you have a nice bread roll available.
If you slice the bread rolls before you freeze them, you can grab a roll straight out of the freezer in the morning and put the sandwich filling inside the frozen roll, before adding it to your lunchbox. By lunchtime, the roll will have defrosted and be ready to eat, and it will also have done a good job of keeping the other contents of your lunchbox cool.
Bagels are great for freezing. You can wrap them and freeze them individually, or you can freeze a whole packet in the original packaging. Bagels can be defrosted in the same way as other bread, but they can also be popped right into the toaster from frozen. If you slice your bagels before you freeze them, they can be taken straight from the freezer to the toaster.
How to Thaw Bread
Bread can be thawed in the refrigerator or on the countertop at room temperature. It can also be cooked frozen if you’re looking for a toasted finish.
Defrosting bread in the refrigerator
Any type of bread can be defrosted in the refrigerator overnight or over the course of around 12 hours. This is ideal if you get a loaf out of the freezer in the evening and move it to the refrigerator so that you have bread ready for use the next morning. When thawing bread in the refrigerator the bread needs to be kept in airtight packagings such as tin foil, plastic wrap, or Tupperware.
This is to prevent the bread from going hard or stale. The packaging can be removed when you’re ready to use the bread. Once the bread has thawed, don’t store it in the refrigerator instead put it in a bread bin or a kitchen cabinet.
Defrosting bread at room temperature
If you don’t have time to wait for the bread to defrost in the refrigerator, you can defrost it at room temperature. A few slices will defrost in around an hour if you put them on a plate on the kitchen counter, or if you’re defrosting a whole loaf in its packing then you can expect this to take around three hours.
Cooking bread from frozen
Bread cooks brilliantly from frozen, giving you a super speedy meal or snack. You can take a slice of bread or a bagel straight from the freezer and pop it in the toaster or in the oven. Frozen bread will obviously take longer to toast than thawed bread, so remember to alter the settings on your toaster so that it cooks for an extra minute or two.
For toasties, put your fillings right inside the frozen bread and set the sandwich on an oven tray before baking it in the oven. Cooking frozen bread only works when the bread has been sliced before freezing. You can’t put an uncut loaf or a baguette in the oven from frozen, since these are quite dense. The outer crust of the bread would be burnt to a crisp while the inner bread would still be frozen.
How Long Can Bread be Frozen?
Bread can be frozen for up to eight months, but for the freshest taste you shouldn’t leave it in the freezer for longer than 2 months. Bread will keep better in the freezer if it is stored properly. This means covering it with an airtight wrapping- preferably aluminum foil followed by a layer of cling film.
Try to remove as much air as possible from around the bread, taking care to avoid squashing it. Don’t put bread straight into the freezer without wrapping it, as this will result in the bread getting freezer burned, and it won’t taste good once thawed.