Wednesday, January 16, 2013

How to freeze bread dough

Bread dough which has risen and is ready to go...
Bread dough which has risen and is ready to go in the oven (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
For those of you new to baking, you may be asking yourself why anyone would want to freeze bread dough. Well, there are two main reasons for doing so. Sometimes a recipe will yield a large amount of the finished product, for example 3 loaves of bread, and it is more than the baker can consume before it goes to waste. It is often easier to make the full batch of dough and freeze what won't be baked than to try and cut the recipe in half. Frozen dough will also take up less room in the freezer than a baked loaf of bread. On the other hand, a baker may wish to double or triple a recipe and freeze the extra to bake at a later date. This is especially true for those who love fresh baked bread but lack the time to make a batch it whenever the whim strikes or during the busy holiday season. Here are the steps necessary to successfully make, freeze and bake bread dough.
  1. Follow the ingredients in the recipe exactly with this one exception-double the amount of active dry yeast called for. This will compensate for the yeast that gets killed off during the freezing process.
  2. Follow your recipe's instructions through the first rise. After the dough has risen the first time, punch it down then portion out and shape loaves. Place the loaves into pans sprayed with non-stick spray and cover with sprayed plastic wrap. Place in freezer and allow to freeze for 10 hours, or overnight.
  3. Remove from pans and individually wrap, bag and date the frozen dough before returning to the freezer. If you are freezing more than one type of dough, be sure to label the variety. Also, rotate your frozen bread to ensure freshness. Frozen dough should last for four weeks.
When you are ready to bake a loaf of fresh bread, place a frozen loaf in a sprayed bread pan and cover with plastic wrap. The dough will need to thaw and complete the rising cycle before it can be baked. There are three options to complete this cycle: allow the bread to proof in the refrigerator (overnight), your kitchen (4-8 hours) or in the oven (2-3 hours).

REFRIGERATOR METHOD: Place the covered dough in your refrigerator and allow to thaw. This should take 6-8 hours. Remove from refrigerator and allow dough to rise for an additional 2-3 hours, until the dough is approximately 1 inch above the top of the bread pan. Preheat oven to the temperature required in the recipe and bake as directed.

KITCHEN METHOD: Place the covered dough on your counter and allow to thaw and rise until approximately 1 inch above the top of the bread pan. Preheat oven to the temperature required in the recipe and bake as directed. The amount of time it takes for the dough to rise will depend on the temperature of your kitchen. The warmer the room, the quicker it will thaw and rise.

OVEN METHOD: if you are using this method, do not cover the dough with plastic wrap. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees F. Boil a large pot of water then place it on the low rack of your oven. Turn the oven off and put the dough on the top rack, above the water. Allow the dough to rise for 90 minutes, then check every 20 minutes to ensure the dough does not rise too high. It is ready to bake when it is approximately 1 inch above the bread pan. Leave the dough in the oven and preheat oven to the temperature required in the recipe and bake as directed.

This same basic method can be applied to a variety of yeast based baked goods, including rolls, buns and breakfast goods, such as cinnamon or pecan rolls. Please be aware that rising times are dependent on heat and humidity and the time it takes to thaw and bake dough will likely vary every time you bake with frozen dough.
Enhanced by Zemanta

No comments: