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Basic Techniques - Storing & Freezing

DK PublishingDK Publishing 2/07/2014 DKBooks
© Provided by DKBooks

© Provided by DKBooks

© Provided by DKBooks

© Provided by DKBooks

Storing & Freezing

Some breads are best eaten on the day of baking, but most home-baked breads will keep from several days up to a week. As a general rule, storage time depends on the ingredients used and the size of the loaf. A large, thick loaf will usually dry out more slowly than a small, thin one. Breads enriched with oil, butter, or eggs tend to last longer than plain breads, and those made with a starter also have a longer shelf life. Bread dough can easily be frozen, either before or after rising, which allows greater flexibility in the breadmaking schedule. Baked bread also freezes and defrosts successfully.


Storing baked bread

Store bread only after it has cooled. Any residual warmth left in the bread will continue to give off steam, which will condense inside the wrapping or container and cause a stale texture and rapid molding. When the bread has completely cooled, wrap in a clean dry cloth or bread bag and store at room temperature. If stored like this, bread will remain fresh for 3–4 days. Never refrigerate bread; it dehydrates the bread and accelerates staling.

Store bread only after it has cooled. Any residual warmth left in the bread will continue to give off steam, which will condense inside the wrapping or container and cause a stale texture and rapid molding. When the bread has completely cooled, wrap in a clean dry cloth or bread bag and store at room temperature. If stored like this, bread will remain fresh for 3–4 days. Never refrigerate bread; it dehydrates the bread and accelerates staling.

A clean, dry cloth bag is the best place to store bread after it has cooled


Freshening stale bread

Spray the bread lightly with tap water, wrap in foil, and warm in an oven, 400°F/200°C, for 10 minutes. Microwave ovens are not recommended for freshening stale bread; microwaving tends to dry out and harden bread.


Freezing unrisen dough

When available time is limited, dough can be frozen before rising and shaping. Mix and knead the dough as directed in the recipe. Brush the inside of a plastic freezer bag with oil and place the unrisen dough inside. Expel any air, leaving just enough space for the dough to rise slightly as it freezes. To thaw, place the dough in the refrigerator for 12–24 hours, until it has doubled in size. Remove from the refrigerator and bring the dough to room temperature. Shape, proof, and bake as directed.

When available time is limited, dough can be frozen before rising and shaping. Mix and knead the dough as directed in the recipe. Brush the inside of a plastic freezer bag with oil and place the unrisen dough inside. Expel any air, leaving just enough space for the dough to rise slightly as it freezes. To thaw, place the dough in the refrigerator for 12–24 hours, until it has doubled in size. Remove from the refrigerator and bring the dough to room temperature. Shape, proof, and bake as directed.


Freezing shaped dough

When it is more convenient, the dough can be frozen after shaping. Place the shaped dough on a baking sheet and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Then place the baking sheet in the freezer and leave just until the dough becomes firm. Store the dough in a plastic freezer bag. To thaw, remove the dough from the bag and place it in the refrigerator for 12–24 hours, until it has doubled in size. Remove from the refrigerator and leave at room temperature for 20 minutes. Bake as directed.

When it is more convenient, the dough can be frozen after shaping. Place the shaped dough on a baking sheet and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Then place the baking sheet in the freezer and leave just until the dough becomes firm. Store the dough in a plastic freezer bag. To thaw, remove the dough from the bag and place it in the refrigerator for 12–24 hours, until it has doubled in size. Remove from the refrigerator and leave at room temperature for 20 minutes. Bake as directed.


Freezing baked bread

Freshly baked bread can be frozen successfully after it has completely cooled. Wrap the bread in heavy-duty foil, then place it in a plastic freezer bag; expel all the air before sealing. The bread will keep for up to 3 months.

Freshly baked bread can be frozen successfully after it has completely cooled. Wrap the bread in heavy-duty foil, then place it in a plastic freezer bag; expel all the air before sealing. The bread will keep for up to 3 months.

Use heavy-duty foil to wrap bread before freezing


Defrosting bread

Defrost bread slowly at a cool room temperature for 3–6 hours, or in the refrigerator for 8–10 hours. Bread that is defrosted slowly will retain its freshness for longer. Defrost bread in its wrapping to prevent it from drying out. For breads with a thick crust, crisp them in a low oven before serving. To defrost bread more quickly, place the wrapped loaf in a preheated oven, 400°F/200°C, for 45 minutes.

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