How to Freeze Baked Goods
Extend the life of breads, bagels and cakes with a few simple tips.
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By Regan Cafiso for Food Network Kitchen
Freshly made baked goods are a treat. Unfortunately, they don't stay fresh for long. If you've been on a baking blitz and have extras on hand, you can preserve that freshness for months to come by freezing — but the method you use depends on what you have.
How to Freeze Bread Loaves
Wrap whole loaves like peasant or sourdough twice in plastic wrap before sealing in a large freezer bag. If you want to use your bread for sandwiches and toast, be sure to slice it first. That way, you can take only what you need; the remaining frozen loaf will keep for up to 3 months. Thaw bread at room temperature — it will reabsorb any condensation that forms inside the wrapping.
How to Freeze Bagels
A fresh bagel is a thing of beauty — but buying in bulk is a beautiful deal. To preserve the bagels' freshness (and save time on busy mornings), slice bagels in half before freezing. Wrap them tightly in plastic wrap or stash in a resealable sandwich bag (remove as much air as possible before sealing). Put your wrapped bagels in a larger freezer bag, label with the date and store in the freezer for up to 3 months. There's no need to thaw them before toasting.
How to Freeze Banana Bread and Quick Breads
To store banana bread or other quick breads like pumpkin or zucchini, wrap the loaf tightly in several layers of plastic wrap and transfer to a resealable freezer bag. Press out as much air as possible, seal well and freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw quick breads on the counter.
How to Freeze Muffins and Scones
Freeze single-portion baked goods like muffins and scones using the same method you would with bagels. Wrap them individually in plastic wrap or place in resealable sandwich bags. Put the wrapped items inside a large freezer bag to keep them together during storage and freeze for up to 2 months. Reheat frozen muffins and scones in the oven or toaster oven at 300 to 325 degrees F — there's no need to defrost them first.
How to Freeze Sliced Sandwich Bread and Hamburger Buns
Soft, squishy baked goods like sliced sandwich bread, hamburger buns and hotdog buns are quite durable. They'll last much longer at room temperature than a crusty bakery-style loaf will, but you still run the risk of slices getty moldy or going stale. Luckily these items freeze very well right in their packaging — just make sure the bag is tightly sealed. For added protection, put the package in a resealable freezer bag and store for up to 3 months. Thaw on the counter.
How to Freeze Cakes
Whether you are baking cake layers in advance of a big celebration or simply have leftover birthday cake, freezing is a breeze. For unassembled, undecorated cake layers or loaf cakes such as pound cake or a bundt, first make sure they are completely cool. Wrap each item tightly in several layers of plastic wrap, followed by a layer of aluminum foil. Label and date to prevent confusion later, then place in individual freezer bags or a freezer-safe container. They'll keep for 1 to 2 months this way. When freezing, place cakes on a level, uncluttered surface so they don't get crushed by other frozen goods. Thaw the layers for about an hour at room temperature before assembling your cake — the slightly frozen layers are actually easier to work with.
Decorated whole and sliced cakes can also be frozen with success. If your cake is frosted, set it on a baking sheet, unwrapped, and place in the freezer until frozen solid — at least 4 to 6 hours. When it is completely frozen, wrap the cake in a layer of plastic wrap followed by a layer of aluminum foil. Label and date it. To prevent damage during storage, we recommend placing the wrapped cake inside a sturdy freezer-safe container so it can't bump against other frozen goods. To thaw, unwrap the cake before allowing it to defrost in the refrigerator.
For cake slices, freeze them, unwrapped, on a baking sheet. Wrap individually with plastic and foil, and store in a freezer-safe container.