Can You Freeze Bread?
Beat freezer burn and extend the life of your loaves with a few tips.
By Regan Burns Cafiso for Food Network Kitchen
Stocking up on extra bread is never a bad idea. It's easy to freeze whole and sliced loaves to use anytime. In some cases, it can even be better to freeze a loaf than simply leave it on the counter.
When Should You Freeze Bread?
Bakery-fresh bread has a relatively short shelf life. If you know right off the bat that you won't be able to eat it all quickly, pop it in the freezer. The same qualities that make it so wonderfully flavorful, springy and light also shorten the window for peak consumption. The loaf's quality suffers as it starts to lose moisture, which happens almost immediately. After only a day or two, your beautiful baguette or levain is rock hard and bound for breadcrumbs, panzanella or just the trash bin. If you've baked a beautiful no-knead peasant bread, the last thing you want to do is sacrifice it shortly thereafter. A good rule of thumb is: If an entire loaf is more than you can eat, immediately freeze half to enjoy later. For the best results, it is crucial to freeze bread while it's still fresh.
How to Freeze and Thaw
Most breads freeze very well with little to no loss in quality or texture. The enemy is freezer air, which can cause freezer burn and impart freezer-aroma flavors. To prevent this, wrap each loaf tightly in two layers of plastic wrap before placing it in a large resealable freezer bag. Press out as much air as possible and stow in the freezer for up to 3 months. For sandwich bread, always slice before freezing.
When it comes time to eat your bread, thaw the wrapped bread directly on the counter still in its bag. As it comes to room temperature, the loaf will reabsorb any water that collects inside the plastic, restoring its original texture. If the crust seems a little soft after thawing and unwrapping, you can restore its crunch by heating in the oven for about 10 minutes at 350 degrees F.
How to Heat from Frozen
If you're making toast, put frozen bread slices directly in the toaster, adding an extra minute or two to accommodate the colder temperature.
This process also works for bagels. Slice bagels in half before wrapping and freezing, then heat from frozen.
Great Recipes to Use Bread: