For some reason, baking and the holidays seem to go hand in hand, and I’m not just talking about the ubiquitous cooking baking that goes on. I’m talking about baking bread! Of course, everyone loves an easy bread dough recipe, but there are many who wonder, “Can you freeze bread dough?” With the holidays in particular, it’s not so good to leave everything until the last minute, and the more you can do ahead of time (like making things ahead of time), the better off you are. Isn’t it good to know that the question, “Can you freeze bread dough?” has YES as its answer? Find out how…
Freezing bread dough is deceptively simple. For starters, you don’t even have to be the one who makes the dough in the first place! Presuming you actually are, here is a recipe for a simple white bread dough, along with variations and how to bake it. If you want to freeze your bread dough, scroll down for instructions. Note that if you do intend to freeze it, you will need to double the amount of yeast in the recipe.
Cooking Time: 35 min
- 2 cup warm water
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 teaspoon dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 6 cup (or so) unbleached flour
- Dissolve the yeast in about 1/2 cup of the water with the sugar.
- Add the rest of the water and the salt and work in enough flour to achieve a soft, smooth dough.
- Let rise, covered, in a clean bowl in a warm place.
- Punch down.
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Shape and place in/on greased appropriate baking equipment. For French bread, shape into long thin loaves, place on an ungreased cookie sheet which has been scattered with corn meal, and put a pan of hot water under the rack.
- Bake at 350°F for 30 – 35 minutes. For 2 or 3 loaves, less time for rolls or small loaves.
- Make a standard simple white bread dough as indicated above through step 4.
- After letting it rise once, punch it down and break off little balls of dough.
- Roll each ball first in melted butter, then in grated Parmesan cheese.
- Put a couple layers of these coated dough balls in greased loaf pans until you run out of dough, and let them rise until doubled.
- Preheat oven to 350°F and bake for about 30 – 35 minutes, until golden brown and fragrant.
- You can season the Parmesan cheese with dried basil or other herbs, such as celery salt, caraway seeds, chile powder, or paprika.
- Another variation is to add cheddar and finely chopped walnuts or add garlic to the mix.
Now that you know how to make and bake bread dough, here is how to freeze it. As I mentioned above, you will need to double the amount of yeast in your recipe. Other than that, follow these simple instructions for freezing bread dough and baking it later.
- After the first rise, punch down the dough.
- Shape your loaves evenly, so that they are 2 inches thick or less.
- Put the loaves in a zip-top freezer bag and place the bag on a cookie sheet to freeze. Once the loaves have frozen, you can remove the cookie sheet; it is just there to help the loaves hold their shape and not stick together. You can keep the dough frozen for up to 4 weeks.
To bake the frozen dough:
- Place the still frozen loaves in a loaf pan that has been greased or sprayed with cooking spray (take them out of the bag first) and cover them with plastic wrap that has been sprayed with cooking spray.
- Leave them to thaw; they will rise a bit, but not to where they will be double in size.
- Bake as your recipe indicates to do so. The loaves will continue to rise as they bake.