Bread is a staple in many households. Whether it’s for making toast for breakfast or sandwiches for lunch, bread is probably integral to your diet. However, if you’re out and about and think you won’t eat your bread before it goes off, there may be a simple solution, the freezer!
But after it’s frozen, how long is bread good for after you take it out of the freezer? We’ll discuss this topic and more below.
The shelf life of bread in the freezer is hard to determine. There will be a slight deterioration in flavour and texture when you freeze any type of bread. Your bread will continue slowly deteriorating as it sits in the freezer, with most sources saying it’s ok to keep bread in the freezer somewhere between 3 and 6 months.
Bread loses moisture and damages its texture in the freezer. Once thawed, the bread won’t stay fresh for as long as unfrozen bread. Previously frozen bread usually lasts around two to four days before it becomes so dry that it’s only suitable for toasting.
Bread that is softer and fresher when it goes into the freezer will last longer. Whereas, if your bread was a few days old when it was frozen, it won’t stay fresh for long after it’s defrosted.
Mould can develop before and multiply in the freezer (see: can bread go mouldy in the freeze). It means that your thawed bread is more suspect to develop mould, especially in humid conditions, even if it has not gone hard.
A quick solution to revitalise stale bread is to try microwaving it. You can also toast it in a toaster or panini press to make it crispy. The best way to refresh stale bread is to soak it and bake it in the oven. You can see the steps I take to make my stale bread soft and fluffy again in the how to refresh stale bread post.
The staling of bread is a complex process that involves many physical changes. As soon as the bread cools, starch molecules begin to reform into their original structure. This process of retrogradation releases water which is released from the bread. The result is the bread loses moisture and becomes tough and dry.
Bread will deteriorate quicker at ambient temperatures than it will in the freezer, which is kinda the point of putting it in the freezer! It’s therefore sensible if you know you are going to freeze your bread to put it in the freezer as soon as possible.
When you don’t need to use all of your bread at once, wrap it tightly with plastic and foil so that air cannot reach it. This is important if you put the bread in the freezer for longer than a week. To fully protect your bread, it’s best to double-wrap it using a cardboard box to protect it from frostbite.
Many bakers find the best way to freeze bread is to slice it and then place the slices on a baking sheet. Put the baking sheet in the freezer and let the bread freeze for a few hours. Once frozen, they put the slices into a plastic bag or container, and they won’t stick together.
Suppose you are happy to defrost a loaf at a time. Just double-wrap your bread and put it in the freezer. Freezing the whole loaf (as opposed to slices) leads to less deterioration in the freezer as the crust protects the crumb. You can also bake your loaf from frozen to crispen the crust.
Tip: Put a date on the bag before placing your bread in the freezer. This way you’ll know how long it’s been in the freezer.
Any type of bread can be frozen. Crusty bread tends to soften during the freezing and defrosting process, which can be offset by baking the bread in the oven. Soft bread can be frozen and defrosted with minimal flavour or quality impact.
Bread dough can be stored in the freezer for several weeks. The freezing process will weaken the gluten structure. Many bakeries will add ascorbic acid to their recipes which strengthens the gluten bonds during mixing. Bread dough can also be stored in the fridge for 3-5 days.
See does dough go bad in the fridge to learn more.
In this article, we’ve covered how long is bread good for after you take it out of the freezer. The answer, of course, varies depending on the type of bread and how fresh the bread was before it went into the freezer. I hope you have found out what you wanted to hear. Let me know in the comments if you have any further questions.
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Hi, I’m Gareth Busby, a baking coach, lecturer and bread fanatic. My goal is to help you become a better baker.
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