Bread is one of the most consumed foods in the world and, despite how much we love it, it takes a very short time to go bad or go hard. Because of this, many people freeze it to keep it in optimal condition. In this article, you will learn everything you need to freeze bread and how to defrost it without using plastic. The planet will thank you!
Plastic is one of the most used and polluting materials in our civilization. Although we are increasingly aware of this, it is difficult to find bread that does not come in a wrapper made of plastic. What is the reason to use it?
Although plastic is a great material for preserving food, it is a non-renewable material. It also requires a lot of energy to be produced which is again largely made from pollutants such as gas or coal. This makes plastic quite bad for the environment. There are many alternatives to this material like the ones we will show you in a moment.
One of the benefits of keeping bread without plastic is that we will have less rubbish to throw away in landfills, as most plastic alternatives are reusable. Another point in favour of stopping using plastic is that we will be helping to conserve the planet like more and more people. You will also have a freezer that’s much more organised!
In this article, I’ll give you 9 ideas of what you can use to store bread in the freezer. These ideas will make you stop wasting food and have fresh bread at any time! The maximum amount of time you can freeze bread is 3-6 months. Otherwise, it will start to get hard and is not pleasant to eat.
The most sustainable and best solution to wrap the bread in the freezer is a sheet of beeswax wrap. Any bread that you have left over can also be wrapped in a wax wrap and frozen. Wax wrappers are an alternative to plastic that will keep our bread as fresh as the first day. Despite their high cost, wax wraps are reusable for years. To make them last you cannot expose them to heat or clean them with hot water, always use cold water.
This is another of the most accessible options. You will simply have to wrap your slice or loaf of bread and freeze it. You can also reuse the aluminium foil for as long as it will allow for freezing more bread in the future. It’s not the most durable solution and again, it comes from a non-renewable source.
The stainless steel containers are perfect for storing slices of bread in the freezer and will keep them in perfect condition. Normally, these containers usually have a lid that seals them hermetically.
One of the best options is to use sealed containers since they are easy to store because of their shape and will keep their lid sealed, making the bread freeze without drying out. In addition, you do not need a very large one since if you have a small one you can cut the bread into slices to make it fit better.
You can get these containers in plastic or glass. Glass ones as they are more durable and better for the planet, although they will cause a big mess if dropped! If you are going 100% plastic-free, it’s hard to find a glass container without a plastic lid.
This is one of the most accessible materials to freeze bread since the vast majority of us already have it at home. You can wrap the whole loaf of bread or cut it into slices. Parchment paper does not create the best barrier between the cold of the freezer and the bread. This means it’s not the best way to protect frozen bread from freezer burn, but it’s better than freezing the bread “naked”.
This option is perfect for when we have nothing at hand, and we take the first thing we find to get out of trouble. Despite this, the dishcloths will do a good job and will keep our bread pretty well-preserved in the freezer.
This is one of the most convenient ways since you can simply put the bread in a paper bag and freeze it. In addition to this, you are giving a second life to paper bags, making them more sustainable. Like parchment paper, a paper bag offers little protection from freezer burn so you wouldn’t want to keep your bread in the freezer for more than a couple of weeks.
A quick and direct method of freezing plastic-free bread is to use a cotton bag or even fabric from a cut T-shirt to wrap the loaf of bread. Cotton bags are very durable, and you can use them as many times as you want. You’ll just have to wash them from time to time. Cotton bags are one of the best solutions on this list.
Yes, you can use a fabric pillowcase to store several loaves of bread at the same time. At the end of the day, a pillowcase is like a cotton bag, but bigger. Don’t clean it with standard washing powder. Just boil it with some lemon juice to keep it food-safe.
Once you have frozen your bread, there is going to be a point when you’re ready to eat it. When it comes to defrosting, you have several options, depending on how it is stored and how you want to eat it:
If we want to defrost slices of bread, securely wrap them so that the air does not dry it and leave it at room temperature. For me, this is the best way.
Another option is to defrost the bread slices in the microwave. This is best done when we don’t have too much time, and you are going to eat it right away. It will only take 15 to 20 seconds in the microwave for each slice. After an hour or two, the bread will dry out and become hard.
If you want to defrost a whole loaf of bread, you can leave it to defrost at room temperature for 4-6 hours, or refresh it in the oven. Baking in the oven reignites the freshly-baked aromas and crispens the crust.
To refresh a loaf, put it in a preheated oven at 210C (410 degrees Fahrenheit) and bake it for between 8 and 22 minutes depending on the size of the loaf. If you see that it is browning too much, lower the temperature to 180C (360F). Check the core temperature reaches 55C (131F) with a temperature probe for accuracy.
If you decide to refresh a whole loaf of bread in the oven, you can moisten it a little with a spray to make the crumb more tender.
In conclusion, freezing bread without using plastic is an easy and beneficial task in many respects. With all these alternatives that we have mentioned, you have a great variety in which to choose the one that best suits you. Perhaps the hardest part is defrosting it correctly but, if you follow the advice above you will not have to buy bread fresh every day ever again! I hope this article has been of great help to you and that you have learned the best technique to freeze bread without plastic. Let me know how you found it in the comments below.
Hi, I’m Gareth Busby, a baker, bread baking coach and college lecturer. I’m here to help you make better bread and learn about the baking industry.
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