Freezing French bread is a very easy process that will save you money and mean you can make bread in bigger batches (or buy it!). There is always some moisture loss during the freezing and defrosting therefore, freezing artisan bread when it is freshest makes a fresher tasting loaf after freezing. It’s always best to freeze any type of bread when it is as fresh as possible. Here’s how to freeze French bread:
Wrap your French bread in a large bag such as a freezer bag or (new) bin liner. Push out as much air as possible and if the bag isn’t sealed use some tape to bind the edges together. Write the date on the bag and place it into the freezer.
Although you can simply defrost frozen French bread on the worktop, the best way to defrost French bread is by baking it. Preheat the oven to 210C (410F). Spray with a water mister, or lightly rub some water on the crust and bake for 5-10 minutes, depending on the size of the bread. When ready, the crust should be crispy and the bread should be slightly springy when pressed.
Due to their large surface area, baguettes are more suspect of freezer burn. This means that after 1 month of storing in the freezer the bread will start to deteriorate.
The crust of the bread will lighten in colour. It can also turn leathery and patchy. If this happens the bread is still safe to eat, it’ll just not taste as good once defrosted.
It is possible to slice French bread before it goes into the freezer however this method is preferred for larger and moister loaves. Baguettes are made from lean doughs which do not contain fat. This means that the bread will dry out more in the freezer. Therefore, expanding the surface area of an already large-diameter bread by slicing, a sliced French bread should only be frozen for a couple of weeks.