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Freezing Dough: The How’s and Why’s

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There are many reasons to make your bread dough ahead of
time and freezing it for later use. The biggest reasons are
to save time and to ensure you have fresh baked bread when
you need it.

By making your dough a head of time and freezing it you
can do all of the work on the weekend or your day off so
that during the busy week you have ready access to fresh
bread.

The Dough

You can freeze any dough you want. You can use any recipe
you want. You can freeze it in any shape you want. No matter
what recipe you choose to make simply make it on the dough
cycle. Like any other time you are making bread or dough
in your machine you need to make sure and check the dough
consistency during the first of part of the first kneading
and make and flour or liquid adjustments you may need to.
Then simply let the machine finish.

Shaping the Dough

Once the dough is finished you want to remove the dough
to a floured work surface and knead the air out of it. Once
that is done you can shape the dough in to whatever you want.
Hamburger buns, hot dog buns, loaf bread, dinner rolls, sub
rolls, etc. For ideas on shaping the dough take a look at
the “Shaping Bread Dough” section.

For loaf bread I find it best to shape it to fit the size
pan you will ultimately bake it in. This ensures that when
the time comes it will fit in your pan. There is nothing
worse then have a dough log too long to fit in the pan you
want to bake it in.

Freezing the Dough

Once you have the dough shaped you want to freeze it immediately.
Do not let it raise, some rise will occur in the freezer
before the dough freezes, this is fine and can’t be prevented.
But, besides this slight rise during freezing you don’t want
to let the shaped dough set out side the freezer for any
length of time.

I recommend for rolls and such that you freeze them on cookie
or baking sheets and then package them. This allows you to
just pull out the number of rolls or whatever you need without
having to take out more than you need.

For loaf bread I recommend that when possible you freeze
the dough in the lightly greased pan you will bake it in.
This ensures it will fit when you get ready to use it; it
also saves you the time of having to dig out a pan and grease
it. Once the dough in the pan is frozen just package the
whole thing and when you need loaf bread it is all ready
to go.

If you don’t have enough spare loaf pans to do this then
at least freeze the dough in the pan and then remove it and
package it. This ensures that the dough will fit in the pan
when it comes time to thaw and bake it.

Packaging the Frozen Dough

Once the dough has been frozen you need to package it for
long term freezing. I recommend using heavy duty 1 gallon
freezer grade zip-lock bags. I also recommend that you wrap
each piece of dough in wax paper and then place in the zip-lock
bag.

Frozen dough should be used with in 3 months. So keep this
in mind when deciding how much to make ahead. It is also
a good idea to mark on the package what it is, and when it
was frozen.

Using the Frozen Dough

Rolls and Other Shapes

For rolls and such remove what you need from the freezer
and place on a lightly greased baking sheet or a parchment
lined baking sheet, cover it with loose fitting plastic
wrap (to keep the dough from drying out), remember the
dough will rise so leave enough space for the dough to
do so and don’t put the plastic on tight. You also might
want to spray the plastic with pan spray to keep the dough
from sticking to the plastic once it has risen.

Allow the dough to defrost and come to room temperature
and rise. If you pull the dough out in the morning and
place it on a pan before leaving for work, by the time
you come home that night it should be ready.

Keep in mind that smaller pieces of dough will thaw, warm
and rise faster than larger ones. If you have something
like small dinner rolls then allowing an 8 hour thaw, warm
and rise time could cause them to over rise and collapse
by the time you get home. For small pieces of dough I recommend
removing the dough from the freezer and placing on a greased
pan the night before. Place the pan with the frozen dough
in the refrigerator and allow it to slow thaw all that
night and day then when you get home from work remove it
and allow it warm and rise for an hour or so and then bake.
You can try either method and see how it works for you.

Once the dough has thawed and risen bake in a 350 degree
Fahrenheit oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until golden brown.

Loaf Bread

For loaf bread if you froze it in the bread pan just remove
it from the freezer and unwrap. Cover it with loose fitting
plastic wrap (to keep the dough from drying out) sprayed
with pan spray and then allow to thaw, come to room temperature
and rise until doubled. Because of the size of frozen dough
loaf bread should be removed from the freezer in the morning
and left all day to thaw, warm and rise. Then when you
get home bake in a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for 35 to
45 minutes or until golden brown.

If you removed the dough from the loaf pan, then place
the frozen dough in a greased loaf pan and follow the directions
above.

Like with everything else dealing with making bread experimentation
is an important part of it. I can only provide you a general
guide to get you started. It is up to you to perfect it for
your situation, climate and needs. For many people it is
this experimentation that makes the whole process so enjoyable.

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  • Sorry Betty, we’ve redesigned the site and are still working out some kinks. Here is the article on dough enhancers http://www.breadmachinedigest.com/tips/dough-enhancers-and-how-to-use-them.php

    BMD
  • You state in your site that you DO have recipes for making your own dough enhancer. For the life of me, I simply cannot find it anywhere. Went into recipes, NADA, all that tells me is the very same article on dough enhancers in another section of the site. do you or don’t you have a rciep for dough enhancers?

    Betty Tlush
  • I’m confused about one point. You say, “Once the dough is finished you want to remove the dough to a floured work surface and knead the air out of it”. I thought punching down the dough was not supposed to be overzealously done because it *would* knead the air out of it and the air is what gives you a lighter texture. Wouldn’t kneading the air out at this point be overworking the dough and make it too dense?

    GW
  • Hi, I’ve tried several of your recipes and am most pleased with this site. Kudos to all of you for it!!
    I, also wanted to ask if someone has a bread machine recipes for sandwhich thins bread? Because of my teeth, I have trouble eating certain depths of bread, but have found that I can eat this type of bread the best, and was hoping to find a recipe for it.

    Clara J
  • I have been wondering about freezing dough which makes finding this article very pleasant. Great info and thanks for sharing.

    Jan

    Jan
  • Hi

    I have a recipe for bread machine pretzels. There is a step where, after you form the pretzels and let them rise, you boil them for 10 seconds in water with baking soda. Then you bake them. If I wanted to freeze the pretzels, can I do it after the baking soda step? It’s an excellent recipe that reminds me very much of mall pretzels. It just makes too many pretzels for two people to eat before they go stale!

    MrMax
  • Great tip about using the wax paper before freezing the bread. My dough used to get freezer burn even using the 1 gallon freezer bags. But, wrapping it with wax paper does the trick!

    Welbilt machine
  • I take advantage of fast acting dry yeast. The frozen dough is thawed the day before the proofing and therefore the bagels are created daily at that time. The dough works perfectly, however then it’s been solely frozen for one week. I did not have identical success with focaccia dough frozen for a month. it’s obvious to me that this kind of yeast will tolerate a restricted quantity of freezing before the standard of the dough is compromised.

    Merry Osei
  • I think you’ve solved a problem I had doing this. I don’t think I was waiting long enough for the dough to return to room temperature before baking.

    Michelle
  • Great tip on freezing timelines. I never knew dough should only be kept frozen for 3 months. I will make sure to label everything when freezing. Thank for this.

    Paul
  • I agree with the above posted who said they were not waiting long enough for the dough to return to room temperature before baking. This was the same issue I was having. Going to give it a shot this week.

    Jeremy from Bread Machine Reviews
  • when I first made my bread I never thought of freezing the Dough (doh)anyway now I have a machine, no problem stick the ingredients in job done

    Best bread maker
  • I take advantage of fast acting dry yeast. The frozen dough is thawed the day before the proofing and therefore the bagels are created daily at that time. The dough works perfectly, however then it’s been solely frozen for one week, you can read more about it on bread machine reviews

    Jack Dowson
  • I’ve tried freezing my dough a few times. I find it works best if you eat it within a week though. Any longer and it tastes wierd.Still as I have a bread maker it is no problem to whip up another batch!

    Pat Baker @ bread maker review site
  • mr max- or does anyone have the bread machine pretzels? and at what point would you freeze them?

    Jody

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