How do you freeze and defrost bread in such a way that it doesn't get soggy or dry? Following a few guidelines can help your thawed bread taste almost as fresh as when it was made or purchased.
Ways to thaw frozen bread include putting it out on the counter or in the refrigerator. Other methods involve thawing it in the oven or toaster oven.
Freeze and Defrost Bread Properly
According to the Seattle Public Utilities, the quality of frozen bread is superior to that of bread stored in the refrigerator. With this in mind, freezing is the best way to store bread you don't intend to use quickly. When you want to divide a loaf of bread or bag of hot dog buns into packs to use another time, just follow these instructions:
- First, slice the bread to make it easier to thaw just the amount you'll need later.
- If the bread is warm, allow it to cool to room temperature, and then place it in a freezer bag or wrap it in plastic freezer wrap. To prolong storage time, double wrap it using a freezer-safe container, heavy duty aluminum foil or a freezer bag. To preserve maximum freshness, remove as much of the air as possible.
- Label the bread and include the date.
- For best results, use within three months.
- To thaw, take the frozen bread out of the freezer and let it come to room temperature.
Three Alternative Defrosting Methods
The best way to thaw frozen bread dough is to refrigerate it for six to eight hours before you need it. This is also a good alternative method for thawing prepared breads.
A third way to defrost bread is to remove slices from the freezer, place them on a baking sheet in a 325-degree Fahrenheit oven, and bake them for five minutes. Allow the slices to stay in the oven one or two minutes longer for toasted bread. If you prefer to thaw a whole loaf of bread in the oven, it will take 20 to 30 minutes.
An additional means of thawing frozen bread is to put it in a toaster oven. Put the setting on "frozen" or "defrost."
The microwave isn't ideal for thawing or heating frozen bread. It can dry the bread out and give it an unappetizing texture. If you choose this method, lightly moisten a paper towel, and place it over the bread before putting it in the microwave.
Include Whole Grains in Diet
Half of the grains in your diet should come from whole grains. Whole grains contain fiber, a food constituent beneficial for health, states the Mayo Clinic. However, when shopping, it's not always easy to know which baked goods are rich in whole grains. Color isn't a good indicator, because artificial colorants and molasses can make a bread look more wholesome than it actually is, notes North Dakota State University.
Likewise, labels can be deceiving. Breads labeled "stone-ground," "multigrain" or "cracked wheat" may not be made with whole grains. Look for products labeled "100 percent whole grain" or "100 percent whole wheat."
For sandwiches, choose a whole grain bread over white bread, and for wraps use whole wheat tortillas instead of white flour tortillas. When a recipe calls for bread crumbs, use rolled oats instead, advises the Mayo Clinic.
In preparing casseroles, use whole grain pasta instead of pasta made with white flour, suggests North Dakota State University. Baked whole grain tortilla chips or whole grain crackers are healthy snacks.