The allure of freshly baked bread too often is tamed by the time it takes to make it. Ashley Potenza, of Los Angeles, wondered whether bread dough could be prepped in advance, then frozen for baking later—and if so, what the best way to do it is.
To see how well bread dough holds up to freezing—and determine the best stage at which to freeze it—we tested three kinds of dough: traditional bread dough, dinner roll dough and pizza dough. We froze each variety at two different stages—immediately after mixing and kneading, and after the dough had been allowed to rise.
To bake, we let each batch thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then brought the dough to room temperature before baking.
For comparison, we also baked fresh versions of each dough that had never been frozen.
In all cases, we found that the frozen doughs baked just as well as the freshly made doughs, with little difference in taste or texture.
Despite the delicious results, however, we did not find freezing to be much of a shortcut when dealing with large amounts of dough, as in loaves of bread and pizza dough. In addition to overnight thawing, it took another three hours for the doughs to come to room temperature.
But freezing was a shortcut for smaller pieces of dough, such as dinner rolls, which came to room temperature in just 90 minutes.
For tips on bread baking, watch this episode of Milk Street TV, which is all about bread. You'll learn to make Pumpkin Seed Rolls, Portuguese Corn Bread (Broa) and Macanese Sweet Potato Cake, plus the techniques behind each that will help you on all future your bread baking endeavors.
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