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Why Your Frozen Bread Is Defrosting Stale

Why Your Frozen Bread Is Defrosting Stale

The real reason your favorite sandwich bread has turned hard and crunchy when you defrost it.

I love meal planning more than the average person. I love stocking my vegetable drawer with fresh veggies, baking off a tray of muffins for mornings, and constructing little baggies of fresh fruit for snacks. But I'm just one person, so some things aren't going to last me beyond the week.

Bread products in particular always find their way into the depths of my freezer. I'll pull out a tortilla for a quick breakfast wrap or a slice of bread to soak up my egg's runny yolk. But defrosting frozen bread can sometimes be a mystery. I'll pop a frozen English muffin in the microwave and it comes out fluffy and fresh, but then I'll defrost a pita pocket and it's deteriorated into a crunchy cracker. So what gives?

Eating healthy should still be delicious.

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I brought this dilemma to our in-house bread and baking expert, Deb Wise, and with a little research on the side here are the best tips and tricks for freezing your favorite bread products.

Buy The Right Breads

The higher quality the bread you're freezing is the better. Opt for uncut, higher moisture options like a whole loaf from a bakery. Wise added to avoid attempting to freeze unleavened breads because they tend to be dryer and whole wheat breads because enriched breads are more freezer friendly

Don't Freeze Forever

Frozen foods are never meant to be kept until the end of time. Bagels, sandwich bread, English muffins, pita bread, and tortillas can be kept frozen up to three months, while crunchy bread like baguettes and bakery loafs should really only stick around for 3 weeks. Wise recommends keeping nice bakery bread in the freezer up to one week if you plan on serving it up to company.

Protect Your Breads

Wise says that moisture tends to be sucked out in the freezer and toaster, so if not stored properly breads can become crunchy and stale. Be sure you protect your bread from freezer burn and an unpleasant crunch by wrapping tightly in foil or in a zip-top bag. If you're storing warm bakery bread or a homemade loaf, be sure to cool completely before wrapping it tightly in foil or placing it in a zip-top bag.

Thaw Properly

It might seem like pulling your bread out to thaw overnight seems like the best idea, but you may want to consider reviving your slices with a little more effort. Try reheating frozen bread in a 300 degree oven for about five minutes to achieve that crusty bite. For breads with a little less natural moisture like tortilla, pita, and flatbread, try sprinkling on some water or wrapping in a damp paper towel before popping it in the microwave for 10 second intervals.


Bread taken out of the freezer and allowed to thaw can be refrozen however, you are compromising the quality of the bread. The end product of a loaf of bread after being refrozen is it will become much drier.

Most people who have unthawed a loaf of bread and then discovered they would not be able to consume it before it goes bad think of alternative uses for the loaf.

If you do refreeze the bread, you might want to consider it as toasting bread the next time it comes out of the freezer.

Another alternative for refrozen bread would be to turn it into garlic toast when you unthaw it a second time. You could also make bread crumbs out of the loaf and use as fillers or topping in other recipes.

Whenever you have to make a decision about refreezing a food product, you should always consider safety first.

If you find it’s safe to refreeze, you should consider quality next and decide if the loss of quality is worth refreezing and hanging on to that loaf of bread.


Why you should always have some bread in your freezer

We can eat a lot of bread in my house. But even for two carbivores, a big loaf can sometimes be too much to finish before it starts to go stale.

Thank goodness for the freezer.

We’re often admonished not to refrigerate bread, which accelerates staling, but the freezer is another matter. It serves as a kind of pause button, meaning fresh bread you move into cold storage can come out almost as good as the day you put it in.

The best way to freeze bread (figure on a freezer life of about three months) depends a little bit on what you’re dealing with and what you want to do with it. You always want to start with at least a double layer of protection against freezer burn. Two layers of plastic wrap is usually sufficient you can also combine plastic wrap with a layer of aluminum foil. I often throw plastic-wrapped slices or chunks that are small enough into a plastic zip-top bag for extra insurance and easier organization.

Pre-sliced store-bought breads can be grouped into packets of a few slices each. Separate slices with pieces of parchment or wax paper if you think you’re more likely to use one slice at a time.

Larger artisan-style loaves can be saved in several ways. Double-wrap whole loaves if you want to use it in one fell swoop down the line. Or first cut into more manageable chunks for gradual consumption. Thick-cut slices can be wrapped individually and placed in a bag.

For defrosting advice, check out these ideas for how to use your frozen bread.

Eat as is! The simplest thing to do with frozen bread is to eat it out of hand. This works particularly well if you’re pulling out a whole loaf. You can let the loaf thaw, still wrapped, on the counter for a few hours or overnight, and then crisp it in a 350- to 400-degree oven for a few minutes. Or wrap the still-frozen bread in foil and heat for 15 to 30 minutes, depending on size and whether you want to just quickly thaw or also warm it.

Make fancy toast. Take your thick artisan slices out of the freezer to thaw while you prep your toppings. Any residual defrosting can happen while you’re heating the bread. Brush with oil and broil in the oven, griddle in an oiled/buttered skillet or heat in your toaster or toaster oven. You can add even more to your feel-good freezer thriftiness by combing through your pantry and refrigerator for odds and ends of cheese, produce and condiments for your toppings. The possibilities are endless.

Cube it for croutons. So much better than store-bought. Let the bread thaw on the counter. Toss or drizzle chunks or cubes of it in olive oil (a flavored one is great if you have it) and crisp on a baking sheet in a 350-degree oven for 15 minutes, or until golden brown. You can also toss the bread with some dried herbs or spices before it goes in the oven be extra indulgent and scatter the chunks with grated cheese before cooking. Croutons are a natural on top of salads or soups. Or you can use them as the basis for a panzanella (bread and tomato salad) in the summer. They’re also an addictive snack (nope, not speaking from personal experience at all!).


Only freeze bread that is still fresh and delicious. Freezing bread that is already a couple of days old will result in overly dry, not very tasty bread when thawed. Either try to find a recipe to use up your day-old bread (there are countless ways to utilize stale or old bread in delicious recipes) or donate it to your local flock of crows.

It’s better to slice up a loaf of bread that you intend to freeze. Thawing out a few pieces of bread at a time works out better for most busy people and cuts down on food waste.

Do try the newest superfood breads out there, made of delicious ingredients that keep nutrition levels high, healthy fiber high, and potential allergens like gluten low. There are excellent choices available now to ensure that you can keep bread on the menu, even if you are on a low-carb diet.

Branded content furnished by our promotional partners. The Daily Sundial editorial staff is not involved in its production.


Conclusion

Defrosting your bread can be the easiest way to restore your essential food to its beginning condition. I have introduced you to how to defrost bread in three different ways. With only some simple steps, you can prepare your bread to make any food you like. I am really excited to hear your successful effort following our guide in the comment box below.

Kaiya Martin

Kaiya Martin is the Founder of KITCHEN BAR. Kaiya graduated with a degree in Communications and Journalism from Fordham University. Prior, Kaiya spent time in the travel world and enjoy cuisines.


How to Defrost Bread Without Destroying It

While you&aposre not supposed to store bread in the fridge, you can freeze bread if you think it&aposs going to go stale or get moldy. But how do you freeze bread so it doesn&apost get dry and crusty before you have a chance to enjoy it? And how do you defrost bread properly without destroying it in the process?

The first step is to make sure that no air can get to your loaf while it&aposs in the freezer. According to the experts at Zingerman&aposs Bakehouse in Ann Arbor, MI, that means removing the bread from its original packaging and either double-bagging the loaf in plastic bags or tightly wrapping it in plastic wrap so that no air can get in. And you want to freeze the bread as soon as you can. As Zingerman&aposs managing partner Frank Carollo explains, "The fresher the bread is that goes into the freezer, the more moisture will remain in the bread when it comes out of the freezer."

Carollo doesn&apost recommend keeping bread frozen for more than a couple of months, though it&aposs not necessarily a problem if you do. "There’s nothing that can harm you that will happen," he says, but the quality of the bread will almost certainly decline the longer it&aposs kept frozen. "That will allow some of the moisture to condense on the inside of the plastic and at some point, at some length of time you’ll end up having a little freezer burn," he says.

Once you&aposre ready to defrost the bread, you have two options. The first is pretty straightforward. Preheat your oven to 350ଏ, take the bread out of the freezer, remove the plastic, and place the whole frozen loaf into the now-hot oven. Let the loaf bake for about 40 minutes to revive it. While 40 minutes sounds like a long time, this particular procedure works great, according to Carollo, leaving you with bread that smells and tastes like it&aposs freshly baked (because it kind of is).

If you don&apost want to run your oven that long though, you can first let the loaf of bread defrost on your counter for a few hours. Once it&aposs soft, take the plastic off the bread, and bake the loaf in the oven at 350ଏ for 10 or 15 minutes. Be sure to keep the loaf inside the plastic wrap as it comes to room temperature. Otherwise you&aposll lose all the moisture, and the defrosted bread will be sad and dry.

Don&apost try to refreeze defrosted bread. "Once you put it in the oven like this, you should plan to consume whatever whole piece you have at one sitting," Carollo says. "Heating it up again will release the water cells and make it seem moist and steamy like it just came out of an oven. But then it will lose all of that moisture." Trying to refreeze the loaf will be pointless because it&aposll get rock hard.

That&aposs why Carollo recommends freezing the loaf in smaller chunks, even going so far as cutting the bread into slices before wrapping it in plastic and freezing. That way, he explains, "you can get a really nice effect by just popping it into a toaster. Then you can eat the loaf one slice at a time for as long as that takes you," rather than sit there and eat an entire defrosted loaf in a single sitting. (But if that&aposs what you&aposre into, there&aposs no judgment here.)


Why you should always have some bread in your freezer

We can eat a lot of bread in my house. But even for two carbivores, a big loaf can sometimes be too much to finish before it starts to go stale.

Thank goodness for the freezer.

We’re often admonished not to refrigerate bread, which accelerates staling, but the freezer is another matter. It serves as a kind of pause button, meaning fresh bread you move into cold storage can come out almost as good as the day you put it in.

The best way to freeze bread (figure on a freezer life of about three months) depends a little bit on what you’re dealing with and what you want to do with it. You always want to start with at least a double layer of protection against freezer burn. Two layers of plastic wrap is usually sufficient you can also combine plastic wrap with a layer of aluminum foil. I often throw plastic-wrapped slices or chunks that are small enough into a plastic zip-top bag for extra insurance and easier organization.

Pre-sliced store-bought breads can be grouped into packets of a few slices each. Separate slices with pieces of parchment or wax paper if you think you’re more likely to use one slice at a time. Larger artisan-style loaves can be saved in several ways. Double-wrap a whole loaf if you want to use it in one fell swoop down the line. Or first cut into more manageable chunks for gradual consumption. Thick-cut slices can be wrapped individually and placed in a bag.

For defrosting advice, check out these ideas for how to use your frozen bread.

Eat as is! The simplest thing to do with frozen bread is to eat it out of hand. This works particularly well if you’re pulling out a whole loaf. You can let the loaf thaw, still wrapped, on the counter for a few hours or overnight, and then crisp it in a 350- to 400-degree oven for a few minutes. Or wrap the still-frozen bread in foil and heat for 15 to 30 minutes, depending on size and whether you want to just quickly thaw or also warm it.

Make fancy toast. Take your thick artisan slices out of the freezer to thaw while you prep your toppings. Any residual defrosting can happen while you’re heating the bread. Brush with oil and broil in the oven, griddle in an oiled/buttered skillet or heat in your toaster or toaster oven. You can add even more to your feel-good freezer thriftiness by combing through your pantry and refrigerator for odds and ends of cheese, produce and condiments for your toppings. The possibilities are endless.

Cube it for croutons. So much better than store-bought. Let the bread thaw on the counter. Toss or drizzle chunks or cubes of it in olive oil (a flavored one is great if you have it) and crisp on a baking sheet in a 350-degree oven for 15 minutes, or until golden brown. You can also toss the bread with some dried herbs or spices before it goes in the oven be extra indulgent and scatter the chunks with grated cheese before cooking. Croutons are a natural on top of salads or soups. Or you can use them as the basis for a panzanella (bread and tomato salad) in the summer. They’re also an addictive snack (nope, not speaking from personal experience at all!).

Grind some fresh bread crumbs. You can use your food processor to grind the bread crumbs to freeze later, or you can make them with thawed bread. Bread crumbs can transform a simple bowl of pasta, especially when toasted in a skillet with garlic and olive oil. They can serve as the binder in crab cakes or veggie cakes. They’re the basis of the crispy topping on mac and cheese or the exterior of pan-fried chicken cutlets or baked chicken pieces.


How To Defrost Bread Without Destroying It. The best way to thaw bread without tearing it up is to work with it gently, not freeze it longer than 3 months and to heat it in the oven for a few minutes after you have thawed it in room temperature air for a few hours.

The best way to thaw frozen bread is to place the slices on a plate (uncovered) and microwave them on high power for 15 to 25 seconds. This will get the starch and water molecules to break down the crystalline regions, producing soft, ready-to-eat bread.


The Complete Guide to Easy Quick Bread

First, is the frozen bread packaged in a wrapper that has instructions on it? If so, follow them. Otherwise, slow thawing will take place in the fridge, faster thawing will occur on the counter. Is the bread already sliced? If so, you can thaw what you need at a given time.

I bake bread and freeze it, using only what I need at a given time. Works for me!

As for the word, 'organic', with respect to how food is produced doesn't register with me. Anything composed of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen is organic. That includes you and me.

Clicking the will recommend this comment to others.

ChiliDude is right about the fridge. But if I'm fast-defrosting bread for say, dinner, I put it on a pizza stone in the oven. Set the oven to the lowest temp and check/rotate often. It always comes out perfectly defrosted and barely toasted.

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Bread freezes amazingly well -- even sandwich bread. My family often keeps sandwich bread in the freezer, removing slices as needed.

Slices thaw quickly at room temp. Even a whole loaf will probably thaw in under an hour . Keep slices wrapped in plastic or they will dry out while thawing. It doesn't get soggy (not sure why . it just doesn't).

You can also pop it into the toaster while it's still frozen.

Some toasters even have a defrost function now.

Is it dough or cooked?
If it's dough defrosting can take several hours. Generally you put it in a bowl or bread pan on a countertop and cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap that has been coated with butter or cooking spray, then let it sit until it rises to the desired height.

I fell for the ezekiel sprouted grain thing once. Never again. First of all, it's not real bread i don't think it has any flour in it. and if it does, it just has a weird and unpleasant consistency. if you're looking for a flourless bread replacement and you're not expecting it to taste or feel like real bread, then go for it. otherwise, run far in the opposite direction.

as far as freezing bread goes: we keep our bread and pitas in the freezer and thaw it, as we need it. we don't eat a lot of bread and it tends to go stale before we get through it, so this has been a good solution for us. i'll usually either pop it in the microwave for 20 seconds or put it right into the toaster. otherwise, just leave slices out for ten minutes or so and they'll defrost. if i buy fresh bread or a baguette from a bakery, i'll try to get through it before it goes stale. otherwise, defrost in microwave and crisp it up in the oven.

I generally toast my Ezekiel, but it does thaw at room temperature with no detriment to the final product. I do have to agree with funkymonkey in that the taste is different from standard yeasted bread (which I find to be superior). However, Ezekiel is easier to digest and a great product out there.

I can never go through a loaf of bread before it turns stale/gets moldy. I always keep a bag of sliced bread in the freezer (I like Trader Joe's sprouted ones.. I forget exactly what they're called). When I want some, I simply pop it in my toaster and toast the slices twice on a medium-low setting. (If I wanted more toastier toast, I'd turn up the heat for the second toasting.) It works every time.


Bread related questions

How Do I Know If My Bread Has Gone Bad?

The bread that you buy from the grocery store should have an expiry date on the packaging. However, you should be aware that this date is only a suggestion.

More often than not, it is quite possible to eat the contents after the expiry date shown.

In the majority of instances, even correctly stored bread will one day get dry and stale. But don’t lose sight of the fact that you can use stale bread for making things like breadcrumbs, bread pudding, and croutons, for mentioning but a few.

Even when bread has turned dry and stale, you can still eat it quite safe as long as it hasn’t spoiled. In some instances, however, the bread will inevitably spoil and go off.

Know the exact expiration date of the best form of carbs.

Rule #1: If mold is growing on the bread, don’t eat it.

    • The shape of the mold and its proliferation will indicate how long it has been there. The color of the mold will depend on the environment the bread has been kept in and what type of bread it is.
    • Bread with mold on it should be thrown away. It mustn’t be eaten or used to cook other dishes or preparations.

    How to tell if a white powdery substance on the crust is flour or mold?

    If you can, scrape a little of the suspicious substance off with your fingernail.

    If it comes off and is powdery in appearance and the bread smells okay, the odds are that it is flour.

    If, however, it comes off in clusters, it is, in all likelihood, mold.

    Is bread mold dangerous?

    Yes, bread mold can prove dangerous, especially for anyone sensitive or allergic to it. Inhaling mold spores may cause inflammation to a person’s respiratory system.

    When bread begins to turn moldy, it is an indication that harmful bacteria could be present – bacteria not visible to the human eye.

    Fresh bread will quickly go stale if allowed. Nonetheless, there are many uses and excellent recipes that call for it.

    Even though you can keep fresh bread for longer by freezing it, you should always check to make sure it hasn’t gone moldy. If it has, throw it out.

    Rule #2: Bread’s texture can tell you a lot.

    Typically, French bread has a crusty exterior and a soft, fluffy interior. Wonder Bread, too, has a similar “pillowy” feel about it.

    Sourdough is quite different. It is denser and chewier. It has also got more of a spring to its texture. All of these different characteristics depending on the bread you are eating at the time.

    Most of us can only tell if the bread is stale when we touch it. But if you don’t mind stale bread, then what the heck? Whatever turns you on. If it’s not your thing, there is always a hot pan nearby and a tasty French toast recipe to fall back on.

    Rule #3: A strange smell.

    If your bread has an odd odor or a weird color, it is likely to have gone off. If it is moldy, don’t smell it too deeply. You do not want to be inhaling mold spores.

    How long does bread last in the fridge?

    The golden rule is that fresh bread should never be put in the fridge. Never!

    The majority of bread, regardless of how well packaged they are, will eventually go dry and become stale in a refrigerator. Bread ought to be kept in a pantry, a bread box, or be frozen.

    The difficulty when preserving bread is that when kept in an airtight container or a plastic bag, moisture builds up and makes it go moldy.

    If kept in a breathable container, like a paper bag, it will become dry and stale.

    The best way to enjoy shop-bought bread is to eat fresh before it passes the expiry date shown on the packaging.

    Bread’s shelf life is dependent on the type, and what the shown expiry date is.

    Can old bread make you sick?

    What is old bread? If it is just dry and stale, it is safe to eat, if you have a mind to. If, however, it is moldy, you must not attempt to eat it.

    When you spot signs of mildew or mold on bread or inside its packaging, avoid it altogether. Don’t pick your way through it, looking for uncontaminated slices. Throw the whole thing away.

    Exposing mold to heat might destroy any microorganisms. That doesn’t mean though that you can toast a moldy slice of bread and make it okay to eat. The temperature wouldn’t be high enough, and even if it were – it would burn the toast anyway.

    If you have a strong, healthy immune system, consuming moldy bread might not be hazardous. It might just make you throw up.

    People with a sensitivity or allergy to mold could irritate their eyes, nose, or throat.

    Is it safe to eat bread passed the expiration date?

    What is the importance of bread’s “best by” date? Is it awful to eat afterward?
    This question arose recently. I had a loaf of bread in the refrigerator that was just past its sell-by date. I have to say it looked fine. Apart from being a little cold, which indicated the fridge was still working, it wasn’t hard or moldy. Was it safe to eat?

    The reality is that the” best by” date is not the be-all and end-all. It is dependent on what type of bread it is, too, as far as Ask.com is concerned.

    You can eat bread safely past both its expiry date and its “best by” date. These dates can be exceeded by as much as five to seven days without concern. Fresh bakery bread, on the other hand, only has a lifespan of two to three days past those recommended dates.