How to Freeze Yeast Dough

Good news, bakers: You can prep and freeze yeast dough before baking it. We'll walk you through two ways to do just that.

There’s nothing as delicious as freshly baked bread, but sometimes the process requires more time than we have. Guess what? If you plan ahead, you can freeze bread dough to save time on baking day.

What types of yeast dough freeze well?

Because some yeast bread recipes do freeze better than others, it’s best to use a recipe specifically written to freeze for baking at a later time. Those breads are typically lower in fat and salt, but higher in yeast and sugar, like basic homemade bread and pizza dough.

When should you freeze yeast dough?

Two points in the dough-making process are good times to freeze the dough. The first is after kneading and before the first rise. The other is after you’ve shaped the dough and before the second rise.

How to Freeze Dough Before the First Rise

Place flattened dough on baking sheets and freeze for 1 hour. Once dough is frozen, remove from the freezer and wrap tightly with either plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Then place in resealable plastic bags and return to the freezer. Store the dough in an airtight freezer container for up to four weeks.

Thaw the dough in the refrigerator overnight. When you’re ready to use it, place the dough on a greased baking sheet. Cover and let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled (this is the first rise). It will take longer than usual for the dough to rise, up to twice as long if it hadn’t been frozen. Punch the dough down, shape it then let it rise for the second time before baking.

How to Freeze Dough After Shaping

This works especially well for small, shaped breads (like dinner rolls) and doughs that don’t have a sugary filling. Sweets like cinnamon rolls could collect moisture during the freezing and thawing processes, so it’s best to prep those the day you bake.

Shape the dough, then freeze it on a baking sheet. Once frozen, store the dough in an airtight container for up to four weeks. Thaw, covered, on greased baking sheets in the refrigerator overnight. Cover and let it rise in a warm place until doubled (this is the second rise), which will take longer than dough that has not been frozen. Bake as directed.

Fresh-baked bread is always more delicious than reheated, so use these tips to prep your dough ahead if you don’t have time to make the full recipe on the day you plan on baking your bread.

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