How to Freeze Bread (and Keep It Fresh Longer)
Our Test Kitchen experts share their tips on how to freeze bread so you can always enjoy its maximum freshness.
Here’s the situation: You’ve had a full afternoon of baking fresh bread. You’ve put your heart and soul into proofing the dough, kneading properly and babysitting it to tender baked perfection. The last thing you want is for a loaf to go stale before you can share it with friends and family. Bread really only lasts two or three days before it will start to get stale—or even turn moldy.
When you need to make each loaf last as long as possible, turn to the freezer. Below, we’ll discuss how to freeze bread and how to thaw it to maintain its soft, airy texture.
When to Freeze Bread
If there was a bakery deal on bread and you got several loaves or if you made sourdough or buttery dinner rolls from scratch and ended up with way more than you planned on, you can freeze the bread right away to maintain its pillowy texture. Freshly baked bread should be completely cooled before going in the freezer.
If your bread has already started to turn stale, freezing it won’t necessarily stop it from going bad. When you take it out of the freezer, it will still be slightly stale. This is why we recommend freezing bread you’re not going to eat right away rather than waiting until the last minute.
How to Freeze Bread
Freezing food is a smart choice for many reasons. When you freeze bread correctly, you really can maintain its freshness. In fact, it can last for months.
Step 1: Prep your bread, sliced or whole
If baking, let your bread cool completely. This will prevent it from becoming soggy or moldy. Wrap each loaf tightly in plastic wrap. Then wrap it in foil or freezer paper. The double-wrap is your secret weapon for freshness.
Test Kitchen Tip: Slice your bread before freezing so you can remove only the slices you’d like to use each time, rather than having to thaw the entire loaf. You can wrap a few slices together rather than individually wrapping every slice.
Step 2: Pop bread in the freezer
Always write the date on your bread before freezing. It’s best to use frozen bread within six months. Any longer and you’ll find the bread may have freezer burn.
Here are more foods that freeze well—including a handful of surprises.
How to Thaw Frozen Bread
Frozen bread is especially great to use for making toast. You can simply grab frozen slices from the freezer and pop them in the toaster. You may have to turn your toaster setting up a little higher than if you were toasting regular bread.
You can also take out the frozen bread you’d like to use and thaw it overnight right on the countertop. It should be ready for breakfast the next day!
How to Heat Up Bread from Frozen
No time for thawing? Reheat your bread directly from frozen. Set your oven between 325° and 350°F and pop in the frozen loaf. Smaller loaves might take around 20 minutes, where larger loaves could take nearly 40 minutes.
To heat up slices of bread from frozen, warm them in the oven for about five minutes.
How to Avoid Freezer Burn
Even with a double wrap, freezer burn can still sneak into your bread. Although it’s safe to eat freezer-burned food, it will lack moisture and flavor. Making sure your loaves or slices are at room temperature (or even chilled in the fridge) will be the first step for preventing freezer burn. Keeping your freezer about three-quarters full also keeps food fresh. A freezer that’s too full won’t have enough room for freezing air to circulate.