You Can Freeze Bread Dough but it’s More Risky Than Freezing a Cooked Loaf
However, if you freeze homemade bread dough you have better control over these risks than with frozen store or bakery bough dough.
Sometimes freezing bread dough can cause gluten can weaken, meaning it can’t store as much of the gas produced while the yeast is fermenting during the rising stage. resulting in a dense, heavy, flat loaf. A flour with high protein content or the addition of wheat gluten can help prevent this.
Other times the yeast can fail after the dough thaws. By using regular slow action yeast, not a fast or rapid rise yeast and adding slightly more yeast then usual, like a whole tablespoon instead of 2.5 teaspoons you increase the odds of your frozen dough rising after it thaws.
With Such Risks Why Freeze Bread Dough?
Because you get the great smell of fresh baked bread later. Because sometimes you run out of time waiting for the bread to rise and bake. And because it takes less freezer real estate, Freezing bread dough takes about 1/3 to 1/2 the space of a fully baked loaf.
Pre-shape Your Bread Dough
Most sources say to thaw and then shape the dough.
I don’t listen to that.
If you thought a watched pot will takes forever to boil try waiting for frozen dough to thaw at room temperature on your counter.
Although a small flat piece of dough will thaw faster than a big round loaf or oblong loaf I prefer to skip the reshaping step.
So I freeze bread dough in the shape I want it to rise and bake in for 1-2 hours or until solid.
If you want loaves line your loaf pan with waxed or parchment paper and let the dough freeze in the pan or an easier method is to grease a silicone bread pan. Your dough will rise in the freezer before it freezes solid and if you want it to fit in your bread pan you need to freeze it in the pan.
After solid, wrap the dough well in moisture-vapor proof supplies. Plastic freezer wrap and tin foil or a plastic freezer bag will work fine. Freezer burn on bread dough can make it rise unevenly but won’t hurt the taste.
Thawing Bread Dough
Pre-shaping the dough means you can pull it from the freezer, coat it in oil all around to keep it from drying out and let it rise on a cookie sheet or in the loaf pan and then just throw it in the oven to bake per the original recipes instructions.
Put cornmeal or parchment paper on your cookie sheet to keep the frozen bread dough from sticking as it thaws and bakes. Coat loaf pans in oil with a brush, paper towel or spray.
With this method my prep time is about 30 seconds when I pull the dough from the freezer. I check on it in about 2 hours. If it’s starting to rise I leave it alone. If the bread dough is still frozen and very cold I put it in the oven with the dome light on to rise. No heat on, just the heat from the light and the insulation of the oven help it rise.
When it’s risen to double it‘s original(pre-freezer)size, usually 4-6 hours depending on the temperature and the size of the loaf, I preheat the oven. If the bread was rising in the oven take it out before preheating. Then bake per direction on the recipe.