Freeze and Thaw Bread
Kate C., a FCF reader friend, recently sent me this message about how to freeze and thaw bread:

Q: Jordan,
Hi there! I am a college student who loves to save money, so I buy bread from discount racks at super markets. The problem is I can never eat enough before it starts to stale or mold….so I 1/2 the loaf and freeze part of it. My problem is, when i take the other half from the freezer and it thaws it's hard as a rock! Do you have any tips for thawing frozen bread? Thank you for this site!!!

(Side-note…..Man! I sure love my college crowd. Remember THIS post for my other college-reader question? Anyway, back to the question at-hand.)
That's an interesting question. I freeze EVERYTHING (cheese,  produce, bread…I LOVE my discounted bread! It's especially good from bakeries.) and have never had a problem with my bread being hard when I thaw it out.
My thought is that air is somehow getting to it either while it's freezing, or while it's thawing. It could be that the bag it comes in is cheap and air gets into it. My initial thought is to put it in a better container.

Here are more tips on freezing and thawing bread:

  • Air + bread = bad news, when freezing AND thawing.
    • Make sure it's wrapped while defrosting, in a sealed plastic bag. You don't want it to lose moisture when thawing – that's what will make it dry out.
    • When I freeze entire loaves (like french bread – bread that isn't sliced) I wrap it tightly in foil. I've had no problems with it.
    • For sliced bread I often will freeze it in ziplock freezer bags.
  • Keep it away from direct sunlight.
  • It should defrost on the counter very quickly; anywhere from 15 minutes to 1-2 hours depending on if it's sliced or not, and if the slices are touching.
  • I found this cool method here:
    • If you want a faster method with a crispy crust, then use an oven to thaw the frozen bread. First, wrap the bread with a single piece of tin foil to prevent any exposed areas on the bread. Then, preheat the oven to 250 degrees F. Finally, place the tin foil-wrapped bread in the oven for 20 minutes. Once you remove the bread from the oven, allow it cool before you remove the tin foil. If done properly, the crust will be crispy, but the insides moist and tasty
  • Once bread is thawed, don't re-freeze it.
  • Don't thaw it in the microwave. If you absolutely must, only do it for a few seconds, and wrap the bread in paper towels first.
  • If the bread is in a loaf, slice it before you freeze it for quicker thawing. However, I freeze loaves of bread all the time and they thaw just fine. Just make sure they are wrapped tightly so no air gets to them.

If all else fails and your bread is stale and yucky, make croutons like I did HERE!  Croutons are super easy, super good, and then you don't have to feel bad about throwing out your nasty bread.

Good luck and thanks for reading!