Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

Realizing that you can put bread in the freezer changed my life - well, at least my bread buying habits ;-)

We'd always eat frozen bread at my grandma's. She'd buy a new loaf, pull an old one out of the freezer, and put the new one in. I don't think we ever had a fresh slice of bread there. I love this memory for some reason.

Yup. I've been making my own bread for ~4 years, mainly due to family. When I know I have a busy week ahead or travelling, I make two loaves that weekend and freeze one. Family gets good sourdough bread, and the toast from frozen is in no way noticeably different.

You might want to try par-baking and freezing, instead of just freezing the cooked loaves. At the peak of my sourdough-ratholing last year, I scaled up my recipe size so that I was making four loaves (batards weighing in at around 650-700 grams), and then par-baking and freezing three of them for use over the next week or two.

My method:

1. Do whatever it is that you do before baking a loaf of bread

2. Bake the loaf for around 2/3rds the target time. In my case, this is about a half hour. I bake these loaves at 200°C, on a baking stone and covered with a huge aluminum salad bowl to sorta emulate a steam oven. At the end of the half hour, the crust is still white due to the bowl, and just starting to go brown on the tips of whatever cuts I added.

3. Take the loaf out and let it cool for a couple hours

4. Seal it in a plastic bag and put it in the freezer

5. Proceed with life for a time

6. When in need of more bread, take a par-baked loaf out of the freezer and put it on the counter, and pre-heat the oven to 200°C

7. Once pre-heated (~20 mins later, let's say), put the still-frozen loaf (sans plastic!!) into the oven uncovered, and cook for another 15 mins

8. Take it out to let it cool and enjoy

IMO a par-baked and then frozen loaf is noticeably better than a single-baked loaf, at least when using a home oven. I speculate that this is because a home oven needs a longer total baking time than a (hotter, steam-injected) commercial oven to fully bake + get the right crust, and that extra time turns into a drier crumb. But I further speculate that the par-bake-and-freeze technique preserves the crumb, since the crumb is really pretty much done by the time the 30-min par-bake is over, and the crumb ends up spending a good chunk of the 15-min finishing bake just de-thawing rather than drying out.

Pff, wait til you discover you can freeze also sausages and butter without losing any quality, which sadly can't be said about bread, defrosted bread tastes pretty bad, which is why I don't freeze it. I mean if I would be that desperate or lazy that I wouldn't want to go to small convenience store right under my building to buy half loaf, I have always at home enough flour and it would make more sense to keep dry yeast in stock to prepare own bread.

I would have agreed with you completely until I got married and discovered that it's not the freezing that does it, but the thawing. It's all in how you thaw.

Now I pull the loaf out a few hours before it's needed and let it thaw at room temperature in the pantry. Definitely leave it sealed.

I laugh now thinking about how as kids we put the bread in the microwave on defrost. That makes some damn nasty bread :-D

nah, I know that, I defrost everything at room temperature, defrosting anything in MW is insanity

some people recommend sprinkle a bit water and put defrosted bread into oven for short time, but haven't tried it, I prefer fresh bread

Depends on the sausage I guess, and on the defrosting process. Personally, I don't like to freeze any meat - chances are that it had been frozen already, and refreezing it will ruin it.

My mom freezes everything to save money, and there is an element of emancipation for me to be able to not do that, but generally speaking I just find it a destructive practice from a flavour perspective.

it's not (only/mostly) about money, but (mostly) convenience

I eat defrosted bread quite often and I can't notice a flavor difference, at least for sandwiches.

And stale or moldy bread, my alternative, is very easy to notice.

Crusty sourdough freezes just fine. I wouldn’t want to freeze Wonderbread style soft sandwich loaves, though.

My wife does this.

The only complaint I have is that when there isn't space, she forces it in anyway and then you end up with mangled, frozen slices that don't fit in the toaster.

If you have the space, a second deep freeze is a game changer. You can often find them for cheap or even free, the ones from the 90s seem to last forever.

I just _know_ she'd love to have a chest freezer (runs in her family I think); alas, we live in a London apartment, space is one thing we don't have.

On a side note, with energy prices (which are typically high in the UK compared to some other places) I'd be loath to use an "old" freezer. We once rented a place, and I found their circa 80s freezer user more electricity than we did for the rest of the flat.

I've always been one to prefer newer, more energy efficient devices even at a higher initial cost (it's somewhat of a hobby of mine to see how energy efficient I can make things in my home), it's times like these where I feel it's actually paying off.

I ordered a chest freezer months ago and it still hasn't been delivered. Every time I follow up, the retailer keeps blaming supply chain.

Maybe keep a toaster facing out in the freezer she can put the bread into? Will never be out of shape.

Genius idea. We'd need more toasters though or we'll only be able to hold 2-4 slices!

If you ever want to go into business together with the family-sized freezer-toaster let me know.

Freezing bread alters it. I can't recall off hand what it does but I don't much like the taste. I'm not particularly a fan of bread at the best of times though, so I might be more susceptible to the change taste of frozen bread than most. In fact it's pretty much only freshly baked bread that I enjoy.

The change in consistency happens most quickly at temperatures in the single digits, that’s also why bread in the fridge gets stale faster. But toasting the bread reverts the process. So the trick is to defrost in the microwave and pop it in the oven (if still in a loaf) or toaster (if sliced). Put some water on the crust to prevent it from baking too much. Works wonders on yesterday’s rolls too.

We have delivered batches of 7 loaves from a local bakery every 2-3 weeks, and of course freeze them. The trick is to, as soon as I can after receiving them, put the loaves with their original bag inside also a large freezer bag, so they are double-bagged, and right into the freezer. When taking it out, toast it as needed, either so lightly that it just thaws, or as toasty as you like if you want toast.

While nothing is like a chunk or slice of bread still warm from the oven, this is more than good enough and often not distinguishable from the bread as received. One note is that this is pretty high-density bread, so it might not work as well with 'fluffier' breads. In any case, the double bagging does work for me to eliminate that ucky freezer burn taste, or at least put it off so that it takes 2+months in the freezer for it to appear.

I've also found for cakes and pastries that wrapping in cling wrap, then aluminum foil tightly sealed by rolling the edges together, then a freezer bag works well for many months.

Have you tried toasting it when you take it out of the freezer?

Toast isn't fresh bread.

(I like both, they aren't the same thing)

You don't toast it _all the way_. Heat it up a modest amount, just enough for the ice crystals to melt, and it will spring to life as if it were a practically fresh slice of bread (until it is freezer burnt, at which point it will be a little bad).

The method I was taught was to wrap the slice of bread in a paper towel and microwave for 5-10 seconds.

Freezer bread is only the same as never-frozen bread if you toast it. Otherwise it tastes odd and there's really no good way to defrost it quickly. I don't always want toast.

Rolls are especially poor in the freezer as they have to first be half defrosted then cut then toasted and even then the top has a slightly odd taste, probably due to the thickness. Of course, I'll still stick them in there rather than wasting them, I'll just be miffed about it.

I'm eating loads of bread, good bread is not easy to come by in London, at least to my taste. There is this one place I like, they do big loafs that reminds me of the bread my grand parents were buying in France. Problem is that they won't sell me halves and my partner doesn't eat much so I freeze it from time to time. Frozen bread from a decent bakery always beat any kind of "fresh" supermarket bread.

Yeah, I wish there were more local bakeries in UK, I mostly gave up on trying to find good inexpensive bread.

Dunns Bakery in Crouch End is decent if youre close.

I do the same with bagels / english muffins / etc., it's crazy to waste perfectly good bread if you just didn't get around to eating it before it spoiled. If it's a baguette or country loaf that's about to go bad I usually just make croutons / breadcrumbs out of it.

It really is a game changer. Even just putting it in the fridge prolongs its shelf life. Just make sure to keep the bag sealed with a twist tie, to keep the bread from drying out. I also save the heels until last, as well. They make good end caps while you're finishing the rest of the loaf.

My flatmate, who is a baker by trade, violently disagrees with putting bread in the fridge. He argues that the condensation in the bag/box you store it in increases the chance of mold and interferes with the bread's structural integrity. He recommends to store bread in a paper bag in a bread bin somewhere on your counter top, but a clay baker or something similiar will also do the trick. I'll add, that it's perfectly legit to store bread in the fridge if it would go bad otherwise. Just one of the usual nitpicks tradespeople have regarding their line of work.

Does anyone actually eat the heels?

Yep, I do. If not ergonomically perfect for sandwiches, they are great for toasting for soup or oatmeal or ramen noodles. They also make an excellent meal when broiled with some chives and melty cheese on top. Heels are under-rated.

My wife disdains bread heels too. She grew up upper middle-class, while I grew up in a working poor family.

My theory is that one's estimation of heels is in inverse proportion to how well-to-do your family was growing up.

Yes. And due to the rest of my family, sometimes one sandwich made from two heels.

Heels are the best! At least speaking of European bread.

They are fine for croutons or breadcrumbs. I don't like them in any other application (like a sandwich).

I do, I just turn them inside out and make grilled cheese and pastrami with them.

> put bread in the freezer

Except frozen bread tastes bloody awful.

You have to thaw it before you eat it.

Guidelines | FAQ | Lists | API | Security | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact