What exactly does freezing dough imply? How to freeze bread dough the right way? It’s not complicated but there are a few steps you need to consider.
In this post we’ll be talking about how to freeze bread dough for breads made with yeast.
This also means that the same process applies to freezing pizza dough. You can follow the same steps and get the desired results, a dough that can be taken out of the freezer, thawed and then ready to be baked into delicious pizzas.
Can You Freeze Bread Dough?
Can you freeze bread dough to keep it ready for the times when you just don’t have time to make fresh dough?
Yes, you absolutely can.
The exciting part is that the texture should be the same.
Some might prefer putting their hands to work or putting their stand mixer to work for more batches and then resort to freezing the bread dough to keep it fresh for those days when they are too busy or too tired. Or for when they have to do a lot of baking to do in a matter of hours.
Bread dough can be frozen but there are definitely things you should consider before freezing bread dough and that’s what we’re going to talk about.
The same process applies if you want to freeze pizza dough.
Once you discover all the things you need to know about how to freeze bread dough, you might decide that it’s simply not worth it. Or you might be excited to try and see how your first attempt at freezing bread dough goes.
How to Freeze Bread Dough Immediately After Kneading
- Flatten the dough on baking sheets and put them in the freezer for 1 hour
- Once it’s frozen, remove the dough and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap
- Place it in plastic bags and put it back in the freezer
You can keep it frozen for up to 4 weeks.
It’s a simple enough process.
However, the disadvantage is that the part that comes after thawing takes longer.
How to Thaw The Frozen Dough
- You can let it to thaw in the fridge overnight but no longer than that (12 hours at the most).
- Or you can place the dough directly on a baking sheet, cover it with a towel, and let it thaw in a warm environment.
Since the dough has only gone through the kneading part, it’s time for it to go through the first rise, until it doubles in size. The first rise will take a lot longer than the one for a non-frozen dough would. It will take about 4 to 6 hours.
Punch it down, shape it, and let it do its second rise before baking. This one should go down normally.
How to Freeze Bread Dough After Shaping
This is actually the method that some recommend. It’s also the method recommended for freezing pizza dough.
Since I mentioned that this is the part where we talk about how to freeze bread dough after shaping, it automatically implies that you need to let the dough go through the first rise (the part where the dough is placed in a bowl, covered with a towel, and left to sit there until it approximately doubles in size).
The difference is that instead of shaping it and letting it go through proofing (the second and final rise), you freeze it.
- after the first rise, punch down the dough and shape it
- you can shape in into rolls or you can place the whole dough ball into a proofing basket for that perfect round shape if you’re planning on baking it in a Dutch oven or on a baking stone or you can shape in by using a loaf pan, whatever you prefer
- if you’re using a loaf pan, you might want to line the baking pan with plastic wrap or grease it (you can use whatever oil you prefer)
- after the shaping, place the dough on a greased baking sheet or leave it in the loaf pan and freeze it for an hour or until it’s frozen – you can also leave it overnight.
- once it’s frozen, remove the shaped frozen dough and wrap it in plastic wrap and place it in a freezer-safe container
The you can leave it in the freezer for up to 4 weeks.
This is how you freeze pizza dough:
- Let the dough rise
- Punch it down and divide in into your usual portion sizes
- Wrap each ball of dough in plastic wrap and place them individually into freezer bags
If you want an alternative, read my post on how to store pizza dough in the fridge where it will keep for up to 2 weeks.
How to Thaw The Frozen Dough
- Let it thaw on a greased baking sheet or place it in a greased loaf pan
- Cover it and let the dough thaw in the fridge overnight or in a warm place
The process is pretty much the same. You only have to let it go through the proofing stage (second rise) before baking. It will take longer, about maybe twice as long until it’s done.
Check to see if the proofing is complete by making a small indentation with your fingertip. If the mark doesn’t fill in, it’s ready for scoring and baking.
That’s about it, now you know how to freeze bread dough or pizza dough, the first time is the hardest, after that you’ll know exactly what to do.
Facts You Need to Know When Freezing Dough
The first thing you should be aware of is that when you freeze the dough some of the yeast will be killed, which in turn will impact the rising phase once the dough is thawed.
It’s not an exact science so there’s no exact percentage of extra yeast that you need to add to your bread recipe.
It’s best to just double the yeast for your first try.
That’s definitely an inconvenience. Let’s see which are some of the other factors that you should be aware of.
What Types of Yeast Dough Work Better for Freezing?
Recipes for basic homemade bread and pizza dough are definitely the ones that work better for freezing.
Generally, we’re talking about recipes that are lower in fat and salt and higher in yeast and sugar.
You can also search for recipes that are specifically freeze for baking at a later time. But that’s not entirely necessary.
Frozen rolls also work and they seem to be quite popular, you’ll be able to find multiple recipes for them online.
When it comes to desserts, I noticed that frozen cookie dough is highly popular, there is quite the variety of frozen cookie dough recipes.
When it’s The Best Time to Freeze Bread Dough?
There are actually two points in the recipe when you can proceed with the freezing of a bread dough or a pizza dough:
- immediately after kneading and before the first rise – once your hands or your stand mixer are done with the kneading, you can go straight for the freezing part, which involves a few steps, check them out below
- after you’ve shaped the dough and before the second rise – this can be convenient because you can shape the dough to either fit directly into your loaf pan or your Dutch oven or you can shape it as baguettes and then just let it thaw and let if sit for its second rise before baking, it’s the much preferred method for freezing bread dough and this is the method that works for freezing pizza dough, as well
How Long Can You Freeze Bread Dough for?
It’s best to inscribe the date when the dough is placed in the freezer just to know exactly how long the dough is good for.
You should freeze dough up to 4 weeks, whether for baking bread or pizza making.