Why Your Frozen Bread Is Defrosting Stale
The real reason your favorite sandwich bread has turned hard and crunchy when you defrost it.
I love meal planning more than the average person. I love stocking my vegetable drawer with fresh veggies, baking off a tray of muffins for mornings, and constructing little baggies of fresh fruit for snacks. But I'm just one person, so some things aren't going to last me beyond the week.
Bread products in particular always find their way into the depths of my freezer. I'll pull out a tortilla for a quick breakfast wrap or a slice of bread to soak up my egg's runny yolk. But defrosting frozen bread can sometimes be a mystery. I'll pop a frozen English muffin in the microwave and it comes out fluffy and fresh, but then I'll defrost a pita pocket and it's deteriorated into a crunchy cracker. So what gives?
I brought this dilemma to our in-house bread and baking expert, Deb Wise, and with a little research on the side here are the best tips and tricks for freezing your favorite bread products.
Buy The Right Breads
The higher quality the bread you're freezing is the better. Opt for uncut, higher moisture options like a whole loaf from a bakery. Wise added to avoid attempting to freeze unleavened breads because they tend to be dryer and whole wheat breads because enriched breads are more freezer friendly
Don't Freeze Forever
Frozen foods are never meant to be kept until the end of time. Bagels, sandwich bread, English muffins, pita bread, and tortillas can be kept frozen up to three months, while crunchy bread like baguettes and bakery loafs should really only stick around for 3 weeks. Wise recommends keeping nice bakery bread in the freezer up to one week if you plan on serving it up to company.
Protect Your Breads
Wise says that moisture tends to be sucked out in the freezer and toaster, so if not stored properly breads can become crunchy and stale. Be sure you protect your bread from freezer burn and an unpleasant crunch by wrapping tightly in foil or in a zip-top bag. If you're storing warm bakery bread or a homemade loaf, be sure to cool completely before wrapping it tightly in foil or placing it in a zip-top bag.
It might seem like pulling your bread out to thaw overnight seems like the best idea, but you may want to consider reviving your slices with a little more effort. Try reheating frozen bread in a 300 degree oven for about five minutes to achieve that crusty bite. For breads with a little less natural moisture like tortilla, pita, and flatbread, try sprinkling on some water or wrapping in a damp paper towel before popping it in the microwave for 10 second intervals.