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In my family I am well known for baking a great focaccia bread, but soon I won't be able to bake for some time, so my idea was to bake a big batch and put it into the freezer. Will that work or will the texture and taste of the focaccia change big time?

I know some people freeze their bread, but the one time I tasted such bread (wholemeal) it wasn't that nice, but I am not sure if it was because of the freezing or because the bread was just rubbish. Also, a focaccia is not a wholemeal bread, so I guess any conclusions based on that experience would be wrong.

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Do you have enough time before your bread-baking prohibition starts, to bake a few loaves? If so, you might experiment with various wrappings and combinations of wrappings to find what protects it best. I'm sure the loved ones who appreciate your talents would be happy to help dispose of the experimental extra loaves while waiting for your (hopefully very soon and relatively pain-free! :^D ) recovery. –  MargeGunderson Nov 17 '12 at 5:52
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2 Answers

up vote 9 down vote accepted

You can freeze (as < 0 °C / 32 °F) bread and it will last longer. As @FuzzyChef answered, there's even a whole "just baked bread" industry using that method.

The main problem with taking a piece of bread at room temperature and freeze it, is that it must go through the 0~5 °C / 32~41 °F zone. That is the temperature at which bread stales faster (as starches degelation). So, one should try the bread to be at that temperature the least possible time (maybe having small pieces of bread, or having a freezer at the lowest temperature as possible).

The same applies when you defrost the bread. Luckly, that degelation is, up to a point, reversible: If heated above 60 °C / 140 °F it will gelate again. So, better than letting warm up at room temperature, you can put it in an oven or a toaster.


Side note 1: remember to cut the focaccia before freezing it.

Side note 2: frozen bread industry helps itself with this.

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I wrote the verbs gelate / degelate, although I'm not very sure if it should be gelatinize / degelatinize. –  J.A.I.L. Nov 16 '12 at 17:17
    
probably gelatinize/degelatinize. I looked up your links and found them to be very interesting. I learned something new about bread. Thanks! –  Kristina Lopez Nov 17 '12 at 0:38
    
JAIL, wow, I knew that bread thawed in a hot oven tasted fresher, but I never knew why. Now I know! (and knowing is half the battle) –  FuzzyChef Nov 17 '12 at 6:44
    
I'm glad this knowledge opened your mind as it opened mine when I got it. :-) –  J.A.I.L. Nov 17 '12 at 14:22
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Almost any kind of bread freezes well. Foccacia is no exception, and if your recipe has a high olive oil content, that will even help it resist staleness from freezing and thawing. I suggest that you underbake the loaves you plan to freeze slightly (such as by 5 minutes). This allows you to reheat them by baking them at full temperature. This is called par-baking, and bakeries which ship frozen bread (such as La Brea Bakery in Los Angeles) use this technique to ship fresh-tasting frozen bread. Also, make sure to wrap the bread tightly to minimize ice crystals.

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