Can you freeze beer bread?
In this article, we will answer the question “Can you freeze beer bread?” and discuss what happens when beer bread is frozen.
Can you freeze beer bread?
Yes, you can freeze beer bread. Freezing baked pieces of bread is considered the best method to preserve these products for long storage periods (5).
Freezing converts the liquid water in the bread into solid water, thus restricting the water available to enzymatic reactions to occur and to be utilized by microorganisms. Added to this, the low temperature slows down the reactions in general, resulting in a delay in the physical and chemical deterioration of the bread (1).
Is freezing beer bread a good solution?
Yes, freezing is a good solution to preserve beer bread. Freezing is one of the most effective methods to extend the shelf life of bread. Freezing is an important method to preserve foods from microbiological spoilage and to control proliferation of food-borne pathogens. However, freezing also causes losses in quality, reflected in the aging of the product.
Food preservation through freezing can greatly affect the amount of food lost or wasted. Research studies conducted in Austria have indicated that food waste in households can be reduced six-fold when freezing is applied to food as a preservation method, when compared to fresh foods that are not frozen.
In the case of bakery products, the benefit of offering frozen bread is that it can increase the perceived product quality for consumers and acceptance. It is a common habit of many consumers to freeze bread at home directly after purchase in various countries, with seven out of ten Dutch consumers doing so. This means that consumers are used to eating bread that has been frozen (2).
What happens when you freeze beer bread?
When you freeze beer bread, physical changes on the bread structure occur, leading to a perceived alteration on its texture. This phenomenon is called stalling and is related to the retrogradation of the wheat starch, in which starch chains are reordered and crystallized. Freezing bread cannot halt staling, it rather slows its expression when compared to bread stored at room temperature.
According to studies, the main reasons for bread staling are starch retrogradation, formation of starch-gluten cross-linkages and water migration from bread crumb to its crust.
Long storage seems to have a more harmful effect compared to the freezing process itself. Repeated freeze-thaw cycles may also lead to severe loss of texture. Consumer acceptance is decreasing, in particular, when the crumb firmness rises, when the crust becomes softer and when the bread has a dry mouth feel (5).
Fresh-baked bread typically has an attractive golden brown crust, a pleasant roasted aroma, good slicing characteristics, a soft and elastic crumb texture and a moist mouth feel and these characteristics are lost when bread is stored for long periods or undergoes freeze-thaw cycles (3).
How long can beer bread be frozen?
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, commercial breads can be stored for up to 5 months in the freezer, while homemade breads have a shorter shelf life, of 2 months (4).
If bread is stored for longer periods, it can still be safe to eat, however, the quality will be significantly reduced. It has been reported by studies that bread frozen quickly after baking and held for one year at -18°C, was equivalent in softness to fresh bread held for two days at 20°C (6).
How to freeze beer bread?
To freeze beer bread:
- If the bread is in a big loaf, slice it to save space in the freezer.
- Place the beer bread slices inside a ziplock bag or wrap the loaf with aluminum foil. This will prevent freezer burns.
- Label and place it in the freezer.
- Avoid temperature fluctuations during frozen storage
For how long is beer bread good after being frozen and thawed?
After being frozen and thawed, the shelf life for beer bread is about 3 days. Bread that has been frozen and then thawed has a shorter shelf life as it would have if it was freshly baked.
This happens because during freezing, the staling and consequent aging of bread is not halted. When defrosted, the bread is no longer fresh. As the bread ages in the freezer, moisture migrates from the crumb to the crust, the crumb becomes more brittle and the crust becomes soft.
How to know if beer bread is still safe to eat after being frozen and thawed?
To tell if beer bread has gone bad after being thawed after a frozen storage, it is necessary to be aware of the signs that may indicate spoilage. These are (6):
- The generation of off-odors
- The formation of visible mold
- Changes on the texture
- Generation of slime
- Signs of discoloration
Spoilage of bakery products can be caused by the action of bacteria, yeast and fungi and enzymic spoilage caused by lipoxygenase. It can be also as a result of chemical changes, such as the oxidation of lipids or staling.
Other FAQs about Bread that you may be interested in.
In this article, we answered the question “Can you freeze beer bread?” and we discussed what happens when beer bread is frozen.
- Majzoobi, Mahsa, Asgar Farahnaky, and Sh Agah. Properties and shelf-life of part-and full-baked flat bread (Barbari) at ambient and frozen storage, 2011, 1077-1090.
- Van Herpen, Erica, and Koen Jaegers. Less waste versus higher quality: how to stimulate consumer demand for frozen bread. Brit Food Jo , 2022, 24, 340-358.
- Eckardt, Johanna, et al. Long-term frozen storage of wheat bread and dough–Effect of time, temperature and fibre on sensory quality, microstructure and state of water. J Cer Sci, 2013, 57, 125-133.
- Foodkeeper. United States Department of Agriculture.
- Kennedy, C. J. Future trends in frozen foods. Managing frozen foods, 2000, 345-356. CRC Press.
- Saranraj, P., and M. Geetha. Microbial spoilage of bakery products and its control by preservatives. Int J Pharmaceut biol arch, 2012, 3, 38-48.