Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Frozen Bread Dough Success with Ceri

I receive a lot of great email and I try to answer everyone. Sometimes life as a wife and mother gets crazy. It's taken me a couple of weeks since this letter to finally post our grand adventure. This was a letter from a gal named Ceri. As I had been working on freezer rolls and bread, this letter came in perfect timing. I had to join forces with Ceri on her quest for freezer to oven bread dough that wouldn't require a rise before she baked it. I'd been working on a recipe that I had found success with, and shared it with her. I think her letter was pretty cool. It read, "Dear Chef Tess,I love your blog (and consequently your Facebook page), and hope you can help me with my current quest:
it is my turn to provide snack for my daughter's 4th grade class this week and I thought it would be fun to bring fresh baked bread. It's not fun enough to get up at 4am, though, so I am wondering about the best way to make the dough the night before and refrigerate it.
Some background: I've tried no-knead bread and even thought that would be a solution I am not crazy about the consistency of that bread and the dough is finicky to handle. I do not have a heave duty mixer. I have a new, heave duty 14c Cuisinart food processor and make my bread in that. I've tweaked a recipe that came with it to now include whole wheat and rye flour.
So: do I make the dough, let it rise, then just put int the fridge until morning, shape and transfer to rising baskets then? Rise and punch down, then put in the fridge? Rise, shape, put in the rising baskets then put int the fridge? I'm stumped and don't have the time to do a bunch of tests.
Hope you can help me and thanks in advance,
Ceri "
To Ceri, I wrote:
Well, perhaps we can help each other. I need a home testing outside of myself to see if my results are accurate. I have some dough I'm working on today that is transferable straight from the freezer to the oven to bake. No defrosting or raising required. I have had a good amount of success just taking it after it is formed into loaves and raised, and letting it go about 20 minutes less of a final proof. Instead of baking, place in the freezer. Then when ready to bake, transfer into baking pans and bake 375 degrees 45-50 minutes. Not defrosting, just baking. The recipe is very similar to the one I use for the freezer to oven dinner rolls, but using whole wheat, so it's very healthy. You can do the kneading by hand and increase the kneading time as you would for bread, 600 strokes by hand or 3-4 minutes in your food processor, as that is less time than a mixer.
Here's my recipe. Let me know what you think:

2 1/2-3 cups water (no hotter than 110 degrees)
4tsp yeast (2 packet) rapid rise
1/4 cup sugar (2T honey)
8 1/2 cups whole wheat bread flour
1T salt
1T baking powder
1/2 cup oil
3 egg

Combine the honey and 1 cup water with the yeast, to be sure the yeast is alive. Then, combine everything in one large bowl or mixer. I like that. Knead 600 strokes by hand or 3 minutes in a food processor. You may need more or less liquid depending on the moisture content of the flour. Form into a ball and place in a bowl covered with plastic or a lid for 1 1/2 hour (dough at 90 degrees), or until doubled in size. Form into 3 loaves and place in parchment lined loaf pans ( 8 inch by 4 inch silicone loaf pans have a great use here...though I don't like baking in them. Freezing in them is cool, because they peel right off when the dough is frozen.) Allow to raise 40-45 minutes until just rising above the top of the loaf pan. Freeze immediately (about 2 hours until solid). Dough will be good up to one month. When ready to bake, transfer frozen dough from freezer to oven ready pans that have been lightly oiled. Bake without defrosting 375 degrees 45-50 minutes.

This is what I got back from Ceri. Some great pictures and some great response!

success all the way around! I am so excited! Can't wait to hear how the kids liked it.
So: your recipe I mixed, 1st rise, punched down, short rest, shaped, 2nd rise (but only about 20 min since it was going well over the edge of the pan), in freezer. Once frozen I took it out of the pan, took off parchment paper, wrapped in plastic and back in freezer. This morning I prepped pan by buttering and coating with semolina flour, put frozen dough in and baked for 45 min. You can see in the picture called "sliced" how nice the texture was.

This is the bread before the rise in the pan.
This is the frozen dough, ready to bake.
Here it is after baking.
Ceri is an artisan baker and shared a great recipe for artisan bread with me. Our next quest was to see if she could bake her artisan bread using the similar technique of letting it raise in the artisan baskets, freezing and then baking. Ceri said, "For my dough I got scared that the ice block of dough would crack my stone so I put it from the freezer in the fridge last night to thaw (still in baskets, but it came out of the basket easy, even when frozen), then took it out of the baskets this morning onto parchment paper to come to room temp while yours were baking. Then upped the heat and baked mine on the stone. "
Here's how they looked baked. Not bad at all, don't you think?
Her final email gave me great joy, "No problem at all. And between 19 kids and two teachers there was not a crumb left. The kids told me (unprompted) how much they liked it as soon as I walked in, and Cloe told me how much they loved it. One teacher asked me for the recipes, too (-:
Thanks again for making this possible

Ceri (-:"
Ceri, Thank YOU! I had so much fun on our little project via email, and once again, find so much joy in helping others find success. Best wishes always. To everyone else...
There you go.


Lynn said...

Bread, such wonderful stuff. My grandfather worked for Weber bread most of his life. When he retired he made bread at home. Every Tuesday he would bake bread.If we timed it right, we would get to his house right before the loaves came out of the oven. Yum... The smell of baking bread always brings me back to my childhood and Grandpa. When my children were little, I baked bread for them every week as well. I need to start that tradition with my grandchildren. Nothing tastes better than homemade bread right from the oven. Thank you for the recipe. I can't wait to try this. I can now have bread in the oven right when the kids will be coming over. Making memories. I love it!

Anonymous said...

Can I use regular whole wheat flour or do I have to have whole wheat bread flour? I only have regular and white whole wheat on hand. Well, that's not true, I have whole wheat pastry flour, but I know that won't work!

Chef Tess said...

Yes, regular wheat flour should be fine. Knead it a little longer, but it should work. Great question.