George has asked...
My work and leisure time schedules leave little room for baking. Many bread baking recipes I see (and try) are projects extended over more than one day, and some as long as several days. Some one-day recipes call for dedicating all or almost all of a day to preparation, shaping and baking of the dough. This is impractical for me and I suspect for many others also. I respect the experience and wisdom of those offering such recipes, and I’m not asking for short-cuts which reduce the quality of the finished product. What I want is to know whether a lengthy baking process can be interrupted and put on hold (and if so, at what point or points) without the final outcome suffering.
1.Can prepared dough be frozen after it has risen and been deflated (or, for some recipes, twice risen and twice deflated)? If the answer is yes but only for some doughs lacking certain ingredients, which ingredients must be absent (e. g.—eggs/cheese/certain varieties of flour/certain varieties of fats)? Are there any ingredients which in fact improve the outcome for dough one intends to freeze, ingredients one would otherwise not add?
2.If dough can be frozen, what would be the suggested time limit after which the dough must be used or discarded?
3.If frozen dough can be thawed and then used to complete a recipe, what is the optimal method for thawing? Can this step be accomplished speedily in a microwave oven without sacrificing quality?
4.If dough can be frozen and used after thawing, can any general statement be made about the best time in a recipe to freeze (e. g., before even one rising has occurred; after one rising and deflation; etc.)? Or will this depend entirely on the individual recipe and vary with the ingredients, type of flour(s), etc.?
I own a number of bread baking recipe books, some old and perhaps outdated but several contemporary texts also. None of them discuss these matters. I suspect there are cookbook authors among the audience following this web site. You would do novice bakers a service if you included information on these subjects in your next bread baking text.
Any help related to these questions would be much appreciated.
Many thanks in advance,