Can you freeze dough?

You know how you can buy frozen pastries and bake them. For some reason I thought that commercial stuff must have some mystery ingredient which allows this to happen. Surely any dough I made at home would not survive being frozen?  So up to now I have never tried.  A few weeks back I made a big quantity of a sweet enriched dough, and froze two portions of it wrapped up tightly in clingfilm.

I came across it on Friday evening and took one lot out of the freezer, put it in the fridge to defrost (as advised by Susieq on Dan’s forum)  and then forgot it till Sunday night (not as advised but I’m very forgetful).

Feeling guilty I moved it into the kitchen while we had supper to come up to room temperature, thinking all the while this is going to be hopeless.  So after supper, I rolled it out, part of the dough had gone a little bit hard, but I sort of ignored that, like you do. Then I brushed the dough with melted butter, sprinkled on a mixture of old cake crumbs (slices of cake, baked, and whizzed and frozen), vanilla sugar, cinammon, patted some sultanas on top. Rolled it up into a log. Sliced it into chunks, flattened them into 10 cms rounds, left them to rise (they didn’t rise much) for an hour, sprinkled a bit more sugar over the top and baked them at 180 Fan for 18 minutes and this was the result.  It works! Yummy!  And the dough takes up a lot less space in the freezer than bags of frozen buns…..

Sultana Buns from previously frozen dough

A Quick Edit to this post in September 2010:

Happiness is a well risen loaf of bread!

I have also very successfully frozen pizza dough and used it for pizza three weeks later and last weekend I used a ball of frozen pizza dough as the paté fermentée element in this delicious five grain bread I made for Mellow Bakers.

9 thoughts on “Can you freeze dough?

  1. Abby

    I never think that thawed frozen bread tastes as good as fresh, so I always freeze dough instead. Once baked, it tastes just like fresh! We do it most often with pizza dough. That way, I can make a giant batch, use three for dinner, freeze the rest in dough balls and then defrost as many as I need for dinner ~ works like a charm! (that was our dinner last night, actually) The buns look delicious! =)

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      Do you think freezing/thawing works best with doughs that are going to be rolled or stretched out Abby? Like bun dough or pizza dough, something that isn’t going to be asked to rise hugely? I can’t imagine freezing a big boule of sourdough somehow…..

  2. C

    Always good to know! I have major issues with insufficient freezer space so anything to reduce the load is good!

    And they look great too – wish I could make them as well as you do!

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      I don’t think anyone has enough freezer space if they cook and believe in wasting as little as possible.. I have little boxes of strange, strange things. I found sloes, wild sour plums and a bag of seville oranges the other day, not to mention the tubs of goose fat from last Christmas, a tub with slices of panettone in it, waiting for what? a trifle? There are little bits of frozen rye bread, waiting to be used as old bread soakers, egg whites, nothing sensible and it all gets a bit too exciting when the labels come off….

      Bet you could make these buns C! I’ll write out a dough recipe sometime soon if you like. Or if you have something like Bertinet’s Dough book there is a sweet dough recipe in there that should work fine, I know Celia uses that one!

  3. Oggi

    I usually freeze pizza and sweet doughs as they take little space in the freezer.

    The buns are making me drool. They look yummy.:)

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      Oggi, You can make these buns easy peasy! I made them quite small, so you can have two at a time! Unlike Chelsea buns they don’t have a syrup drizzled over them, so they are more like a pain au raisin or something. Still loads of butter fat in them, both in the dough and spread in the filling….. :(

  4. Di

    Mmm, those look yummy! Like Abby, I frequently freeze pizza dough. Whenever I make the dough, I make enough for two meals and freeze half (portioned into three balls of dough, since we make individual pizzas). I’ve also frozen brioche dough.

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