Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Beauty of Freezers

85% Whole Wheat Bread
Before the advent of refrigeration and freezing, bread baking must have been much harder. One of the things that allows me to bake bread as much as I do is that I know if I need to slow down the fermentation time to fit my schedule I can throw it in the refrigerator for a few hours and, so long as I do my math correctly, the bread will turn out fine-- and sometimes better because the slower fermentation allows time for the enzymes and bacteria to work and provide more flavor to the bread. Previously, bread was subject to the whims of the weather.

However, more importantly, freezers allow me to bake large amounts of bread without worrying about waste. At the moment, I have loaves of amaranth, oat, and 85% whole wheat bread sitting in my freezer as well as crumpets and waffles, and balls of pizza dough. This is fantastic because I can make new bread at my leisure, without worrying that I will run out, but I also don't worry that any of it will go stale or go to waste. The best part of this is that here, where I live, it often gets too hot to turn an oven up to 500 degrees F so a freezer full of bread means that there is fresh bread whenever I need it.

When bread is fully cooled, it can be wrapped tightly and frozen. It will be as fresh as when you put it in the freezer when it comes out. leave it for 5-12 hours to thaw-- no need to bake it. The crust will not be quite as good due to the freezing process, however if you toast the bread as needed (or crisp chunks of it in the oven or toaster oven), it can be just as delicious.

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