Frozen Bread

If you have an hour in the morning you can have some hot bread for breakfast. Even better, you can do this with almost no work, spending most of your time sipping coffee and doing other morning tasks.

Well, actually you do some work, but you do it days prior.

See, what you do is make your yeast bread, preferably a recipe that does more than one loaf, through the first rise. You then form your loaves and freeze them before they do the second/proof rise.

The night before, you pull the loaf from the freezer and place it in or on the appropriate pan, and you put that in the refrigerator.

In the morning as you stagger out of bed, your second stop is the oven which you set to the appropriate temperature, and your third is the refrigerator where you pull out the loaf and set it on the counter. Now go make yourself some coffee or morning tea. When the oven is hot you put the loaf in the oven and bake it the normal time. That means you’ve got about 25-35 minutes (depending on the recipe you’re using) to take your shower and get dressed and all that sort of thing.

Caveats. The smaller the loaf the faster it thaws. Yeast biscuits come close to rising too much in the refrigerator. By the same token large loaves may not finish thawing, much less rise. In general, however, a standard loaf will thaw and get most of the necessary rise overnight. If it doesn’t for you, put it in the refrigerator early.

Also, loaves fresh out of the oven are very hard to cut cleanly. Lovely taste but the gluten hasn’t had a chance to properly set. If you can wait five more minutes, do so. That said, a ‘personal sized’ loaf is easy to pull in half lengthwise, making it an ideal setting for softened butter and a very special breakfast sandwich (a filling of your choice in fresh, hot bread). This, in turn, is easily taken to the car for eating on the road. Be nice if you rideshare and finish it before others have to smell it. Else you might have to share more than just the ride.

Note that this is also a trick for feeding a small crowd, especially if you’ve a small kitchen. Make several loaves of bread over time and freezing them. Thaw a group of them and bake them in the morning for significantly reduced mess but all the raving your heart may desire.

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