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Why does bread shrink when you freeze it?

 
 
smorgs
 
Reply Tue 10 Aug, 2010 12:07 pm
My friend (Eunice) wants to know why her 'toastie' loaf shrinks when she freezes it?

She says she's looked it up and the only thing she can find is advice to add extra yeast to avoid this problem.

As she's buys the bread from the supermarket, and they don't do bespoke loaves, this solution doesn't apply.

I said it must be something to do with the air or moisture in the loaf undergoing changes during the freezing process (because I have a scientific mind - not).

My suggestion that she makes her own bread on a daily basis was met with derision...

So why does Eunice's toastie loaf shrink when frozen?

x



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Type: Question • Score: 5 • Views: 5,761 • Replies: 12

 
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Aug, 2010 12:08 pm
@smorgs,
How much does it shrink?
0 Replies
 
smorgs
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Aug, 2010 12:16 pm
Quite a bit - but I don't have any figures...

She says 'it doesn't taste the same' after freezing, but maybe bread isn't supposed to be frozen.

Shall I phone her? But she might not have a frozen AND a fresh to do a proper mathematical analysis, and won't have, say an older loaf, to act as a control...

x
chai2
 
  3  
Reply Tue 10 Aug, 2010 01:05 pm
I can't resist, thinking of the "sex with a small penis..." thread.

I guess bread shrinks for the same reason a penis does when it get's cold.
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Aug, 2010 01:25 pm
@smorgs,
We go through a lot of bread in our house (4 loaves a week seems like a lot to me).

We routinely stock up at the store, and then keep loaves in the freezer until we need them. i haven't noticed any problems, so it might just be the brand that she's using.

(Or maybe she has to smash the bread to get it to fit in the freezer.)
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Aug, 2010 01:31 pm
Most freezers (except the very low temp lab freezers or their equals) are constantly "going on and off" with a low level of freezing and thawing, thus there is protein breakdown over time - but I don't think you'd notice that in a relatively short time, especially in bread. Maybe it somehow dries out? Needs double wrapping? My bread in the freezer doesn't change much (never as good as right out of the oven), but then I don't keep it a long time.
0 Replies
 
roger
 
  2  
Reply Tue 10 Aug, 2010 01:58 pm
I use 'unbespoke' i.e. store bought bread. If it's on sale, may get two or three loaves instead of one, and freeze the extra. If it shrinks, I haven't noticed it. Of course, my bread is sealed when frozen, and thaws before I open the packaging.
0 Replies
 
littlek
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Aug, 2010 02:35 pm
Chemically things (except water) get smaller when colder - molecules move around less. Bread doesn't usually have a lot of water in it.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Aug, 2010 02:38 pm
@littlek,
aha!
0 Replies
 
Butrflynet
 
  2  
Reply Tue 10 Aug, 2010 05:56 pm
@smorgs,
Here are the tips on freezing bread from my favorite baking 101 site:

http://www.baking911.com/howto/freeze.htm

Quote:
Freezing Bread or Other Yeasted Dough: Most yeast dough responds well to being frozen. The exception are those filled with fresh dairy ingredients such as cottage cheese or with fresh fruit or vegetables because these ingredients do not freeze well. They leech water when thawed.

Yeast bread dough can be frozen before shaping or after. Always freeze bread dough in a heavy-duty airtight bag. Double bag it if not. Freeze for up to one month.


Click the link to learn of her tips for freezing shaped, but pre-baked bread dough.

I suspect that your friend is buying what is known as "balloon" bread (which is mostly air and moisture packed in a wafer-thin plastic bag). The dry freezer environment is removing the air from the unprotected bread loaf and probably replacing it with ice crystals.

She can probably remedy this by double bagging the loaves with thicker bags, removing as much air from the bags as possible, and storing them for no longer then a couple of months.

Also, she should let the bread thaw completely in the bag before attempting to use it. Toasting the frozen slices doesn't give it a chance to reconstitute itself.
0 Replies
 
smorgs
 
  2  
Reply Wed 11 Aug, 2010 10:27 am
@chai2,
Now I'm thinking 'baguette'

x
0 Replies
 
smorgs
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Aug, 2010 10:29 am
Thanks for all that info - A2K'ers are a fab, informative bunch - shall pass on all your posts (apart from yours chai - snigger)

x
Eorl
 
  1  
Reply Fri 13 Aug, 2010 07:45 am
@smorgs,
Frozen bread tears my lips up.

I imagine it's due to bread being made of wheat and air and water. The bread and the air shrink when frozen but the water expands, probably bursting or tearing many of the tiny little air bubbles in the bread. Just a wild guess.
0 Replies
 
 

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