Monday, November 28, 2011

How to properly FREEZE your baked goods!

The holidays create a BUSY schedule for all of us. From cocktail mixers, gift shopping, white elephant parties, to hosting events, it is NO WONDER people do not have a ton of extra time to bake something special for the holidays.
The answer: Freeze your baked goods or dough. Is it ok? YES. Many restaurants and professional food services freeze, not only baked goods, but meats, proteins, and other food items.

How do you properly prepare something to freeze?
-Place whatever you are freezing in a parchment lined pan. Double plastic wrap the pan, so no air will be exposed to your product.
EXAMPLE: Freezing Chocolate chip cookie dough.
-Make your cookie dough.
-In a brownie-size pan, line it with parchment paper.
-Scoop your cookie dough into the parchment lined pan.
-Double wrap your pan.
-Place in freezer.
-Use this method for freezing cookies also.


In the terms of sweet stuff, FREEZE:
-Cookie dough: (From basic chocolate chip to icebox cookies, many doughs can be frozen!)
-Baked cookies: You can also freeze baked cookies in large plastic bags! Make sure your cookies are COOLED before freezing.
-Cakes/Cupcakes: Like with cookies, make sure they are COOLED before freezing.
-Breads (all types): Always plastic wrap your bread loaf!

Then, how to do your properly thaw?
-With all ALREADY BAKED items, just unwrap the pan and let it sit on your kitchen counter. Room temperature will "thaw" your frozen baked items.
-With raw cookie dough: You can baked frozen cookie dough, but it will take a longer baking time versus raw cookie dough.
Want raw cookie dough, but have frozen dough? You can leave it at room temperature until it is thawed (this will take a couple hours) or pull the pan from the freezer and put in the fridge overnight.

How long will a frozen baked good last?
-2 weeks max, then the baked item will start losing quality and flavor. It will become "freezer" burnt.
-In the fridge: 4 days, then it will lose quality.
TIP: Be weary if your have aromatic food items (like onion, garlic, celery, spicy foods, etc) in your fridge and/or freezer. Their intense flavor may "infuse" your baked good product. Thus, it is always a good idea to plastic wrap your pan very well! If you do have aromatic foods in your fridge/freezer AND baked goods, place your baked goods in a air-tight container AND plastic wrap for extra protection.

Will a frozen items be as wonderful as a freshly baked item?
Nope. Nothing can COMPARE to an item that is FRESHLY baked from the oven that day. BUT you can still make, bake, freeze, and properly thaw a delicious baked good.
Just make sure there is no freezer burn on it!

Still don't have time for baking? Check out local bakeries and markets for homemade treats and delights. Don't be afraid to ask for help from a friend, family member, or co-worker.

Happy Baking! (and freezing!)
-SC

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