Freezing Yeast Dough

The frozen yeast dough products available at the supermarket are a nice convenience. But did you know that yeast dough can also be prepared at home and frozen to nearly duplicate the convenience of a ready-to-use product?

Bread rolls
Baked rolls – Photo: mrgeiger

Fleischmann’s Yeast introduced home bakers to freezing yeast dough in their 1972 publication, Fleischmann’s Bake-it-easy Yeast Book. Included in the book were the very first recipes for frozen dough one could make at home, freeze, and bake later. The recipes introduced were specifically developed for freezing and to this day, they remain the standards for freezing yeast doughs.

It should be noted that freezing dough at home may not yield the same results as commercially frozen dough but is still a means to delicious, freshly baked bread when time is short. Frozen dough manufacturers have access to superior dough stabilizers and freezing equipment that freeze the dough very quickly, allowing doughs to freeze with minimal damage to the yeast and dough structure. Dough freezes slower in home freezers increasing the risk of damage to the yeast and dough structure.

Tips for Preparing Yeast Dough for the Freezer  

  • According to Fleischmann’s Yeast, only yeast dough recipes specially developed for freezing should be used for best results. Freezer dough recipes usually call for more yeast and sugar and less salt and fat. The most success is achieved with roll or pizza dough. The method of preparation is not limited; dough can be made by hand mixing and kneading, mixer, food processor, or bread machine.
  • Original freezer-dough recipes used all-purpose flour. Today, it is recommended to replace all-purpose flour with bread flour as it helps to maintain better structure.   
  • Active dry yeast should be used instead of fast-acting yeast. Fast-acting yeast is not ideal for recipes that require a long rising time. King Arthur Baking suggests making the dough with cool, not lukewarm liquid (water or milk) to keep the yeast as dormant as possible so that it is less vulnerable to damage during the freezing process.
  • To compensate for the yeast that will inevitably die in the freezing process, King Arthur Baking suggests increasing the yeast by ¼ to ½ teaspoon per 3 cups (360 grams) of flour.
  • Dough may be frozen at two junctures:
    1) after kneading and before the first rise (proofing) OR
    2) after the first or second rise.  
    American Test Kitchen tested both junctures and found “freezing the dough between the first and second proofs was the best strategy. The first proof ensured that enough yeast had fermented for the dough to develop complex flavors and for some gluten development for better baked size. The remaining viable yeast cells then finished the job as the dough thawed and proofed for the second time.” 
  • Form the dough into balls for rolls or flatten the dough into a disk about 1 inch thick for pizza crust or dough to be shaped later. French bread, loaves of bread, braids, and cinnamon rolls can be shaped prior to freezing; loaves should be frozen in greased loaf pans and cinnamon roll slices placed on their sides on a lined baking sheet. Tightly wrap the dough with plastic wrap.
  • Flash freeze the dough in the freezer for 1-2 hours. Dough should be covered during flash freezing, thawing, and rising prior to baking to prevent the dough from developing a dry crust.
  • When the dough pieces have formed a hard shell around the outside, transfer to a zipper freezer bag or air-tight freezer container. Return the dough to the freezer. Dough may be frozen up to 1 month. For best results, use dough sooner rather than later.

When ready to use, remove needed dough balls, loaves, rolls, or disks from the freezer and allow to thaw covered in the refrigerator, a warm location, or combination until doubled in size. Do not over proof.  Since the yeast and bread structure have been compromised during freezing, over proofing may cause the dough to collapse on itself.

Previously formed dough can be thawed in a greased baking pan until double. Disks should be allowed to thaw and then rolled or shaped (pizza crust or any shape or specialty desired), placed in a greased baking dish, and allowed to rise until doubled. (Rolled dough for pizza crust does not need time to double unless desired.) When dough has reached the desired size, bake as directed.

Thawing and rising times vary according to the temperature of the dough, the size of the dough pieces, and where thawing takes place. Use these times as a guideline for thawing:
Refrigerator: 8-16 hours
Countertop: 4-9 hours
Warm location: 2-4 hours
Dough balls for dinner rolls take about 1½ -2 hours to thaw and double before baking in a warm location. Loaves of bread may take 4-6 hours at room temperature.

Cinnamon rolls

Recipes for freezer dough can be found on the Fleischmann’s website. Some examples include: pizza dough, bread dough, and dinner rolls. If one is lucky enough to have a copy of Fleischmann’s Bake-it-easy Yeast Book, 1972, a variety of yeast doughs developed for freezing can be found therein.

Fresh-baked bread is always more delicious than reheated. If you plan ahead, you can freeze yeast dough to save time provided you remember to pull it from the freezer early enough—that’s the hardest part! 

References:

Reference to any commercial product, process, or service, or the use of any trade, firm, or corporate name is for general informational purposes only and does not constitute an endorsement, recommendation, or certification of any kind. Persons using such products assume responsibility for their use and should make their own assessment of the information and whether it is suitable for their intended use in accordance with current directions of the manufacturer.

Marlene Geiger

I am a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a BS in Home Economics Education and Extension and from Colorado State University with a MS in Textiles and Clothing. I enjoy spending time with family and friends, gardening, quilting, cooking, sewing, and sharing knowledge and experience with others.

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Freezing Rhubarb

stalks of rhubarb chopped into small pieces
Stalks of rhubarb partially chopped. Photo- Canva.com

If your rhubarb plants are producing more than can be used fresh, consider freezing rhubarb to enjoy later in the summer or next winter.  Rhubarb freezes well and is just as nutritious and flavorful as fresh rhubarb. It is easily used in recipes without sacrificing quality. Read on for the easiest way to freeze fresh rhubarb successfully.

A few notes before getting into freezing. Rhubarb is a short-season vegetable; harvest may take place from early spring until mid-to-late June in the Midwest. Harvesting after that time, or over-harvesting, will weaken the plant and may reduce the yield and quality of next year’s crop. While the rhubarb stalks do become more woody later in the summer, they do not become poisonous. Harvest stalks that are at least 12 inches long and about thumb thick. When buying rhubarb at the grocery store or farmer’s markets, look for bright, firm stalks with no blemishes or brown spots.

Step-By-Step Freezing Guide

Prepare – Choose firm, tender, well-colored stalks with good flavor and few fibers. Remove the leaves and trim the ends. Wash, dry, and cut into preferred size pieces. Heating rhubarb in boiling water for 1 minute and cooling promptly in cold water helps retain color and flavor but is not necessary.

Pack – Choose a pack method that fits intended future use. The National Center for Home Food Preservations offers these methods:

  • Tray Pack. Tray packing is the best way to keep the rhubarb pieces from freezing in a clump allowing one to take out and use as much as needed for cooking or baking. Pieces are cut, placed on a baking tray, flash frozen, bagged, labeled and refrozen.
  • Dry Pack. Pack either raw or preheated rhubarb tightly into containers or freezer bags without sugar. This method works well where the rhubarb will be later cooked into jams or sauces.
  • Syrup Pack. Pack either raw or preheated rhubarb tightly into containers, cover with cold 40 percent syrup. This method gives good results for rhubarb that may be stewed or juiced.

Freeze – Use containers or bags specifically made for freezing. Leave headspace. Seal, label, and freeze. Properly frozen, packaged and stored rhubarb will last indefinitely in the freezer but is best used within 12 months.  Frozen rhubarb can be substituted for fresh rhubarb in many recipes. Frozen rhubarb will release juices as it thaws; do not discard the juice as it is part of the rhubarb.

A YouTube, How to Freeze Rhubarb by The University of Maine Cooperative Extension shows just how quick and easy it is to freeze rhubarb!

Updated 4/2024 mg.

Beth Marrs

I graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in Adult Home Economics Education. I love to cook and entertain and spend time with my family.

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Making Apple Cider

Wooden cider press

When apples rippen in Iowa orchards, it’s time to make apple butter, applesauce, apple pie, and all things apple. Another option is apple cider! Besides being a great way to use an abundance of apples, it is also a great fall activity for family, friends, or neighborhood fun. Kids of all ages will enjoy the making and sipping!

Flawless apples are not needed for cider so small sized apples or those with blemishes are good candidates. Avoid using over ripe apples or apples with spoilage as both will cause the juice to ferment rapidly and ruin it. However, apples with a small amount of spoilage that can be be cut away are acceptable. Use mature apples as green, immature apples give cider a flat flavor.

There are no particular varieties to use for cider as it depends upon taste preferences. Gala, Fuji or similar varieties yield a sweeter cider whereas McIntosh, Pink Lady or other tart varieties offer more tartness. Blending sweet and tart varieites brings out the best of both.

Apple cider can be made in various ways. The most fun is derived from using a cider press. If you are lucky enough to own one, you know all about the set up and fun. A press may be availabe from a rental agency. In addition to a press, a crusher is very useful for grinding the apples to make pressing easier to extract the juice; in the absence of a crusher, a food processor will do the job. Begin by setting up the equipment (crusher and press) and making sure it is clean.  Also gather and wash buckets and jars or containers for the juice. Utensils and equipment can be sanitized after washing and rinsing by filling with or soaking in a mixture of 1 tablespoon household bleach per gallon of warm water for at least 1 minute.

Head to the orchard to pick apples from trees; do not use apples that have fallen to the ground. (Windfall apples are more likely to have come into contact with E. coli bacteria from animal or rodent feces.) A bushel of apples will yield about 3 gallons of juice.  Wash the apples carefully. After washing, cut the apples into quarters. It is not necessary to dry the apples or remove the cores and skins.  The cut apples go into the crusher where they are mashed by turning the handle on the crusher; the crushed apples fall into a mesh lined bag which is then loaded into the press. As the ratchet handle on the press pushes the press plate down, the juice begins to pour out of the press into a bucket within seconds. This process is repeated until all the apples have been pressed and apple remains composted. Some pulp or seeds may also come out of the press with the juice; to remove these particles, the juice can be put through a jelly bag which will remove most of it.

There are two options for the juice–apple juice or fermented juice (cider). If the juice will not be fermented, it should be pasteurized by heating the juice to 160°F; this will eliminate the possibility of foodborne illness from E coli or Salmonella.  After the juice cools, pour it into clean jars or containers. Juice can be refrigerated for up to five days. The juice can also be frozen or canned. If cider is desired, the juice can be fermented to make sweet cider, hard cider, or turned into vinegar. Directions for making these processes safely can be found in the University of Georgia publication, Making Apple Cider.

Homemade apple cider–fresh or fermented–is a delicious and satisfying way to celebrate fall!.

Sources:
Pressing Apple Cider at Home. Michigan State University Extension.
Making Apple Cider. University of Georgia.

Reviewed and updated, 4-24, mg.

Marlene Geiger

I am a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a BS in Home Economics Education and Extension and from Colorado State University with a MS in Textiles and Clothing. I enjoy spending time with family and friends, gardening, quilting, cooking, sewing, and sharing knowledge and experience with others.

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Freezing Peaches

A summertime favorite, PEACHES, are in season! Whether they come from your own tree or from one of our peach producing states– Colorado, Georgia, Missouri, Michigan, California, or the Carolinas. One of the best ways to preserve and enjoy that fresh peach taste later is to freeze them.

Lug of peaches

Begin by choosing ripe, fragrant peaches. The National Center for Home Food Preservation has detailed instructions on freezing peaches in a syrup pack or sugar pack along with freezing crushed or pureed peaches. Another way of freezing peaches is freeze them in orange juice.

For one lug of peaches you will need 2 cans of frozen orange juice, 4 cans of water, and 8 cups of sugar. Mix together the orange juice, water and sugar in a large bowl. Dip the peaches one at a time in boiling water for 30 seconds then plunge into cold water to make peeling much easier; blanching also helps them retain their color, flavor, and texture. Peel the peaches, remove the stone, and slice into the orange juice solution. Fill your containers leaving ample head space for expansion during freezing. Label and freeze.

Peaches may also be frozen using the tray method. Blanch, peel, pit, slice, and freeze on a baking sheet for 2-3 hours, transfer to an airtight container or bag, label, and freeze. Slices may be tossed in lemon juice to prevent darkening. This method allows one to freeze and remove any quantity of peaches desired.

Peaches will stay fresh in the freezer for 6–12 months.

Whichever method is used, freezing peaches is an easy-peasy way to enjoy the delicious peach flavor all year long!

Reviewed and updated 5/2024, mg.

Marlene Geiger

I am a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a BS in Home Economics Education and Extension and from Colorado State University with a MS in Textiles and Clothing. I enjoy spending time with family and friends, gardening, quilting, cooking, sewing, and sharing knowledge and experience with others.

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Freezing Strawberries

Freezing strawberries is a wonderful way to extend the season’s bounty and relish their fresh aroma and flavor throughout the year.  Strawberries add a natural sweetness to any dish while also providing fiber, potassium, folate, and antioxidants. Strawberries are one of the best sources of vitamin C, necessary for supporting a healthy immune system, collagen production in skin and bones and so much more. A serving of about 8 strawberries supplies our daily need for vitamin C, the same as an orange.  Strawberries also are sodium-free, fat-free, cholesterol-free, low in calories and have a low glycemic index.   Freezing strawberries is a quick and easy process to retain nutrients and reduces food waste by not letting them spoil in the fridge.

Always start with ripe, firm berries.  Freezing does not improve the quality.  Freshness is best captured if the berries are frozen as soon after picking as possible. The longer berries sit, the more nutrients and antioxidants they loose. Freezing the day of picking locks in the antioxidants and nutrients.  Begin by washing and stemming (removing the caps) the berries.  Strawberries can be frozen without sugar, with sugar, or with syrup.

Freezing Without Sugar using the Tray Pack Method.   Spread sliced or whole berries in a single layer on a baking sheet or jellyroll pan.  Place the tray into the freezer for one to two hours to freeze the berries solid.  Transfer frozen berries to containers or plastic zipper freezer bags, remove air, label, and return to the freezer.  Berries can be taken out easily in quantities needed and can be used partially thawed or fully thawed.

Freezing Without Sugar.  Place sliced or whole berries into a freezer container.  Allow adequate headspace for expansion in freezing.  Label and freeze.  Berries will freeze solidly together requiring thawing before use.  Add sugar or artificial sweetener at time of use, if desired.

Freezing With Sugar.   Add 3/4 cup sugar to 1 quart (about 1 1/3 pounds) of strawberries.  Gently stir until most of the sugar dissolves and allow the mixture to sit for 15 minutes before transferring into containers.  Be sure to leave adequate headspace to allow for expansion in freezing.  Artificial sweeteners can be used to replace the sugar.  Follow manufacturers directions.  Artificial sweeteners add sweetness like sugar, but do not protect fruit color as sugar does.  Berries will freeze solidly together and will require thawing to use.

Freezing With Syrup.  Put berries into containers and cover with cold 50 percent syrup, leaving headspace for expansion. Label and freeze.  Berries will freeze solidly together and will require thawing to use.

Regardless of method used, be sure to not overload the freezer and allow adequate space to quickly freeze the berries.  Frozen strawberries kept at 0°F can be used indefinitely but are at best quality if used within 8-12 months.

Whether it’s slightly thawed berries atop oatmeal for breakfast or ice cream for dessert, a frozen berry snack or berries pureed in yogurt, a slushy, or made into a sauce, frozen strawberries provide all of the nutrients of fresh berries (and maybe more when they are frozen quickly) and still possess their sweet, deliciousness.

Sources:
Health Benefits of Fresh, Frozen, and Dried Strawberries.  California Strawberry.com
Freezing Strawberries.  National Center for Home Food Preservation.
Preserving Strawberries:  A Guide to Freezing.  University of Florida.  IFAS Extension.

Reviewed and updated, 5/2025, mg.

Marlene Geiger

I am a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a BS in Home Economics Education and Extension and from Colorado State University with a MS in Textiles and Clothing. I enjoy spending time with family and friends, gardening, quilting, cooking, sewing, and sharing knowledge and experience with others.

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Pesto!

The basil in my back yard is finally growing well. The plants have bushed out beautifully from pinching the plants back regularly. All of the pinching has given me plenty of fresh basil to work with. My favorite way to use it is in making pesto. Make your favorite pesto recipe and put into ice cube trays when finished. Freeze for several hours, then pop the cubes out of the trays and put them directly into freezer bags for later use. My family loves making pizza during the cold winter months using pesto as a sauce instead of a tomato sauce. The fresh taste of summer comes rushing back with each and every bite!

Beth Marrs

I graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in Adult Home Economics Education. I love to cook and entertain and spend time with my family.

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Time to freeze tomatoes

Blanching tomatoes.
Blanching tomatoes.

It’s getting to be that time of summer again; tomatoes everywhere. After you have eaten your fill of tomatoes it is time to start preserving them. Remember that unblemished fruits and vegetables make the best quality preserved foods.

Freezing tomatoes, to me, is just about the easiest vegetable (or is it a fruit?) to preserve.  I drop the tomatoes into boiling water for 30 seconds, slip off the skins, and then place the tomatoes on a cookie sheet to freeze overnight. After they are frozen solid, I place the tomatoes into a large freezer bag.  That way I can easily use just one or two tomatoes in soup next winter.

Liz Meimann

I received both my undergraduate and graduate degrees in Food Science at Iowa State University. I love to quilt, sew, cook, and bake. I spent many years gardening, canning, and preserving food for my family when my children were at home.

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Easy method for freezing sweet corn

Unhusked cornSoon there will be more sweet corn available than we can eat. I plan to freeze some so we can enjoy that good Iowa sweet corn this winter. Use the easy directions listed below after you have husked removed the silks and trimmed the ends of the corn cobs.

Whole kernel corn: can be frozen by blanching the kernels before removing them from the cob. Blanch the corn for 4 ½ minutes, cool in ice water, and then cut the kernels from the cobs.

Cream style corn: follow the above directions but only cut the kernel tips. Next scrape the cobs with the back of a knife to remove the heart of the kernel and form some “cream”.

sweet cornCorn on the cob: Blanch the ears for the time listed in the chart. Cool the cobs in ice water. If you don’t cool the corn long enough the corn may become mushy and have a “cobby” taste. Cooling the corn requires a longer time than blanching.

Ear size

Blanching time

small ears (1¼-inch diameter)

7 minutes

medium ears (1¼-1½-inch diameter)

9 minutes

large ears (over 1½-inch diameter)

11 minutes

Liz Meimann

I received both my undergraduate and graduate degrees in Food Science at Iowa State University. I love to quilt, sew, cook, and bake. I spent many years gardening, canning, and preserving food for my family when my children were at home.

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Rhubarb is UP!

Rhubarb
Rhubarb on May 3, 2013

Yes, the rhubarb is up in my garden and now I must be patient for it to grow to maturity. At that point the stalks can be used in tarts, pies, sauces, jams, jellies, puddings and drinks. My favorite way to use rhubarb is to make it into a crisp – it tastes as good as a pie but has far fewer calories since it has no crust. I tend to like my desserts a little less sweet, so feel free to use only as much sugar as you need for your taste.

Wait to harvest your rhubarb until the plant is three years old. This allows the leaves to grow and produce food for good crown and root development. During the third year, harvest only for a four week period. Wait until the stalks are 10 to 15 inches long, then grasp the stalk below the leaf and pull up slightly to one side. Remove leaves by cutting slightly below the leaf and discard them. Since the leaves contain a moderately poisonous oxalic acid, they should never be eaten.

If you have enough rhubarb to freeze, when it comes time to use the frozen rhubarb, measure while it is still frozen, then thaw completely. Drain in a colander and use the fruit in your recipe without pressing the liquid out.

The taste alone encourages me to cook with rhubarb, but the nutritional benefits of rhubarb are also significant. Rhubarb is high in calcium, lutein, vitamin k and antioxidants.

Liz Meimann

I received both my undergraduate and graduate degrees in Food Science at Iowa State University. I love to quilt, sew, cook, and bake. I spent many years gardening, canning, and preserving food for my family when my children were at home.

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Making Cookie Dough Ahead

Ready for freezer.

A year ago this month I was busily baking cookies for my son’s wedding. I became quite proficient at making large batches of dough, shaping into cookies and freezing them to be baked at a later date (for fresh-baked cookies any time).

If you have an event coming up that requires a large number of home baked cookies, you can make the dough ahead of time and freeze to be baked fresh in time for the event. Dough can be shaped before freezing by arranging on cookie sheets, placing in the freezer for one hour to quick-freeze and then transferring the cookie balls to a freezer container or bag. Most cookie dough can be kept frozen for up to six months. Include baking time and temperature on the freezer label. To bake, place frozen cookies on baking sheets and bake, without thawing, as directed. A few extra minutes may need to be added to the total baking time.

Liz Meimann

I received both my undergraduate and graduate degrees in Food Science at Iowa State University. I love to quilt, sew, cook, and bake. I spent many years gardening, canning, and preserving food for my family when my children were at home.

More Posts - Website

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