Most of us are familiar with the trick of throwing a loaf of bread in the freezer for easy long-term storage and convenient use when we want to make toast or whip up a sandwich.
Bread is one of those foods that you can freeze easily, but after you’ve thawed your frozen bread, is it safe to refreeze it?
Can you refreeze bread? Yes, you can refreeze bread, and it is perfectly safe. However, bread that has been refrozen can taste stale. If you must refreeze your bread, it is best to refreeze it within 48 hours after using it.
In this ultimate guide, we’ll talk about the best ways to refreeze any type of bread. From hard-crusted bread to gluten-free bread to whole wheat to sourdough, we’ve got you covered in the bread department.
Types of Bread
Below is a list of popular types of bread that you can freeze before use. We’ll explain the differences between these types of bread and why certain factors will affect their quality after refreezing and rethawing.
How well your bread does in the freezer depends on the type of bread.
The most important thing to consider when refreezing bread is whether the bread contains the following ingredients:
- Leavening agent
These ingredients will change the texture of the bread and whether it will taste stale after you’ve thawed it. Let’s dive into our guide so you can get to refreezing your bread.
Your Guide to Refreezing Bread
There are special considerations to remember when refreezing bread depending on how the bread was originally made and whether it has been sliced or frozen whole, which we will go into later on in the article.
Here’s what you need to freeze bread:
- Airtight container or freezer bag
- Store-bought bread – you can freeze the bread directly in the package that you purchased it in, but you’ll be better off if you use a quality double-sealed freezer bag (these from Amazon are my favorite).
- Fresh loaf of bread – you’ll want to transfer the bread to an airtight container or freezer bag.
- Label the date of when the bread was originally frozen
- Frozen bread is best when eaten within 1month of originally being frozen. This means that you need to know the date of the initial freezing and adhere to that same timeline even after refreezing your bread.
- Most store-bought bread will have the best-by date listed on the bread clip attached to the outside of the bag. If you place this bread into the freezer before the best-by date, you can keep it frozen for 6 months past the listed date.
Now you know the basic steps to refreezing any type of bread. There’s still more to know, so let’s get into the different types of bread and how refreezing them will affect texture, taste, and quality.
Refreezing Bread – The Ultimate Guide
No matter which type of bread you’re refreezing, there are two universal rules for refreezing bread (or any type of food, for that matter).
The two universal rules for refreezing bread:
- Refreeze within 48 hours of thawing – This is because you run the risk of bread going stale if left out for longer than 48 hours. In reality, bread can easily become stale overnight if left uncovered.
- Only refreeze once – If you refreeze bread multiple times, it will lose its integrity and flavor which will make it stale and flavorless. This rule goes for all types of food, not just bread.
Bonus tip: If you’ve heated your bread at all, make sure it’s completely cooled before sticking it back into the freezer. You want to avoid freezer burn at all costs. If you place a warm loaf into the freezer, the condensation will freeze and form ice crystals inside your bread, which will ruin the texture and flavor.
The main things to consider before refreezing bread are:
- If it is room temperature before freezing,
- you know the date it was originally frozen,
- and that you don’t see any visible mold on the bread before refreezing.
Now that we know the two key rules to refreezing bread, let’s get into the different types of bread and whether they can be refrozen.
Refreezing Bread That Contains Eggs
Egg bread is bread that’s made with—you guessed it—eggs. Not all bread is made with eggs, so this is an important distinction to know when deciding whether to refreeze your bread.
Eggs are used in bread recipes in order to help the bread rise and also tenderizes the texture and reduces the crumbliness of bread.
What does this mean for refreezing bread?
Egg bread may actually freeze better than bread without egg because the egg helps the bread retain it’s moisture after it has been thawed, so it will remain close to the original consistency and won’t taste as stale as bread that has been made without egg.
The types of bread that are traditionally made with eggs include:
- Brioche – a type of french bread and is actually considered a pastry.
- Challah – a Jewish bread that is traditionally braided before it is baked.
- If you want to find out how to make your own challah bread and which flours are the best to use, check out this article.
Refreezing Bread That Contains Gluten
Gluten-free bread is one of the most freezable types of bread thanks to the types of flour used.
It’s usually denser than bread that uses flour containing gluten, and you can find most gluten-free bread in the freezer section at your local grocery store.
From gluten-free pizza crusts to Ezekiel bread, gluten-free bread is the easiest to refreeze.
Ideally, you will only thaw the amount of gluten-free bread that you will eat in one sitting, but if you happen to thaw too many slices of gluten-free bread, then you have the option of refreezing it.
Thankfully, since most gluten-free bread comes in a frozen package, you are able to simply place the slices of bread back into its original packaging and place it in the freezer.
That’s it. There are no special considerations are necessary when refreezing gluten-free bread.
The only thing you will want to keep in mind is that gluten-free bread is best when consumed within 1-3 months of being originally frozen. This means that even though you can refreeze the bread, you’ll still need to consume it before the 1-month time frame is up.
That’s not to say that you can’t eat bread that’s been frozen for longer than 3 months, but you will likely notice freezer burn on your bread which will negatively affect the taste and quality.
Refreezing Bread That Contains Yeast
Sourdough is a classic bread that contains yeast. The difference between sourdough bread and other yeast bread is that the sourdough is made with a special kind of yeast that continues to grow as you use it.
If you’d like to learn how to make a sourdough starter, you can check out this article.
So can you refreeze sourdough bread? It’s not recommended.
Why not? The reason that sourdough bread doesn’t do well in a freezer is because of the crust-to-bread ratio. It will not retain the same texture and desired crunch that you typically look for in sourdough bread and other yeast bread.
Refreezing Bread Without Yeast or Eggs
Quick bread includes any bread that is leavened without yeast or eggs and does not require time to rise.
This enables the baker to quickly assemble the bread dough and place it immediately into the oven or bread maker.
Types of quick bread:
- Cornbread – Traditionally a Native American cuisine, cornbread includes any quick bread that contains cornmeal.
- Soda bread – Soda bread, otherwise known as Irish soda bread, got its name from the sodium bicarbonate that is used as the leavening agent (instead of yeast).
Most quick bread freezes well, so refreezing is just as simple as long as you allow time for the quick bread to cool if you’ve heated it after thawing and place it in an airtight container or freezer bag.
Can You Refreeze White and Whole Wheat Bread?
White bread and whole wheat bread are the classic sandwich bread, and they are differentiated primarily by the fact that white bread has had most of the nutrients removed and contains less fiber.
Similar to white rice vs brown rice, the white color of white bread comes from having the bran and hull removed from the wheat grain.
So does this make a difference when refreezing? No, white bread and whole wheat bread will refreeze the same and retain the same texture that you’d expect from rethawed bread upon consumption.
Rye bread, on the other hand, is denser and has a stronger flavor than both white and whole wheat bread, so the refreezing and rethawing process will affect its texture and flavor more.
When refreezing rye bread, the best way is to wrap it in aluminum foil before placing it into an airtight container or freezer bag. Rye bread will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months or longer if properly stored.
Can You Refreeze Storebought and Homemade Bread?
As we mentioned earlier, store-bought bread comes in a package that can be thrown directly into the freezer. It even has a best-by date that is useful for determining when you need to consume the bread.
You can keep store-bought bread in the freezer for 6 months past its best-by date, but it’s recommended that you consume it within 1-3 months for optimum flavor and freshness.
Homemade bread, on the other hand, is a little more delicate. This is mostly because homemade bread does not contain preservatives that keep store-bought bread fresh, so you have to be extra careful in making sure you store homemade bread properly.
You will need to wrap homemade bread in either aluminum foil (butcher paper works too) and into an airtight container or freezer bag.
Remember to allow the homemade bread to cool completely before wrapping it in aluminum foil, or you will have freezer burn inside your loaf which will ruin the texture of the bread when you rethaw it.
Can You Refreeze Bread With Seeds?
Multi-grain and seeded bread are exactly what they sound like—bread that is made with a variety of grains and seeds.
It has a more chewy and complex texture that other bread and is considered a hearty bread that’s perfect for dipping in more robust soups and stews.
Do the seeds affect the ability of the bread to be refrozen? Thankfully, most seeds store exceptionally well in the freezer, and they will freeze just as well in bread form.
You’ll want to remember that seeds contain natural oils that have the potential to go rancid, so the rule of refreezing bread within 48 hours is especially important to remember when bread contains seeds.
Can You Refreeze Slices of Bread and a Whole Loaf of Bread?
Whether you are refreezing slices of bread or a whole loaf will determine your refreezing strategy. Check out the pros and cons below to determine which option is best for your bread consumption needs.
Refreezing Sliced Bread
One of the reasons why store-bought bread is so convenient is not only due to its packaging and best-by label, but because it also comes pre-sliced and ready to use whenever you want.
- Pros – You’re able to rethaw individual slices as needed and thaws quickly.
- Cons – Prone to freezer burn since more of the bread interior is exposed.
Refreezing Whole Loaves
If you buy bread from a bakery or make it at home, you’ll likely be looking at storing a whole loaf since it’s less likely that it will be cut into slices prior to refreezing.
- Pros – Stores longer in the freezer than sliced bread since it is naturally encased by the exterior (keep in mind that hard-crusted bread does not freeze well).
- Cons – You have to rethaw the entire loaf in order to slice it up, which means that you’ll need to make sure you’re going to consume the entire loaf since you cannot refreeze any food (including bread) more than once.
Which bread refreezes best?
Gluten-free bread refreezes best. It is naturally crumbly and dry, so it refreezes better than other bread to retain freshness.
Gluten-free bread that is. left on the countertop will quickly become stale and basically inedible )unless you enjoy eating cardboard).
The second runner up would have to be rye bread since it is dense but still soft and easily frozen and. thawed without changing its texture.
Can you refreeze butter?
We can’t talk about bread without talking about butter, right? Bread and butter is a classic combo.
Luckily for you, we’ve written an entire article on whether or not you can refreeze butter. You can read that article here.