Did you know that approximately 1 in every 133 Americans has Celiac Disease? That equates to almost 2.5 million people! This debilitating, genetic autoimmune disorder inhibits a person’s ability to process gluten and can cause extreme gastrointestinal upset.
Thankfully, there are many alternatives to this popular protein. However, the problem becomes preserving items like bread products, that tend to spoil quickly due to the lack of this ingredient. This leads many to question, can you freeze gluten-free bread?
We have risen to the occasion and found out what you need to know!
Most people would assume that the refrigerator is a safe place to store food. This is not the case for gluten-free bread, which will dry out more quickly than on the counter. However, the freezer is a great preservation tool for this type of product.
This is especially the case for homemade GF bread, which lacks preservatives and therefore spoils much faster. In order to achieve the best result, simply wrap small sections of the bread in aluminum foil or freezer-safe plastic wrap.
Then store them in freezer-safe ziplock bags for up to one month. Additionally, if the original packaging has not been opened, this can allow for freezer storage for up to six months when the bread is vacuum-sealed.
Most folks would describe bread as light and airy in texture with a crispy crust and a soft, tender interior. However, for those who cannot have gluten in their diets, their bread options are more dense and gritty with a drier texture. This distinction is extremely important to consider when it comes to how you store these products. Why?
Gluten acts as a binding agent in wheat flour. It allows for the formation of those air pockets that you see in each slice of Wonder Bread. Without the moist and fluffy texture component that gluten brings to your honey wheat, the bread becomes stale much more quickly.
In fact, while your favorite store-bought bread is best used within a week, gluten-free varieties stay fresh for only two to three days. While there are a few brands that promise up to five to seven days of use, unless this product is being stored in the optimal conditions, it will likely not last.
This means that it is imperative that you not open the vacuum-sealed gluten-free bread products until you know you will get good use out of the loaf. Also remember to always store your excess in the freezer, prior to the ‘Best Buy’ date.
Gluten-Free Bread Storage Times
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, you can extend the shelf life of regular bread products to up to 14 days in the refrigerator and 3 months in the freezer. Conversely, with gluten-free alternatives, the freezer can extend freshness up to a month.
However, due to the dry nature of this product, refrigeration is not recommended as it will expedite this drying process. A good rule of thumb is to freeze bread immediately if you do not intend to use it within three days of opening.
Gluten-Free Banana Bread Storage Times
Conversely, gluten-free banana bread is a fantastic product that does well in the freezer. This is because banana helps to moisten the bread. This, in turn, lengthens the time that you can freeze it. Expect a whole loaf to stay fresh for up to two months!
How To Freeze Gluten-Free Bread
This product has a very short shelf life. Therefore, it is always best to bake it in small batches and to never buy in bulk. When using gluten-free bread, plan out your meals for the week and then freeze what you don’t intend to use the moment you open the package.
Additionally, this is the ideal storage method for homemade bread. Once the bread has cooled, cut slices or sections and store in the freezer.
There are normally fewer preservatives in home-baked products. Thus, they will not last as long as the store-bought option so expect storage times to be less.
Step #1: Divide Out Individual Slices Of Gluten-Free Bread To Freeze
Unless you plan to serve the entire loaf at a family dinner, you never want to freeze all of the bread together. Instead, pull out the number of slices that you would use in a day. This will normally range from 2 to 4 slices per person.
You can also cut the bread into sections if you plan to have a large number of guests. This will better preserve the bread, as long as it all gets consumed in a timely manner.
Additionally, if you are making your own GF bread, give it ample time to cool once you have pulled it out of the bread machine. If you cut it before it reaches room temperature, it will alter the shape of the loaf and diminish the moisture levels.
Step #2: Wrap The Bread Tightly
Next, tightly wrap the bread in plastic freezer wrap or heavy-duty aluminum foil. Both will help to prevent oxygen and moisture from getting in. However, the plastic wrap will not keep out light, which can play a role in spoilage over time.
Step #3: Place The Slices In Freezer Safe Bags
Once the sections of bread have been wrapped, place them in freezer-safe ziplock bags. Make a point to remove as much air as possible. Then, label the bag with the date of packaging. Remember that it is best to use this product prior to the month mark unless you intend to use it as bread crumbs.
Additionally, set the freezer to zero degrees Fahrenheit or less. Without remaining at these temperatures continuously, the quality will degrade rapidly.
Step #4: Thaw Bread Slices In The Microwave Or Oven
In order to properly thaw out your gluten-free bread products that you took the time to freeze, remove your bread from the freezer the day before use. This will allow it to defrost slowly. If you forget, two to three hours is enough for bread slices.
Then, remove it from the packaging. Make a point to check for signs of mold and spoilage. This can include changes in smell, coloring, or even texture.
Next, to thaw the bread in the microwave, simply sprinkle a small amount of water on the slices, wrap them in paper towels (2 at a time), and cook them for 10 to 15 seconds on low power. If this is not enough, repeat this step.
Conversely, to thaw the bread in the oven, place the slices of bread on an aluminum baking sheet. Then, bake the slices for 3 to 5 minutes at 350 degrees. If reviving a whole loaf, this time will elongate to 10 to 15 minutes.
While they may not always seem to be done after this short window, pull them out and give them time to cool off. This step will allow them to set and avoid overcooking.
Elongate The Counter Shelf Life Of Your Bread
If you do have intentions to use the GF bread throughout the week, a bread box can be a sound investment. This simple kitchen accessory helps to create a controlled environment for storing bread products.
This maintains the temperature and moisture levels, keeping it fresh for longer and it also keeps out light. Moreover, when purchasing this type of bread product or making it at home, aim to find varieties that you have to slice yourself. Individual pieces will dry out much more quickly compared to larger chunks of bread.
Additionally, store the sliced end facing down or pressed against the side of the box. This will help to limit the air that leads to bacteria and mold growth. A bread buddy is another fantastic alternative that can achieve the same result.
However, if you don’t have these kitchen tools on hand, make sure to always tie your bread bags uptight. Then, store the bread in a dark pantry.
Benefits Of Gluten-Free Bread
Gluten-free bread is a necessary choice for many individuals. Those with Celiac Disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity, dermatitis herpetiformis, and wheat allergies all require the removal of this popular ingredient from their diets.
However, thanks to recent fad diets, gluten-free foods are much easier to find! Schar, Franz, and Helgas all make gluten-free bread that can be eaten fresh or frozen!
While this is not actually a sufficient method for losing weight if you are someone who notices discomfort and gastrointestinal upset with wheat-based products, consider substituting for gluten-free varieties to see if you can achieve some relief. According to Beyond Celiac, “it is estimated that up to 83% of Americans who have celiac disease are undiagnosed or misdiagnosed with other conditions.”
In fact, in order to attain a proper diagnosis, the average American waits an average of six to ten years. Be proactive about your health and well-being. Look for correlations that could help you live a better and more comfortable life!
Unfortunately, the gluten substitutes that are available tend to go bad more quickly. Thus, you must be proactive in storage and preservation techniques. In this case, the freezer is your best tool!
Additionally, while you can technically store most food products in the freezer indefinitely, the textures and flavors will degrade over time.
Therefore, make a point to go through your freezer once weekly. This will help to cut back on this country’s ever-growing problem of food waste.
If you hope to get better use out of your bread, consider freezing the gluten-free bread dough. This can span up to three months since it will not dry out as quickly!
Gluten-free bread crumbs will also last longer, as the intent is for them to be dry. Just skip the plastic wrap or aluminum foil or plastic wrap and store them in a ziplock bag to achieve 3 months of optimal storage.
Heidi is a wife, mother, Newfie owner, writer and Meteorologist. She was born and raised in Texas and has worked in the broadcast industry for over a decade.