Freezer cooking is all over the place! But freezer baking? Could that be a strategy to bake anything anytime? Is there a clever way to exploit your freezer in baking?
Are you ready for another baking ninja strategy? Pull apart your baking workflow and learn how to freeze doughs and batters!
Can you freeze doughs and batters without losing flavors?
Freezing food can be intimidating. Not long ago I would throw yummies into my freezer without much care. When they came out they were spoiled. They had been taking on flavors from the freezer, and no good ones! Some freezer goods have dried out, others defrosted to a mushy mess.
You put yummy fresh stuff in your freezer and you get something borderline rotten out of it.
I assumed you just cannot freeze all these kinds of things. I didn’t know about freezer hacks for doughs and batters or how to defrost them properly. But you can!
(Just keep away from recipes based on egg whites.)
When I was living the expat life in a developing country I had to deal with scarcity a lot. The freezer became my friend and a well-used asset in my homemaking strategy. But there were a few things I had to learn about first.
Freezing doughs and batters is not hard and works fine for most of them. Now that my life got so much more busy than it was I usually prepare double the amount of cookie dough and cake or waffle batter. With some ready-to-bake sweeties in the freezer, I can have homemade sweet treats in no time and with no effort at all.
Perfect when you need a treat late at night or guests stand at your door surprisingly. It will boost your homemaker confidence if you can invite them to a tasty bite of homemade cake fresh from the oven. Stressless with a smile on your face! Imagine that!
Once, we had a family with kids over. I was sifting through my frozen cakes and pulled out muffins of three different flavors, baked them, and served a colorful plate of different oven-fresh cupcakes. Strike! (I felt like Martha Stewart for a second before the kids invaded the bedroom with the unmade beds. Bummer. I need to add “lock bedroom” to the freezer baking instructions.)
But first things first. Before you serve that steaming lemon pound cake, take a minute and go through these hacks to freezing batters and cookie dough. It will be worth the investment of learning time because freezing batters works great and you can have that fresh cakes in no time! Learn how to freeze, defrost, and bake dough and batter with freezer baking!
Some general rules for freezing cake batter and cookie dough
There are rules when it comes to freezer baking. Don’t worry, they are few and not hard to learn. After a while, you will know them by heart.
- Rule of thumb: Freeze as fast as possible, defrost as slow as possible.
- After defrosting batter and dough you should use it right away and not freeze it again. So, freeze portions that are not too large to bake. Batter and dough should be baked soon after defrosting or put into the oven when still frozen.
- Pack items carefully in freezer-suitable, airtight packages. That way they will not take on flavors from the environment.
- Put goods for freezing to the coldest spot in the freezer, e.g. the bottom or a special super frost section.
- Let goods freeze for 12-24 hours (depending on size) before finally storing them in some other part of the freezer.
- Do not freeze large amounts at the same time. Check your freezer manual for how much you can freeze.
- Cool freezer down before packing with a lot of food to freeze. Some freezers have a special setting to do so. (My freezer has a “Superfrost” button for this.)
- You can freeze batters in baking pans. Perfect for freezer baking are cupcake paper liners, paper baking pans, or wooden ones for one-time use. (But I have used metal and ceramic baking pans in the past and never had an issue. Just keep in mind to not put ceramic or clay forms from the freezer into the hot oven as they might burst then. Put them into the cold oven and heat up only then.)
- Freeze cupcake batter in a muffin tin lined with paper cups. When the batter is frozen, put the cupcakes into a Ziploc bag. Put them back in a muffin tin for baking.
- Label the frozen baking goods with a date. That way you can check if it’s still good to use. Look at the table below to see how long batter or dough keep fresh in the freezer.
Get started with freezer baking
First, prepare the dough as usual, then, freeze it! Easy, right?
Prepare your doughs and batters in advance and bake them whenever you need some homemade goodie fresh from the oven.
Great for freezing are: Doughs with lots of fat, like cookie dough, and all yeast doughs. Not great for freezing are doughs and batter based on egg whites.
Next time you bake, double the amount of dough. Bake some, freeze some.
As a subscriber to my newsletter, you can download the free baking guide and print out this table for your reference! If you want to subscribe you can do it at the bottom of this post!
|How to freeze||How to defrost|
Months it keeps fresh
|Puff pastry||in layers and foil||let defrost without the package, use as fresh||8|
|Yeast dough||freeze before rising||let defrost, then rise and use like fresh||3|
|Gingerbread dough||as flat packages||defrost in the fridge, use as fresh||1|
|Shortcrust||as flat packages||defrost in the fridge, use as fresh||3|
|Cake batter||in baking pan||let defrost for 4 hours at room temperature, bake as fresh||4|
|strudel dough||rolled out, in foil||defrost at room temperature, use as fresh||5|
|waffle/pancake batter||in airtight container||defrost in the fridge, e.g. overnight, use as fresh||3|
Shortcut in baking from the freezer: Bake without defrosting
You don’t always want to wait for the dough or batter to defrost! Sometimes you have to, for example with cookie dough or shortcrust. You can only use it after defrosting if you want to cut cookies.
If you want cookie dough to bake right out of the freezer you need to form the cookies before freezing. Drop cookies are great for that. For example, freeze Caramel Nut Drop Cookies before baking. Or form a roll and cut cookie slices to freeze. Lay the cookie dough slices on a baking sheet to freeze. When frozen you can transfer them into Ziploc bags. Then bake the frozen cookies, giving them a few minutes extra. You could make these Funfetti Slice and Bake Cookies by Sally’s Baking Addiction. Bake some, freeze some!
Many batters don’t mind if you bake them straight from the freezer. This is a genius freezer baking hack as it will make you look like Martha Stewart to guests (… maybe only for a short while, but anyway). You could make different cupcake batters and freeze them. Them mix and match for a batch of fresh cupcakes!
Baking frozen batter also prevents the batter from going bad while defrosting. The only downside to baking straight from the freezer is that you need to freeze the batter in baking pans. It can be paper pans, wooden ones, or even ceramic or metal ones. I’ve done it all and never had problems. (Only if I froze too many and no baking pans were left for actual baking because they were all in the freezer.)
In the case of the frozen cupcake batter, put the batter portions into a muffin tin. Then, add 5 minutes extra to the baking time in the recipe.
If you bake a large cake from frozen batter you need to add 10 minutes extra. Put a wooden stick into the cake to check if it is done. When there is liquid batter on the stick it needs more baking. If the stick comes out clean, the cake is done!
If the cake turns too dark in those extra minutes of baking, put a piece of aluminum foil on top of the cake. Bake until finished.
Well done! That was your headstart into freezer baking. Did you know that you can freeze fresh baking goods, too? Learn how in an upcoming post.
Other posts from the Bake Anytime You Want Series:
- Clever Baking Ingredients Substitutes to Bake Anytime You Want
- How To Build A No-Refrigeration Baking Pantry From Scratch
Until then, please pin this to share the love of baking and have a sweet treat!