Can You Freeze Bread Dough After It's Already Risen?

There are few things that smell better than the aroma of freshly baked bread. And it isn't just the smell of homemade bread that has an appeal. Bread making requires you to work with your hands to mix, knead, shape, and in the case of scored loaves, mark the dough into an edible work of art. As delicious as the end result can be, and no matter how accomplished you may feel after making a loaf, it's often an endeavor that we can reserve for slow weekends at home since making bread from scratch takes some time.

One workaround is to make your dough in the evening, store it in the fridge overnight, and bake it the next day, as King Arthur details. And refrigerated bread dough will actually develop a richer flavor since it ferments while in the fridge. However, what if you have bread dough in your fridge, but your plans change and suddenly you aren't able to bake it the next day? The good news is you don't have to toss it out, you can put the dough in the freezer to make later, but there are some things you need to know before you do that.

Timing is the key to success

Bread dough can be frozen, but the key is to make sure you place it in the freezer at the right time. As The Spruce Eats reports, a bread dough that's made using yeast can be frozen, as long as you've shaped it and it has gone through its first rise. This step is important and will determine the success of your bread, since according to Bob's Red Mill, ensuring the proper amount of time for a dough's rise is what gives bread its desired fluffy texture.

Some bread only requires one rise, such as English muffin dough, although many need a second rise. And MasterClass notes that frozen bread dough that's been through its first rise can rise a second time, it just needs to thaw first. If you don't have time to let your dough go through the first rise before freezing, Taste of Home reports that it is possible to bake bread from frozen dough that hasn't risen. 

The article cautions that the dough will need to thaw overnight in the fridge first, and then it will need to rest in a warm place to rise but know that this method means it can take up to two times as long for the dough to reach its first rise. So, no matter which method you opt for, putting the dough in the freezer means a freshly baked loaf of bread is always within reach.