Freezing and Storing Tips for Your Holiday Baking Delights
With Christmas Day practically upon us, I thought it would be a good time to share some tips to help you organize your holiday baking. One way to make your holiday baking go better is to have a plan for freezing and storing your holiday baked goods so that you don’t have to do all the baking in one day. This will allow you to spend a day or two baking and freeze for later. If and how you do this depends on the type of time you have available. But learning to freeze and store your delicious creations will help a lot.
Step 1: Have the right supplies . . .
Nothing is more frustrating than to start to bake and realize you don’t have something you need. So, the first thing you need to be able to freeze and store your holiday baked goods is the right supplies. These include:
- Parchment paper
- Freezer containers
- Zip-top bags
- Plastic wrap
Be sure you already have these items on hand, or shop for them before hand. These things will help you save your baking goods properly so that they taste freshly baked on the day you enjoy them.
Step 2: Know which baked goods will freeze best . . .
Some baked goods will freeze better than others. Therefore, it is important to know in advance which ones will freeze the best. Some of the baked goods that freeze the best are:
- Quick breads
- Snack cakes
- Yeast breads
- Regular cakes
One thing I learned working at Candace’s shop about freezing foods is that they need to be double wrapped with plastic wrap. That helps ensure that they are still fresh and tasty when it’s time to eat them. Another important tip to remember is not to freeze any of your recipes that are low fat or fat free. They are best cooked and served the same day as they get dry or conversely gummy when frozen.
In the case of cakes and pies, you will need to invest in cake or pie boxes or containers. Place the cake or pie in the box, then double wrap with plastic wrap. BE SURE THE BAKED GOODS ARE COMPLETELY COOLED BEFORE YOU BOX THEM UP AND WRAP THEM. Also, remember to take them out the night before and let them thaw in the refrigerator overnight for best results. Here are some pointers to help you. . .
Fully made cakes . . .
Cakes you have baked and frosted with a Buttercream or Cream Cheese frosting can be frozen. Once it is completely cooled, place it in a cake box, double wrap with plastic wrap, then freeze. The box helps to protect it from other things in your freezer. Unwrap completely before thawing.
Pies . . .
Cream pies, like Coconut Cream Pie, etc., do not freeze very well. So, use these instructions for fruit pies and refrigerator pies that have a whipped topping. It would be best to make cream pies closer to the time of serving. You can freeze pie crusts in the pie tins and bake from frozen, or bake it in advance, cool it, then freeze to thaw later.
To freeze a fully baked fruit pie, place it in the freezer uncovered until it is frozen. Then pop it in a freezer bag or a pie box. Double wrap with plastic wrap and return to the freezer. To serve, unthaw overnight in the refrigerator or thaw on the counter for three to five hours. Remember to remove the plastic wrap before thawing so that the moisture from freezing can escape to avoid a mushy crust. You can freeze unbaked pie crust the same way. Just don’t slit the crust, unwrap, slit the crust and bake at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 Fahrenheit and bake for 45 more minutes.
The other items mentioned above can be frozen very easily just by first bringing to room temperature, then starting in the refrigerator. Finally wrap with freezer paper or parchment paper, and then pop into a freezer bag. You can freeze these items for six months. To thaw, just take out and put on the counter. Or for anything with eggs in it, start in the refrigerator.
Other Tips for Freezing Your Holiday Baked Goods . . .
There are some other baking goods that you can freeze to use later that will help you organize your baking days or time. Some of these include the following:
Cookie dough . . .
The great thing about cookie dough is that it can be frozen and saved for up to six months. You can make a lot of dough, separate it up into “serving” sizes and freeze in a long bar to chop into the right size for baking. You can also save in balls for cookies like peanut butter cookies that are supposed to start as balls. Thaw, and then process as usual. Always unwrap fully before thawing.
Raw yeast dough for bread or rolls . . .
Shape the dough after the first rise into the shape you will bake it in. A ball for a roll, three balls for a clover roll, a log for a bread loaf, and so forth. Shape the dough, freeze on a pan in the freezer, then pop into freezer bags. You can also wrap the dough in parchment or freezer paper, then pop into a larger freezer bag to keep more in one bag. To prepare, thaw in the prepared baking pan that you want to cook the bread in. It will rise as it thaws. You can start in the fridge the night before or you can do it within 3 to 5 hours the day of. It’s up to you. Bake as usual according to your instructions.
Fully cooked cookies . . .
You can also freeze fully cooked cookies. Find a round freezer container and put a single layer of fully cooled cookies in the bottom, top with parchment paper, adding layers until the container is full, topping again with parchment, and then sealing the container. To thaw, just remove cookies to a serving platter and let thaw for about 2 or 3 hours the day you want to enjoy them. I usually freeze cookies in a single layer, then place in a freezer container or bag. By freezing them individually, they won’t stick together and can be removed one at a time without any problem.
Quick breads or muffins . . .
Fully cool the bread or muffins after baking, then wrap tightly in freezer paper, parchment paper, or foil. Then double
wrap with plastic wrap tightly and put inside a freezer bag. The extra steps will ensure that your bread is moist and delicious after thawing. To thaw, unwrap and thaw on the counter for 2 to 3 hours, or in the fridge overnight. Wrapping in foil is especially good with coffee cake. You can thaw in the foil, then toss in the oven to warm.
In conclusion . . .
Freezing your holiday baked goods and storing them for later is a great idea because you can bake just a little at a time, or have a quick bread baking day, a cookie dough mixing and freezing day and so forth. Most of these items will still taste fresh with proper storage for up to three months, some for six months. If you have extra freezer space, this gives you quite a long time to prepare for your holiday baking.