Thawing a whole frozen ciabatta loaf... best way?
Last weekend, I took advantage of the buy-1-get-2-free offer the last hour one of my local bakeries was opened... for my wife and me, 3 loaves is too much, so I froze a ciabatta loaf.
I often make loaves of bread, and then freeze them pre-sliced... I then thaw them really quickly by using the toaster oven... awesome! I remember reading a long time ago that something similar could be done with entire loaves frozen in the freezer... what's the best way to do this though? Should I put the loaf in the oven at a low temperature? A higher temperature? how long?
I'm hoping to get it back to its warm-and-crusty state :D
Last year for Valentine's Day I bought my husband a monthly bread club from Zingerman's; there are only two of us and the loaves came three at a time, so we froze most of it. We followed Zingerman's recs on freezing and thawing loaves with good results, although a few times we did find that the crusts got a bit hard.
4. Freezing works well!
If you want to keep a loaf of Zingerman's bread for more than a few days, your best bet is to freeze it. In fact, the only time bread and plastic ought to meet is on their way into the freezer. If you aren't planning to eat the whole loaf, cut it in half and freeze what you're not going to eat right away. Enjoy the first half, then when you're ready pull the other piece out of the freezer. If you're going to eat the frozen half right away, you can thaw it by heating it in the oven right out of the freezer. About 20-25 minutes at 350° should do it. If not, I'd just leave it to thaw on the counter. Still you'll find a quick visit to a hot oven will bring back a little of the life that made the bread so great when it went into the freezer in the first place.
The original link:
If you place the wrapped loaf on a large mass of metal, like a sheet pan or inverted frying pan, it will thaw amazingly fast. Stick a knife into the center, then feel the temp of the tip to determine when thawing is complete. Then wrap in aluminum foil and heat up in the oven.
Wow, cool... and you leave it covered? I have it inside one of those jumbo plastic freezer bags with most of the air pushed out... just put it directly onto a sheet pan inside the bag?
And sorry... for details on the oven... do you suggest a higher temperature like 400F or higher?
It is important when defrosting baked goods to leave the wrapping on, so any condensation occurs on the outside of the wrapping - otherwise the bread or cake will absorb the condensation and get soggy.
I would use a low to moderate oven - 250-325 - so the bread has a chance to warm through without the crust getting dry rather than crisp. Depending on the shape and size of the bread, I'm guessing 10-15 min is enough.