Having a loaf of Italian bread stored in the freezer can come in handy for those nights that you are not able to stop by your local Italian marketplace or bakery. Italian bread does not have a long shelf if stored at room temperature or even in a fridge. Freezing Italian bread is the best method to maintain freshness and taste.
So, can you freeze Italian Bread? Yes, Italian bread is a great food to freeze. When stored properly at 0°F, a loaf of Italian bread will maintain its freshness for a least 3 months, but it can be safe for consumption long past that time.
It is important to know that the proper storage methods are critical for maximizing the shelf of your bakery-bought Italian bread. Even if you plan to eat the bread only a few days later, freezing the loaf may still be the best decision.
Freezing Italian Bread
Whether you decide to purchase your Italian bread or use your own homemade recipe, learning to freeze your bread can help avoid wasting food and save you time (either from shopping or cooking).
Freezing Italian bread is a much better option vs. storing in a refrigerator. The fridge is not good for storing bread because it will actually dry out the loaf, causing the bread to get stale faster than if you just left it stored at room temperature. The loaf of bread will usually only last about 1-2 days in a refrigerator before the bread turns stale. It is a common misconception that the life of an Italian bread can be extended in a fridge – it can actually make it worse!
How to Freeze Italian Bread
If you decide to freeze your homemade bread, be sure to allow the bread to cool for at least 2-3 hours at room temperature. Freezing bread while it is still warm is the primary cause to freezer burn, because heat can cause perspiration when the bread in stored.
Italian bread purchased from the store or bakery usually comes with an original packaging. If the package is airtight, it will be perfect for storing your bread in the freezer. However, if it is an open bag, it is recommended to wrap the loaf in aluminum foil. Aluminum foil does a great job in helping to eliminate the air and provides maximum freshness.
Step 1: Portion the Bread – Cut Slices, Slice Loaves or Keep Whole
Italian bread loaves can come in many different shapes and sizes. Some bakery breads are as long as 3 feet! If your storage area is limited or you just want to separate your portions, cutting up the bread can be a terrific option. Personally, I like to prepare smaller loaves for nights where my family likes to make our own garlic bread!
Step 2: Wrap Tightly to Remove Air
Wrapping your Italian bread with either aluminum foil or a freezer bag is essential if you want to avoid any type of freezer burn. Since it may be difficult to find a freezer bag of the appropriate size, aluminum foil is great option that can mold to the size of any loaf. Make sure that the foil covers the entire bread.
Step 3: Storage Location in the Freezer
Avoid storing Italian bread towards the top of the freezer or locations that are directly next to the source of the cold air. Sometimes those spots can be the coldest part of the freezers and would be a suboptimal temperature for the loaf. Freezing the bread at a temperature that is too cold can damage the bread, harming both its texture and flavor.
Does Freezing Italian Bread Affect the Taste?
Freezing Italian Bread does not affect the taste if the loaf is packaged and sealed from the day of purchase. Avoid freezing the loaf if it has already been stored in the refrigerator or room temperature. These environments could have already accelerated the staleness process and harmed the loaf. At optimal storage conditions, frozen Italian Bread will retain its quality and taste for up to 3 months. The only decision that we recommend to make is either eat the bread the day of or freeze for a future date.
How to Know if Leftover or Frozen Italian Bread is Safe to Eat
After storing Italian bread in the freezer, it may not be a bad idea to confirm the freshness of the loaf before eating. It should be easy to determine if it is safe to eat based on how it looks or the way that it smells. If the bread smells bad or has any signs of mold, just discard. Usually, this may occur when the bread has been stored for a time period that extends way over 3 months and/or it wasn’t stored correctly.