Bake for Now and Later
Do you ever wish that you could have homemade baked goods ready on a moment’s notice? Wouldn’t it be nice to always be prepared for unexpected guests? Baking now and freezing for later is the solution. You’d be amazed how many baked goods, when properly packaged and frozen, can taste fresh months later. Best of all, if you regularly bake and freeze you will always have homemade goodies on hand. What an easy way to be the quintessential hostess and homemaker!
Which baked goods freeze well? Most any of them can be frozen and you can always freeze a small amount, wait a month, and give it a taste test to determine for yourself which foods you deem of quality after being frozen. Recommendations include:
- Cookie Dough
- Fruit Pie (Not cream or custard, as those do not freeze well.)
- Unfrosted Cake (You can frost right before serving. A frosted cake can be frozen, but an unfrosted one usually yields better results.)
- Baked Cheesecakes (Without toppings, since those will ruin the texture of the cheesecake.)
All of these items reheat easily in the oven, toaster oven, or microwave. It’s just a matter of preference. However, warming in the oven is most likely to renew that fresh-baked taste. It will also make your home smell delicious, just like when you baked in the first place. This is an especially useful trick right before a party. It will appear as though you’ve been baking all day, and smell like it too, when the reality is you just popped the baked goods in the oven and used the time getting ready for the party.
When preparing baked goods for the freezer it is important to let the food cool to room temperature before packaging and freezing. It is best to get the items into the freezer as soon as possible to retain freshness, so as soon as room temperature has been reached, it is time to package up the edibles.
Most baked items can be packaged for the freezer by simply filling a plastic freezer bag. Make sure to pack air-tight, as air is the main factor in causing freezer burn. You can do this by squeezing out the air or using a straw to suck out the air before sealing the bag. Another option (albeit, more expensive) is to invest in a vacuum sealer.
Some items are better stored in a plastic container. When the situation calls for this, it is necessary to implement extra precautions against freezer burn. Depending on the food type, wrap in plastic wrap or freezer paper before placing in the container. Fill any extra space in the container with crumpled wax or freezer paper. This will prevent air from being trapped in the container, which would ruin your food. Some people have found that glass better prevents frozen foods from picking up strange tastes from the freezer. Though plastic can be used, it will not guard against unappealing tastes to the same extent glass would. However, plastic is more convenient, less expensive, and often gets the job done comparably well.
Be sure to label all foods with the date of the day first baked. This will help you to decide when something has been in the freezer too long to still be good. Often baked goods will retain quality taste for 1 to 3 months, depending on the item. Keep in mind that freezer burn or a change in texture is not dangerous to be eaten, so if you decide to give a frozen item a taste to determine its quality, you can do so without being harmed.
Also, make sure your freezer is in tip top shape to keep your food tasting great. Check the seal of the door to assure it is tight. Keep the freezer at 0 degrees (and no higher) at all times. Stay aware of your freezer to determine that it maintains its set temperature and doesn’t fluctuate. Do not pack the freezer too full, as the lack of air circulation between packaged food items will cause the quality of the food to deteriorate (the cool air flow within the freezer is what keeps it frozen yet fresh). Keep an open box of baking soda in your freezer (as well as your refrigerator) to absorb odors. And since many fridge-freezer combos share the same air flow, it is important to keep the fridge clean to prevent odors seeping into the freezer. If you follow all of these steps, your frozen baked goods should keep for months and taste just baked fresh upon reheating!