Saturday, June 11, 2022

Containers for storage

Thawing in the fridge

When it comes to retarding fermentation with sourdough making, it's all in knowing which containers to use in the process. As these are what will protect your dough from drying out, from the effects of chilling or freezing. Here are some suggestions for containers, I have found the most useful.

No fuss - all in one

Since making bread using the retarding fermentation method, I have changed from baking one large loaf at one time, into baking two smaller ones. If quantity is required, I can bake both small loaves at the same time (together on a single baking tray for ease of turning) or if frugality is required, I can cook one small loaf to eat now, and freeze the other for later.  

These pyrex storage containers, come with a sealable lid, and the best part is, they can handle the gradual temperature changes as well as doubling for baking pans. So there is minimal containers used throughout the entire process. Saving on washing and even cutting down on plastic bags, to freeze the bread after baking. 

As now I just freeze a whole loaf of fresh dough, and after baking, slicing and taste testing, there is enough room in the same dish I baked in, to store the rest of the slices. Not that it ever lasts long around here.

Freshly baked bread

They work just like a regular metal loaf pan, only (in my opinion) better at cooking a more even crust all round the bread. I like they are lighter to handle too, and can be placed in the dishwasher to clean. Versus, the metal pans I would have to soak and wash by hand. 

Even if I wasn't using them for retarding fermentation, I'd be switching to these permanently, just for the lighter weight handling, and easier clean-up. Also the standard-size sandwich slices, are better for holding too.

Versatile use, for an old favourite

If you happen to have an old casserole dish, this is suitable for overnight fridge storage. Great for making a round, cob loaf the next day, which has been shaped in advance. By turning the dish upside-down, it's easier for placement of the dough, and to turn the loaf out, after baking. 

You can choose to leave the lid on, or off, for baking. With the lid on, it creates a lovely crust, however, it needs to removed for the last 10 minutes of baking time, to brown and crust.

This casserole dish is not recommended for freezer storage, as unlike the rectangular pyrex pans (above) it does not provide an airtight seal, and risks drying the dough out too much.

Consider the size and shape

On to suitable freezer containers, where any decent quality, plastic container will do. Check to see whether it's rated for freezer use. The short depth/long span ones, are best for freezing pre-shaped dough, such as dinner rolls and donuts. As it allows multiple items to be spaced out, without taking up too much unnecessary freezer space. Make sure to place the container, on an even surface in the freezer, until solid. So the items don't touch and freeze together.

These no-duts (what I like to call the hole of a donut) were removed from the freezer for the recent workshop. Taken from the freezer the day before, they spent 20 hours in the fridge, thawing. A baking sheet can be used instead, covered with plastic cling-film. It will to do the same thing, however, it would be worth investing in a reusable plastic container - as it's kinder to the environment than single use plastic. 

Plus the reusable container, can be used for other things like sandwich platters, or cupcakes, which also need to accommodate many individual items, while still being hygienically covered.

Once frozen

Once frozen solid, I like to transfer the small, multiple items to silicone bags. These are also designed to be reusable, once washed and dried completely. Do not leave in the bags however, when moving from the freezer to the fridge. As once thawed completely, it will make them difficult to remove from the bags without distorting the nice shape of the dough.

I place mine in suitable plastic containers to thaw in the fridge (as shown in the very first image) or on a baking sheet ready to go in the oven - for things such as dinner rolls. These baking sheets are covered with a damp tea-towel.

If you have any container suggestions I haven't thought of, or any environmentally responsible suggestions, please feel free to share in the comments.

1 comment:

  1. I really, really like those pyrex containers with sealable lids. And I have to say that I never thought about freezing shaped dough for ready defrosting and baking. It's a great idea!


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