Bagels are a quick breakfast staple for many people. This New York specialty is undeniably versatile to pair with almost anything, from various cheeses, deli meats, or as simple as butter and jam.
You can always stick with the classic toppings of cream cheese and cured salmon. Or, get creative with creating your own favorite toppings.
In the most ideal situation, nothing beats freshly baked goods. But, if you can’t find a good bagel shop nearby, you might want to buy a dozen whenever possible.
The only problem is bagels turn stale after a couple of days. So, can you freeze bagels for later?
In a nutshell, yes, you can freeze bagels with a few tricks to keep them fresh for a long time. If you want to know more about the ultimate guide to freezing bagels, keep reading!
The Best Way To Freeze Bagels
You’ve probably known that fresh warm bagels only last for 1 to 2 days on the counter. This is particularly the case for homemade and bakery bagels.
Store-bought bagels usually last longer because they may contain preservatives—check the use-by date on the package.
Refrigeration is not recommended because this doughnut-shaped bread tends to dry out and get stale more quickly in the fridge.
If you want to preserve them for an extended period, freezing is your ultimate option.
When it comes to homemade bagels, you might wonder which freezing method is better, before or after baking? Both ways work equally well! So, you can do whatever suits your situation.
Freezing Freshly Baked Bagels
You can freeze any bagel varieties, from plain, onion, salt, poppy, sesame seeds to everything bagel, both homemade or store-bought ones.
If you have fresh bagels that you want to preserve for the coming weeks, let’s start the work.
Divide them into two packs. The first one should be enough to eat for a couple of days. You can simply leave them on the counter, do not refrigerate.
The second pack will be your frozen supply. Similar to other foods, proper wrapping is the key to maintain the quality during freezing.
Follow the instructions below to freeze bagels properly.
1. For home-baked bagels, cool them down properly. If they are put into the freezer while still warm, it is almost a guarantee that they will get freezer burn.
2. Slice them or freeze unsliced.
A lot of brands also sell pre-sliced bagels, which make your life a lot easier. Be careful when slicing them to avoid cutting yourself. Use a serrated knife, hold the bagel firmly, and slice halfway through.
Freezing pre-sliced bagels allows you to throw them right into a toaster while still frozen—no need to thaw. The only downside is they are more prone to drying out because more surface area is exposed to air.
Don’t add cream cheese and other toppings before freezing. Cream cheese turns dry and crumbly when frozen. You can always add them later before serving.
3. Wrap individually with plastic wrap.
4. Pack wrapped bagels in a freezer bag.
5. Suck out excess air from the bag and seal it tightly.
6. Label with a freezing date.
7. Transfer the package to the freezer.
Freezing Bagel Dough
Bagel is a kind of bread made from yeasted dough. Similar to other yeasted bakery products, you can also freeze the dough after its first rise.
Knowing this principle, you can take advantage of preparing a big batch of dough and store them for later. This way, you can bake this chewy bread without having to spend a lot of time on preparation.
Here is our ultimate guide to freezing bagel dough successfully.
1. Prepare the dough according to the recipe until the proofing step. Punch it down to release the air bubble.
2. Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap. If you want to preserve it longer, add an extra layer of aluminum foil for double protection.
3. Pack them in a freezer bag.
4. Squeeze as much air as possible and seal tightly.
5. Mark the package with the freezing date and transfer it into the freezer.
How To Defrost and Use Frozen Bagels
Freezing bagels preserves the quality for a much longer period. When it’s time to eat, thawing and reheating are equally critical to bring them back to life. You have a few options to go about this.
To defrost frozen bagels, simply place them in the fridge, let them slowly soften up, and slice in half. Do it overnight to have them ready for breakfast.
You can reheat thawed bagels in a toaster, oven, or even an air fryer. Preheat the oven to 400 to 425 °F for 10 to 15 minutes. Sprinkle the surface with a little bit of water and re-bake for 5 to 10 minutes.
Depending on your liking, you can play around with the temperatures and baking time to get a less or extra crispy exterior.
If they are pre-sliced, you can throw them frozen into the toaster—no need to thaw.
If you’re wondering about thawing and reheating them in the microwave, yes, that’s also possible. But, such a method won’t create a crispy exterior. You need to use the oven or toaster to get that nice, crisp texture.
Finally, you can add whatever toppings you like and enjoy!
Thaw frozen dough in the refrigerator overnight. Next, punch down the dough to release air bubbles, followed by shaping, boiling, and baking—or following what the recipe says.
Can you refreeze bagels?
Technically, it is possible to refreeze them without safety concerns. However, the texture changes and the flavor won’t be as delicious. It is better to thaw as needed than to refreeze leftovers.
How Long Can You Freeze Bagels?
Bagels freeze well up to 3 months. Of course, it is possible to freeze them much longer. But, the texture and flavor might have diminished.
For maximum quality, enjoy within three months after freezing.
|Bagels (baked)||3 to 4 months|
|Bagels dough||3 months|
Bagels usually turn stale after 1 to 3 days. Stale bagels are not necessarily bad, but they are dry, tough, and less tasty. If you’re looking for spoilage signs, check for off smells, discoloration, or molds appearance.
There are a lot of possibilities that make your bagels turn hard instead of nice and chewy. Some of the common reasons are under or over proofing and bad yeasts.
Yes, it is possible to freeze cream cheese. But, freezing significantly affects the texture. Cream cheese becomes crumbly and dry after thawing, making it less spreadable. Due to these changes, thawed cream cheese is more suitable for baking and cooking. If you decide to give it a try, try freezing brick cream cheese instead of the spreadable one.
Yes, you can freeze bread successfully with preventable quality loss. You can freeze bakery bread, homemade, or even the dough. Make sure to freeze bread while it is still fresh. You can freeze bread in its original plastic packaging. Wrap it in more layers of foils and freezer bags for long term storage.
Baked bagels freeze remarkably well. Wrap them properly and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator or throw them right into the toaster.
If you prefer homemade bagels, freezing the dough is also a great option. This way, you can always enjoy them freshly-baked while saving a lot of prepping time.
Check our guides on how to freeze donuts, croissants, bread and tortillas.
*image by bhofack2/depositphotos