Of all the holiday traditions I enjoyed growing up, one of my favorites has to be panettone.
Over the years, I think I’ve tried it just about every way imaginable, from using it in bread pudding, French toast, trifles, and yes, I’ve even got my eye on a recipe for panettone croutons this year!
So calling me “panettone-crazy” would be an understatement.
Why does my love of panettone matter?
Because although it’s rare, there are times when I find myself with leftover panettone and when I do, it’s always straight to the freezer when I know I won’t be eating it right away.
If you’ve never frozen it before, it might come as a surprise to hear that you can freeze it, but you can!
In fact, both homemade and store-bought panettone, still whole or sliced, freeze quite well. If wrapped and stored properly, you can expect it to last for several months, if not longer.
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Tips for Freezing Panettone – Whole versus Sliced
Of all the decisions you’ll need to make when freezing your panettone, the biggest one will be deciding on whether to freeze the whole loaf at once or as individual slices.
Let’s look at the pros and cons of each option, but before we do, we need to touch on one very important point.
Allow the Panettone to Cool Off Completely Prior to Freezing It
If you’re making a homemade panettone, let us be the first to congratulate you, because getting it right is extremely difficult and requires some advanced baking skills!
So, if you’ve successfully managed to pull it off, the last thing you want to do is risk freezing it incorrectly.
Panettone is a delicate bread and although it tolerates the freezer well, it must be allowed to cool off completely prior to putting in freezing temperatures.
Strictly speaking, you shouldn’t even wrap your panettone to store at room temperature until it’s cooled, so rushing it into the freezer is something you’ll probably regret later on.
Freezing the Whole Loaf
To freeze a loaf of panettone, you should first wrap it in a layer of plastic wrap, taking care to ensure that it is as tight as you can make it without damaging the structure of the loaf.
Because the freezer is a harsh environment, you might also want to consider adding a secondary layer of aluminum foil or a large, freezer-safe, resealable plastic bag.
Of course, freezing an entire panettone at once does have advantages as well as disadvantages. We’ve listed some pros and cons of this approach for you to consider.
- Can be made ahead of time for serving at parties or for special holiday meals
- Wrapping and storing takes less time than freezing individual slices
- Takes up a larger amount of space in your freezer
- When the times comes to use it, the entire panettone must be defrosted
Freezing Individual Slices
If you’ve already eaten some of your homemade or store-bought panettone, freezing slices might be a better option for you.
For the most part, the same rules apply here that apply to freezing a whole loaf but first, you’ll want to slice your panettone in a way that best suits your needs.
Once you have, wrap the individual slices in plastic wrap and for an extra layer of protection, combine some or all of the slices into a large, freezer-safe, resealable plastic bag. You can also use an airtight plastic container if you have one available.
Again, as with freezing an entire loaf, there are pros and cons to consider here as well.
- Slices take up less space in the freezer
- Slices allow for flexibility (use as needed versus all at once) when defrosting later on
- More prep work involved since you’ll be wrapping (or storing) individual slices versus an entire loaf
No matter what approach you choose, preparing the loaf (or slices) in this way will guard against the possibility of freezer burn and also reduce the chances of any strange odors impacting the panettone.
While it might seem like a lot of work, you’ll be thanking us when the time comes to thaw it out.
Defrosting Your Panettone
Hooray! The time has come to grab your scrumptious bread and dig in, but how should you go about defrosting it?
Well, the key to successfully defrosting panettone is quite similar to what you’ll find when defrosting other baked goods and that’s not to rush the process.
Simply remove the loaf or number of slices you want to use, unwrap and allow them to thaw out at room temperature.
It’s not a good idea to use the fridge to defrost your panettone, since the refrigerator will have a tendency to draw moisture from the delicate dough of the panettone.
This can cause it to dry out and taste stale.
No one wants that!
With that said, there’s a tiny caveat here, and that is if you’ve frozen your bread as individual slices, then they can go straight to the toaster, if that’s how you plan on eating it.
Otherwise, just allow them to thaw completely before doing anything with them.
I’m Griffin and I make my living as a freelance writer and wannabe sci fi author. Besides my obsession with words, I have a few others which may or may not include craft beer, backcountry hikes and spending time with loved ones – preferably in that order. Thanks for checking out my work and I hope you enjoy it!