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How to Store Baked Goods

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How to Store Baked Goods

Plan Your Holiday Baking Marathon With These Storage Tips!

Tis the season to "eat, drink and be merry." It's also the season for baking. With holiday celebrations at home and around the office in full swing, many people like to share their traditional family recipes for cakes, fruit breads, cookies and pies. Spur of the moment get togethers are common at this time of year. If you are planning a baking marathon so that you can be ready with an abundance of goodies on a moments notice, you'll need to store your surplus so that it lasts through the season. Different types of treats need different storage techniques. Some need airtight wrapping, while others are better off in containers with a loose lid. Some items require refrigeration, while others do not. There are several tricks of the trade to ensure that your cookies, cakes and other treats always taste just like they just came out of the oven, however, the most important tip for successfully storing all baked goods is to let them cool completely. Enclosing warm cake, cupcakes, sweet breads or any type of baked goods will capture steam and cause them to go mushy, so avoid it at all costs. With that rule firmly engrained in your holiday baking strategy, it's time to move on to the best storage techniques for each item.

    STORAGE TIPS TO ENSURE YOUR BAKED GOODS STAY FRESH:
  1. Soft Cookies and Cut Brownies: Soft cookies and cut brownies or chewie dessert bars should be kept in an airtight container or freezer storage bag. You can add a slice of soft bread to a large container to help keep them moist. The moisture from the bread will help prevent the cookies and brownies from getting hard. A note about brownies: it is easiest to store them unfrosted in your airtight container and add the frosting or decorations just before serving.
    soft cookies should be kept in air tight containers
  2. Crispy Cookies: Crispy cookies should be stored in a loosely covered container. They can be kept at room temperature for about a week. If you need to store them longer, put them in the refrigerator or transfer the cookies to a freezer bag for storage up to three months. A note about containers: Most storage containers come new with a tight seal. Old containers often have a looser seal — there is a reason why manufacturers recommend that plastic containers be washed by hand. To loosen the seal, run the container and lid through the dishwasher. Remove and place the lid on the container while still hot. The heat will cause the seal to be more flexible. If you do this several times, your container is pretty much guaranteed to have a loose seal whether you want one or not. Conversely, you can tighten the seal on a container with a loose lid by placing a piece of wax paper or plastic wrap over the container before placing the lid on top. The paper or plastic will meet between the edge of the the container and lid to ensure an air-tight seal.
    Crispy cookie should be stored in a container with a loose fitting lid
  3. Unfrosted Cakes, Pastries, Bisquits, Muffins, Loaves: Freshly baked cakes, muffins, pastries, bisquits and loaves are best stored unfrosted. Allow to cool completely, then remove it from the baking container and place directly on a piece of plastic wrap. DO NOT put it on a plate before enclosing it in the plastic wrap. Tightly wrap the individual item in the plastic. This will ensure that your cake stays moist, but not soggy. You may also use a plastic food storage bag, as long as you press out all the air before sealing it. Bags are more convenient for muffins and smaller items, because you can put many together rather than wrapping each one singley. If you need to store it for more than a week, freeze it. The same rules apply regarding how to wrap or remove excess air before storing. Removing excess air reduces the development of freezer burn. Use plastic freezer wrap or a freezer bag and keep frozen for up to three months. When you are ready to use it, defrost the cake in the refrigerator just like you would your Thanksgiving turkey. Do not thaw on the kitchen counter at room temperature as this can cause moisture to collect under the plastic, which will make your cake mushy.
    wrap cakes and pastries individually in plastic wrap
  4. Frosted Cakes and Baked Goods: The best way to store a frosted and decorated cake or baked good is to put it under a cake dome. This is a type of glass covers that fits over a plate. There are plastic ones on the market with snap tight lids referred to as a cake saver or cake keeper. These are convenient, but you can use any cake plate and dome. If you don't have a cake dome, turn a large mixing bowl upside down and place it over the cake. An airtight seal is not as important with frosted baked goods, because the frosting acts as a natural sealant to keep the cake moist. The cake dome — no matter which type you use — is better than covering the cake with plastic wrap, because the frosting almost always gets messed up when you try to remove the wrap. Freezing frosted cakes is not recommended.
    use a cake dome for frosted baked goods
  5. Cheesecake: Refrigeration is necessary for cheesecake. Prepare and bake your cheesecake according to your recipe's directions and cool completely to room temperature. Remove from the springform pan before attempting to store it. Never put a warm cheesecake in the refrigerator, because it will crack, however, you want to get the cheesecake into the refrigerator as soon as it is properly cooled to prevent bacteria from spoiling your efforts. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 12 hours before serving. It is good in the refrigerator for five days. You can also freeze cheesecake if you need to store it longer. Three months max storage is recommended for food safety. Some people will try to keep cheesecake for six or even eight months in the freezer, but the success of this really depends on the quality and temperature of your freezer, plus how frequently you open the door. Unless you maintain restaurant quality equipment and conditions, it is best to be cautious.
    home made cheesecake
  6. Pies: There are several different categories of pies, each with its own storage requirements. The unifying factor for all of them is the need to be careful with storage so that the crust does not go soggy. Always let your pie cool completely before doing anything else.
    cool pies completely at room temperature before refrigeration
    • Fruit pies (like apple and cherry) can be stored on the kitchen counter for up to two days, assuming the pie is uncut and intact. Cover with a piece of plastic wrap after the pie is cooled. If you want to keep it longer than the two days, place in the refrigerator with the plastic wrap for up to one week. If the pie has been cut, you should immediately store it in the refrigerator. You can also freeze fruit pies. It is best to do this before you bake them. If you are super organized, you can prepare all your fruit pies up to three months in advance to have them ready in their raw, frozen state. If you're making a double crust pie, do not cut slits in the top until you are ready to bake it. Completely freeze your uncooked fruit pie solid before covering in plastic wrap. Put the frozen, plastic wrapped pie in a heavy duty freezer bag and store for up to three months. You do not need to defrost it before baking — just preheat the oven and pop it in.
    • Pumpkin, custard, cream pies (made with eggs) need to be refrigerated as soon as they have cooled completely. Never try to store them on the counter. Pies made with eggs and milk must be safely baked to a safe minimum internal temperature of 160° F. After allowing the baked pie to cool, either serve it immediately (best) or refrigerate for up to 4 days. Freezing is not recommended. If you must freeze it, you will have to plan ahead and store the uncooked pie filling separate from the uncooked pie crust. Take both out of the freezer and defrost in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. You can then fill the pie crust and bake according to your recipe's directions.
  7. Homemade Baking Mixes: Holiday gifts consisting of your own homemade baking mixes have become very popular in recent years. They make perfect gifts for coworkers, neighbors and friends. It is also a great convenience for yourself. If you have a special recipe that is admired by friends and family alike, you can prepare all the dry ingredients in advance and store the mix in a mason jar. Layer your dry ingredients into the mason jar one at a time. This is for appearances sake only. If you have some variation of color between the layers, it makes a more attractive presentation than everything mixed together in the jar. Whether you mix the ingredients before putting in the jar or after, it will taste the same when baked. Print your baking instructions on a 3" x 5" note card, fold in half, punch a hole in the top folded corner and attach to the sealed jar with a ribbon. You can use dried egg and powdered milk with your ingredients to simplify everything, or include those ingredients in the paper instructions that you attach to the jar. Add a small square of muslin or or other decorative fabric and secure with ribbon as a cover to dress up the lid of the jar if it is intended as a gift.
    cool pies completely at room temperature before refrigeration

If you are serious about doing a lot of baking at one time, you may want to consider some type of organized pantry solution to store all of your delicious hard work. Custom pantry shelving will include pantry organizers specific to your needs that are guaranteed to maximize the amount of storage available in your specific space. A simple prep area and refrigerated/freezer storage can also be included in a larger pantry solution. Everyone from the gourmet pastry chef to the homemaker creating special holiday memories for the family can benefit from quality pantry organization. Vertical storage for all the cookie sheets, along with designated storage spaces for your baking pans and finished goods, can simplify the baking process — because, as we all know, everything is easier when you're organized.

LENGTH OF TIME TO SAFELY STORE BAKED GOODS
Source: Real Simple

  • Bagels
    • Pantry: 2 days
    • Freezer: 3 months
  • Baguette
    • Pantry: 1 day
    • Freezer: 3 weeks
  • Biscotti
    • Pantry: 2 weeks
    • Freezer: 6 months
  • Biscuit dough (store-bought in can)
    • Refrigerator: Until use-by date
    • Freezer: Do not freeze
  • Bread (bakery loaf)
    • Pantry: 2 days
    • Freezer: 3 weeks
  • Bread (sandwich loaf)
    • Pantry: 4 days
    • Refrigerator: 2 weeks
      Freezer: 3 months
  • Brownies (supermarket, bakery & homemade)
    • Pantry: 2 weeks (supermarket); 5 days (bakery and homemade)
    • Refrigerator: 1 month
    • Freezer: 3 months
  • Cakes (bakery & homemade)
    • Pantry: 2 days (angel food and sponge); 3 days (pound, chocolate, and yellow)
    • Refrigerator: 1 week
    • Freezer: 3 months
    • Tip: Freeze cake unfrosted when possible
  • Cakes (supermarket)
    • Pantry: 4 days
    • Refrigerator: 1 week
    • Freezer: 3 months
  • Cheesecake
    • Refrigerator: 5 days
    • Freezer: 3 months without topping
  • Cookie dough (homemade)
    • Refrigerator: 5 days
    • Freezer: 3 months
  • Cookie dough (store-bought)
    • Refrigerator: Until use-by date
    • Freezer: 2 months
  • Cookies (bakery & homemade)
    • Pantry: 1 week
    • Refrigerator: 2 weeks
      Freezer: 3 months
  • Cookies (supermarket)
    • Pantry: 2 months (unopened); 1 month (open)
    • Freezer: 6 months
  • English muffins
    • Pantry: 5 days
    • Refrigerator: 2 weeks
    • Freezer: 3 months
  • Muffins
    • Pantry: 3 days
    • Refrigerator: 1 week
    • Freezer: 2 months
  • Piecrusts (homemade)
    • Refrigerator: 3 days
    • Freezer: 3 months
  • Piecrusts (store-bought refrigerated & frozen)
    • Refrigerator: Until use-by date
    • Freezer: 2 months
  • Pies (dairy such as key lime pie, banana cream pie)
    • Refrigerator: 4 days
    • Freezer: Do not freeze
  • Pies (fruit)
    • Pantry: 2 days
    • Refrigerator: 1 week
    • Freezer: Do not freeze
  • Pita bread
    • Pantry: 5 days
    • Refrigerator: 1 week
    • Freezer: 3 months
  • Tortillas (refrigerated)
    • Refrigerator: 1 week
    • Freezer: 3 months
  • Tortillas (shelf-stable)
    • Pantry: 1 week
    • Refrigerator: 2 weeks
    • Freezer: 3 months








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