Bread has been a kitchen staple for so many years, and still today, many people can not imagine a day without a slice for breakfast at least.
One specific type of bread that was invented by an Englishman in New York is the popular English muffin. It is not a classic bread, but it can certainly take up the main role for both sweet and savory dishes.
However, not everything is perfect, since all baked goods, including English muffins, are perishable food items, so the question of their storage arises.
This is especially the case when you bake too many of your favorite muffins, but don’t want to throw them in the trash.
The question of freezing arises, and fortunately, English muffins freeze quite well, when you go through the process correctly, of course.
In order to do that, you have to know some things in more detail.
Freezing English Muffins: What To Expect?
As I already said, freezing is definitely possible when it comes to English muffins and it can be very successful too. Like many other similar food items, like freezing cornbread for example, English muffins mainly preserve their quality in the freezer.
Aside from the obvious advantage of extending the shelf life of English muffins, freezing them can help reduce food waste as well, because bread, in general, can easily get moldy if left outside for too long or if not stored properly.
Fortunately, there are ways to keep your bread from molding, and one of the best methods is definitely freezing.
Although some preparation is necessary when it comes to freezing English muffins, it is nothing overwhelming and it doesn’t take too much of your precious time.
The same goes for the period after freezing, as the thawing and reheating process is quite simple and quick.
Finally, you can also prepare a delicious sandwich beforehand by using some of your favorite ingredients, freeze it, reheat it, and enjoy it, which is a huge advantage when you have a busy lifestyle and need a quick breakfast option, for example.
Where there are pros, there are cons as well. English muffins are no exception, but fortunately, the disadvantages are not so serious.
Namely, you won’t get the same softness and chewiness after freezing English muffins, as they tend to become slightly dry. Aside from that, freezer burn can develop and damage your muffins in some cases.
Fortunately, there are ways to minimize these negative effects, and I am here to provide you with the best practices you need to follow.
How To Prepare English Muffins For Freezing?
Before freezing any type of food, it is essential to prepare it for the process correctly, because if you don’t do that, everything will be in vain in the end.
When it comes to English muffins, you first have to know what you are dealing with, i.e., did you buy your muffins from the grocery store or did you make them at home?
Store-Bought English Muffins
If you bought them at a grocery store or supermarket and haven’t opened them yet, you don’t have to do any preparation, so you can simply put them directly in the freezer.
However, I would suggest you transfer them to resealable freezer bags because these bags are more able to protect them from air and moisture from the outside.
On the other hand, if you have some leftovers, it is essential to do that.
I know that some people believe that you can close the bag with a bag tie or close the bag in a knot at the top, but from my experience, this doesn’t do the job well, so I would recommend avoiding it.
I also have to emphasize that it is best to freeze store-bought muffins as soon as possible, especially if you are dealing with leftovers, because their quality can deteriorate rapidly, and mold can appear as well.
Homemade English Muffins
When it comes to muffins that you made yourself, proper preparation is very important.
First, you have to let them cool to room temperature. This is because, when warm bread comes in contact with cool air, it creates condensation, which leads to moisture, and consequently mold.
Once your muffins are at the right temperature, you need to decide whether you will freeze them whole or pre-slice them.
Freezing whole muffins is possible, but I would recommend you choose the latter option, because pre-slicing will make them easier to use, without affecting the quality.
However, do not slice them with a knife. Instead, use a fork and gently separate the two halves in order to retain their air bubbles that are there to capture some ingredients like butter, peanut butter, cottage cheese, etc.
After that, you must wrap those slices individually in a freezer-safe wrap to protect them from freezer burn. You can freely wrap two halves in one wrap, as it is relatively easy to separate them after the freezing process.
As I already said, one of the advantages of freezing English muffins is the fact that you can add some additional ingredients before the freezing process, and freeze the whole thing altogether.
However, there is a catch. You need to pay attention to what ingredients you are planning to use. Some ingredients that can be used with English muffins do not freeze very well.
For example, vegetables with a higher water content are not a perfect match for the freezer. One of the best examples is lettuce.
Also, if you are planning to add mayonnaise to your English muffins, do not add it before the freezing process, because freezing mayonnaise is never a success.
Mayonnaise is also one of the major problems when it comes to freezing chicken salad.
Aside from veggies and mayonnaise, you also shouldn’t add too much butter, fruit preserves, or cream cheese.
Fortunately, some ingredients like eggs, cheese, and meat, won’t cause any major problems if you freeze them alongside English muffins.
I also have to say that it is best to wrap the two halves of the muffins with those ingredients together so that you don’t have to do additional work afterwards.
If you are interested in more detail when it comes to making freezer-friendly breakfast sandwiches with English muffins, then this video is for you.
How To Freeze Them Properly?
I already said that you need to wrap your English muffins tightly, but it won’t hurt to repeat such an important step. To avoid freezer burn, you must wrap English muffins.
It is best to wrap them in a freezer-safe wrap, but you can also use aluminum foil or cling wrap, as both will do the job well.
Once you do that, you need to transfer your tightly wrapped English muffins to the freezer-friendly bag.
It is best that you use a resealable bag, as it will almost perfectly protect your muffins from external elements.
However, you can not just put that bag in the freezer however you want. You first need to remove all the excess air from it. You can do that with your own hands, but it is even better to do it with a vacuum sealer if you have one.
A decent alternative to these bags, if you don’t have one or don’t have time to bother with removing excess air, is an airtight container.
Airtight containers are not the perfect solution for the freezer, but they can protect your muffins from freezer burn, especially if you wrap them tightly.
After the bags or containers with muffins are ready, label them with the exact date of storage to keep track of how long they have been frozen.
The final step is to put the bag or a container in the coldest part of the fridge. It is the center back of the freezer, and besides being the coldest part, it also has a constant temperature, which is quite important.
Namely, if you put it in a place where the temperature is unstable, it will freeze and thaw several times, creating more moisture, which eventually leads to poor quality.
How Long Can English Muffins Stay Frozen?
If you store your English muffins according to this guideline above, they will stay good for up to 6 months. However, that is an approximate time frame in which they will retain their quality to some extent.
If you want to enjoy their best flavor and texture, the USDA doesn’t recommend freezing them (or any other food) for longer than 3 months due to quality reasons. This is, however, the case with plain English muffins.
If you pre-assembled the sandwich with some additional ingredients, it is important to look for the shelf life of those ingredients in the freezer.
This could be anywhere between a few weeks to one month, but in general, they shouldn’t be left in the freezer for more than one month.
What About Thawing And Reheating?
There are no clear rules when it comes to defrosting English muffins. If you have time, you can leave them on the countertop and let them defrost slowly.
If you don’t have that much time, you can also use a microwave to do the job. All you need to do is to put them in a microwave-safe container and microwave for around 30 seconds, or use the defrosting option.
All modern microwaves have this option and it is the most convenient one. Just make sure to wrap the muffins in a paper towel or place a sheet of kitchen roll underneath them so that they can retain the right level of moisture.
The great thing about English muffins is that you can transfer them directly into a toaster or toaster oven. If you don’t have the frozen setting on your toaster, make sure that you toast or bake them for a bit longer than you would unfrozen muffins.
Additionally, if you are reheating pre-assembled sandwiches with additional ingredients, add some more time in order for the heat to penetrate to all those ingredients. That way you won’t end up with a partially cold sandwich.
Can You Refreeze English Muffins?
Technically, you can refreeze English muffins, but it won’t do any good for them. Namely, freezing and thawing English muffins once can cause some damage to their flavor and texture, but not to the extent that they are not palatable.
However, if you repeat the process, chances are that you’ll end up with muffins that have a deteriorated texture. It will most probably cause the inside of the muffins to become soggy and they will lose their nice, soft texture.
Aside from that, there is a higher chance of harmful bacteria growth. Once you thaw the muffins, excess moisture is released, and there is a high probability that bacteria can enter.
Once you freeze those muffins again, bacteria will be trapped in ice crystals but won’t disappear. After thawing it again, you will have bacteria from the previous freezing process with the addition of new ones, which is an ideal situation for a health hazard.
So, the conclusion is: “Do NOT refreeze English muffins!”
What Are The Signs Of Bad Or Freezer-Burned English Muffins?
There are several signs to look for when deciding whether or not you should continue consuming your English muffins.
First, if you notice that ice has developed on the inside of the bag, know that they are not suitable for consumption anymore because that is a tell-tale sign of freezer burn.
Another sign of freezer-burn is discoloration, i.e. very white spots on the surface of the muffins.
If they are too wet or soggy, there is a high chance that the moisture has penetrated, meaning that the muffins are not in a good state anymore and shouldn’t be consumed.
The same goes for a dry and crumbly texture, as the muffins are way below their peak quality.
Finally, if you have frozen pre-assembled sandwiches, take a look at the ingredients you’ve used as filling. If they are discolored or dry, toss them alongside the muffins if you don’t want to endanger your taste buds or even your health.
Additional Tips And Tricks I Want You To Know
The most important things about the whole freezing process of English muffins have been discussed, but there are a few additional pieces of advice worth knowing if you want to eat the best-quality English muffins.
• If an English muffin is stale or not edible anymore, know that the freezing process won’t make that problem go away.
• When freezing English muffins, always opt for resealable freezer bags.
• When putting them in the freezer, keep your muffins away from food with a strong odor, as they can easily take on those odors and make the overall flavor worse.
• If you’ve wrapped two halves of the muffin together, you can separate them easily by sliding the tip of a butter knife between them.
• All the toppings you plan to put on your muffins should be put on after they have been toasted.