I'm making french bread for the first time today. The recipe makes 3-4 loaves, and we'll only eat one todyay. Better to freeze the dough after dividing or freeze the loaves once baked and cooled?
I freeze loaves of bread, rolls, baguetts all the time. I leave on the counter for an hour to thaw and then "Refresh" in the oven for 5 min before use. Not much difference in quality and you would be suprised at how many restuarants do this.
Agree with ChefDaddy. However, if you want to freeze the dough, that's okay, too. It depends on how much room you have in your freezer. The dough takes up less room.
I'm for freezing the dough. Though I wonder if you could try a home version of par-baking and bake partially and then freeze?
Either/or. Freeze the finished product if you want relatively "instant" bread. You can even slice the loaf, put it back in shape, wrap well and freeze. Then you can pull out only what you need. Freeze the dough after the first rise. Let it thaw overnight in the fridge in a zipper bag coated with some oil. Let it come to room temp (about 1-2 hours), shape, bench proof and bake as per your recipe. I have a recipe that gives instructions for par-baking baguettes, and tried it once, but wasn't wowed with the results. It likely was a result of my technique shaping the baguettes, though, and I really should try it again.