This was a fun adventure with our Harvest Right freeze-dryer. I made up 2 chocolate cakes, 2 gluten-free pumpkin breads, and 1 of my favorite sugar-free cheesecake to freeze-dry. We run on a Large size unit, with 5 trays.
With the cake and bread I replaced all the oil with unsweetened applesauce, to keep the fat content down (oil isn’t your friend in freeze-drying). The cheesecake I do is crustless, but due to the cream cheese I won’t keep it for long-term food storage. It will make a great trail snack though to take along, and as well for treats this winter at home.
For all three items bake as normal, then let cool to room temperature. I used a 9″ x 13″ pan for the cake, an 8″x4″ bread pan and for the cheesecake a standard glass pie pan.
Use unsweetened applesauce to replace the oil called for, to keep the fat content lower.
Cut into small portions, thin sticks or cubes works well. If there were crumbs, toss those in as well onto the trays.
Place the items on each freeze-dryer tray, I found one cake or bread fit perfectly on each tray. It’s OK to pack it in.
Keep each flavor separate.
I then put the plastic lids on each tray and froze till solid.
Then I sent them to the freeze-dryer, using the auto settings.
Due to the cheesecake being a more dense item, we added 10 hours extra on top of the auto setting.
This came out right and all items were ready to store.
We used glass mason jars this round, so they wouldn’t get crushed, then sealed the jars with our Avid Armor chamber sealer. Every container got an oxygen absorber and a desiccant packet added.
I’ve included the recipe I used for the cheesecake. It is super simple and tastes great. I make it sugar-free but you can make it regular of course.
Sugar-Free Crustless Cheesecake
- 2 8-ounce packages cream cheese
- ¾ cup milk
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- ½ cup Bisquick mix or similar baking mix
- 1 cup sucralose (or granulated sugar)
Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly oil a 9″ glass pie pan.
Add all the ingredients into a blender, mix on medium and then high until mixed.
Pour into the prepared pan.
Bake for 45 minutes.
Let cool fully before cutting.
Makes 1 cheesecake.
I made the chocolate cake with mixes I got on a huge sale on Amazon. Because why not? Fun and easy. Yes, I could have made it from scratch. Now then, only use cocoa powder if doing chocolate. Do not add in chocolate chips. Actual chocolate doesn’t freeze-dry. Just don’t try it!
For the gluten-free pumpkin bread I used King Arthur mixes. I am not a master of GF baking, so honestly, a mix means it’ll turn out and our youngest will love it later on.