View Full Version : Freezing Casseroles and Baked Goods - Need Some Guidance
11-10-2003, 05:45 PM
Well, I am confident in my ability to freeze (thaw and re-use) sauces, soups, and chili, but less so when it comes to freezing casserole-type dishes and baked goods:
-Casseroles, burritos, quiches and such - Should items like these be partially baked, then frozen, then thawed, then finish up the baking time? Is it better to not bake them at all, and just freeze, thaw and then bake according to the directions? Or, bake fully, freeze, thaw, and then just reheat? My concern with the last option is that the meal will taste dried out from the reheating.
-Baked goods - I've frozen muffins and pound cakes, but never cookies. Every year I promise myself that I will bake my holiday cookies (or at least some of them) ahead of time and every year I get concerned that they won't taste as good when defrosted so I wind up pulling an all-nighter (other than the all-nighter I pull for gift wrapping!) to bake for the holidays. Any tips on freezing cookies so that they taste oven-fresh upon defrosting? Any limits on what types of cookies can be frozen (jelly-filled, frosted, etc.).
Thanks experts! I know you will have some good advice and tips for me.
11-11-2003, 11:14 AM
My freezer's empty..
..but bumping up for Meg.
11-11-2003, 11:20 AM
I have Jim Fobel's casserole cookbook and he recommends lining the casserole dish with wax paper, fill the casserole dish, do not bake and freeze. Once frozen, pop it out of the dish, wrap and re-freeze. When you want to cook it, pull it out of the freezer, pop back into the same dish you used to freeze it in and fully defrost before baking.
Since there are only two of us, I tend to make quick breads and freeze those. Unfortunately, some when defrosted are dry and I have yet to figure out why, since the other half <the unfrozen half> was not.
I freeze lasanga all the time, but I reheat in a double-boiler so it doesn't dry out. Also freeze containers of sauce so there is sauce to put on top. I froze xome Chicken Tetrazini with Broccoli last month and pulled it out of the freezer for supper tonight -- we'll see how well that holds up.
I have found that some of the fillings in quiches do not hold up well to freezing -- get kind of mushy.
I have frozen burritos and chicken/beef enchiladas. When I do, I do it without cheese on top and add cheese when reheating. I have found that the consistency of the cheese does not survive the freezer well.
Have never had a problem freezing meatloaf.
I have discovered that freezing anything with potatoes in it ends up with mush lumps of potatoes. Haven't quite figured out how to work around that for freezing beef stew.
11-11-2003, 11:42 AM
This does not directly address your concern but I thought I would share the idea--the best thing for cookies is to freeze the dough. It is just me and my husband, so when I make cookies I usually double the batch and then divide into a minimum of 3 separate batches (depends on how greedy I am at that moment--a 3 big batches or more small batchs :) ), and freeze all but one. I really reccomend this--after all, the process of putting them on a baking sheet and cooking them is minimal compared to everything else, and then you do get fresh-baked cookies. This is also a great way to convince yourself that making a whole batch of dough is worth it and that you wont eat ALL of them that weekend (which is my problem if I cook them all).
PS Thanks for posting this question--I have always wondered about freezing casseroles.
11-11-2003, 05:20 PM
Thanks Canice . . . for bumping this up.
Maria, when you freeze your meatloaf, I am assuming you mean before it is baked, then you defrost and bake for the full time per recipe?
Laura, I like your dough freezing suggestion. That would save some time.
Would still love to hear from others.
11-11-2003, 05:48 PM
I just found this since I wnat ot make muffns for hiliday gifts and was loikg for the best way to freeze them
Freezer - Baked Goods
It's a good idea to have a pie, dessert, cookies, or cake baked and stored in the freezer for your family or unexpected guests. Many baked goods freeze and thaw beautifully. Please note the following when freezing baked goods:
• The freezer temperature should be 0 degrees Fahrenheit or less.
• Use moisture-proof containers like plastic containers with tight fitting lids, heavy-duty foil and freezer bags.
• Leave room for expansion when filling containers. Press the air out and seal tightly when wrapping foods.
Following these guidelines will help to ensure that your baked goods retain their freshness and flavour in the freezer.
Thawing and Storage Tips
Breads: Yeast breads, muffins, quick breads, coffee cakes
Cool completely; do not frost or decorate. Before freezing, place coffee cakes on foil-wrapped cardboard.
Unwrap slightly and let thaw at room temperature for 2 to 3 hours. Serve at room temperature or reheat wrapped in foil at 350º F for approximately 15 to 20 minutes.
Storage: Up to one month
Cakes: Frosted or unfrosted. (Egg-white frostings and custard fillings do not freeze well)
Cool cakes completely and place frosted cakes in freezer to harden the frosting before covering. Place layer cakes in a container to prevent crushing.
Angel and chiffon cakes are best left in the pan or placed in containers to avoid crushing them. Cakes may be filled or frosted with whipped cream or topping before freezing.
Unfrosted: Thaw covered for 2 to 3 hours at room temperature. Frost or serve according to the recipe.
Storage: Up to 6 months
Frosted: Thaw loosely covered overnight in refrigerator.
Storage: Up to 3 months
If baked, cool completely before wrapping.
Thaw wrapped in refrigerator for 4 to 6 hours.
Storage: Up to 5 months
Put cookies in containers with tight-fitting lids.
If cookies are frosted before freezing, freeze them on a cookie sheet, then put frozen cookies between layers of waxed paper in a container.
Thaw in container at room temperature. If cookies should be crisp when thawed, remove from the container before thawing.
Unfrosted: Up to 12 months.
Frosted: Up to 2 months.
Pies: Baked or unbaked fruit pies, baked pumpkin or pecan pies
Cool baked pies quickly. For unbaked pies brush the bottom pastry with egg white before filling to prevent it from becoming soggy. Do not slit the top pastry. Cover pies with an inverted foil or paper plate and then wrap.
Baked: Unwrap and heat at 325º F for 45 minutes or until warm or room temperature.
Storage: Up to 4 months
Unbaked: Unwrap, cut slits in the top pastry and bake at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes, then bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 to 45 minutes, or until the centre becomes bubbly.
Storage: Up to 3 months
Pies: Chiffon (Custard, Cream and pies with meringue topping do not freeze well)
Do not top with whipped cream or topping. Refrigerate to set, then wrap as you would a fruit pie.
Unwrap and thaw in refrigerator for 2 to 3 hours and top as desired.
Storage: Up to 2 months
11-12-2003, 04:53 AM
Thanks for sharing that, Laurielee.
That's very helpful. I guess I will just try a test batch of cookies in the freezer.
11-12-2003, 05:21 AM
I make (and bake) cookies in advance and freeze them all the time. For cutouts, I freeze them undecorated and then decorate them when thawed. The one weird thing that happens a lot is that if you freeze things with colored frosting, when they defrost little beads of the color "sweat" off the cookie/cake and give the frosting a strange, mottled look. So if you want to freeze frosted things, make sure it's not colored!
Some recipes do freeze better than others. The sturdy "basics" like peanut butter, chocolate chip, cutouts, etc., all do well. Some others -- meringues, etc., don't do as well. I guess you just have to try and see. I just freeze in tupperware-type containers or even double freezer bags (put in one bag, squeeze out air, seal, then put in another).
11-12-2003, 06:28 AM
I freeze meatloaf after baking and reheat in the oven at a low temp so it doesn't dry out.
I also wanted to make a correction. For freezing casseroles, it is ALUMINUM FOIL coated with cooking spray at the bottom of the casserole dish, not wax paper. I thought something was off yesterday and checked the cookbook when I got home.
Powered by vBulletin® Version 4.2.0 Copyright © 2013 vBulletin Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved.