question of time needed to partially bake a breakfast casserole that will be frozen for later use

This recipe is for your standard egg/milk/cooked sausage and soaked bread pieces casserole,which will be frozen for future use.The casserole fills 8x8 inch foil pans 3/4 full . How long should we partially bake these , or should they be frozen entirely raw for future use ? My Church group cooks en masse for those in need, and we want to make these at our monthly cooking day , tomorrow. Any ideas??

  • Posted by: CHeeb
  • November 12, 2012


CHeeb November 13, 2012
Final follow up after the bake in today...we cooked the 8x8 casseroles to almost done , which was 175 degrees. The edges pulled slightly away ( reflecting more evidence of cooking thoroughness) as we ice bath cooled them ,prior to their freeze. This was a very worth while exercise/conversation/debate, that was not as recipe centered as normally preferred, however, expertise and science was very appreciated .My foodie friends at St.Peter's had no idea what an arsenal Food 52 can muster when called upon. Many thanks,
ChezHenry November 13, 2012
I like this one also:
ChezHenry November 13, 2012
Here's a very simple chart for everyone to understand!
ChezHenry November 13, 2012
Sorry to disagree-this is a baby step, and I stand behind my post.
Cook to a proper temperature, rapidly cooldown (not by leaving on the counter), then refrigerate or freeze. That's mighty simple for the Food52 community.
And your point about sickness is key. Most of the food borne illnesses happen exactly in the danger zone of 40-140 degrees, and that's why people need to know that this means most of it happens by improper storage, cooldown, or in a period where things are left out and bacteria grows. Time is critical, in fact bacteria growth takes on logarithmic scale after a few hours-check out the pdf I refer to, it's scary.
ChefOno November 13, 2012

I don't disagree about rapid cooling being important. It's just that it's secondary to cooking (and reheating) to the pasteurization point -- and you can't know if you've reached that temperature without an accurate thermometer. (At least not in this case where you can't cook the casserole until it's bubbly.)

When I wrote my answer, I was focused on answering the question ask asked. But, again, you're right, there's much more to the big picture. It's too late for this event but for future reference here are the major points of concern:

ChefOno November 13, 2012
Um... "as asked" and here's a second try at the link:

ChefOno November 13, 2012
CHeeb November 12, 2012
Thank you all for the concern and quick response for my cooking day tomorrow. Your answers all aligned for a pre-cooked casserole to be reheated whenever the food is delivered
ChezHenry November 12, 2012
There are many questions at Food52 that revolve around food safety-in fact so many that I think there should be a section devoted to it. I hold a Food Protection Certicate from New York City, and the basic course is available for free online at
I highly recommend reading this and learning-its more than just temperatures that matter in food safety. In this instance I fully agree that this should be cooked completely through-but in a restaurant you would also be required to ensure a rapid cooldown prior to freezing or refrigeration to ensure that during the time it takes to get to a bacteria inhibiting temperature, bacteria doesn't grow!
You can never go wrong with cooking elements beyond a temperature that allows for bacteria to grow, and then rapidly cooling them to a temperature that again prohibits bacteria growth. The middle register of temperature and the time your food stays there is the danger.
ChefOno November 13, 2012

Of course you're right about safety being about more than just temperatures, but you have to start somewhere. According to the CDC, 1 out of every 6 Americans will get sick this year from foodborne illness. Most will write off the experience as "stomach flu" (not understanding there is no such thing) but 128,000 will end up in the hospital and will 3,000 die. While we do much better than most other countries, fewer than 10% of American households even own an instant-read thermometer. Baby steps.

ChefOno November 12, 2012

From a food safety perspective, properly cooking before freezing is your best approach -- 165F on a digital thermometer.

Monita November 12, 2012
So nice to hear. Happy to help; hope the advice has worked out :)
CHeeb November 12, 2012
Many thanks,Monita.This is the second time in as many days you have come to my rescue. What did I do before Food 52???

Voted the Best Reply!

Monita November 12, 2012
I would cook completely then freeze. Then it just needs re-heating.
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