Bechamel for a crowd?

Discussion in 'Recipes' started by annc3333, Feb 18, 2019.

  1. annc3333

    annc3333

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    Home cook here--once again I've volunteered to cook for a large event, a luncheon for 50. I'm making butternut squash lasagna in advance and storing in the freezer until I reheat. I am figuring 7 8 X 13 pans of lasagna. Does that sound about right? The lasagna is a little thin, it won't fill the pan up to the top once it is cooked, maybe 3/4 full. It's very rich, though.

    I looked up a recipe for large batch bechamel and found these ratios:

    1 cup butter
    1 cup flour
    1 gallon whole milk

    Does that sound about right? I'd hate to mess up a gallon of milk and have to start over.

    I will probably make the white sauce the day before I gather some people to help me prepare the lasagnas. Do I need to take any special precautions other than get it in the fridge asap after made?

    Thanks as always, in advance,
    Ann C.
     
  2. chefwriter

    chefwriter

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    I think I would make ten pans, just because lasagna is popular and I doubt it would be wasted. And ten is a nice round number.
    The bechamel amounts seem fine to me. Of course, some extra ingredients on hand won't hurt either in case you want the sauce a bit thicker or thinner or just want to make more.
    I will add that you should make the sauce in a thick bottomed pan. Bechamel can be easily scorched if you don't stir/whisk it completely while it's heating. And don't forget to strain it, even if seems smooth.
     
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  3. annc3333

    annc3333

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    OK, ten pans, yikes, will do! Great ideas, appreciate it.
     
  4. ChefBryan

    ChefBryan

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    roux is made (generally) with equal parts butter and flour, by weight, not volume. 1c flour does not = 1 c butter. Generally, depending on humidity, 1 c flour is around 5 oz. Your recipe will work, but there is a chance your roux will be loose, and possibly break in the béchamel depending on how you cook it. Your ratio is pretty good, however. Whenever I want to thicken a sauce or soup to about a medium consistency, I do 1 pt roux to 8 pts liquid, again by weight. A gallon of milk is 8#, so you want about 1# of roux, or 8 oz butter, and 8 oz flour. Another thing I might recommend for a home cook, especially not knowing your background or experience, is making your roux in advance, freezing it, and grinding it or grating it in a food processor. I keep at least 6 - 10# of roux like this on hand at work so its always ready. You can bring your milk to a low simmer, and simply whisk your roux "powder" in without worrying about lumps or anything exploding in your face with improper technique. I would also add salt, white pepper, a pinch of nutmeg, and maybe a bay leaf to the béchamel. Traditionally it would also have an onion brulee.

    As far as chilling your béchamel, I would put it on an ice bath in the shallowest pan you have, stirring occasionally before you put it in the fridge.

    I have to respectfully disagree with chefwriter on the quantity. In another post you mention it is for senior citizens. Cutting an 8x13 pan into 12 servings will yield a generous serving, that may even yet be daunting for some older folks. Many people of that generation would not want to see such a large portion and have anything go to waste. Even at 7 pans, 3x4, 12 servings you have 84 servings, which is already imho excessive and cutting into your profit margin. I also agree with whoever said in the last post that you should try to do it from fresh instead of frozen. If that is not an option, definitely test it to see what freezing and thawing will do, how much liquid will leech out of your squash or other filling ingredients, if you have any other adverse separation, etc. I hope this helps, good luck!
     
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  5. annc3333

    annc3333

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    I had no idea you could freeze roux and then add to warm milk/liquid! That is awesome info to have. I will definitely try that out. I will weigh the ingredients as well so as to not mess up the proportions.

    As far as proportions I made a batch and cut out what looked like about the right amount and came up with 8 servings, but I tend to be an over-feeder. I worry people will feel I am being skimpy. Also, I can donate leftovers to our homeless shelter...or put in the freezer for my own kids--they will eat anything. :)
     
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  6. cheflayne

    cheflayne

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    You can also use a hand grater to add the frozen roux to a warm base.
     
  7. chefwriter

    chefwriter

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    I was thinking six servings per pan. Guess I might be overeating. ;)
     
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