How to ensure lasagne remain safe to eat at a Summer bake sale
(Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)
Hi Matt and greetings all the way from sunny Malaysia!
I'm in the homemade lasagna business, and will be joining this bake sale every Friday this coming August.
Normally I deliver the lasagnas (in 9x13" pans) fresh out of the oven to my customers, but now I can't figure out what is the best temperature for the lasagnas as I plan to sell them in 4x6" portions (in microwaveable containers).
The bake sale is just for half a day, from 10am to 2pm and will be held in an open air but covered area.
I'm leaning towards selling them chilled, just to make things easier for me but will it be safe for the lasagnas as the day goes by? Will they be ok if I keep them in a cooler box?
The other thing that 'complicates' matters is that this bake sale is being held in the fasting month of Ramadhan, therefore most of my customers will only consume the lasagnas at 7.30pm (sunset). I can stress to them that the lasagnas need to be refrigerated until ready to be microwaved and consumed but I worry very much about food poisoning!
Please, any tips/advise/suggestions will be appreciated.
So, I've just got back from a proper lasagna mini-conference with Mamma Marisa, concerning your question.
Here's what we think will work for you:
Generally we don't believe the lasagna will go off or become dangerous over the course of just one day, even if your clients won't get to eat it until the evening.
I'm assuming you will be selling beef lasagne with tomato sauce, which will keep longer than, say, lasagne with béchamel sauce would keep. However even this type would still be fine for the same day.
So we suggest that you cook your lasagne, portion them into your containers, and then freeze all of these. Then just take them to the bake sale in the freezer boxes you mentioned, and hand over each portion frozen.
This will mean your lasagne take a long time to defrost over the course of the day, after which your clients can defrost and then cook their portions in a microwave, or in a standard oven (recommended: 30 mins at 50C/120F to defrost, then 15 mins at 180C/350F to cook).
I hope this helps you. I must say - I love the idea of a lasagna cooking business. What a great (and tasty) niche!
Please let me know how your event goes and don't worry about this issue. Everyone here is very certain about this response, even considering the temperatures you get there in August (we Googled that bit!). Feel free to send us pictures of your bake sale stand!