Reheating lasagna portions

Hi, guys and gals of the pizza community.

I build my own lasagna in house, bake it off, then portion and chill then freeze portions ahead. We keep portions thawed and rotated to manage having ready supply and limited spoilage before use.

My question is, “How do you reheat your lasagna portions?”. I have a hefty serving (14 oz & 2.5" thick) that I reheat in the microwave. 70% power for 7 minutes gives me a consistent temp on the instant read, and we just hit a minute or two more if not hot enough to serve. Do you have a more efficient means of reheating that will handle 4 or 5 portions expediently? It takes us a little too long to get 4 dinners out since our second microwave died, leaving us with one.

That leads to question #2: What kind of microwave do you use? I have a household model that isn’t overworked in our current setup, and gives us flexibility of variable power. It’s been a trouper for 2+ years for us. The one that died lasted 2 weeks, and was a used machine-experimental thing.

Any wisdom to teach this old dog a new trick? (Hint: I use a deck Blodgett 981 for pizza, and not a conveyor)

Nick we pretty much do what you do. We pre portion it, freeze and thaw.

When we stick it in the micro we keep the saran wrap loosely covering the laz (you could keep it fully covered but someone might get burned taking it off. )

We have to microwave ours for 6 minutes. We add a bit of hot marinara and cheese then heat another minute or two. We used to put it in the oven for the final 2 minutes but found the micro heats inside out and the inside is where the problem usually is.

We buy the 40-50 dollar microwaves at wal mart. Sharp carosel…I think it is a 1000 watt. When we opened we had a commercial and it lasted about 2 years…it was worthless and useless…when it crashed I brought mine from home (a sharp carosel) and ever since then that is what we buy. They are cheap enough we can have 3 and I figure if I replace them once every two years for the next 6 years it will be the cost of a commercial rip off. I probably have to replace them every 2 years or longer.

I will be anxious to see if anyone has a more efficient plan.

Hey just on a completely side note…did you know you don’t have to cook the laz noodles before baking? Our supplier told me to try it a while back…we dip in water and use uncooked regular noodles. They come out perfect. Craziest thing ever.
(Edit note: we initially cook the noodles when we make the whole pan for about 45 minutes, but we don’t ever boil the noodles.)

Kris

I do the same as kris,i do not pre boil the noodle.
i buy the same cheepo walmart 1500 watt and get about 1.5 years out of them.

We go by the same process only we use the high powered Amana ovens. Forget the specs but they were between $1000 and $1100 a couple years ago. Takes 1 1/2 minutes to heat a similar portion to yours. We then top with sauce and cheese and stick it in the oven for 5 minutes. If you are finishing your product off in the oven you obviously have some greater capacity for larger orders. We could shorten the cooking time by increasing the micro time but sometimes the micro adversely affects the lasagna. Our combination yields a far more consistent product.

Imo, home micros are painful to work with because of the time factor. The other problem is the door opening mechanisms usually break after repeated use (had them in some high volume stores). We used other micros in the $300 to $400 range which constantly broke down. Have had zero issues with the high powered. We used to use the same high powered micros in a different concept years ago and never had issues either.

Ours are 500gm packs in foil trays which we keep about 2 days worth in the coolroom (the rest are frozen).

We nuke them for about 2 minutes in our 1600 watt commercial microwave and then top them with 2 slices of tomato and shredded cheese and put them through our coveyor oven (7 mins @ 260 celsius). THey come out great.

Speaking about microwaves, the best thing we ever did was buy 2 secondhand 1600 watt commercial ones for $800 each. They are so powerful and quick and heat more thoroughly. We still have a 100 watt Sharp but it is nowhere in the ball park. We used to have 3 home size ones but they took all night to do and wore out faster. The heating / power capacity on house ones slow the more they are used making them cumbersone on busy nights where the comercila ones retain full capacity regardless on how much you use them.

Dave

we do a similar process, although we don’t freeze any product. I would like to know the thawing out process and how you can project how much to thaw out in advance.

we make a full hotel pan in season, and half a pan during the summer when we are slower, get about 3 days shelf life out of it…if we reach day 3 and have any left…I put it on special and it usually “blows out” immediately. …although I have to discount some units, it also introduces customers to the product who may have never tried it.

we put it on plate and cover it with a deep correll bowl… we mic it for 3 minutes in the commercial Amana’'s. we have 2 which I bought at an auction…they usually have several of these at auctions. they generally go for around 80-150 depending on how many bidders

Nick…there is an auction coming up in McDonough GA and may have commercial microwaves, I don’t know how far that is from you, they are liquidating a Shony’s. the auctioneer is SER inc…check out their website. I have bought thousands of dollars at their acutions…most things working out great…paying 15-20 cents on the dollar

Pizzahead

Nick…the auction is July 15th

THANKS! I may try to get over to that auction. I’ll take a truck to haul the booty back.

Hi I’m a newbie to this site.
But in regards to the lasagna, you can actually put it in raw, dry, without soaking them. the texture comes out great. I normally put some parchment, then foil to maintain the moisture.

Is there a quick way to heat it up w/the out the microwave?

I can’t see any possible way. You need to heat the product fully, and lasagna is a pretty bulky product. I don’t see that an oven can thoroughly reheat quickly.

The only other option I can see would be a steamtable to hold at a safe temp, but that’s keeping the product hot, not reheating.

Nick:

This thread prompted me to look for auctioneers. This company may interest you.

http://www.visionequipment.com/index.htm

I’m wondering if anyone has a “watery” issue during the reheating stage? I make all pasta selections from scratch…preparing additional trays for the freezer. I do partially precook the noodles and dry them on paper towels B4 assembly. I defrost the day B4, whether I heat the entire tray or reheat single portions, I find too much water in the dish or tray. I use the rabbit dishes for heating and they look great when they come out of the oven, except for the water in the bottom of the dish. When I attempt to tilt the dish to drain the water, the portion shifts and looses the neat and clean appearance because it sides. I have tried both the micro (micro…I personally hate them, I know they are needed, but, feel like I’m cheating) and the pizza oven…find water with both. I do thicken my sauce for pasta dishes and the finished product that has not been froze, does not have this issue. Anyone have a solution to the “watery” issue? Thanks!

BTW - I offer this as a lunch special @ $6.95(smaller portion then our $9.95 regular dinner portion offering)with a sm side salad & 3 garlic knotts. I have done cost analysis on most of our menu selections and found the selling margin to be average of 44% to 45% across the board, if I have done this properly. Some but few items, can be less. Most are 80% above food costs and none of the customers have complained about our prices. Just an example. Our Supreme Pie - cost of material right down to the salt is apx 9.50 selling at $17.75(icludes burden and labor if my calcs are accurate) being one of the most expensive items on the menu. I am forging ahead for a liguor license in a dry county…this is fun!

Any thoughts and imput is welcome of course…Thanks ALL.

Andrea

I do get “watering” as well. It appears to be from the sauce as the water crystallizes into ice and then re-thaws . . . it falls out of the sauce. An emulsion sauce won’t have as much issue. If this were a container of sauce, I would just stir it back in. With the lasagna, I simply unwrap and drain liquids that have released, sauce the portion (will absorb some of additional liquid that might possibly release), reheat, and serve. At the reheating stage, we don’t have the watering problems. Not sure what to offer to you and your challenge. The lasagna is too dense for rapid heat transfer to center of mass without a microwave oven. That is one of the primary advantages.

I am familiar with Vision Equipment. I cannot make their location auctions, but watch some of their online auctions. Getting there in a timely fashion has been a challenge until I found a friend who will loan me a truck and trailer :slight_smile:

I’ve decided to try to find a good used high power commercial microwave to see how it works. I may end up sticking with 1300-1500 residential units if I have to pay retail for a commercial one ($2500 . . . ouch!).

That’s about double what you should be paying for a new high powered oven. The 1800 or 2100 watt is plenty fast, imo. Would love to see you buy the 3000 watt, however, and let us know what you think :wink:

Please help me with this everyone. I have heard of not boiling the noodles before layering the lasagna but here is where I don’t get it…

when we precook the noodles we end up using 6 1/2 noodles per layer. When I started laying the lasagna with uncooked noodles there ended up being about 10 noodles per layer. so this would increase my costs as well as the density of each layer…please help me understand more!!!

Imagine one of those dinosaurs that you get at the science museum that expand when placed in water. That is what your noodles are going to do when they cook. Make it easy and evenly space 7 noodles out in the pan and cook it. They will grow to fit.

There is a no boil pasta for lasagna. I have used it at home and it is actually very good. It just doesnt have the same thickness as the boil pasta so I chose not to use at the store.

Pizza Tony
Chicago

Pizzamancer…with the big gaps doesn’t the layers mix???

nick we use a turbo chef C3, one portion takes 1 minute and 35 seconds, adding 20 seconds for each portion and the oven will hold 4 portions
http://www.turbochef.com/commercial/our-products-C3.htm

I love the machine. Quick, and using multiple cooking methods to use the strength of one to cover the weakness of the other. But . . . . that $9,000 price tag sure will leave a mark :shock:

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