Can I Freeze It: Bechamel

Dear Home-Ec 101,

Can bechamel be made in bulk and frozen, or do you need to make it little bits at a time?

Signed,
I Cook for Crowds
Heather says:

The jury is out on this one. Some dairy products can be compromised when frozen, how much they are compromised depends on factors over which you may not have much control. Milk has fat globules suspended in liquid. (Milk in the US is homogenized which prevents a quick separation). When items containing milk are frozen, the water may separate.

If you have a deep freeze, you may be able to flash freeze small amounts with little separation. Vacuum sealing the frozen product will help it maintain quality for an extended period of time.

My advice is this, try freezing one batch. Reheat it slowly over low heat and be sure to stir.  If you are able to seal it in a vacuum pouch, heat the bechamel in simmering water.

Watch the time, did it take longer to thaw than it did to prepare? Taste the sauce, are you happy with the results? This is one of those issues where what bothers one person may not be an issue for another. If you are cooking for company, don’t take the chance, make a fresh batch of white sauce.

Bechamel can be stored in the fridge for up to five days. If planning a big meal, there may be plenty of opportunity to make it ahead of time.

Good luck and enjoy.

Send your household questions to helpme@home-ec101.com.

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Comments

  1. says

    Thanks for the tip, Annie. I’ll look for it the next time I’m on that side of town. I need to pick up some seaweed rice stuff my husband loves.

  2. says

    Hi Heather — I’ve frozen white sauce with good success, when i was faced with an abundance of milk that needed to be used up.

    What I prefer to do is to freeze the roux. I save chicken and beef fats to cook with, and some of each gets made into little squares of roux that I can just drop into a pan to thicken up a sauce, gravy or soup. In fact, right now i’m eating a cube steak with a little beefy mushroom gravy. A lot of juices cooked out of the mushrooms and meat, so I decided to just plop a few squares of beef tallow roux into the pan to thicken up the juices into a bit of gravy, to make dinner just a bit nicer.

    While I do this all the time with fats saved from cooking, I’ve yet to do it with butter — although it has been on my mental list of things to do for quite a while.

  3. says

    butter does fairly well in the freezer. If it’s not in the original packaging, wrap it up in a couple of layers of plastic wrap, then a layer of foil to make it air tight. Otherwise it might absorb funky freezer odors that will make it not so tasty.

  4. says

    I’ve started keeping a mixture of equal parts butter and flour frozen in ice cube trays.

    I can use it at the beginning of cooking something (as a roux, as in for bechamel) or at the end to thicken (as buerre marnie, as in for stew), essentially the same way ThatBobbieGirl does.

    I found the niftiest ice cube trays with silicone bottoms – the cubes just push right out and into a baggie.

  5. Bri says

    I have several recipes that call for cream soups as part of the sauce. The recipes I’m thinking of freeze very well as they are, but would they work well if making the cream soup from a bechamel base? I would love to start using this method instead of the cream soups in the can b/c of the high levels of sodium and salt, but also need something that will stand up to being frozen in casseroles and the like.