When preparing for a hectic day or with a short amount of dinner preparation time, busy moms often opt for preparing a meal the day before. Casseroles lend themselves well to this situation, since they can be prepared, refrigerated and then inserted directly into the oven with little mess or fuss. Specific casseroles, such as chicken potpie, often have a biscuit crust placed on top for extra flavor and texture. This can also be refrigerated in its dough state overnight, as chilling the biscuits stops the leavening action and will still result in a fluffy topping once cooked.
Prepare the casserole according to the recipe, creating the base and dough separately. Ensure that the dough is not left at room temperature for too long, because this can over leaven the dough before placing it in the refrigerator and cause it to fall flat once baked. Arrange the casserole with the base in the bottom of the cooking container and the dough on top. Insert toothpicks around the top of the dough and lightly place plastic wrap over top. This covers the dish for refrigeration, but ensures that the dough has room to breathe and does not become soggy due to condensation on the wrap. Aluminum foil can also be used to cover the casserole. Use the foil if the recipe calls for baking with a cover for part of the cooking process, because it can be transferred directly from the refrigerator to the oven.
Resting the prepared dough in the refrigerator overnight actually results in a fluffier, flakier topping than if it was baked right away. Set the prepared baking dish in the refrigerator and leave undisturbed overnight until removing for baking. The casserole can be refrigerated up to three days before baking, but the dough bakes best if used within 48 hours.
If desiring browned or glazed biscuits, coat them with butter or egg before placing them in the oven. Do not coat them before refrigerating the night before, because this will cause sogginess on the tops of the dough and may cause them to rise unevenly. Casseroles can also be baked the day before they are served -- refrigerate them in the same manner as the uncooked version.
Do not let the biscuit dough set for more than two hours unrefrigerated or unbaked, because this can allow harmful bacteria to grow in the mixture. This method of creating casseroles for refrigeration can also be used for freezing the dishes up to three months after preparation, as long as they do not contain milk products.
- The Kitchn: How to Make (and Freeze!) Individual Chicken Pot Pies
- Real Simple: Wrapping Food -- Foil vs. Plastic
- New York Times: Diner's Journal -- What Can I Prepare Before the Actual Day of Thanksgiving?
- The Kitchn: Baking Tip -- The Secret to Taller, Flakier, and More Stately Scones
- Red Star Yeast: Postpone Baking
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