Hot Food Holding Equipment

Several types of equipment are used to keep food hot for service.This equipment is designed to hold foods above 135F (57C) in order to prevent the growth of bacteria that can cause disease. Because food continues to cook at these temperatures, it should be held for as short a time as possible.

1. Steam tables are standard holding equipment for serving lines. Standard-size counter pans or hotel pans are used as inserts to hold the foods. Flat or domed covers may be used to cover the foods.

Check water levels in steam tables periodically to make sure they don't go dry. Electrically heated counters that operate dry—without steam—are also available.

2. A bain-marie is a hot-water bath. Containers of foods are set on a rack in a shallow container of water, which is heated by electricity, gas, or steam.The bain-marie is used more in the production area, while the steam table is used in the service area.

3. Overhead infrared lamps are used in service areas to keep plated food warm before it is picked up by the service staff.They are also used for keeping large roasts warm.

Foods dry out quickly under holding lamps.This is a disadvantage for almost all foods except French fries and other deep-fried foods,which lose their crispness if they are kept moist.

Steam table

Courtesy of Hobart Corporation.

Steam table

Courtesy of Hobart Corporation.

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