Best Practices For Low-Temperature Cooking
If you're looking for a low-temperature cooking and holding solution for your kitchen, consider a Cook & Hold oven. Here are some tips for using them.
Cook & Hold ovens offer a low-temperature cooking and holding solution that every kitchen can benefit from. Designed for built-in savings, a hoodless oven provides a labor-free cooking solution to significantly lower costs and increase yields.
WHAT CAN OPERATORS ACHIEVE WITH A COOK & HOLD OVEN?
Unlike conventional ovens, you can use Alto-Shaam's Cook and Hold oven for long-term food cooking, which then automatically switches to a holding mode. This helps maximize labor and production time and avoids overcooking and drying out food. Because Cook & Hold ovens max out at 325 degrees Fahrenheit, these units are not designed for convection oven style cooking or for use as a production oven like combi and convection units. This equipment is best used to cook low and slow, which provides higher yields and greater tenderization.
For this reason, one of the Cook & Hold ovens’ greatest benefits is being able to "cook and hold" overnight, significantly reducing labor.
While Cook & Hold ovens are often used for roasting large proteins, like prime rib and turkey, it’s important to remember that these units are extremely versatile. There is a lot more you can do in addition to roasting and braising, such as proofing, preparing delicate foods, low-temp culturing and fermenting, long-cook sous vide, and more. The menu extension possibilities are endless.
For operations needing to stage food prior to plating, these units also are commonly utilized as retherm ovens on the cook line. Food holding length in these units is subjective to the type of food and its density. For example, while a large roast can be held for as long as 24 hours, holding times for more delicate meats - like chicken breast - will be shorter.
HOW DO COOK & HOLD OVENS MAXIMIZE FOOD QUALITY?
Radiant Halo Heat® technology evenly surrounds food without the use of extremely hot elements, added humidity or fans that typically degrade food quality. Built into the oven cavity, this unique thermal cable emits even temperatures and pulses on and off throughout the cooking and holding process. This maximizes food quality by allowing the food to retain moisture and flavor.
With the option to cook and hold by probe, operators can achieve even greater consistency. Presets and probes are worth paying extra for because quality and consistency will be locked in, no matter what the variables are or who the operator is. The food will be exactly the same every time, and that’s what all operators strive to achieve. Operators also will have a HACCP data logger to record temperatures and ensure food quality and safety for each cook.
HOW MUCH CAN I SAVE WITH A COOK & HOLD OVEN?
Cook & Hold ovens significantly save on costs in three key areas: operation, labor, and food. These ovens are economical to run, even overnight. Energy usage rates for the units cost less than $2 for 24 hours of use. Since this equipment is made without the need for a traditional oven hood or outside venting, hood installation and operating costs are eliminated.
Cook & Hold ovens can be placed anywhere since they have a ventless and waterless design, allowing greater flexibility and ability to maximize space to your needs. Reduce installation and operating costs with no plumbing, drains, filtration, or associated maintenance.
Save on associated labor costs, with labor-free overnight cooking and holding. Doing so allows operators to reclaim 12-16 hours of non-productive time, increasing productivity. These units provide a better distribution of workloads and relieve multiple pieces of equipment, so staff can direct their attention to the next task.
Cook & Hold ovens also significantly improve food yields, providing 15-20% less protein shrinkage compared to conventional ovens. They reduce the overall amount of food waste commonly found in the kitchen and allow you to serve more portions from the same cut of meat. With help from Halo Heat Technology, operators can utilize less expensive, underutilized cuts of meat to get the most out of each cook, and still serve quality products.
As a bonus, Cook & Hold ovens make cleaning effortless by having no moving parts. They are designed so food moisture cannot penetrate the insulation or controls—improving reliability and equipment lifetime. Simply remove the oven’s shelves and wipe clean. Crafted for the busiest of kitchens, these units are built like tanks - incredibly strong and reliable.
ARE THERE ANY OTHER TIPS FOR USING A COOK & HOLD OVEN?
Cook & Hold ovens need to be preheated to cook properly and work off the proper calculations. Also, the initial warm air of a pre-heated oven sterilizes the food’s surface before the heat begins cooking.
To ensure food safety and long service life, Cook & Hold ovens should be cleaned after every cooking load, which typically takes five minutes or less. For Alto-Shaam units, the drip trays and side racks can be easily removed and washed in a dishwasher. The oven’s interior also can be cleaned with hot, soapy water.
To learn more about Alto-Shaam’s latest Cook & Hold ovens, talk to an expert today.