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How to Hot Hold Food: 6 Top Tips

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 How to Hot Hold Food | Nisbets Catering Equipment


When cold and wet weather sweeps across the country, people reach for piping hot food to stave off the chill.  Here's six quick tips to make sure your food is kept hot, hygienic and delicious.

1. Use the right equipment


 Buffalo Soup Kettle | Nisbets Catering EquipmentThere's some fantastic pieces of kit to help you keep your food hot. For large quantities of soup, chilli, curry or baked beans, a 10 litre Buffalo Soup Kettle is the perfect customer-facing appliance. Also perfect for your back of house, a Buffalo Bain Marie can accommodate up to 20 litres of food so is ideal for busy periods. There's some other great options for hot holding, including pie cabinets, potato ovens, heated displays and even hot sauce dispensers. For more information about bain marie warming, see our Use of a Bain Marie article.

2. Preheat it first


Its important to remember that any hot holding appliances take a short while to heat up. Allowing the equipment to reach a safe temperature before adding the food will prevent harmful bacteria from growing.

3. 63°C is the magic number

 Hygiplas Food Probe F338 | Nisbets Catering Equipment
Keeping food at a safe temperature is critical in food hygiene. Whilst 63°C is the absolute minimum holding temperature, some organisations such as the NHS require food to be served at a minimum of 65°C and require the temperatures to be logged. Make sure to monitor temperatures with an accurate probe.

4. Reheat or chill?


 Polar Blast Chiller CK640 | Nisbets Catering EquipmentIt's fine to reheat food once if required, making sure that the food is piping hot throughout. However, if demand is low, you may prefer to chill it down ready for your next service. The quickest, safest and most effective method for chilling is by using a blast chiller. These powerful machines can either chill or freeze foods, reducing the likelihood of food poisoning from harmful bacteria.  For even better results, divide the food down into smaller portions so that they cool even quicker.

5. Use lids


Whether it's an all-day carvery station or a busy takeaway, large quantities of food are prepped ahead of time, ready to serve at a moments notice. Using lids on your gastronorm pans or casserole dishes will help retain the temperature and also help you reduce your running costs.

6. Cook and hold 


 Alto-Shaam Cook & Hold Oven GM852 | Nisbets Catering EquipmentSome high-end appliances are designed specifically to cook food and then hold it safely at the correct temperature for hours without the loss of food quality.  Especially useful when cooking large joints of meat, Alto-Shaam cook and hold ovens are the pinnacle of hot food holding.

We have other similar blog posts in our "6 Top Tips" section, including What You Can (and Can't) Dehdrate and How to Keep a Fridge Cold.


Check out or huge range of hot food display and servery machines at www.nisbets.co.uk.




By David Evans


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