It is a challenging task to keep food warm when you are preparing a big meal or a buffet-style dinner. But you don’t need to worry. Because you can keep your food warm until it’s time to serve. You can do this by using the equipment you already have in your kitchen like an oven, slow cooker, insulated bags, or coolers. Additionally, equipment like heated food display also keeps the food hot.
Whether you are cooking for Thanksgiving Day or making pancakes for a weekend morning, keeping the food warm is necessary. We will get to know the different ways in detail to keep food warm. But whatever method you use, always keep in mind that if food is not kept sufficiently warm it may spoil. So, you must have a thermometer to check food temperature frequently and keeping it out of the danger zone.
Here are a few advises to keep food adequately warm when you are making more than one dish.
Warm Setting of Your Oven:
Some ovens have a warm setting or a warming drawer. When you turn on this setting and place the food inside, your food remains at a warm temperature. Usually, the temperature at a warm setting is 170˚ F to 200˚ F. You can transfer your food to an oven-safe pan, baking sheet, or a baking dish before placing it in the oven. You can also cover the food with aluminium foil.
To keep pancakes, waffles, or other deep-fried items warm and to avoid getting them soft and soggy, try to place them in a single layer. After some time, check the internal temperature with a thermometer. If the temperature is below 140˚ F, increase the oven temperature.
Use Chafing Dishes or Slow Cooker:
To keep sauces, soups, and hot vegetables, chafing dishes or a slow cooker works best. As we have seen in the case of an oven, if the internal temperature is lower, then increase the temperature. Moreover, if you are storing food for a long time, its taste and texture may change. Because when you set to warm, your food cooks slowly that may cause a slight degree increase in the temperature.
Use a Rice Cooker:
You can keep your food especially rice in the rice cooker. Rice will stay hot for more than an hour on its own in the rice cooker. If your method of cooking is steaming, you can use this steam cooker for keeping food warm by removing the heating element. To avoid overcooking, you can open the lid for a few seconds and then place the lid back until ready to serve.
An Insulated Bag or Cooler:
Mostly cooler and insulated bags come to our minds when we think about keeping the food cold. But both can also be used to keep the food warm. All you need to do is to cover the food plate with aluminium foil and place it in the insulated bag or a cooler. Make sure the temperature of the food doesn’t drop below 140˚ F. You can use a thermometer to check the food temperature every once in a while.