Low Temperature Cook & Hold Ovens

Two of the most important issues in the food service industry are operating costs and food quality. Both need to be effectively controlled in order to succeed in this highly competitive business. The new generation of low temperature cook and hold ovens can reduce food, labor and energy costs while enhancing both the quality and consistency of food.

These ovens typically cook at temperatures between 150 and 325 degrees, and have a timed cook cycle and a lower temperature hold cycle to keep food warm without overcooking and drying out.

When not being used for actual cooking, the ovens can serve purely as holding cabinets for prepared foods. They can also be used for reheating previously cooked foods and reconstituting frozen foods.

Reduced Costs

Energy - These ovens typically require only about 35-50% of the energy used by conventional ovens. In some cases, food can be cooked overnight, utilizing off-peak electric rates (where applicable) for even greater savings. With no combustion byproducts and a minimum of cooking fumes, these units require no ventilation, allowing greater flexibility in locating the unit.

Food - Meats roasted in conventional ovens can lose up to 20-25% of their original weight to shrinkage. Low temperature cook and hold ovens can reduce this loss to 7-10%. For example, a rack of prime rib cooked in a low temperature oven will yield one to two more servings than one cooked in a conventional oven. With food costs averaging 35-40% of total operating costs, these savings can add up very quickly.

Labor - The solid-state controls on these slow cook ovens allow the operator to preset the time and temperature of the cooking cycle as well as the holding temperature, eliminating the need for constant monitoring of the cooking process. The flexibility of these units also allows much of the labor to be shifted to slow (and normally less productive) periods.

Product Quality and Consistency

The precise time and temperature controls and the automatic hold cycle, combined with the slow and even heating, virtually eliminate overcooking and the resulting waste. Cooking at low temperatures also preserves juices and nutrients and provides natural enzyme action (similar to aging meat) to enhance flavor and tenderness.

When used for reheating or holding prepared foods, these ovens reduce drying, shrinkage and flavor loss.