steam table tips and tricks?

115
16
Joined Mar 4, 2007
We've just started an counter top, open, self-serve steam table for breakfast and lunch (and looking to expand.) Any ideas about keeping food hot (above holding temp) but not dry food out? Besides monitoring, stirring and keeping some liquid in the bottom) we keep biscuits and sausage in a parchment tent. Any other ideas? I see in the steamer dumpling thread about not keeping things in contact with the bottom of the pan. Maybe a 2" pan set in a 4" pan for some insulation?
 
7
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Joined Sep 9, 2017
We've just started an counter top, open, self-serve steam table for breakfast and lunch (and looking to expand.) Any ideas about keeping food hot (above holding temp) but not dry food out? Besides monitoring, stirring and keeping some liquid in the bottom) we keep biscuits and sausage in a parchment tent. Any other ideas? I see in the steamer dumpling thread about not keeping things in contact with the bottom of the pan. Maybe a 2" pan set in a 4" pan for some insulation?
 
7
0
Joined Sep 9, 2017
I work in a hospital kitchen and the more experienced cooks layer parchment paper and then the heels from bread loaves in the bottom of 4" deep pans. They stack warm sandwiches, bisciuits & rolls this way in order to keep them from drying out. An article from Texas A&M Univ Food Science Department suggests turning the dials down on the individual wells based on the particular type of food. They also teccomend specific foods be held for different times; not just for food safety but for I.E. Mashed potatoes 2 hours however some foods can hold quality mouthfeel & flavors longer up to the 4 hours hold time.
 
2,521
801
Joined Feb 8, 2009
We had to hold a large amount of breakfast items. We were serving in an employee cafeteria setting and they only had 15 minutes for the breakfast break. We held 3 varieties of three eggs omelets in a 2" steamer pan in side of a pan with water set into the steam table. This way I had the intense heated water of the steam table hitting the bottom of another shallow amount of water creating steam and keeping the omelets hot in a steamer pan. I used buffers for every item except the country gravy. every other item has a wire rack on the bottom sometimes the wire rack was lined with foil. I kept my biscuits in dry heat in a plastic container lining each layer with parchment paper. We also had hot box items like breakfast burritos that were wrapped in a foil wrap and held in a dry heat. Breakfast egg and sausage muffins and croissants also held well in plastic clam shell containers. Scrambled eggs held in 4" plastic 1/2 pans with the steam table turned down. I was always happy to see our scrambled eggs holding well in a plastic container with a lid held in a dry heat warmer. The sealed container keep the eggs warm with its own steam created in the container. The way to approach each item is to see how it could be suspended away from the bottom of the pan. We also held pancakes and French toast by using one pan inside another with a wire rack with parchment paper on the bottom and top of the items to be held. I also sealed the pan with plastic wrap.
I was in NYC a few months ago. The Hotel offered a buffet breakfast. We were early and all the roll-up lid chaffers were closed. I opened the egg chaffer and the steam hit my arm. The chaffer lid was like opening a steamer door. Not real good for a self-service operation. In a Hotel operation an adjustable steam table would be a much better option for safety and quality. ....Good luck......ChefBillyB..........P.S. are you happy with the quality of the biscuit by holding it in the steam table ??? I never was!
 
3,287
723
Joined May 5, 2010
Using your head and ingenuity is all. As Iceman says...."It ain't rocket science."
I too get frustrated going to breakfast buffets and seeing the way the food is cared for.
Unless the food is getting taken and the pans are being filled quickly, keeping food on a steam table line takes knowledge.
 
115
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Joined Mar 4, 2007
Thanks everybody. So much so fast! Lots of info. Let me digest it all (get it? lol).

chefbillyb chefbillyb

So far the biscuits aren't a problem. They disappear pretty fast. The loose parchment surrounding them seems to keep them warm but not dry out. Of course we have crumbly casualties from eager grabbers.
 

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