Whether it is a small get together or a decision to self-cater a wedding, there are a number of occasions when individuals will want to know how to reheat food for hot holding.
To reheat for hot holding is such a way that preserves textures while also permitting it to be held in a warming dish.
After all, chances are that you will want to enjoy the party you’re hosting rather than constantly be attending to food. Here, we’ll look at how to reheat food for hot holding.
Reheat Food for Hot Holding Using Slow Cookers
There are a number of different types of warming devices out there, but if the dish that you’re looking to warm is largely liquid, then you’re in luck. A slow cooker can be an excellent way to reheat a soup, cheese dip, or stew.
Simply pour the food back into the slow cooker, and then heat over low (ideally) or high (if you’re pressed for time) until the temperature of the food reaches 140 degrees. At that point, switch the dish to ‘keep warm.’
For foods that are solid, you will likely be looking at a warming dish. This tries to recreate a dry heat, so it is ideal for steak, chicken, and vegetables. Two major types exist.
A flame heated dish uses an external fuel source to light a flame under the dish, letting the heat dissipate throughout the food.
Meanwhile, an electric warming dish largely acts like a heated blanket around your food from the bottom. Note that neither of these holding methods are great for reheating food, but simply for holding it at 140 degrees.
Reheat Food for Hot Holding Before or During?
As a general rule, reheating should be done before service. This helps to ensure a consistent temperature, requires less thermal load on the reheating dish, and helps to preserve texture and taste. The one exception, of course, are those dishes that are being held in a slow cooker.
For everything else, consider carefully the textures and tastes that you want to preserve while reheating.
Fried chicken, for example, should be reheated in such a way to preserve the crispiness of the skin, while not drying out the juiciness of the meat itself.
Vegetables, on the other hand, like green beans may do better being microwaved, adding a couple of spoonfuls of water to the mix to help keep everything moist.
As a general rule, an oven heated to 300-325 degrees is a great way to reheat most meats, while gentle reheating over the stove or in a microwave (again, with a few spoonfuls of water added) works well for most vegetables.
For breads and for pies, the oven is likely your best bet; again, use a low temperature, and if possible, avoid cutting the food into serving size pieces until closer to the event.
Finally, speaking of smaller pieces, appetizers can vary immensely. However, for everything from chicken wings and cheese sticks to mini beef wellingtons and fried dumplings, an air fryer can work in a pinch.
Food Safety Considerations
When reheating food, always try to stay out of the danger zone of temperatures, or between 40 and 140 degrees. This range is where bacteria thrive, and could potentially make your diners very sick. This is also part of the reason that many places choose to serve cold fried chicken on buffets.
Remember it is not just when the food is reheated that it must maintain that temperature, but also throughout service. Therefore, make a point to check temperature occasionally, adding more heat to the equation when the temperature drops.