Fast Food Fryers, Bain Maries and Boiling Tops Buying Guide
Fryers are essential if you produce fried chicken, fish and chips and other fried food. Look for good quality stainless steel because this is the best material for any food requiring hot oil as it is far more durable and long-lasting than other materials.
Pressure fryers are excellent pieces of equipment because the pieces of food are lowered into the tank, the lid is then shut and locked into place. This forms a tight seal where no air can escape so pressure mounts and food is cooked. Heat transfer is much faster in a pressure fryer so it is a quicker method of cooking; it also delivers a crispy finish retaining moisture so food is finished to perfection! Pressure fryers normally have computer programmes which can be set according to the food being cooked. Many pressure fryers have an automatic pressure release and an alarm to let you know when the food is finished.
Deep Fat Fryers
These are used for fried foods especially chips and the oil can be heated up to 200 Deg C. It is important that you purchase a deep fat fryer to the right capacity because if you have a fryer that is too big, it takes too long to heat up the oil, does not give enough energy efficiency and will take longer to cook. The Alliance website has plenty of different sizes to choose from.
- Gas Deep Fat Fryers use a specialist heating system which runs along the underneath of the fryer, gas travels through the tubes and heats up the oil. Some gas fryers have gas jets on the exterior of the tank and others use infra-red heaters, the latter heats up extremely quickly. While gas fryers are more expensive than traditional electric fryers, they are less expensive to run in the long run because gas is cheaper than electricity. Make sure you have plenty of space for your gas deep fat fryer because they are normally large free-standing appliances. You should also consider whether you need a single basket or twin basket fryer. If you have different fried food options on your menu, a twin basket is a better option or if you mainly specialise in fried food – for example with a twin basket you can fry fish in one basket and chips in another. If you don’t need a large capacity deep fat fryer your best option would be an electric fryer because they are smaller and more affordable.
- Electric Fryers have special coils inside the frying tank which heat up when plugged in. Look for an adjustable thermostat so you can be sure to achieve the perfect temperature when cooking. You should also seek out one with an indicator to let you know when the appliance has heated up to the right temperature and again, when food is cooked. Electric fryers are cheaper to buy than gas but expensive to run so if you have large capacity fried food on offer, you would be better advised to opt for the gas fryer. However, an electric fryer is easier to clean than a large gas fryer and as they are countertop this means they can easily be stored away when not in use.
Keeping Fryers Clean
It is really important to keep your fryers clean because food waste collects at the bottom of the tank and can cause damage to the appliance. Additionally, food waste can also taint the oil which will affect the taste and quality of your food. You should seek out a fryer with a Deep Cool Zone which sits at the bottom of the tank and is 30 Deg C cooler than the hot oil, so when food debris falls into it, it does not burn and then damage the fryer. It’s also important to have an oil filtration system which drains the hot oil from the tank therefore taking out unwanted pieces; this cleans the oil which is then pumped back into the tank. Additionally, try not to fry at too high a temperature because the oil degrades and will need regular changes in order to keep food tasting good. Baskets must be cleaned very regularly and when you change the oil, clean out the tank.
Bain Maries or Hot Cupboards are used to keep food at the correct temperature so it can be cooked in advance and still be perfect to serve later in the day. They are widely used in the fast food industry because of this reason. It’s also possible to get Bain Maries for chilled food too. Sometimes Bain Maries are incorporated into a commercial kitchen as an integrated appliance but they are essentially standalone pieces of equipment holding up to four tubs. Most Bain Maries are electric and can be transported easily from one area to another, making them very versatile. There are two types of Bain Maries, wet heat and dry heat, both controlled by adjustable heat and the maximum heat is 90 Deg C which prevents the food over-cooking or burning. For those using water, there should be a drain tap which allows excess water to be emptied after use for cleaning out. There are many options on the Alliance website, from countertop versions to gastronorm sizes used in buffet situations and large, freestanding options too.
Wet Heat Bain Maries
Wet Heat Bain Maries use hot water to keep food warm and they can also be used to slow cook food. They are sometimes referred to as water baths too. Wet Bain Maries are good for cooking warm sauces and certain cakes, such as cheesecake as they prevent cracking during cooking. Terrines and pates can be easily baked in a Bain Marie because the steam keeps the finished product nice and moist. Do remember that wet Bain Maries are expensive to run and the water inside needs to be topped up very regularly especially when cooking at high temperatures. It does take time for wet Bain Maries to reach optimum heat and these types of water baths need very regular cleaning and draining. It is very important to service a wet Bain Marie often because working with electricity and water can be dangerous if there is damage to the water bath.
Dry Heat Bain Maries
Dry heat Bain Maries are less expensive to run and can be installed in minutes. They also reach optimum temperature quickly because they use a thick aluminium, plate rather than heating a bath of water so they are more energy efficient than the wet heat versions. Dry heat Bain Maries are excellent for keeping the following foods hot and moist: soup, sauces, porridge, beans, etc.
Many fast food establishments need extra cooking appliances for speed and additional capacity so boiling tops are an excellent addition to the kitchen. They offer another cooking area and are great solutions if space is tight. There are many options available too, those suitable for countertops or larger appliances boasting 6 burners. Boiling tops can run off an electrical or gas supply, so choose one which will suit your requirements.
For further information on Fast Food Fryers, Bain Maries and Boiling Tops visit the Fast Food Equipment pages in the Catering Appliances section or contact the Alliance customer care team