Almost anything a foodservice operator can prepare in a convection oven can be made in a cook-and-hold oven. This may be why these units have become essential in commercial kitchens.
Cook-and-hold ovens are a natural fit for operations that serve a large volume of roasted meats. The units blend convected heat and radiant energy to cook slowly, typically between four and twelve hours. This reduces product shrinkage, with product yields increasing 10 percent to 20 percent for extra portions. Low temperatures of between 160 degrees F and 250 degrees F also promote retention of natural juices and flavors.
Low-temperature conductive cook-and-hold ovens circulate fluid within the oven shelves’ heat transfer plates. The units directly heat pans or other containers placed on the shelves. In these units, product cooks for a set period of time until done; the oven then switches to a holding mode. Food stays between 140 degrees F and 160 degrees F, which prohibits bacterial growth. These units also work well in rethermalizing prepared foods.
Foodservice equipment manufacturers produce cook-and-hold ovens in a variety of shapes and sizes. Undercounter, half size, double-stacked half size and full size represent the most popular sizes. Widths range from 18¼ to 28¾ inches, while heights typically range between 28 and 83 inches and depths range from 26½ to 37¾ inches.