A Guide to Heated Moisture Holding
Holding Foods Longer With Confidence
Over the years, the food service industry has evolved drastically, driven by technological advancements and changing consumer behaviors. In today’s fast-paced world, where efficiency and consistency are key, having the right equipment isn’t just a luxury, it’s a necessary component to success.
One innovation that has become indispensable in this landscape is Heated Moisture Holding. From addressing labor shortages to adapting to new food consumption trends like ‘grab and go’ and delivery services, heated moisture holding plays a pivotal role in delivering a consistent product to your customers. This piece of equipment is not just about keeping the food warm but also about ensuring your customers always receive top-quality cuisine, regardless of the circumstances.
But the selection process for choosing the correct holding equipment might be more complex than you first imagined. In this article, we aim to answer your questions and guide you to make the right decision. We’ll cover:
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In its simplest form, Heated Moisture Holding refers to the process of adding humidity to a heated, enclosed holding cabinet. This is typically achieved through a combination of a water pan and a heating element to control humidity levels. A fan is often incorporated to blow across the water’s surface, helping circulate moisture throughout the cabinet.
When we talk about heated moisture holding, we’re really getting into the nitty-gritty of what makes a food service business succeed. It’s all about maintaining the quality of food items that you’ve cooked tasting just as fresh, hot, and full of flavor hours after it came out of the kitchen. In our fast-moving world where everyone within a kitchen is juggling a dozen tasks at once, being able to batch-cook food to prepare for a meal rush is the difference between a manageable dinner rush and one from every cook’s worst nightmare. Getting the right equipment for this job isn’t as easy as just picking one off a shelf. You need to understand your food needs.
Unfortunately, there is no golden ratio when applying these four factors to all foods, and will need to be catered to the specific needs of the products that you plan on holding within the unit. Balancing these factors will allow your kitchen to extend the life of cooked foods and maintain your food’s coveted “just-cooked” quality.
Heated moisture holding has become a vital tool in the foodservice industry, not just for its primary function of keeping food warm, but for its ability to tackle some major issues faced by businesses today.
Extended Hold Times: The right amount of humidity can help keep all types of foods at top quality for extended times. Humidified Heated Holding can increase holding times of not only perfectly roasted proteins and vegetables but also fresh baked goods and even crispy and fried foods from your kitchen.
Maximize Labor Hours: The global labor shortage has hit the food service industry hard. A reduced workforce can lead to operational difficulties, especially during peak hours. Here, heated moisture holding plays a critical role. It enables batch cooking – preparing large quantities of food at once, that can be held at optimal quality for hours. This way, the need for a full staff at all times can be mitigated. Fewer hands in the kitchen can manage the workflow efficiently while maintaining high-quality service during busy periods.
High Ingredient Costs/Reduce Waste: Soaring ingredient costs pose a significant challenge for restaurants and caterers. Reducing food waste has become more important than ever to keep the budget in check. Heated moisture holding can significantly cut down food waste by extending the serving time of cooked meals. When the holding conditions are correctly balanced, dishes can be held for hours without degrading in quality. This extends the serving window, giving you more flexibility to serve your dishes at their prime and reduce the amount of food that ends up in the trash unserved.
Maintaining Quality Imagine preparing a batch of crispy fried chicken early in the day, and it still tastes fresh, crispy, and delicious hours later. With the right heated moisture holding unit, you can make this a reality. You’re not just keeping food warm, you’re maintaining the textures, flavors, and overall quality of the dishes. This provides a unique advantage for any food service operation – the ability to serve food that tastes “just-cooked” any time of the day, from your first customer to your last.
Capitalizing on Convenience: As convenience becomes a driving factor for consumers, ‘grab-and-go’ and delivery services are becoming increasingly popular. But, keeping food at its prime from the kitchen to the customer’s plate is a challenge. Heated moisture holding is the solution. Whether it’s fried chicken maintaining its perfectly crispy exterior, or a steak maintaining its tender medium-rare state, heated moisture holding ensures that food maintains its ideal serving conditions while waiting to be delivered to the customer or delivery driver.
In essence, heated moisture holding is not just about heat and humidity control—it’s a strategic tool for improving operational efficiency, reducing costs, adapting to changing consumer behaviors, and ultimately, driving business success in the competitive foodservice industry.
There are multiple types, styles, and configurations of heated moisture holding equipment, but they generally all fall into one of three categories:
It is critical to maintaining the appropriate moisture level for the product that is being held. Getting it right can have a very positive impact on the bottom line but getting this wrong can have adverse effects. From unhappy customers to outrageous food costs, these issues can be avoided by selecting the right equipment for the job.
An easy example of this would be fried chicken. If fried chicken is held with too much humidity, that crispy exterior the customer expects becomes soggy and rubbery. When it is held in an environment with too little moisture the exterior becomes rock hard, and the nice moist interior dries out and becomes chewy and tough. Either scenario equals a displeased customer, but once you get that holding environment just right, your fried chicken will hold and retain that freshly cooked crunch that customers expect with fried chicken.
Fried chicken is only one corn in the peppermill of your food holding possibilities. While there are almost limitless uses for moisturized heated holding cabinets, the premise is simple. Being able to extend the holding times of your prepared products is good for the bottom line. Now, let’s discuss the pros and cons of the three styles of moisturized cabinets.
In our diverse lineup, the most fundamental form of moisture holding is Passive Humidity. Featured in one of our best-selling models, the UHS-12, this approach is straightforward yet effective at maintaining food quality. The UHS-12 is part of the Humi-Temp series, which employs a heating system that circulates warm air over a pan of water. The interaction between warm air and water generates moisture that is evenly distributed throughout the cabinet, thereby creating a humidity-rich environment to preserve the freshness of your held food.
Cabinets from FWE’s Humi-Temp series are highly beneficial for smoothly managing the transition from food preparation to service time. These cabinets provide valuable features that ensure the freshness and quality of your food. They excel at maintaining an optimal humidity level throughout the cabinet, creating a humidity-rich environment that helps preserve the flavors and textures of a wide range of dishes. Whether you’re holding appetizers, main courses, or specialty dishes, the Humi-Temp series offers reliable moisture retention and control, ensuring that your food stays in ideal condition until it’s ready to be served.
While the Passive Humidity system is an undeniable improvement over dry, static environments, it’s crucial to recognize that different food items and holding scenarios may necessitate more advanced options. For instance, dishes that require long hold times, center-of-the-plate proteins, and specialty dishes may benefit from systems that offer optimum moisture retention and control due to the system not providing active control over moisture levels. Consequently, when holding foods for extended periods or when maintaining maximum quality is paramount, investing in a more advanced heated moisture holding system could be worth considering.
FWE’s ‘Moisture-Temp’ system, as seen in the MTU & PHU series, builds upon the fundamental principles of our ‘Humi-Temp’ system and elevates it further by incorporating adjustable humidity control. With this advanced feature, you gain the power to customize and regulate the humidity level within the cabinet, granting you precise control over the preservation and durability of your food items.
This system is particularly beneficial when proofing dough. With its ability to increase humidity even at low temperatures, it creates the perfect environment for your dough to thrive. (If you would like to learn more about using our products to proof dough, check out this article HERE and HERE!)
it’s important to note that this particular system does not provide the option to set precise relative humidity (RH%) levels that certain foods may necessitate. Although it excels in creating a user-controlled environment, it does not have the capability to establish exact temperature points or humidity levels and sustain them simultaneously within the cabinet. The ability to dial in precise temperature and humidity settings and effectively maintain them is a feature we will delve into further when discussing the third style of moisture control cabinets next.
The ultimate and most comprehensive form of heated moisture holding is Precision Humidity (Clymate IQ). Precision Humidity represents the pinnacle of all moisture holding systems, catering to a wide range of needs and settings. Whether it’s providing exceptional dining experiences at banquets for esteemed guests, nourishing future generations in educational institutions, or ensuring that your customers savor the most outstanding brisket plate in the county, nothing compares to the unmatched value of precision humidity. Its capabilities leave no room for compromise when it comes to delivering excellence in moisture control.
At the pinnacle of excellence stands FWE’s PHTT series. Equipped with Clymate IQ technology, operators can trust in its unparalleled reliability, and rest assured, failure is not an option. With this exceptional equipment, you can confidently expect your food to maintain its freshly cooked quality over extended periods. The secret lies in the cabinet’s integrated computer, which constantly monitors and adjusts the active humidity levels, eliminating the possibility of human error and enabling a convenient “set and forget” operation.
A notable advantage of the PHTT series is its remarkable recovery times. As holding cabinets are frequently accessed, especially during peak volume, other heat systems may struggle to maintain consistent conditions. However, the Clymate IQ system, utilizing a heating element immersed in a water bath and strategically positioned fans to circulate airflow, swiftly detects and responds to temperature and humidity changes, promptly restoring optimal operating levels.
For even greater precision in achieving desired relative humidity levels, the unit can be enhanced with a controlled vent (CV) option. Connected to the controller, the top-mounted vent can be activated to release excess moisture when holding foods that naturally emit moisture, such as fried chicken and other similar products.
As a general overview, let’s explore how each type of moisture holding system – Passive Humidity, Adjustable Humidity, and Precision Humidity – can be effectively integrated into a typical kitchen setting, along with the types of foods they are ideally designed to accommodate. It’s important to note that these suggestions are not rigid rules but rather flexible guidelines to cater to the unique requirements of your kitchen. Consider these guidelines as a starting point to tailor the moisture holding approach to perfectly suit your specific needs.
Having explored the intricacies of our various heated moisture holding units earlier, it’s valuable to outline their individual roles within a kitchen setting. While we won’t dive into the same level of detail, the focus here is to highlight how each unit – Passive, Adjustable, and Precision Humidity options – significantly enhances your kitchen’s operation.
Starting with Passive Moisture Holding, these units serve as essential buffers in culinary operations, making them an ideal starting point for kitchens venturing into moisture holding. While their holding capacity may not match the more advanced options, they excel in optimizing kitchen time efficiency. With these units, you can efficiently prepare large batches of crowd-favorite dishes, ensuring a well-stocked and ready-to-serve kitchen during busy service hours.
Stepping up from Passive Holding, we encounter Adjustable Holding, also known as Moisture-Temp in FWE models like the MTU series. These units stand out by offering controlled moisture levels, providing greater flexibility to cater to diverse foods and holding times. From proofing dough to holding cooked dishes for extended periods, Adjustable Holding equips you with more tools to achieve your culinary objectives.
At the pinnacle of moisture holding systems lies Precision Holding, also referred to as ClymateIQ, revolutionizing kitchen operations. Featured in top-tier models like the PHTT series, these units take precision and control to another level. With ClymateIQ, you’re not just adjusting humidity levels; you have the power to dial into specific temperature and humidity settings, maintaining them consistently over extended periods. From delicate pastries to premium meats, Precision Holding caters to a wide array of foods that demand meticulous attention to temperature and moisture levels. It stands as the ultimate tool for kitchens that uphold the highest standards of food quality, regardless of the holding duration.
FWE’s heated moisture holding options are adaptable to fit any kitchen size. We offer under-counter and countertop models featuring all three moisture holding systems.
These compact units are perfect for small kitchens, food trucks, or when you need additional holding capacity without using valuable floor space. Each model serves a variety of purposes, such as extending the shelf life of pre-cooked foods, controlling dough proofing, or delicately preserving signature dishes.
With our flexible designs, you won’t compromise on quality. Enjoy all the benefits of FWE’s superior heated holding technology in a format that seamlessly fits your kitchen layout. Whether under a prep station or neatly on a countertop, these high-performing models will maintain food quality, regardless of spatial constraints.
One of our latest culinary innovations is the PHTT Drawers – a perfect blend of compact design and precision humidity control. These drawers come in ONE, TWO, or THREE drawer models, with options for standard or side loading capabilities. A fresh addition to the FWE lineup, these drawers incorporate our top-tier Clymate IQ technology into a convenient and versatile format, revolutionizing kitchen operations and offering unparalleled control and consistency.
One remarkable feature of our PHTT Drawers is their suitability for bagless sous-vide cooking, a contemporary culinary method that relies on precise temperature and humidity control. With Clymate IQ technology, these drawers maintain the ideal conditions needed to create exquisite sous-vide dishes with perfection.
Beyond cooking, the PHTT Drawers stand out as an exceptional holding solution for sensitive food products. Like our other Clymate IQ units, they provide precise control over temperature and humidity, ensuring delicate dishes are held at optimal conditions without the risk of drying out or compromising texture.
In summary, these drawers harness the top-notch precision of Clymate IQ technology and transform it into a versatile and space-efficient format. Whether for sous-vide cooking or maintaining delicate dishes, these drawers introduce a new level of flexibility to your kitchen, enhancing the culinary experience.
Let’s take a closer look at the PHTT-CC-202-MW Combi-Companion Oven, meticulously designed equipment that excels in streamlining and enhancing kitchen operations. This versatile oven is specifically created to accommodate full-sized roll-in-racks from industry-leading manufacturers like Convotherm, Electrolux, Eloma, and Rational, ensuring a seamless transition that optimizes your workflow.
At the heart of the PHTT-CC-202-MW’s superior performance lies the ClymateIQ heating system. This advanced technology grants operators independent control over temperature and relative humidity settings, delivering an unparalleled level of precision within the cabinet’s environment.
Acknowledging the dynamic nature of professional kitchens, the ClymateIQ system is complemented by self-closing hinges and an exclusive push/pull heated air distribution system. These features work together to maintain optimal heat and humidity levels, even during frequent openings that occur during busy service times.
Maintenance is made easy as the top-mounted heating system ensures a flat and unobstructed interior, simplifying clean-up. The large, removable water pan and lift-up heating element facilitate straightforward cleaning of the unit’s bottom and sides.
To accommodate diverse kitchen layouts and operational needs, the PHTT-CC-202-MW is equipped with four fully adjustable legs, providing an incredibly versatile “place and use” solution in the market. This remarkable Combi-Companion Oven is designed to elevate the efficiency and convenience of your kitchen setup.
To start, laying a strong foundation is crucial for any product, and our heated holding solutions excel in this aspect. Our industry-best base frame forms the backbone of FWE’s heated holding cabinets. Constructed using stainless steel tubing, carefully formed, and fully welded, this base is fully insulated to prevent heat loss from the bottom, making it more efficient and saving on utility costs. Each caster is securely mounted to a stainless-steel stress plate, which, in turn, is welded to the robust base frame. To further enhance the unit’s structural integrity, rubber bumper mounts are added to the base frame with a reinforced design.
The commitment to solid construction doesn’t end there. The rugged stainless-steel body is attached to the frame and equipped with a designated insulation package, ensuring top, bottom, and side-to-side, 360° insulation for maintaining product quality better than any other cabinet on the market.
FWE’s dedication to custom solutions extends across our product range, encompassing refrigeration, no-hood-needed cooking platforms, rethermalizers, mobile bars, and a variety of heated holding options, including dry, passive, and precise moisture control. “If you can dream it, we can build it” is not just a tagline; it’s the foundation of our approach to meeting your unique needs and exceeding expectations.
Are you ready to get your project started or looking to learn more about FWE equipment? We are here to help! Our commitment to excellent customer service and creating customized equipment for all operations, no matter the footprint, is what we are known for. Don’t hesitate to give us a call at 1 (800) 222-4393 or Request A Quote and a member of our team will be happy to assist. As always, don’t forget to fill out the form below to stay up to date on all of the latest FWE news, product launches, and announcements.
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