Simon Frost, director, UK & Ireland for Hoshizaki, on ensuring your refrigeration equipment is in top condition to deal with the summer heat.
It is imperative for bakers not only to keep themselves cool in the kitchen, but also their fresh ingredients to prevent bacteria from growing. The best way a baker can effectively prevent this growth of bacteria is to ensure safe temperatures are maintained within their refrigerator, for example, by keeping the fridge door shut as often as possible.
If a baker wants to ensure optimal refrigerator temperatures are maintained, then they should invest in a refrigerator with a better climate class, such as Class 4. Climate Class 4 refrigerators are designed to operate efficiently in ambient temperatures of up to +30°C and relative humidity of 55%, meaning safe refrigerator temperatures are maintained, even on some of the hottest days.
Storing certain dry ingredients, such as flour and yeast, in a refrigerator is also a wise move for bakers working in particularly hot kitchens, so long as these have been placed into an airtight container. This is to prevent clumping and moisture from getting into the dry ingredients.
Bakers should also remember to remove baking ingredients from the refrigerator ahead of use in order to give them time to drop back to room temperature and ensure the best dough textures and results. The amount of time it takes for refrigerated ingredients to reach room temperature will depend on the humidity of the kitchen and type of ingredient, but generally this will take between 15 and 25 minutes.
As well as focusing on keeping ingredients cool, it’s vital bakers pay extra attention to maintaining refrigerators over the summer months. Excess moisture rapidly builds up in humid kitchens, affecting how well a refrigerator functions. By following simple housekeeping duties, such as cleaning filters and evaporators, and wiping down refrigerator surfaces, bakers can stop the issue of excess moisture.
The way food is stored will also impact the functionality of a refrigerator, particularly when it comes to space. We encourage operators not to cram their refrigerator full in order to let cold air flow freely. We also recommend bakers cover wet ingredients before storing them. This will reduce strain on the compressor, minimising the risk of breakdown. As well as having space inside the refrigerator, it is important to leave adequate space around the outside, ensuring it is not pushed against any walls, as this will ensure the air circulates freely and heat from the condenser is better dispersed.