If you’re following a recipe, most will indicate the recommended temperature for cooking. This is because it exemplifies the importance of temperature in cooking. You must achieve the right temperature to ensure the quality and safety of food. To become a better cook, you can start by understanding the role of temperature in cooking.
Unfortunately, it is difficult to tell if the food is properly done by sight or smell alone. In the kitchen, you need a reliable tool, such as a thermometer. Discover more about thermometer function and the features you can use to achieve the correct doneness of the food.
Understanding Thermometer Function
Is a thermometer a must-have tool in the kitchen? The short answer is yes.
A food thermometer is essential kitchen equipment because it serves many functions and uses. Many professional kitchens keep them handy at all times because they offer several benefits.
Ensure Food Safety
Restaurants and food businesses adhere to strict regulations to ensure food safety. Therefore, specific controls must be implemented to ensure customers can be served safely and properly cooked food.
Food safety is the pinnacle of every food business owner’s responsibility. You want to ensure that you meet the proper guidelines on food temperature from cooking to serving. Otherwise, food can become exposed to bacteria and pathogens that could cause foodborne illnesses.
Professional restaurants and chefs follow strict food safety regulations, and temperature monitoring is critical. Therefore, you need a thermometer for a food safety check and temperature control or monitoring.
Preserve Food Quality
Another primary temperature function is to preserve the food quality during preparation and upon serving it to customers. Two factors directly impact the quality of food: the quality of ingredients and the temperature.
You must invest in quality ingredients to ensure that you can also get quality results when cooking. You also need to take note of the proper temperature for the cooking process and the final product. Certain types of food taste better when served at a specific temperature. A food thermometer is a handy tool that allows you to monitor and maintain the ideal temperature for food.
Even before you cook and serve food, the temperature is already a critical aspect of food preparation. Restaurants and food businesses invest a great deal of money in inventory management. Certain food items must be stored at a specific temperature to ensure safety and preserve quality.
For example, meats should be kept frozen at all times before cooking. It could be potentially hazardous if it goes above freezing point because the meat will be exposed to pathogens at a specific temperature. On the other hand, freezing meat will kill the harmful bacteria in raw meat.
Food businesses invest plenty of resources in managing their inventory. Therefore, you should protect your profitability with a reliable food thermometer.
Types of Thermometer & Their Functions
Kitchen thermometers come in all shapes and sizes. Therefore, knowing and exploring your options is essential to pick the right tool for the job.
Here is an overview of the different types of thermometers.
Digital Instant Read Thermometer
A digital, instant read thermometer can take temperature readings in seconds. The reading is shown on a digital display for convenience. It is ideal for meat and other kinds of food. However, it is delicately made, so it cannot be used in the oven or while cooking.
Dial Instant Read Thermometer
This food thermometer can provide accurate temperature readings in seconds. For example, you can use it to check the temperature of roasts, soups, and steaks. It requires you to insert a probe into the food, and it will show the temperature on a dial.
As the name implies, this thermometer is designed to be placed inside the meat while cooking in the oven. Therefore, it is ideal for monitoring the internal temperature of the food as it cooks to avoid overcooking (or undercooking).
This thermometer is designed to look and function like a fork. You should insert the fork into the meat or food, and it will show the temperature reading display. It is a great way to check the temperature of the food before serving it on the table.
This thermometer is designed for one-time use only. They can provide temperature readings in ten seconds or less. It is ideally used in mobile kitchens or to quickly check the temperature of food.
How to Use a Food Thermometer
Maximizing the functionality of the thermometer, regardless of the type, boils down to knowing how to use this tool correctly. Therefore, reading the manufacturer’s instructions on using the specific kind of thermometer is essential to ensure you get an accurate reading.
- Always test your thermometer before using it. Testing ensures that the thermometer is accurate and you can get the correct temperature reading.
- Calibrate your thermometer regularly. Calibrating is recommended if you’ve had your thermometer for a while.
- Know the proper placement of the thermometer probe. Insert the probe into the thickest part of the meat to read the temperature of the thermal center. Avoid inserting it too close to the bones or fat, as it could give inaccurate readings.
- Wait a few seconds for the temperature reading to register. If you pull out the thermometer too soon, you might not get the most accurate reading. The ideal time is five to ten seconds to know that you have the right temperature.
- Clean your thermometer after use. It will help eliminate the risk of cross-contamination, especially when using it on various types of meat.
A thermometer is one of the best tools you have, to rely on in the kitchen. Use this guide on basic thermometer function to maximize the features and achieve the best cooking results. This tool will make you a more confident cook in the kitchen.