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Industrial pans are intended for heat treatment of products directly on the frying surface. They are widely used in the food industry and in catering for frying and stewing of various food products.

Some modern universal models allow not only frying but also steam-cooking, sautéing, drying, boiling, and blanching.

The differences in pans designs mainly lie in their frying surfaces, the heat-transfer agent, and the heating method.

Synonyms: frying surface, contact grill, industrial frying pan, steam plate, professional fryer, tilting fryer.

Industrial fryers are widely used for frying onions, potatoes, cabbage, carrots, beets, tomatoes, mushrooms, zucchini, eggplants, and other vegetables, and for sautéing vegetables, meat, and fish. Besides direct frying, industrial fryers are also used to cook jams, tomato paste, and syrups; to thicken sauces; and for preliminary drying of flour. 

Frying, sautéing, and stewing in an industrial pan has major advantages due to the large surface area on which processing is carried out. Due to this large area for processing and the high temperature on the frying surface, the frying process takes little time, and liquids are evaporated much more quickly and effectively than with other plants.

Frying products in an industrial fryer improves their taste and visual appearance. Potatoes become brittle and take on a rich, crunchy crust, while meat becomes more tender and takes on a magical taste.

Heating

In electrical pans, electrical heating coils are used as the main heating elements. Gas industrial pans are heated by means of a combustion chamber located underneath.

Both gas and electric heaters may use different approaches to heating the frying surface.

Pans with direct heating have their heating elements located underneath. The heating elements are either spread over the area maximally evenly or in sections. 

To ensure maximally uniform heating, the bottom of the tank is built as a sandwich of two steel layers around a thick layer of aluminum.

Aluminum accumulates heat and ensures a uniformly distributed temperature. The stainless steel on the outside protects against damage and prevents the inner layer from coming into contact with the food product.

In pans with indirect heating, there is a so-called oil jacket between the heating element and the basin. This jacket is a hermetically sealed cavity filled with mineral oil. Such a method of transferring heat from the heater to the jacket and then from the jacket to the basin, allows more uniform heating of the frying surface.

A heat sensor is installed at the bottom of the fryer which allows one to automatically control the desired temperature.

This helps to smoothly and accurately adjust the heating temperature. The jacket is filled with a special mineral oil with a flammable temperature of at least 280°C.

Such a model requires the inclusion of a means to monitor the oil level, and also to trigger automatic emergency shutdown when the oil level drops or if the basin is tipped over.

Frying surfaces and contact grills

For fast frying of meat or fish, burgers, hot dogs, and for preparing eggs, open industrial pans without lids, or frying surfaces, are used.

Both tabletop and floor versions are available and they are safe and convenient to use. For direct heating of the flat surface, gas or electricity can be used.

The surface can be smooth, corrugated, or a combination of the two.

A corrugated surface lifts the product clear of its juices and fat, and thus provides a high degree of frying with a lower amount of fat.

One of the types of frying plant is the contact grill consisting of a heating surface and a lid that clamps down over it. The brief heat treatment through contact allows the taste properties of the product to be preserved with minimal loss of nutrients.

Tilting pans with lid.

The main element in the design of these pans is a cast-iron or stainless-steel heat-insulated basin with a non-stick coating.

The shape of the basin can be round or rectangular. Rectangular tanks are made with rounded corners for easier emptying and washing. Rectangular fryers are traditionally thought to be more capacious, and preparing meat products or portioned dishes in one layer in them is easier. 

Round-shaped pans heat up more evenly across their entire surface and can be equipped with an automatic stirrer mechanism to prevent burning and to ensure uniform frying.

For more convenient discharge of the ready product and to drain liquids, the basin should be capable of tilting. Tilting can be implemented through manual, mechanical, or hydraulic means.

At the same time, it should be possible to fix the basin in place for safe operation.

To drain liquids, a special channel can be provided at the bottom of the basin. Some manufacturers equip their fryers with a grid for the same purpose.

The choice of the volume of the basin comes down to required output and directly relates to the energy that the pan consumes and its efficiency.

An important part of such a pan is its lid. The lid should be capable of being fixed in place at several different positions, and some models have a safety valve to release steam.

With tilting pans one can sauté, fry, and braise meat, vegetables, fish, poultry, and other products. It is also possible to prepare in them broths, soups, sauces, and other recipes of a liquid consistency.

Pans with fixed tanks.

This is a kind of tank fryer where the basin is installed in a tabletop format with the heating elements, which are heat-insulated, located underneath it. Heating is provided area by area, which allows you to prepare different recipes at the same time.

For discharging the product and draining liquids, the basin is lifted manually. The lid in these models is not fixed in place.

Tilting fryers are appealing in that cooking can be done directly in the tank, they can be used as a conventional hot plate by installing cookware inside, and they can also be used to keep already-prepared dishes warm.

Directly in the pan one can prepare meat and fish recipes, fry poultry, sauté vegetables, or heat up pastries.

Vacuum industrial pans.

In professional vacuum models with indirect heating, steam is used as a heat-transfer agent. Heating is carried out in a range from 50 to 120°С. There is an automatic safety catch and valves to release steam. The product can be stirred even with the lid open. Several programs for cooking are supplied with the fryer, and additional programs can be installed from a USB drive. With the help of these programs, you can ensure an uninterrupted production process with minimal need for intervention by personnel. 

In this plant you can not only perform frying and sautéing of fish, meat, and vegetable recipes, you can also prepare soups, sauces, broth, and dairy products, steam vegetables and fruit, pasteurize prepackaged products, and also warm up or cool already-cooked dishes.

Wok fryers

These are used for Asian cuisine and allow you to perform light frying and stewing of food products. The fast heating cuts the time needed to prepare products in half compared to conventional models. The use of the stir-fry method means fast frying and stirring at the same time.

Professional wok fryers consist of a round tank with a removable stirrer. The tank can be turned and tilted to either side. 

For heating, electrical heating is ordinarily used.

The bottom of the fryer is either very narrow or completely round and has a sandwich construction. This ensures fast, uniform heating of the fryer and long retention of the temperature.

Cooked in such fryers are traditional Asian recipes such as  wok noodles, udon noodles, vegetable dishes and salads, fusion recipes with vegetables, fried meat, soups, etc.

Cast iron or stainless steel

When choosing a fryer, one important detail is the material that the working surface is manufactured from.

This material should ensure high heat conductivity and have good non-stick properties, it should be food-safe and resistant to wear. The thicker the bottom and walls of the tank, the more evenly it will heat up.

Cast iron generally produces the most intense Maillard caramelization reaction in products at high temperatures. This allows performing more intense frying. Cast iron retains the temperature extremely well, and with time it develops a protective layer around it and is known for great longevity. A drawback of cast-iron surfaces is that they are more difficult to clean and susceptible to corrosion.

Enameled cast iron is more expensive but much easier to wash and resistant to corrosion and sticking. Stainless steel is the most common material for industrial fryers. Stainless steel has lower heat conductivity and non-stick properties, but it does not react with the food and does not imbue it with iron, unlike cast iron.

Cooking vegetables in a pan.

Frying in a pan with the dry method allows you to obtain caramelization of the natural sugars in vegetables, which gives a distinctive appealing taste and smell. However, if the fryer is overloaded, if many products are present in it at one time, the moisture that evaporates will not allow the temperature to reach the required value. This is the best way to prepare such vegetables as asparagus, broccoli, beets, carrots, potatoes, zucchini, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, turnips, and parsnips.

Stewing is a cooking method that involves submerging the product into liquid and allows you to add various herbs, spices, or garlic. Stewed products are considered to be healthier and lower in calories. For stewing, one must use a fryer with a non-stick surface, so that during the cooking process there is no sticking and subsequent burning. Stewing brings out the taste of such vegetables as zucchini, peas, potatoes, and carrots.

Approximate time for frying vegetables

Vegetables

Frying in a fryer, minutes

Frying on a grill, minutes

Stewing, minutes

Eggplants

8–12

5–8

25

Zucchini 

8–10

3–5

25

Cabbage

7–9

 

60

Potatoes

10–20

12–15

50

Onions 

10

35–40

5

Carrots

4–6

 

20

Beets

3–4

 

30

Peppers

4–10

4–5

 

Asparagus

5–8

6–8

 

Mushrooms

 

8–10

10–20

Tomatoes

 

6–8

10

 

Cooking meat products in an industrial pan

Meat cooking methods may be dry (frying in a pan with fat and without, frying with stirring, cooking on a grill, baking) or wet (stewing and cooking in liquid). One should choose the cooking method based on the size of the pieces, the desired quality of the result, the equipment at hand, and also the amount of time allocated to cooking. 

Frying in a fryer is used for preparing steaks, kebab from beef or mutton, veal, pork, and mutton chops, pork ribs, ham and bacon, and ground meat. For successful frying, steaks and chops should be at least 20 mm thick, while ham should be at least 12 mm thick.

The method of frying on a grill is employed for whole chunks of meat, as well as for meat skewers and kebabs.

Stewing is used for cooking chunks of meat that are not so tender, as they can be covered in liquid and stewed over a low heat until they become tender. One should be careful that the temperature of the liquid does not exceed 90°С, because boiling causes meat proteins to harden.  

Meat cooking degrees

This can be easily defined by adjusting the internal temperature using a standard meat thermometer.

Product

Internal temperature, °С, full frying, 

Ground meet: beef, pork, veal, mutton

              71                 

Ground meat: chicken, turkey

74

Fresh veal, mutton

63

Poultry

74

Pork

63

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