Keeping a new generation of kids healthy and happy is the goal of K-12 foodservice. The smiles, the laughs, the surprised delight when a food they’re eating tastes even better than they expected. It’s what keeps your foodservice running. But if you’re not cleaning your braising pan correctly, your fabulous food may be suffering. Here are some simple steps for cleaning your pan.
Be aware of the enemies of stainless steel
There are three basic things that can break down stainless steel and allow destructive corrosion to occur. When working with commercial kitchen equipment, be sure to steer clear of these hazards to help extend the life of your braising pan:
- Mechanical abrasion – avoid using cleaning pads or brushes that will scratch the steel surface.
- Deposits and water – water hardness will vary depending on geographic location. When left on stainless steel, hard water will leave spots and begin to rust equipment. Be sure to fully dry your braising pan after each use to minimize any water deposit buildup.
- Chlorides – use alkaline-based or non-chloride cleaners to avoid pitting and rusting.
Go with the grain
Some stainless steel comes with visible polishing lines or “grain.” When visible lines are present, always scrub in a motion parallel to the lines. When the grain cannot be seen, it’s best to play it safe and use a soft cloth or plastic scouring pad.
Clean as you go
The best defense is a good offense, so they say. The same principle applies to your braising pan. After each use, clean the pan surface with a brush or flexible spatula and rinse the strainer thoroughly. This will rid the pan of any buildup which is not only destructive but also unsanitary!
Get in the habit of a daily grind
At least once a day, preferably after the lunch rush, clean the back, sides and front of the pan as well as the inside and outside surfaces of the lid. This will help your braising pan serve your students for years to come.
Rinse, rinse, then rinse again
The sooner and more thoroughly you wipe off standing water that contains cleaning agents, the better.
A clean finish
Once a week, give your braising pan a deep clean. A detergent may be used on the pan surface to help clean it, but be sure the detergent is thoroughly removed. When cleaning the braising pan, it is helpful to fill the pan with approximately 10 gallons (38 L) of warm water and add detergent. After cleaning, raise the braising pan to drain all water (place a bucket or container under the pouring lip). Then repeat the procedures for rinsing with clean water. Also note, if the braising pan usage is very high, consider going through the weekly cleaning procedures more often than once a week.
Now that you have a clean, well-running braising pan, you can get back to doing what you do best—supporting hundreds of children with well-rounded, delicious meals, so they can do their best every day.