Good practice in the kitchen

Good practice in the kitchen

Introduce a few guidelines on good practice in the kitchen and preparing dishes will become easy as pie!

Restaurateurs must adapt their self-monitoring plan so that it is in line with HACCP principles for four main procedures: Selection of raw products, storage of products, preparation of dishes, and table service.

  1. Only use permitted foods, naturally , or marked ‘’ on the label, or products from the Dr. Schär. Foodservice range.
  2. The workspace in which the  food is prepared must be clean of any possible traces of previous preparation of foods containing gluten. It is better if the space is used solely for the preparation of  foods.
  3. Those preparing the  food must wear clean uniforms that are not contaminated, either solely designated for  preparation or disposable.
  4. After preparing foods that contain gluten, employees must always wash their hands thoroughly.
  5. The machinery, facilities, utensils and vessels must not be contaminated with foods containing gluten.
  6. Cooking  foods must take place in cooking vessels that are separate to those used for other foods (i.e. they must not be cooked in the same pot).
  7. Oil used to fry  foods must be used solely for this purpose.
  8. Use a static oven to cook  and gluten-containing foods at different times, ensuring that you place the dish containing the  food on a higher shelf. Alternatively, use two separate ovens.

Employee rules

  1. 1. After touching foods that contain gluten, employees must always wash their hands thoroughly.
  2. 2. Be especially careful with breadcrumbs and bread: make sure that the tablecloth has no traces of breadcrumbs on it and don’t place the bread on the tablecloth next to the gluten-intolerant customer.

Storage methods

Pre-prepared foods and raw products must be stored in bags and/or containers that have an airtight seal, in order to prevent the risk of cross-contamination. This also applies for storage in fridges or freezers. To prevent confusion between  and gluten-containing products, the use of labels is recommended on containers of  sauces and condiments. These can also be kept in a dedicated storage unit, preferably higher up, to prevent cross-contamination from particles of gluten-containing products falling onto products. Alternatively, they can be kept in the dedicated preparation area for these products. It is useful to include storage as a critical point within your HACCP plan and prevent critical issues by separating and clearly defining the areas as regards both raw and semi-finished products.

Preparation methods

Dough can be prepared by hand in specially designated bowls or with a planetary food mixer with hook attachment. The food mixer should preferably be one that is solely designated for food preparation, in order to ensure that the food is safe for coeliacs. If this is not possible, it is essential that the machine is thoroughly cleaned with alcohol-based cleaning products. The use of equipment, bowls or utensils that are either specifically designated for foods or thoroughly cleaned between use is recommended. For all types of dough made from flour, planetary kneading must be gentler in comparison to that used for conventional flours and last a few minutes longer in relation to traditional recipes. flour is much more hygroscopic and therefore absorbs more water than conventional flour. It is therefore advisable to retain a medium consistency when kneading and ensure that the texture is not too tough.

...and preservation methods

Freezing: Wrap  dough in nylon sheets, freeze in a blast chiller and then keep in the freezer inside an airtight container. Before use, leave the dough to defrost in the fridge at a temperature of between 0 and 4 degrees. Use after it has been left to rest, working the dough either with your hands, with a rolling pin or with a pasta machine.

Refrigerating: The dough may be kept in the fridge (0°/4°) for a maximum of three to four days before using the product. Dough used after three to four days tends to become quite soft, and must therefore be stiffened by adding Food Service Mix flour to each portion when used.

Defrosting: A practical way to properly defrost is to use the ‘defrost’ setting of a microwave. If you use this method, you must make sure that the microwave does not actually cook any part of the product. The best thing to do is to put it in the microwave for 30 to 40 seconds and then check to see if it has defrosted. The best way to defrost and use pre-prepared dough is always to defrost it naturally in the fridge at a temperature above zero. Defrosting dough at room temperature is not advised, as this can affect the quality of the product.

Cooking methods

With static ovens and conventional fan ovens:

Fan ovens help products to rise better, but can only be used if the oven is solely dedicated to  cooking, in order to avoid the risks of cross-contamination. Healthcare institutions also require the use of a specifically designated oven or the use of a non-fan oven. Many ovens also have self-cleaning functions. You must ensure that the  products are cooked first and then those containing gluten are cooked afterwards, repeating the self-cleaning process each time. This is particularly useful for school and/or hospital canteens.

Steam helps to make  products rise and prevents the surface from drying out too much in the first minutes of cooking. After this, the food is cooked by ‘dry’ heat, i.e. without steam.

Cooking with steam is ideal for various kinds of breads or similar products. For those who do not have a steam oven, having a small container (small pot or saucepan) filled with water inside the oven whilst the food is cooking also works. In this case, the fan can still be used, because it is both the steam and the air that help the product to expand in volume.

Dry heat is used for moist dough, i.e. high hydration dough, for example sponges or other cakes.

Frying

Foods must be fried with cooking oil specifically and solely designated for the preparation of dishes. Given that the type of cookware used for frying is particularly difficult to clean, it is advisable to fry foods in specifically designated deep fryers or in frying pans. The use of specifically designated deep fryers is preferable in cases where such foods are prepared very frequently.

Cooking in water

Some dishes require foods to be cooked in water (fresh pasta, dried pasta or risotto). In this case, they must be cooked in separate vessels to those used for other foods. They must therefore not be cooked in pans that have not been washed and have been used previously to prepare gluten-containing pasta, or in water in which gluten-containing pasta has been cooked. However, it is still advisable to rinse clean ovenware before use. Do not use cooking water that has already been used for gluten-containing pasta to lengthen risotto, sauces or other food, or to boil vegetables or rice intended for coeliacs. It is essential that you use 1/3 more water than you would use for gluten-containing pasta and it is advisable to add a few tablespoons of oil to ensure that the pasta doesn’t stick.