Should I use Dry or Moist Heat?


Warming and holding equipment use both dry and wet heat. Think about the different things you’ll be storing in the equipment and make a decision based on your specific needs.

Dry Heat Equipment

Dry Heat Equipment

Dry heat equipment works similar to standard ovens, either thermostatically or manually. It tends to use less energy than moist heat, although it heats less quickly. If you plan on moving the container, often dry heat holding and warming equipment may be a better option because there is no risk of spillage.

  • Holding items with long cook times, such as stews or potatoes. These items can be placed in the holding equipment while hot for service.
  • Warming or reheating foods such as breads, pastries and soups.
  • Heating plates and bowls.
  • As self-service units.

Moist Heat Equipment

Moist heat comes from humidifiers in the equipment that release a small amount of moisture into the holding area. They prevent items from drying out without making the food soggy. Moist heat tends to use more energy, but heats up faster.

Moist Heat Equipment

  • Works well for any type of product.
  • Items high in moisture or fat may not do as well in a moist heat environment.
  • Humidifiers vary from a built-in water trough to automatic atmospheric controls.
  • Water trough humidifiers allow water vapors to be released in the cabinet providing moisture.
  • More sophisticated humidifiers have atmospheric and temperature controls so you can adjust the amount of moisture and heat for different products.
  • Check for a feature that prevents condensation build-up so that your products can be properly viewed by your customers.

How do I choose between moist and warm heat equipment? Warming and holding equipment has a variety of products for your needs. You should decide if you need equipment for the front or back of the house and what type of things you’ll be warming or holding before making a purchase.


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