Common Questions About Steam Kettles
How do steam kettles work?
These kettles are heated by pressurized steam running between an inner and outer layer of metal – usually stainless steel – called a steam jacket. The heated water transfers heat efficiently between the heating element and cooking product. Steam jacket heating is preferred over standard stovetop boilers because the steam jacket heats more evenly and penetrates the kettle over a larger total surface area than a standard stove heating element. With stove cooking, the only heat source is at the bottom of the pot, but with steam jacket cooking, the heat emanates continuously from either halfway or two-thirds of the way up the kettle. For large volumes of dense product, such as chili or soup, the heat from a bottom burner will take a long time to penetrate the entire kettle, so heat coming from a larger area greatly increases the speed and consistency of the cooking. Depending on the model, the water for steaming will need to come from an outside source or be self-contained inside the kettle.
Should I get direct or self-contained steam?
Direct kettles require the operator supply the water that will be steamed in the heating process. Self-contained systems include specially treated liquid inside that turns to steam without needing to be vented or replaced. Self-contained systems usually require less maintenance, but direct kettles are usually simpler and cost less initially.
Should I get a gas or electric large capacity kettle?
KaTom carries both gas and electric kettles, but the location of your establishment will determine which is best for you. In most locations, gas will be more expensive than electricity, though in some higher elevations, gas could result in lower utility bills. Gas is also a good choice for mobile operations such as food trucks, where high-powered electrical outlets are unavailable.
Should I get a manual or power tilt kettle?
Some larger models come with a motorized tilting mechanism to decant the contents after cooking. A tilt kettle lets operators dispense soup into smaller vessels without wasting time scooping. Pouring from the kettle itself, whether into serving bowls or smaller tureens, means the product does not cool or congeal before it's served.
What sort of power do I need?
Steam kettles vary greatly in their capacity and power requirements. Individual model specification sheets will list power requirements, and operators should consult their building maintenance information before purchase. Consider whether gas or electric models will be more cost-effective in the long run.
Are these kettles countertop or freestanding models?
Smaller kettles can fit on a countertop to save space in a crowded commercial kitchen, but larger models typically require floor space. Table units can host multiple kettles, enabling several types of soup or chili to be cooked at once. Consider how much space you have available in your establishment before making a purchase.