Maintenance Tips: Fryer Care Basics
High-efficiency fryers equipped with built-in filtration and self-diagnostics reduce the amount of work it takes to get optimal performance and long life from your fryer compared with more labor-intensive, basic no-frills fryers. No matter what system you have, however, several golden rules apply; teach your employees, then monitor them to ensure they follow through.
Use Only Approved Cleaning Materials
When it’s time to empty and clean fryer vats, the processes are very important to follow to a “T”. (Manufacturers and cleaning-solution companies post great step-by-step cleaning procedures on YouTube.) Shortcuts can cause trouble.
Don’t let your employees use metal spatulas to scrape fryer debris off of the sides. Don’t let them grab any old scouring pad, grill brush or steel wool because it’s convenient; these items can scratch stainless.
Manufacturers furnish proper long-handled brushes as well as narrow bristle brushes for getting between burners.
Aside from the cleaning process—a boil-out that uses water and a cleaning agent—water and oil are still archenemies. During normal operation, keep moisture away from the fryer; use a dry cloth to wipe down surfaces. Similarly, ban soaps and degreasers when you’re wiping down the fryer because they leave residues behind that cause chemical reactions and contaminate food flavors.
Filter Several Times Daily
When and how many times you filter will be determined by the type, quantity and frequency of the product you cook and, frankly, the quality of the fryer you purchase.
Heavily floured and breaded foods release more crumbs into oil than if you only are frying French fries. But if your fryer is in constant use, even for just one food item, crumbs and food particles break off quickly and carbonize, ultimately degrading the oil.
With hot-oil-resistant gloves, apron and goggles and the proper tool, employees should skim crumbs off of the top of the oil to prevent them from sinking in the vat where they can clog tubes or coils.
Clearing debris from the bottom of the vat requires regular filtering, a manual or automatic process depending on the fryer you purchase.
Get The Parts Right
Wrong or poorly functioning parts will derail the whole unit. There’s no room for improvisation when it comes to using the parts that are made for the fryer, from baskets to fryer filters to replacement parts.
Operators sometimes choose the cheapest parts, which don’t always fit properly. It is essential to assemble filter-pan components correctly; sometimes employees take liberties with the filter paper. They insert paper that doesn’t fit the pan, then debris sneaks around the paper, gets into places it shouldn’t and clogs the machine.
A certified technician should inspect your fryers at least once a year to check gas pressures, time melt cycles, calibrate temperatures and adjust other fine points.
Put Baskets In Their Place
Some fry cooks are careless about how they load or season products—over the oil is not good as it causes the oil to break down faster—or they put baskets on top of the fryer flue, the edge of the fryer or other places they don’t belong. Baskets only should be placed in two places: in the oil or on a basket hanger over the oil.
Keep Air, Light Out
Not frying for a few hours? Protect the oil from degrading unnecessarily by turning the fryer off or reducing the temperature to about 230°F-280°F and covering the vats.
Some high-efficiency machines automatically go into an idle phase if nothing is submerged for a while.
Covering the oil vat blocks airborne particles from contaminating the oil, even from miniscule dust motes, airborne flour and more. There are two other threats to uncovered oil: Air speeds the oxidation process that breaks down oil. Also, if a cleaning crew power washes the floor, debris can fly into open vats.
If your employees aren’t trained in fryer maintenance, your fryers won’t be maintained. Manufacturers offer a range of training materials, videos, equipment quizzes and instruction cards and diagrams that can mount inside of the fryer doors—all help reinforce employee knowledge.
Copyright FER August 2015