Today we would like to share some details about professional contact grills: when you decide to buy these catering equipments, where should you focus your attention? Which elements need to be checked carefully?
In our opinion 4 aspects need to be considered in a comparative evaluation of these products:
- The construction material and the certifications of food compatibility: cast iron plate or glass ceramic plate?
- Heating surfaces: smooth plate or grooved plate?
- Heating and cooling times: plate for rapid heating or plate with thermal inertia?
- Average energy consumption
Take into account that your concrete needs will guide you to the right solutions; it is therefore necessary to think about the usage, the foods and the results you want to achieve.
Cast Iron Plates
Cast iron is a material used since ancient times, it is very resistant to oxidation, and has a remarkable thermal conductivity (thermal conductivity measures a substance’s capacity to transmit heat: the greater the conductivity, the less insulating is the material: cast iron value is around 50, steel value around 30, aluminum around 100). This cooking plates exploit these characteristics and can guarantee both rapid heating of the surface and constant temperature without jolting, which translates into a flexible and quality production capacity.
Our cast iron cooking plates’ surface has a special ceramic protective treatment, melted into the cast iron, that improves resistance to acids, salt and to other wearing and aggressive agents connected to a professional use in restaurants and catering.
Furthermore the surface can be easily cleaned with its special included cleaning brush.
Cast Iron grills: ideal use
The cast iron contact grill is perfect for a long and continuous use, when it is necessary to have a very strong and reliable machine for intensive use.
Glass ceramic plates
Glass ceramic grills
The glass ceramic contact grills and fry tops can cook any food, from sandwiches and panini to meat, fish or vegetables, providing excellent results. They are safe to use and extremely fast and easy to clean which gives clear benefits in terms of energy savings and increased productivity in the kitchen.
The glass ceramic contact grill has a low capacity to store heat but offers a good heating rate – maximum temperature is reached a few minutes (the plate reaches 300 ° C in just over 3 minutes).
The heating system developed by Milantoast is characterized by a double technology: heat is transmitted both by contact and by infrared radiation. The optimized heating generators and the special design of the ceramic glass plate allow to increase efficiency, allowing the contact grill to have a low consumption both during usage and in standby.
Glass ceramic is a material created from glass in the post-war period, in order to achieve greater performance in terms of resistance to acids, and more. The melting temperature of glass ceramic is above 1000 ° C and the temperature of continuous usage use can reach up to 700 ° C.
Glass Ceramic is a very smooth material and therefore easy to clean, that is the reason why it is suitable to cook any food.
The only food that is preferable not to heat / cook on the glass ceramic plate is sugar (or highly sugary products), since in the long run, they might affect the surface.
In order to properly clean the ceramic glass surface it is not advisable to use descaling spray for ovens or aggressive chemicals, while using the cleaning scraper supplied with the product. We also advise to pay attention to the use of specific chemical products for glass surfaces as it is necessary to verify that they are suitable for food contact (follow the instructions).
Glass Ceramic grills: ideal use
The glass ceramic plate is ideal when, due to the standard use of the product, the following needs are predominant:
- Energy saving
- Frequent start/stop usage
From a dimensional point of view it is also advisable to take into account two relevant factors:
- On all Milan Toast ceramic glass plates, with a total machine width of 41 cm, the net cooking area is 36 cm wide.
- In the double plates the cooking zone has been designed without interruption between the right and left parts, while usually, when we look at alternative products, there are 2 small separate cooking areas.
Glass ceramic vs. Cast iron grills
The main difference between cast iron grills and glass ceramic grills is heating-related: while cast iron plates are able to maintain the set temperature longer, glass ceramic cooking surfaces are quicker to reach the set temperature.
Which surface heats better?
Both machines offer excellent performance. It should be considered that different contact surfaces offer different heating methods. It will therefore be the result we want to achieve to guide our choice.
For a striped and hot bread, it will be preferable to use cast-iron, For a toasted slice definately glass ceramic.
Is it better to have a smooth or grooved plate?
The scratching effect is always pleasant but in this case you have to take into account that the product will be more difficult to clean. A good compromise, which we recommend, can be the contact grill with smooth lower plate and grooved upper plate.
However, Milantoast offers all possible combinatios, regardless of the material.
Which surface consumes more electricity?
With the same heating surface, the maximum power used in a glass ceramic plate is at least 30% lower compared to the homologation in cast iron, while the electric consumption (operating costs) in the use is about a half.
Food contact regulation
The legislation that regulates Materials and Objects in Contact with Food (MOCA) is very articulated within the national and European perimeter and is therefore more reassuring than consumer rights, for further details, please see Commission Regulation (EC) No 2023/2006 of 22 December 2006 on good manufacturing practice for materials and articles intended to come into contact with food. The production and processing of our cast-iron contact grills, just like all our products, takes place in our warehouse in Italy, in order to guarantee their compliance with national and European standards regarding food-contact materials that are more restrictive and protective than non-European regulations.