Probe Thermometers - How do I Calibrate them Correctly?
Professional chefs and restaurant/kitchen managers understand it is essential to monitor and control food temperatures. Doing so protects their clients from food borne illnesses and helps to secure their professional reputations. It is clearly understood that food left for too long in the temperature danger zone between 50C and 600C is highly susceptible to exponential bacteria growth. This represents a significant health risk to patrons so must be continuously guarded against.
Probe thermometers are the essential piece of equipment all professional kitchens require to safely monitor and control food temperatures. They need to be regularly used to ensure food stays safely above or below the temperature danger zone. They are efficient and effective for measuring the temperature of food which is cooling, on display, being thawed, under heat lamps, being re-heated, in bain maries and in a variety of other common commercial kitchen situations.
Like many measuring devices, probe thermometers need to be regularly calibrated to ensure the measurements they take are accurate. There are two methods that may be employed to calibrate probe thermometers in all commercial kitchens. Follow these simple steps whenever you are required to safely monitor and control food temperatures.
Step 1. Mix 50% cold water from the fridge with 50% crushed ice in a mug or beaker.
Step 2. Allow 5 minutes for the heat to evenly spread throughout the container.
Step 3. Insert probe thermometer into icy liquid.
Step 4. Wait 1 minute.
Step 5. Read temperature on probe thermometer. It should rest between -10C and 10C.
Step 6. If required, manually adjust probe thermometer reading to 00C while still in icy water. If this is not possible, arrange for a professional re-calibration or simply replace the thermometer with a new manually adjustable unit.
Take precautions to avoid burns.
Step 1. Boil tap water and poor into a mug or beaker. Stir gently for 30 seconds. Discard this water.
Step 2. Pour additional boiling water into mug or beaker.
Step 3. Insert probe thermometer into liquid.
Step 4. Wait 2 minutes.
Step 5. Read temperature on probe thermometer. It should rest between 990C and 1010C.
Step 6. If required, manually adjust probe thermometer reading to 1000C while still in water. If this is not possible, arrange for a professional re-calibration or simply replace the thermometer with a new manually adjustable unit.
Chefs and restaurant/kitchen managers are ultimately responsible for the safety of the patrons consuming their food. There have been too many outbreaks of food poisoning that could have been avoided if proper food handling and preparation techniques had been used in the first place. Using an accurately calibrated probe thermometer to safely monitor and control food temperature is one simple method all kitchen staff can employ to help maintain public health.