If we want to quickly cool down a cooked rice without passing it under cold water (which would take away all the aromas), we may want to follow the “shallow pan method”.
The system works well with foods such as refried beans, rice, potatoes, casseroles, minced meat, chili or meatloaf, for example. This will help for a proper cooling of foods. However, you may not want to use it with rice for risotto or authentic paella recipes, but with rice for salads or cold side dishes, for instance.
Shallow pan method steps
In spite of being a two-step cooling method, we could divide the process into some micro-steps:
- Put the hot food in shallow pans. Ensure that the food is no more than two inches thick or deep, this is important.
- Put the pans in the refrigerator on the top shelf where nothing can
drip on them.
- Let the air move around the pans, do not stack or cover them.
- Cover containers after food is 41ºF or even colder.
Et voila! You already know how to cool a pot of rice using the shallow pan method.
Why cooling down rice?
Cooked leftovers that were not served to customers can be cooled and served again. Because bacteria can grow rapidly in the cooling of food, cooling is often the most risky step in food preparation. It is important to cool food through the ” hazard zone” (135ºF – 41ºF) as quickly as possible to prevent bacteria from growing. Adequate cooling is important due to some bacteria can create a sort of poisons that aren’t destroyed by overheating temperatures.