eTundra Categories

Archive | Get Equipped

Learn how to buy the right restaurant equipment and supplies right here.

Recipe Measurement Converter & Equivalents

As the holidays start coming closer, we thought it would be a perfect opportunity for our blog team to work together with the graphics team to put together some printable material that would make great gifts for those Chefs in your life. 

Our very talented Audrey Diaz and I thought a recipe measurement converter and equivalent infographic would be a perfect piece to frame and gift.  It would look great in the home kitchen or office;  either way, it’s our free gift to you.  Enjoy.

Recipe Measurement Converter & Equivalents

Click on image for larger view, and PDF version.

Embed This Image On Your Site (copy code below):

Continue Reading

Shopping Guide: Commercial Toasters

Pop-Up Toaster

Unless you’re in the bread business, the likelihood of you having to dig into the logistics of toasters probably isn’t high on your list.  But for those delis and breakfast joints, making sure the bread is toasted just right is essential to business.  Besides, what would a great burger be without a buttered, toasted bun?  This toaster guide goes through several factors you should consider when investing in a new toaster for your restaurant or food service business.

1.    Brand and Cost

Brands aren’t as important to some people as other factors, but for others, the difference in the brand can make or break the deal.  The good news is that there are many different well-known brands that manufacture different types of toaster ovens.  And because there are different types, sizes, manufacturers, etc., the price is dependent on a lot of factors that we’ll go through below, but for reference, a toaster can go from $75 to $3,000.  But that beefcake of a toaster at the high-end is able to produce 1,000 slices of toast per hour!

2.    TypeWaring - WCT708 - 4 Slot Medium Duty Pop-Up Toaster

There are essentially 2 types of toasters: a pop-up toaster and a conveyer toaster.  The pop-up toaster is what most people are used to seeing in their homes, but a commercial pop-up toaster is made to hold up in a kitchen where it would be used much more than a home toaster ever would.  In fact, even though it’s our smallest toaster, the Waring WCT702 is capable of doing 30 slices of toast per hour. 

A conveyer toaster can toast bread on one-side or both sides (or can be adjusted to do either), and is capable of producing anywhere from 350 slices per hour to 1,100.  Some conveyer toasters even come with a butter roller so that you can butter the buns easier.

3.    Dimensions

Like home toasters, commercial toasters are made to fit on the counter, but they do have dimensions that you should think about before investing. 

Equipment Size

First off, make sure the toaster will fit the space you’d like to have it placed.  Our smallest toaster is the size of a regular home toaster, but our largest one is 24”H x 34”W x 26”D.  Remember to always measure the space before you buy any piece of equipment. 

Slot Width and Conveyer Width

Depending on the size of bread you’ll be toasting, you’ll want to pay attention to the width of the slots of a pop-up toaster and the width and clearance of a conveyer toaster.  There’s a big difference between a normal slice of white bread and a slice thick of Texas toast; just like there’s a difference between the size of English muffins, bagels, hoagies, etc.  Ranges for slot width and conveyer width and clearance are as follows:

  • Slot widths range from 1” to 1 5/8”
  • Conveyer widths range from 10 ½” to 14”
  • Clearance for a conveyer toaster range from 1 ½” to adjustable (usually up to 3”)
    • Clearance is for the amount of space the bread has to pass through the conveyer

Holman - DT14 - Double Conveyor Toaster - 1,000 Halves/Hr4.    Chambers & Slots

As you probably know, a pop-up toaster has different numbers of slots: they can come with 2 slots, 4 slots, or 6 slots.  But conveyers have chambers, which is the place where the bread is laid to enter the toaster.  Conveyers can come with 1 chamber or 2 chambers, and the toasters that come with 2 chambers have variable heat controls so you can toast sliced bread at one heat setting, and buns at another.

5.    Heat Control

With pop-up toasters, you usually won’t have the option to adjust the temperature.  You can adjust the time the bread is in the toaster, so that it doesn’t cook as long, but the temperature stays consistent. 

Conveyer toasters usually have more options when it comes to the heat source, including being able to adjust the temperature or turn one element off so that you can toast only one side of the bread.  Conveyer toasters specifically for bun grilling only heat on one side, but the temperature for that element is typically still adjustable. 

The importance of being able to adjust temperature, is because it will give the bread a different affect (flavor if you will), which may be important for some recipes.  The temperature setting also has an effect on how much bread can be toasted per hour.

6.    Slices of Toast Per Hour

The number of slices the toaster puts out per hour is highly dependent on how much you will be using the toaster.  If you’re running a continental breakfast, a pop-up toaster would work out fine, but a burger joint would fit better with a conveyer toaster. 

Think to yourself, how much toast are you really going to need every hour?  Is the business going to grow, and need more toast in the future?  The answer to these questions will help you find if that toaster that is capable of doing 30 slices per hour is the right for your business, or if the one that does 1,100 slices per hour is better.

7.    What Kind of Bread Can it Toast

This fits with slot width, conveyer width, and heat control, but the type of bread you’ll be toasting is important to think about too.  The toaster has to have enough clearance so that the bread will fit West Bend - 78222 - Stainless Steel QuikServe® Toasterinto the equipment.  If the slot width is 1” and you’re cooking 1” Texas toast, well, that’ll be a tight fit. 

Also, if all you’re going to be toasting is buns, then a conveyer toaster with only one heating element will do you good.  But always remember, if you’re planning on expanding into other recipes in the future that may need two heating elements, you may want to go with a conveyer toaster with adjustable heating elements (where one side can be turned off, and turned back on when needed).

8.    Volts, Amps, and Watts

And we can’t end this without reminding you to always take a look at the voltage, amps, and watts of any equipment, before you make a purchase.  We don’t want anything bad to happen, but if you need a quick rundown on what to consider, take a look at this how-to guide on watts, amps, and volts.

In Closing

If you still have questions on what toaster is right for you, give our sales team a call at 888-388-6372 or use our Live Chat feature at the top of our main website.

Continue Reading

The Good & Bad of Commercial Grade Equipment & Supplies in Your Home

Thinking about putting commercial grade equipment in your kitchen?

Question: Is there really a difference between restaurant grade products and products that I can get at other online and local stores?

Answer: It’s kind of hard to answer that question, because the answer is, it depends.

The Bad

It depends on what you’re shopping for, because a commercial oven has many different features than a standard home oven would have.  A commercial oven is meant to be used 12+ hours a day, constantly making meals for the masses.  These ovens don’t have all of the same safety features that you’d expect in your home oven (like the knobs are much easier for little hands to turn, which is dangerous), and they use a lot more power than a residential oven.  Your home exhaust would have to be switched over to commercial grade ventilation, and the flooring would have to be updated to handle the weight of these large pieces of equipment.  Commercial ovens are also not insulated, meaning, they can’t be installed between home cupboards and against normal residential walls.  In fact, the majority of commercial equipment needs special walling and plenty of space on the sides so that there is enough ventilation.

Same goes for commercial grade refrigerators, they use a lot more energy than home refrigerators and only come with the refrigerator section – no built in freezer (you’d have to buy that separately).

And finally, if you’re planning on installing commercial equipment in your home, you need to know that warranty is officially void.  Warranties are not upheld once equipment is installed in residential kitchens.  And any future maintenance and repairs that you can’t do yourself usually calls for a specialized tech that has commercial-equipment-repair-know-how… meaning repairs could be costlier than normal repair techs would charge.

The Good

But, if you’re up for making these changes and are well educated about what a commercial kitchen means for your home, you’re good to go (call our sales team if you need any help).  These large appliances are able to hold a lot more food, cook more meals and look awesome in a residential kitchen.  Not to mention, they’ll likely be the last purchase of its kind for you, because there’s no way your wear-and-tear on them will match what a restaurant does to them!  They’re basically indestructible in a home; well worth the price.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for supplies like a blender or knives, commercial grade will blow your mind!  Seriously, talk about indestructible, have you seen the Blendtec blender do its magic…

These blenders are made for the food service industry, and are strong enough to last a lifetime in residential kitchens.  Seriously, you’ll be handing them down to your kids.

A knife is a knife?  I think not.  The difference is that the steel and metal used in most knifes don’t even come close to the German and Japanese steel used in commercial knives.  They stay sharp longer, and will make you fall in love with chopping and dicing.  Yes, I said love, the majority of our staff can go on for hours about their favorite kitchen knife (and most talk about their sets of knives).

Also, a lot of restaurant supplies come in bulk.  So you may be buying a lot at once, but because of the bulk price, you save a lot of money!

And anyone that’s ever worked in a commercial kitchen will swear by commercial grade plastic wrap.  I personally have a box at home, and it has lasted me forever!  But the best part is that this stuff sticks to anything!  Not like the stuff you get at the grocery store that usually caves in if you put anything on it, this stuff is likely to cling itself to you if you don’t get it on the dish fast enough – seriously, I’m a bit obsessed with the commercial grade plastic wrap.

These are just a few items that we’ve fallen in love with in our homes, but let us know what other commercial grade products you swear by in your home.

Continue Reading

State Fair Must-Haves to Keep Serving Up Good Eats

When you’re organizing a State Fair there are plenty of things you need to have on hand beyond just food and crowds. But we didn’t want to just give you a long list of concession items; instead, we took this great example from Buzzfeed, and gave it our own spin.

1. You’ll need extra janitorial supplies, because you know there’s going to be a mess.  There’s always a mess.

2. You’ll also need plenty of paper towels, napkins, and disposable plates, so hopefully people can maintain their own messes – don’t forget the trash bags to uphold trash levels!

3. To compete for the most extreme State Fair eats, you’ll definitely have to stock up on the right merchandisers and supplies – chocolate covered corn dogs anyone?

4. And fried foods, yeah, you need to be prepared for your next fried food concoction too. Donut hamburgers… may be good?

5. You’re in the middle of State Fair week and something breaks.  This is the time for breaks, because the closest supplier is miles away.  Don’t be jealous that your neighbor thought ahead and made sure he had all the extra parts needed to make quick repairs.

6. Tables? Chairs? Drapes? Booth Equipment?  Why rent when you can buy it and reuse it every year (shh, it also saves you more money this way).

7. Step right up!  Velvet rope isn’t just for corralling the crowds, it also adds a little pizazz to your booth.

Continue Reading

7 Tips to Help Tackle the School Summer Cleaning Rush

Mop bucket in the closet - time to clean!

It may be summer break for the kids, but that doesn’t mean that the school closes down for the season; in fact, for custodians and janitors, it’s the time when they can be the most productive.  The kids aren’t around to continue to clean-up and sanitize after, and there’s a big empty building waiting to be cleaned.

However, the truth is there’s a lot of space and rooms in a school and without planning things out, it can be overwhelming.  Here are a few tips we thought may help you organize the school summer cleaning rush.

1. Know the School.  How many rooms are there?  What are the square feet of each of those rooms?  How many custodians are able to help?  With this information, you can at least write down how many classrooms you have, how many bathrooms, and how many larger rooms there are.

2. Know the Rooms. Each room type is going to have its own needs – some rooms have tile, some have carpet, some need to be waxed, some need to be stripped, etc.  So when cleaning the rooms, you’ll want to know exactly what you need to bring along so you’re not lugging around more than you need.  After you know what each of the rooms needs are, write a list down, and try to get a rough estimate of how long it will take to clean each room.  A classroom deep clean may take 6 hours to complete; whereas, a single bathroom may only take an hour.  With simple math, you can see how 6 classrooms and 2 single stall bathrooms could be cleaned in a 40 hour work week.

3. Checklists.  If you’re a veteran at what you do, I’m sure you’re thinking to yourself, “I don’t need any checklists, I got this girl!”  Well, that may be true, but your knowledge is meant to be shared.  Create a list, and perfect it overtime so that others can learn what it is that’s expected of them when they clean the facility.

4. Don’t Tackle it all at Once. If you live in a small school district, it may be easy to get the entire building clean in as little as a month, but for larger schools, it may be easier to section of the school by weeks, or months during the summer.  Do grade by grade, floor by floor, or wing by wing… whatever makes sense to you.  Just don’t get overwhelmed with all of it – take a deep breath.

5. Get the Right Cleaning Supplies. A lot of schools are turning to a green cleaning system, which is good for everyone; regardless, before you get started with cleaning, you’ll need to make sure you have the right cleaning supplies in stock so you’re not running out last minute to gather supplies.

6. Organize. Like in any building or home, periodically we’ve got to look at re-organizing closets, shelves, and cabinets.  This is the perfect time to get things back in order so you can start fresh when the new school year begins.

7. Evaluate Equipment Condition. There’s a lot of equipment placed throughout the school, but regular maintenance is essential in making sure all of that equipment stays up and running when busy time rolls around again.  Use the summer as a time to run through the big and small equipment to see where repairs and maintenance upkeep can be done.  It’s always good to stock up on needed parts too, just in case something stops working when you need it the most.

Are you a custodian that works in a school? What summer cleaning tips have you found to help get through the summer?

Continue Reading

Glassware 101: A Guide to Choosing the Right Drinking Glass

Glassware

Choosing glassware that compliments your business or home is key. Glassware can set the mood for your dining room, bar and at home entertaining requirements. Choosing glassware that best suits your beverage needs is important to your dining guests. eTundra offers glassware in a variety of styles and options including: high-ball glasses, cocktail glasses, collins glasses, wine glasses and more.

Shop All Glassware

Continue Reading →

Continue Reading

Commercial Ice Machine Cleaning Made Easy

A dirty ice machine is unsanitary.  Here's how to clean one.

It’s officially summer and with the season comes extra reason to re-evaluate just how clean your commercial ice machine really is. You can plan on sun-cooked-patrons filling their drinks with ice during the summer months, but nothing ruins that refreshing beverage like dirty ice from an over seasoned machine.

Have no fear! Cleaning an ice machine is easier than it seems. Here are some general cleaning instructions:

Cleaning the Ice Machine

  1. Consult your ice machine manual for specific cleaning instructions and power switch locations, as not all ice machines have the same design.
  2. Open ice machine door to access internal components.
  3. Ensure ice machine is turned off and clear evaporator grid of any remaining ice.
  4. Turn on ice machine clean mode.
  5. Add ice machine cleaner to trough as it fills with water.  Amount of cleaner used is specific to your brand and model of ice machine.
  6. Let machine run through clean cycle.
  7. Once cleaning cycle is complete, turn machine from CLEAN to OFF mode.
  8. Remove internal components (water curtain, water trough, and water distribution tube), and clean with a mild detergent.
  9. Clean inside of ice machine with cloth, water, and mild detergent while internal components are removed.
  10. Replace internal components.
  11. Turn ice machine back on.

Cleaning the Ice Bin

  1. Remove ice from bin and either discard or save for reuse.
  2. Remove drain plug and allow any excess water left in bin to drain.
  3. Wash inside of bin with mild detergent. Sanitize and rinse thoroughly.Clean Ice Machine
  4. Replace drain plug.
  5. Depending on climate and location, hanging a slime remover stick inside bin may help reduce build-up.

Adding/Replacing the Water Filter

  • If you’re not filtering the water used in your ice machine, you’re letting all kinds of minerals affect the quality of the ice.
  • Be sure the filter you use has a scale inhibitor to help eliminate scale build-up.
  • Replace the water filter of your ice machine every 6 months to 1 year.
  • Replacing a filter is as easy as removing the old one and attaching the new one.

Again, the climate and location you’re in determines how often you’ll want to clean and sanitize your ice machine. In bakeries and breweries, where yeast and particles fill the air, cleaning has to happen almost monthly to keep those particles out of the machine and ice. Be sure to keep these factors in mind when establishing a cleaning and filter replacement schedule.

Clean ice means clean drinks, confidently cool beverages, and happy customers. It’s time to make sure your ice machine is up to snuff and ready to perform this season!

 

Continue Reading

Induction Cookware Made Simple

Induction Cooking

The notion and method of induction cooking has been making its way into commercial kitchens for a while now. Impressive, attractive induction cooktops have saturated the market, and while the science behind the technology is sound, many consumers are still hesitant to take the plunge. We’re not here to try and convince you to jump on the induction cooking bandwagon, but if induction is the way you’d like to go it’s important to know what type of cookware will work with your fancy new cooktop.

From stock and sauce pots to braziers, steamers, roasting, grill, and fry pans, cookware comes in a wide range of shapes, sizes, and materials. Over time, and through trial and error, many cooks come to trust a particular brand or learn to stick with a specific material. Unfortunately, there’s a possibility you’re go-to pots and pans might not work on an induction burner.

Will It Work On An Induction Cooktop?

  • Stainless Steel
  • Cast Iron

  • Non-Magnetic Stainless Steel
  • Aluminum
  • Copper

Why?

Complex science aside, it’s the magnetism of the material used in a particular pan that’s important. The kiss between an induction cooktop’s electromagnetic coil and the base of a pan is what causes those metaphorical sparks to fly (no actual sparking occurs). With the right material (magnetic stainless steel and cast iron), it’s love at first site.

With the wrong materials (100% aluminum and copper), it’s the cold shoulder from both parties. Most induction cooktops don’t want anything to do with these “bad” metals, and when they are detected, the cooktop won’t even turn on.

The Magnet Test

Induction Cookware Magnet Test

One of the most common ways to determine whether a pot or pan is induction ready is to do a magnet test. Unofficially named, but widely accepted, the method to this magnetic madness is easy. Simply take an everyday magnet and press it up against the bottom of a piece of cookware. If the magnet sticks then the cookware is induction ready.

Be sure to test the base of the pot or pan as opposed to the sides. Many cookware designs use different metals sandwiched together for the core/base to create optimum cooking conditions (see below). This core is all it takes to make a pan induction ready.

Induction Ready Aluminum and Copper Pans

If aluminum or copper is your cookware cup of tea don’t rule out an induction cooktop just yet. Some aluminum and copper cookware is created with a stainless steel sandwich on the bottom, and the incorporation of induction compatible materials as a base or core makes all the difference.

An aluminum pan, which is great for heat conductivity and even distribution, is shunned by the induction cooker (and vice-versa). But, once paired with a stainless steel base, the aluminum pan can now let the electromagnet work its magic. The induction burner gets turned on, the pan gets hot and bothered, and tasty little baby foods can be made.

So, when on the prowl for a new piece of induction ready cookware don’t immediately rule out anything copper or aluminum – read the details on the pan, and if all else fails whip out your trusty magnet.

Make Your Own Recipe

Cooking your cuisine using an electromagnet may seem futuristic to some, but for many chefs who have adopted the technology into their back line, it’s a welcome change of pace. Literally.

Induction cooking has been shown to heat pans almost instantly, and boiling water takes a fraction of the time as it would using traditional cooking methods. That said, cooking different foods requires different degrees of finesse, and with any new kitchen toy, the style and design of your tools is only part of the recipe.

Visit our main site to see a list of all of Tundra’s induction cooking products.

Continue Reading

Thermostatic vs. Manual Griddles: How to Choose

Not sure what the difference is between a manual and thermostatic commercial griddle? Well you’re not alone, we get asked all the time! Let me break it down for you…

 

Manual Griddles

Manual Griddle

A manual griddle has controls similar to a commercial range with adjustable dials (low, medium, and high settings with a  few notches in-between) to control the size of the flame or heating element temperature under the griddle plate. As soon as you drop cold food onto a hot manual griddle, the surface temperature of the griddle plate drops which could require a manual adjustment to keep the temperature consistent.

Thermostatic Griddles

Thermostatic Griddle

A thermostatic griddle has controls similar to a commercial oven with adjustable dials that read exact temperature settings (rather than low, medium and high). For example, if you want to cook something at 375°F you set the thermostat to the desired temperature and the griddle plate will maintain that temperature within a couple degrees. The griddle automatically adjusts to hold the desired temperature.

How to Choose

If you are using a griddle to cook a variety of foods requiring a wide range of temperatures, a manual griddle is the way to go. The flexibility will be in your best interest and you can then control the amount of electricity/ gas that is fed to the elements/burners.

If you’re a breakfast joint using a griddle to dominate flapjack orders or a burger bar ripping through hamburger requests like they’re going out of style, I recommend a thermostatic griddle. In those instances you will want a consistent surface temperature so you can set it and forget it. Plus, if you’re serving pancakes and burgers “all day” you need to focus on the toppings – not the griddle temperature.

Continue Reading