A Bratt Pan is very versatile piece of kitchen equipment that can be commonly used for eight different methods of cooking, although some have limited functionality. These methods of cooking are: Steaming, Poaching, Deep-fat frying, Stewing, Boiling, Braising, Roasting and Shallow frying. Some versions have limited functionality.
Bratt pans have deep rectangular cooking pots and pull down lids and can be heated by either gas or electricity. They are most useful for multi method cooking of one particular dish or food substance such as browning cubed steak with the lid open and on a high temperature setting, followed by then closing the lid, adding liquid and turning the heat down to then braise the browned meat. This method could also be used for creating soups and stocks.
Bratt pans get their names from the German word ‘brat’ which means ‘fry’, although in Germany they are actually called ‘Kippentopf’ which means ’tilting pan’. This name relates to the tilting feature that Bratt pans have than can either be electric or manual.
The tilting feature is used for both cooking and cleaning. When cooking, the lid of the pan can be closed and the pan tilted, enabling liquid and other food stuffs to be poured into the pan through a v-cut opening, ensuring that there is little risk of being burnt or scalded.
When cleaning the tilt mechanism can be used to aid rinsing by swirling water around the pan. Some pans even come with the added function of being able to be connected to the mains water supply so that water can be directly piped to the pan for cleaning or cooking.
There is also a version of pressurised Bratt pan that works much the same as typical pressure cookers. Because the lid can be clamped so tightly, water temperatures above 100 degrees Celsius can be reached and so cooking times are reduced.
Bratt pans are typically used for producing large volumes of food and so are almost always present in large hotels, restaurants, hospitals and universities. They are rarely if ever used for domestic purposes as their size and nature of use do not lend themselves to home cooking.
Because these items are essentially industrial or commercial equipment they are designed to last for some years. They do still however require continual maintenance and especially need daily cleaning to keep them working efficiently and to maintain health and safety standards.