Retherming Brisket in CVap®

retherming brisket

Brisket. Is there a better product to cook to celebrate May’s National BBQ Month? Brisket is incredibly popular, with a 23% increase in menus over the last decade. Whether you’re preparing these babies in-house, or are opting for commercially produced products, CVap ovens are great for retherming brisket without sacrificing quality.

retherming brisket
retherming brisket

To test the full range of products, we rethermed two brisket types. The first was a fully cooked, house-smoked, whole unsliced brisket. The other was commercially produced Hormel sliced brisket. Notably, both briskets were whole, smoked, and fully cooked. But the commercial product was smaller, roughly seven pounds. Additionally, it came presliced. On the other hand, the homemade product is unsliced and was about 14 pounds. We set them up in the same CHV7-05UV oven, with the same program: Vapor 170°F/Air 200°F. We wrapped both briskets in foil and placed them into the preheated oven.

Retherming Brisket - The Same, But Different

Although these were both whole briskets, they fell under different Food Code 3-403.11(C) requirements. The code requires that rethermed proteins hit their required safe temperature in two hours or less

Because the Hormel brisket was a commercially produced product, the code requires it to reach the minimally safe temperature of 135°F. Our CVap oven easily hit the mark. The Hormel brisket reached safe temp in a little under two hours. Clearly, the lower retherming temperature requirement, coupled with CVap’s high humidity retherming program, and the added ingredients (like phosphate) helped keep this pre-sliced brisket perfectly moist.

However, the food code requirements for previously cooked homemade brisket are more stringent. Code dictates that it must reach a minimum safe temperature of 165°F for 15 seconds. Our initial test reveal that this much larger brisket missed the mark on cook time. Unsurprisingly, this brisket, being twice as large as the Hormel product, took nearly twice as long to hit 165°F in the thickest part of the roast, between the point and flat. But no test is a failure, even if the results are not what we wanted. We headed back to the drawing board.

The solution was simple. We separated the whole brisket into the point and flat and wrapped them separately. Consequently, the two smaller cuts reached the required temperature within the two-hour limit. Although we didn’t test it, you could probably optimize the program by either decreasing the vapor and air temperatures or minimizing the temperature differential between the two (for example, Vapor 180°F/Air 190°F, or Vapor 190°F/Air 200°F).

Why Retherm?

What’s the practicality of retherming briskets instead of serving scratch cooked? Time. Briskets are a classic example of a protein you must cook low and slow to achieve the best results. Unless you can perfectly predict how much your operation needs on a given day (and plan accordingly), it is impractical to cook on-demand. But cooking ahead of time and properly refrigerating reduces the time it takes to retherm and serve. Think of it as a form of staging. Ultimately, anything that helps you serve faster and turn tables is beneficial.

A Full Irish Breakfast for St. Patrick’s Day

irish breakfast

The full Irish breakfast harkens back to Ireland’s agrarian past. Farmworkers needed a good, hearty meal to have the energy to power through the rugged daily chores on the farm.

Like much of the world, farmers make up an increasingly small segment of the Irish population. But the popularity of the Irish breakfast hasn’t waned. It remains a favorite for genuine Irish folks and people who simply crave its hearty, basic goodness.

In the spirit of St. Patty’s we wanted to prepare a complete Irish breakfast in our test kitchen. The goal was to prepare as much as we could using our CVap® ovens and keep skillet-cooked foods hot, holding in the CVap® drawers.

irish breakfast
irish breakfast

What Exactly is an Irish Breakfast?

The exact ingredients of an Irish breakfast can vary. There are even regional variations in Ireland itself. But most involve some combination of the following:

  • Rashers (or bacon)
  • Irish sausages
  • Black and white pudding
  • Baked beans
  • Eggs (sunny side)
  • Tomatoes
  • Potato farl (or some other form of cooked potatoes)
  • Brown bread
  • Irish butter
  • Tea or coffee
irish breakfast
irish breakfast
irish breakfast

Settings for Breakfast Ingredients

  • Eggs – prepared sunny-side-up and held in a CVap Drawer at 140°F /+10
  • Beans – rethermed in a CVap oven at 200°F Vapor/200°F Air until thoroughly heated. The warm beans were held in a CVap drawer at 140°F /+10.
  • Rashers (Bacon) – cooked in a CVap oven at 200°F Vapor/350°F Air until it reached preferred doneness (for an Irish breakfast, this means not cooking until crisp). Once cooked, the rashers were held in a CVap drawer at 140°F /+10
  • Bangers (sausage links) – cooked in a CVap oven at 200°F Vapor/350°F Air until thoroughly heated. The cooked bangers were held in a CVap drawer at 140°F /+10.
  • Potatoes (we used frozen rounds) – in a CVap oven at 200°F Vapor/350°F Air until hot and crispy. We then held in a CVap drawer at 90°F /+80
  • White Pudding (pork sausage with cornmeal (like scrapple)) – sliced and cooked in a skillet, then held in a CVap drawer at 90°F /+80.
  • Black Pudding (pork sausage with cornmeal and blood (like scrapple)) – sliced and cooked in a skillet, then held in a CVap drawer at 90°F /+80.
  • Tomatoes – cleaned and sliced in half.

The CVap Advantage

Our big advantage was the availability of our CVap equipment. CVap enabled us to keep everything hot and fresh so that the full breakfast could be presented all together, with every element piping hot and incredibly fresh.

The results were delicious and filling. Just the thing for a cool late-winter day.

We’ll close out this chapter with an Irish prayer. “Bless us with good food, the fit of gab and hearty laughter. May the love and joy we share, be with us ever after!”

Guinness Brown Bread in CVap®

Guinness Brown Bread
Guinness Brown Bread

In a recent Winston blog, we prepared a full Irish breakfast. One of the key ingredients of that breakfast was Guinness Brown Bread. We thought this wonderful, dark bread deserved an entry of its own. We based it on a lovely recipe found on Good Food Ireland’s website.

This recipe takes a few liberties with the traditional Irish soda bread. One might think of brown bread as soda bread’s denser cousin. The original soda bread had just four ingredients: flour, salt, baking soda, and buttermilk. That basic recipe stems from the 1830s when much of Ireland was facing a serious famine. For many poor families, there would have been meals that consisted of only this bread. It kept them alive.

Soda bread also had the advantage of not requiring an oven to bake. It could be cooked in iron pots, or even directly on a stone over the fire. Yeast would have been hard to come but, not to mention expensive. Rather than using yeast for leavening, soda bread uses the chemical reaction between the baking soda and the acid in the buttermilk to leaven the dough. This works well with the soft wheat grown in Ireland.

Brown Bread vs Soda Bread

Guinness Brown Bread shares the same roots as soda bread. The key difference is the flour used. Irish soda bread is slightly sweet, (think scones). It uses white flour, which gives it a milder flavor. It’s a perfect snack or accompaniment to a hot cup of tea or coffee. On the other hand, brown bread has a nutty flavor that comes from the combination of Irish wholemeal flour and oats. It should be sliced think, and enjoyed with a schmear of Irish butter.

As is the case with any standard recipe, the standard baking settings needed a bit of modification for the CVap® ovens. We also needed to tweak the ingredients just a bit, since some ingredients aren’t easy to come by here in the U.S.

Ingredients (for one loaf)

  • 600g Wholemeal Flour (we substituted Whole Wheat Flour)
  • 150g Plain Flour (we substituted All-Purpose Flour)
  • 75g Oatmeal
  • 2 and 1/2 Teaspoons Baking Soda
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • 2-1/2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
  • 40g Butter
  • 480ml Whole Milk
  • 200ml Black Treacle (we substituted Molasses)
  • ½ Pint Guinness® Draught Stout
Guinness Brown Bread
Guinness Brown Bread

The Process

Mix butter with the dry ingredients until the dough develops the consistency of breadcrumbs.

Add the milk, molasses, and the Guinness draught.

Mix until you reach a wet dough.

The Settings

Preheat CHV/RTV-05 oven

  • Vapor Cook– 200°F
  • Air Cook– 350°F
  • Cook Time – 1 Hour

Portion the dough into standard greased loaf pans. Garnish with a few oats.

Bake for approximately 45-50 minutes, or until done.

To speed the bake time, we portioned our dough into mini loaves. This shortened the bake time to about 25 minutes. We also prepared a batch of muffins, which only took about 20 minutes to cook thoroughly. To make this a perfect addition to the meal, we served the warm bread with Kerrygold Irish Butter.

The Extras

In case you’re curious, there is a difference between Irish butter and the butter we’re used to here in the U.S. It turns out, Irish cows live a pretty good life. They feed exclusively on the lush green grass of the Emerald Isle. As a result, the butter they produce is higher in nutrients like beta carotene and is a little higher in fat content. Although the fat is only slightly higher, it is a difference you can taste. In addition, that fat keeps the Irish butter-soft, so it’s much easier to spread without tearing the bread. We highly recommend that you splurge on Irish butter. It will make this dark bread that much more delicious.

Of course, the Guinness draught speaks for itself. It’s a wonderful, dark, creamy stout. We highly recommend it.

Guinness Brown Bread

What is a Retherm Oven?

Retherm Oven

Retherm ovens are high-powered ovens designed to bring prepared foods up to safe serving temperature. They cook large amounts of food, fast. This makes them ideal for schools and other institutional operations. Retherm ovens may also be referred to as thermalizers, thermalizer ovens, rethermalizers, and other terms. Their function is the same, whatever you call them.

First, let’s dig into what retherming means. Then we will discuss the retherm oven and its features.

retherm oven

What is Retherming?

Retherming is reheating previously cooked food to a safe temperature. According to the USDA, prepared food must be reheated to an internal temperature of 165°F, within two hours, or it must be discarded. Cooking times of 90 minutes are preferred, to allow a safe amount of flexible preparation and cooking time. 

Notably, thermalizer ovens allow off-site food preparation. Indeed, this is advantageous for centralized kitchens with satellite operations. Critically, most retherm ovens, such as CVap® Retherm Ovens, max out at 350°F. Accordingly, these ovens don’t require ventilation hoods (in most locations).

Retherm Efficiency

Granted, in many respects, retherm ovens are similar to low-temperature convection ovens or cook and hold ovens.

However, retherm ovens have greater wattage and air movement. Consequently, this improves energy transfer efficiency. Retherm efficiency is the transfer of energy from a heated cabinet to a thermal mass (food) at a fast and controlled rate. In other words, retherm energy efficiency is a measure of how much of the energy that an oven consumes is delivered to the food product during the rethermalization process.

Critically, the larger the thermal mass, the more energy (kW), is needed to transfer to the mass. In the same regard, the more energy (kW), the faster the thermal mass can absorb the energy and reach desired temperatures. Consequently, this makes retherm ovens ideal for reheating chilled or frozen foods. They deliver lots of energy, quickly.

Heating Quickly and Safely

Most standard thermalizers use robust air circulation to reheat food.

Volume feeding presents unique challenges. Above all, how does one provide fast results, without overcooking or dehydrating food? One option is a combi oven. These powerful ovens can operate as convection, conventional, or steam ovens. While they are extremely fast, they’re also extremely expensive. However, combi ovens require a big initial investment, and continuous maintenance and chemicals to keep in good condition. Importantly, one should definitely consider TCO when contemplating the best oven for their operation.

During the retherm process, food is quickly brought back up to safe serving temperature. Once the set temperature has been reached, the oven automatically switches to hold mode, keeping products hot and ready until serving time.

If multiple loads are required, many manufacturers offer holding cabinets. These specialized cabinets keep cooked food at a hot, safe temperature until serving. Importantly, these can free up the retherm oven for additional batches.

Presets and Channels

Many retherm ovens offer preset menu selections. 

Each menu channel is a different set of oven parameters. Significantly, each channel is ideal for a specific group of menu items.

retherm oven

Factors affecting oven temperature and cook time when retherming:

  • State of Food: Slacked vs. frozen. Slacked food has been defrosted to 41°F. Naturally, slacking is recommended when retherming, as it cuts down the cooking time. Of course, most retherm ovens are capable of cooking prepared frozen foods within the food-safe time window. They just take longer.
  • Product Density: Denser food products lead to longer cook times.
  • Oven load: Greater space between products promotes better air movement, resulting in shorter cook times. In other words, don’t overload your retherm oven.

Ideally, retherm ovens:

  • Retain nutritional value.
  • Maintain food flavor and texture.
  • Simplify meal transportation.
  • Reduce meal and labor costs.
  • Achieveconsistent food quality and food safety.
  • Save space.

Retherm ovens reduce food shrinkage and increase food quality. Because they don’t generally require vent hoods, retherm ovens offer the ability to prepare food in locations you wouldn’t otherwise be able to (local codes prevail). Indeed, this can open additional cooking capacity within limited footprints.

Winston’s CVap Retherm Ovens

Winston’s CVap Retherm Ovens are built to last. Solid stainless steel construction is built to withstand continuous, demanding use.

CVap Retherm Ovens are versatile ovens that cook with amazing precision. Naturally, they’re a great alternative to combi ovens, and much more affordable. Surely, CVap ovens are a powerful solution to your commercial oven needs.

CVap Retherm Ovens are available in two feature levels:

Series 7 Retherm Ovens

CVap Series 7 Retherm Ovens are our top-of-the-line. Built with brains and brawn, Series 7 ovens will be the rock star in any commercial kitchen. Features include:

  • Capacitive touch controls
  • Eight adjustable preset channels
  • Audio port
  • HACCP data download
  • Switchable convection fan
  • CVap wireless programming (via NFC or USB).
  • Optional food probe

These powerful ovens are a great solution for your thermalizer needs.

The Series 7 feature set is also available in CVap Holding Cabinets and Cook and Hold Ovens.

series 5

Series 5 Retherm Ovens

CVap Series 5 Retherm Ovens deliver serious performance. Series 5 ovens bring fantastic features, including:

  • Capacitive Touch Controls
  • Eight adjustable preset channels
  • Audio Port
  • HACCP Data Download
  • Convection fan
  • CVap programming (via USB)

These commercial ovens are a great solution for foodservice operations that need to serve lots of food, fast. They produce quality and quantity.

The Series 5 feature set is also available in CVap Holding Cabinets and Cook and Hold Ovens.

CVap Retherm Cooking Processes

Winston’s retherm ovens are extremely versatile. These are some of the cooking processes possible in these ovens.

Probe Cooking

Probe cooking is available in Series 7 Retherm Ovens. Certainly, a probe enhances oven precision. In fact, it makes it easily documentable. Indeed, it eliminates guesswork and simplifies the cooking process.


CVap Retherm Ovens excel at retherming frozen or chilled prepared food. Controlled vapor heat is incredibly efficient at heat transfer. Significantly, it retherms food without burning outer edges. Likewise, CVap’s air heat controls surface texture. As a result, foods are as moist or crispy as desired.


Staging brings food to the desired internal temperature, then holds it there, without overcooking or drying out. Certainly, the final flavor-enhancing and texturing touches can be made moments before the food is served. Significantly, CVap ovens offer all the advantages and precision of sous vide, without requiring bags.

Overnight Cooking

Labor is a big uncertainty. Overnight cooking can help. Load up your CVap ovens with the food needed for the next day. The morning crew will clock in to find perfectly cooked food, holding precisely at the selected temperature and texture.


CVap retherm ovens can do double-duty as a holding cabinet. In a perfect world, every meal is cooked fresh to order. The reality of foodservice is that food usually must be held before it’s served. But holding food doesn’t mean it can’t be kept fresh. CVap maintains just-cooked freshness, temperature, and texture for extended periods. You can cook and hold, in the same footprint!

Sous Vide

Surely, sous vide is one of the most precise cooking methods. Traditionally it involves sealing foods in food-safe plastic bags and placing them in a temperature-controlled water bath. The advantage to sous vide is that food simply can’t exceed the temperature of its water bath, eliminating overcooking. Likewise, CVap ovens offer the precision of sous vide. However, CVap gives you the ability to add or manage food color and texture…abilities that aren’t possible in an immersion circulator. After all, you can match the production of a dozen circulators with a single CVap oven. 

Like traditional sous vide, CVap ovens utilize water as the primary heat transfer medium. But instead of water immersion, CVap uses heated water vapor. Notably, you can avoid the expense and mess of bags. However, if you desire the flavor concentration that bags provide, CVap ovens handle them with no problem.


Steaming involves continuously boiling water to vaporize into steam. The steam carries heat to food, cooking it. In the meantime, food is kept separate from the boiling water but directly contacts the steam. Conventional commercial steamers utilize continuous clouds of 212°F steam. Indeed, some steamers can even exceed that temperature. However, CVap ovens allow you to steam at 200°F. Because it’s below 212°F, it gives the operator greater control and flexibility over the food.


CVap technology’s precision makes it ideal for proofing because low, moist heat accelerates the rising process. Accordingly, CVap keeps the temperature low and stable, allowing the yeast to get down to the business of rising, without temperature fluctuations.

Automatic Hold

CVap Retherm Ovens feature an automatic hold. When the cook cycle is complete, the ovens transition to hold mode. Hence, this maintains food at the desired doneness level until you’re ready to serve, without overcooking or drying out. In fact, CVap ovens can be used as holding cabinets, allowing double duty from a single unit.


CVap ovens are ideal for bread and pastries. Significantly, they are unparalleled at preparing moist dishes, such as cakes, cheesecake, and crème brûlée. In fact, if it bakes at 350°F or lower, it bakes best in CVap ovens.


CVap ovens can double as smokers. Accordingly, adding an optional Winston Smoker Box to your oven yields tender, juicy meats with a smoky flavor. In fact, you can even cook sous vide and smoke at the same time. In the end, the smoker box is a must-have accessory for any barbeque establishment.


Blanching involves scalding food in boiling water or steam, removing it after a specific brief interval, and then shocking it by plunging it into iced water or under cold running water to stop the cooking process. Certainly, this process minimizes quality loss. In fact, it preserves color, flavor, and nutritional value. Critically, CVap Retherm Ovens deliver the same thermal load as commercial steamers. However, CVap’s maximum blanching temperature is 200°F at 100% relative humidity. Critically, this allows for a more gentle, controlled blanch.


Braising involves cooking, searing, or roasting food’s exterior to create flavor and color, then adding a liquid. To be sure, the goal is not to submerge the food, but to create steam and vapor to help tenderize food. Of course, cuts of meat with a lot of connective tissue (value cuts) benefit from this method, as well as most vegetables.
– Undoubtedly, the CVap benefit is braising without adding liquid. In fact, CVap ovens create the high moisture environment necessary to achieve the tenderizing that traditional braising provides.


Poaching cooks food in a liquid, such as water, milk, stock, or wine. However, it differs from other “moist” cooking methods in that it is usually at a lower temperature, around 158°F to 176°F. Consequently, the low temperature makes it ideal for delicate foods, such as eggs, poultry, fish, and fruit. Otherwise, these foods might fall apart using higher temperatures. Because it doesn’t usually use fat or oil to flavor the food, it can be a healthier option. Naturally, CVap ovens make poaching easier. In fact, heated, precisely controlled water vapor takes the place of the liquid bath. Because CVap ovens are so precise, poached foods will come out moist and perfect every time.


Roasting enhances flavor through caramelization and Maillard browning on the food surface. Naturally, it is suitable for slower cooking of meat in a larger, whole piece.  

In fact, CVap ovens were originally designed to be roasting ovens (though they have come a long way since their inception). Consequently, CVap ovens are perfect for low, slow cooking. Of course, the advantage to this is the roasting is done below the temperature of collagen shrink. Indeed, those tough fibers contract at higher temperatures, but slow roasting in a CVap thermalizer dissolves them. As a result, even the toughest cuts become tender.


Stewing involves cooking proteins (typically tougher cuts) and vegetables in a liquid, usually water or broth. Importantly, stews are cooked at a low simmer, rather than a boil. Consequently, this gently breaks down connective tissues in the meats and vegetables, making everything softer. Importantly, the simmer allows the flavors of the ingredients to intermingle. Naturally, CVap’s moist heat makes it perfect for stew. In fact, their ability to cook precisely at a low temperature means you can load up ovens and produce gallons of stew in a very small space.

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Pepperoni Rolls, Simple and Delicious

pepperoni rolls

Pepperoni rolls, the simple yet impressive combination of bread and pepperoni (and sometimes cheese).  This uniquely West Virginian recipe was originally created by miners’ wives as a filling lunch that could be eaten in the coal mines. Pepperoni rolls were first commercially produced in 1927 in a Fairmont, WV bakery owned by Italian immigrant Guiseppe Argiro. 

While you can find some variation of this Mountain State treat in other parts of the country now, we thought it was time to produce some in Kentucky in our CVap® ovens.

pepperoni rolls


  • 2 bags of frozen rolls (approximately 73 in a bag)
  • 40-50oz of sliced pepperoni
  • 6lbs shredded colby jack cheese
  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • All-purpose flour
  • Melted butter
This party size recipe makes approximately 140 rolls. 


Start with frozen bread rolls. Unless you have time to make fresh dough, this is the easiest way to get started. Plus the rolls are already perfectly portioned for individual rolls. Place the frozen rolls into a large hotel pan and cover rolls with non-stick cooking spray. This will ensure that they do not stick together while thawing. Place the pan in CVap Holding Cabinet at 100F Vapor/103F Air for about 30 minutes. Once the rolls are soft to touch, it is time to roll and fill them with pepperoni and cheese.

With a healthy amount of flour at your side for the purpose of rolling the dough, use a rolling pin to flatten the dough to about 1/4 inch thick and about 5 inches in diameter. Place a large pinch of cheese in the center of the dough. Add about five slices of pepperoni over the cheese. Fold in the sides and roll until the dough is like a burrito. Trap the filling in on all sides to prevent leaks.

pepperoni rolls
pepperoni rolls
pepperoni rolls

Baking Pepperoni Rolls

Spray a large hotel pan with non-stick cooking spray and place the rolled dough into the pan. There should be about an inch of space between each roll for expanding purposes. Brush each roll with melted butter to prevent sticking to each other and to add a nice golden crust.

Once the pan is full, place it back into the CVap Holding Cabinet at 100F Vapor/103F Air for about 30 minutes to finish proofing or until the dough has expanded about 1/4 inch all around. The rolls may be touching slightly. In the meantime, preheat a CVap Retherm oven or a CVap Cook and Hold oven to Zero Vapor/350F Air. When the proofing process is complete transfer the pans to the CVap oven. Bake them for about 20 minutes or until they have reached a golden brown on top.

pepperoni rolls

Pair them with some marinara or create the OG West Virginia school lunch with baked beans, chilled peaches, and chocolate milk. Do you have a CVap recipe that you want to share? Post your recipes and pictures on the CVap Operators group!

Carnitas in CVap®

events carnitas
events carnitas

I love food, and I mean all types of food! My absolute favorite style of cuisine is Hispanic – more specifically, Mexican, with its wealth of tradition and depth of flavors. What’s not to love? I have a group of friends I meet every Sunday at our local On the Border for lunch and a margarita or three (if I’m being honest, the food is decent, but the margaritas are the real draw!). I decided to mix it up one Sunday and order one of my favorite traditional Mexican dishes: carnitas.

They were less than spectacular, and I asked my friend Sergio why he thought they weren’t very good. He replied that too many people really only want fajitas on the hot plate, and this restaurant’s preparation just wasn’t traditional. To be fair, one look around the room proved that he was right. It looked like a sauna with the steam rising from every table. I was a victim of demand.

carnitas ingredients

Let's Make Carnitas!

I wasn’t about to settle for this disappointment, however. Carnitas is a staple of Mexican cuisine and I mean, c’mon, it’s PORK! I decided to take matters into my own hands. There are many ways to prepare carnitas, but traditionally it is shoulder meat (or leftover parts of a butchered hog) slow braised for several hours in pork lard, confit style. Once the pork has broken down enough, it is taken out and either pulled apart or cut into cubes. It then goes back into the lard with the heat turned up, and is fried to add texture. There are many twists and variations of this dish, and the part of the country you are from usually defines what ingredients and flavors your carnitas might have. For this recipe, I’m combining the old with the new and adding a splash of CVap®.


2 Lbs. pork shoulder, cut into 1″ cubes
½ teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cumin
2 small bay leaves
½ lime
1 cinnamon stick
½ orange
½ Mexican beer, preferably dark
Fresh cilantro
½ medium onio
2 Lbs. lard or cooking oil


In a large vacuum or re-sealable bag, combine all ingredients.

Place bag in CVap Cook and Hold Oven at the settings below. Drink the other half of your Mexican beer!

carnitas in bag
carnitas in pan

Carnitas CVap Cook and Hold Oven Settings:

Legacy CVap

High Yield Mode: OFF
Doneness: 178
Browning: 0
Time: 8 hours

New CVap

High Yield Mode: OFF
Vapor Temp: 178°F
Air Temp: 178°F
Time: 8 hours

  1. Once the timer goes off, pull the bag out of the Cook and Hold oven and separate the pork cubes from the other ingredients.
  2. Place lard or oil in a fryer or large pot on the stove and set to 350°F (or medium-high heat). Drop the cubes into the oil and let fry until golden brown, about one minute.

Now comes the easy part: eat the carnitas! I usually enjoy them over a bed of rice and beans with a little salsa on top. I also like them in a corn tortilla with diced onions, cilantro, and freshly squeezed lime. Then again, sometimes I just eat them right out of the pot because it’s fried pork and I’m impatient. There is no right or wrong here, just enjoy!

carnitas pork frying
carnitas meat

Delicious Asian Dumplings, CVap Style

Dipping dumplings in soy sauce

May is Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage month. We celebrated by preparing dumplings in our CVap® ovens.

It’s always fun to scratch cook. But we cheated a little with these. Frozen premade dumplings are delicious and easy. We prepared two distinct types:

  • Bao – Fluffy steamed buns. These are traditionally stuffed with a pork mixture. Bao originated in China. They’ve been a part of Chinese cuisine for over a millennium.
  • Jiaozi – Also known as potstickers, these dumplings are usually filled with ground meat and vegetables, wrapped in a wonton wrapper, and sealed by pressing the edges together. Jiaozi are popular throughout Southeast Asia and Western countries. Like bao, jiaozi has been around for over a thousand years.

Gentle Steaming in CVap

Our goal was to demonstrate the gentle steaming abilities of CVap CHV Cook and Hold Oven and RTV Retherm Ovens. Most commercial steamers cook at 212°F or higher. Steam is incredibly efficient at thermal transfer. Consequently, blasting away at food with boiling-temp steam can easily overcook it.

On the other hand, CVap ovens can generate a 100% humidity environment at 200°F vapor, 200°F air. As “gentle steam” implies, this environment is ideal for more delicate foods. Above all, the operator has more control over food quality. And what is more delicate than a bao dumpling?

bao dumplings being prepared for CVap oven

Into the Ovens

Both the CHV and RTV ovens were set to 200/200. We cooked half the dumplings in traditional bamboo steamer baskets. On the other hand, the rest were placed directly onto perforated sheet pans.

As expected, the dumplings cooked a bit faster in the retherm oven. The RTV is more powerful. Accordingly, it excelled at retherming these frozen treats. Both the bamboo and the sheet pan preparations produced excellent results. One advantage to the steamer baskets is that the dumplings may be served directly to the consumer, without removing them from the basket. In contrast, the sheet pan dumplings had to be plated.

Some traditionalists believe that the bamboo steamers give the dumplings a hint of a woody flavor that improves the quality of the dish.

In the end, no matter how they were prepared, or which oven cooked them, they were nonetheless delicious. Certainly, they provided a great opportunity to practice our chopstick skills.

Dumpling Type

RTV Cook Time

CHV Cook Time


15 – 25 minutes (depending on size)

20 – 30 minutes (depending on size)

Pot Sticker

15 – 20 minutes (depending on size)

20 – 25 minutes (depending on size)

Roasting and Blanching Vegetables

Carrots and Brussel Sprouts cooked in CVap oven

Nutritionists have long preached it – we need more vegetables in our diets. Consequently, we wanted to test how CVap® ovens would perform when roasting or vapor blanching a range of vegetables. To that end, tests were conducted in two types of ovens, CVap Retherm Ovens and CVap Cook and Hold Ovens.

Roast Settings: 200°F/350°F in both ovens

Vapor Blanche Settings: 200°F/200°F in both ovens

The goal for both cooking methods was to get the vegetables to 90-95% cooked, just shy of al dente. Primarily, this makes them ideal for a quick reheat, or to be added as a component in a dish with further processing.



What is vapor blanching? CVap is controlled vapor, it’s not steam. Steam is 212°F+. CVap tops out at 200°F. Our 200°F vapor, 200°F air creates 100% humidity, which acts like a low temp steamer. Consequently, when cooking at a lower temperature, it takes a little longer. Critically, it gives you more control over the product.

For vapor blanching, we prefer to use perforated pans. Primarily, it allows the vapor better access to the food, without ponding on the pans. 

Why blanch? It brings out the color in green vegetables, and stops enzyme process. Because it’s par-cooking, it extends the shelf life of the veggies. Most importantly, when you’re facing reduced labor, blanching enables you to do more without negatively impacting food quality or consistency.


Roasting uses dry heat to cook the food. Indeed, roasting can enhance flavor through caramelization and Maillard browning on the surface of the food. Roasting uses indirect, diffused heat (as in an oven), and is suitable for slower cooking


  • Broccoli & Cauliflower – 1-2” pieces
  • Snow Peas & Green Beans – strung
  • Onion & Peppers – 1” dice
  • Zucchini – not recommended for roasting BUT great for vapor blanch zoodles, 5mm Zoodles
  • Mushrooms – stems trimmed and then quartered
  • Brussel Sprouts – cleaned and halved
  • Baby Carrots – halved on the bias

Roasted veggies were lightly tossed with EVO and salt, then baked on parchment-lined pans.

Roasting – 200°F Vapor Temp/350°F Air Temp

  • Cauliflower
  • Broccoli
  • Zucchini
  • Peppers
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Carrots
  • Onions

Blanched veggies were placed on perforated pans.

Vapor Blanching – 200°F Vapor Temp/200°F Air Temp

  • Cauliflower
  • Broccoli
  • Zucchini Zoodles
  • Green Beans
  • Brussel Spouts
  • Carrots
  • Mushrooms
  • Snow Peas



Vapor Blanching







18-20 mins

20-22 mins

6-7 mins

6-7 mins


18-20 mins

20-22 mins

6-7 mins

6-7 mins


3-4 mins

5-6 mins


20-22 mins

20-22 mins

Green Beans

17-19 mins

26-28 mins

Brussel Sprouts

17-19 mins

22-28 mins

17-19 mins

26-28 mins


17-19 mins

26-28 mins

17-19 mins

26-28 mins


17-19 mins

26-28 mins

Snow Peas

4-5 mins

4-5 mins


25-27 mins

27-30 mins

CVap roasted peppers
BLANCHING zucchini zoodles cooked in CVap
mushrooms roasted in CVap oven

Cinnamon Rolls and Petite White Bread in CVap Ovens

Rolls as big as your head

Rollin’ Along, with CVap® Ovens and Rich’s Baked Goods.

CVap ovens are great for proteins, starches, and veggies. However, they’re also great for baking. Accordingly,we tested a few Rich’s products to see how they’d bake up. First we proofed in a CVap Holding Cabinet. Second, we baked them in CVap ovens. We tested in both an RTV Retherm Oven and a CHV Cook and Hold Oven.

We’re on a Roll

We tested two different types of Rich’s cinnamon rolls: a 2.25-oz cinnamon roll, and a 5-oz. roll. First, we pulled them from the freezer the night before, covered them in plastic wrap, and allowed them to retard in the refrigerator. Next, the dough slacked on the counter for about an hour. Lastly, we placed them in a CVap Holding Cabinet to proof. The cabinet was set to 100°F Vapor, 103°F Air. That gave us about an 85% relative humidity (recommended by the product directions).

Making More Dough

Likewise we proofed petite 6-oz. white bread dough in the same cabinet. We prepped these little rolls using a lame (pronounced lahm), which is basically a razor blade with a wooden handle. Using the lame, we scored (or docked) the loaves. Consequently, this serves a dual purpose. It allows the dough to expand in the oven without tearing the crust. In addition, it allows moisture and gas to escape. It’s pretty cool, especially when you do a lot of bread and you wanna differentiate between products. We popped these into the proofer with the cinnamon rolls. Per the instructions, we waited for them to expand to the point that at eye level, the loaves had risen about an inch and a half above the lip.

We Can Handle the Proof

Honestly, the cinnamon rolls probably over-proofed a bit. Consequently, they were a bit on the large side. We pulled them from the holding cabinet and placed them in the ovens. Both the RTV Retherm Oven and the CHV Cook and Hold Oven were set to 200°F Vapor Temp, 350°F Air Temp. The bread loaves soon followed.

After about 14 minutes, the cinnamon rolls were ready to pull from the RTV oven, and the bread roll tray was turned and put back in the oven for another five minutes. Simultaneously, the products in the CHV oven were turned and baked a few more minutes. Total time was about 20 minutes in the CHV.

In the end the rolls from the RTV, being over-proofed to begin with, nearly tripled in size. Nonetheless they were gorgeous and smelled wonderful. The CHV oven rolls looked great too.

Lame and bread dough

Topping Off

To top them off, we made a classic glaze. We combined about 1-1/2 cups of confectioner’s sugar, a half teaspoon of vanilla, and a tablespoon of half & half. For this purpose you’ll want to experiment with the mixture to get the proper consistency – thick but not too thick, and runny but not too runny. You want it to stay on the roll. Primarily, rolls should be warm, not hot, so that the glaze will ooze into the grooves on the rolls.

The petite rolls were removed from the ovens at 22 minutes. They came out golden brown and lovely.

The Results

In conclusion, our baking day showed that whether you’re aiming for speed (retherm oven) or finesse (cook and hold oven), CVap ovens are excellent for baking.

Added bonus: while we were busy baking these beautiful buns, we decided to try something a little different. Using the bread dough, we made some fresh hot pretzels. Check out that blog.

Rolls as big as your head
Beautifully Baked Bread
Cinnamon Rolls Yum

Recipe Recap

  • 2.25-oz cinnamon rolls (Rich’s sku# 03439)
  • 5-oz cinnamon rolls (Rich’s sku# 01646)
  • Petite 6-oz white bread dough (Rich’s sku# 08651)

Remove products from the freezer the night before, cover in plastic wrap, and allow to retard in the refrigerator. Slack on the counter for about an hour before placing in a CVap cabinet to proof.

Proof in CVap Holding Cabinet or Oven set at 100°F Vapor, 103°F Air until sufficiently risen.

Preheat CVap oven (cook & hold or retherm) to 200°F Vapor Temp, 350°F Air Temp.

RTV Cook Time
Cinnamon Rolls – 14 Minutes
Petite Rolls – 20 Minutes

CHV Bake Time
Cinnamon Rolls – 20 Minutes
Petite Rolls – 22 Minutes

Finish cinnamon rolls with glaze mixture.

  • 1-1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon half & half.

Experiment with the mixture to get the proper consistency. Drizzle onto the rolls. Rolls should be warm, not hot, so that the glaze will ooze into the grooves on the rolls.