This article answers one of the frequently asked questions individuals who are fascinated by homemade pizzas ask about maintaining food safety: “what is the minimum hot holding temperature requirement for pizza.”
The storage knowledge ensures your homemade pizza retains the best quality in taste, nourishment, and texture.
Just as most bacteria find it hard or impossible to remain active/thrive in very cold temperatures, the same action is applicable in extremely hot temperatures.
What is Hot Holding Temperature?
Whatever food anyone plans to consume or ingest must be considered safe from harmful bacteria (free from contaminants or toxins).
The hot holding temperature requirement is the temperature threshold that your hot foods must maintain (after coming out of the oven) to be declared non-toxic/harmless for consumption.
It doesn’t matter if the heated/hot food goes beyond the temperature threshold.
The idea is to ensure it maintains the minimum temperature and doesn’t fall below the threshold.
Whenever heated/hot food goes below the holding temperature requirement (goes lower than the temperature threshold), such situation/condition is referred to as “danger zone temperature.”
Heated foods that drop to the danger zone temperature and stay there for about four (4) hours should be avoided and trashed immediately.
As you read further (in the next section), the minimum hot holding temperature requirement will be highlighted/discussed.
In the end, everyone will know the ideal temperature heated foods must maintain to remain digestible/consumable.
Basics of What is The Minimum Hot Holding Temperature Requirement For Pizza?
The minimum hot holding temperature requirement indicates the hotness level that your pizza must at least retain/maintain to be fit for consumption after being removed from the oven.
Once the baked pizza is kept hot at the minimum temperature, it limits bacteria’s activities significantly by slowing down the possible multiplication process.
According to food safety regulations, between 150°F & 160°F temperature is the ideal/recommended minimum hot holding temperature.
It doesn’t matter if the hot pizza goes above this threshold; it can still be consumed without any safety or health implications.
To ensure easier temperature regulation/control. Especially for someone who decides to make/bake pizza a few minutes before their quests arrival.
Each slice can be stored or wrapped in aluminum foil to retain its heat.
However, if the pizza is somewhat cold or must have possibly fallen below the minimum holding temperature requirement (when the pizza dough looks cold/soft to be eaten) upon guests’ arrival.
Avoid serving or giving it out to the guests in such a condition.
Instead, the pizza slices (still individually wrapped in the aluminum foil) can be placed back into the oven (at 200°F temperature) for about seven (7) minutes, on average.
Remove the pizza from the oven after the stipulated timeline and serve your guests accordingly.
Maximum Hot Holding Temperature For Pizza
Earlier, we stated that Pizza can be stored at a temperature higher than the minimum hot holding requirement (150°F &160°F).
This may not have given the precise/specific details that some people would have wanted or relied on, especially for fear of overcooking their pizza
To make it more straightforward and to support healthy and safe pizza consumption either at home or at outdoor events.
Temperatures between 160°F and 190°F are considered as the maximum threshold.
Again, going above these temperatures should not be regarded as extreme or inadequate. If the temperatures go beyond the indicated maximum temperature.
The pizza slices are still safe to serve (they are free from the effects or activities of harmful bacteria that could render them unhealthy or unsafe for consumption).
In a situation where the pizza is negligibly left in the serving tray or pizza box at room temperature (unserved or eaten when it’s within the ideal safe-consumption range) for about two hours or more.
The best approach is to trash it or throw it into the refuse bin. Instead of leaving the pizza at room temperature to waste, it can be kept inside the oven.
At 200°F, the pizza can be stored inside the oven (with or without aluminum foil) for about three hours, keeping bacteria activities in check for safe and healthy consumption.
For box-packed pizza, about 145°F temperature should be enough to keep it within the ideal holding temperature and prevent possible box explosion/ignition.
Why is Hot Holding Temperature Requirement Important?
By cooking your food correctly, safety is enhanced.
By cooking/preparing your food to the minimum required/expected temperature, it becomes safe for consumption and significantly enhances the shelf life.
Adequate cooking or warming guarantees a good reduction/elimination of harmful bacteria or pathogens that could be harmful to health when ingested.
When the hot holding temperature requirement is followed or adhered to, any harmful bacteria or pathogens hanging around would have their activities/actions restricted.
This prevents them from growing or multiplying to levels that could result in health concerns.
Ensure your food is not left unattended or kept at room temperature for a long time (in excess of two hours) to avoid throwing it away.
In case of an unplanned event/activity that could delay consumption of cooked food. For instance, if a small gathering or party started later than the planned time.
Ensure the food is stored correctly and covered using an oven or other desirable hot holding device or equipment to retain the hot holding temperature for as long as possible (up to three hours).
This helps to keep possible contaminations or infestations out and extend the shelf life.
Risks Caused By Not Maintaining Minimum Hot Holding Temperature For Pizza
When heated foods are left at room temperature for an extended period (when the hot holding temperature is not prioritized or due to improper hot holding temperature).
It gives enough room for illness-causing pathogens to multiply or grow to harmful levels, making the food unsafe for consumption.
If your food is left untouched for about two (2) hours, avoid coming back to it and ingesting it directly.
It doesn’t matter how correctly/safely cooked it may be (cooking up to the ideal temperature) at that point in time.
Instead of leaving leftovers or freshly cooked food hanging around at any part of the home (even at the cleanest spot), take a few moments of your time to store it appropriately.
Keep heated/food inside the oven or microwave, ensuring it retains/maintains the average or minimum required hot holding temperature.
This way, it is safe enough to come back to it and ingest without the fear of bacteria/pathogens action that could cause sickness/illness.
Not maintaining the minimum required hot holding temperature (once the food falls into the danger zone) gives the bacteria enough space to multiply or grow to unhealthy levels, resulting in food spoilage.
The actions/activities of pathogens or bacteria on the food may not be pronounced or obvious as the case may be.
Hence, there may not be physical signs to know if the food is unsafe or harmful. The food may still give a decent/appealing smell and even appear attractive/fascinating.
Eating spoilt/harmful food will only lead to foodborne infection, which may require urgent medical attention.
How To Ensure Correct Temperature While Baking
Baking isn’t complete until the required/ideal minimum temperature is attained. In the case of Pizza, it must stay in the oven until the appropriate baking/cooking temperature is achieved (between 165°F and 200°F).
If any food is baked below the hot holding temperature requirement. Such food is already a safe/ideal place for pathogens.
They can quickly multiply and render the food unsafe in minutes after removing it from the heat source.
Know the idea/correct cooking or baking temperature for your food choice and ensure the oven is appropriately regulated to achieve it.
For individuals who desire to bake pizza (thin crust type) at home using preheated stone and oven, the baking can be completed in about twenty (20) minutes at 200°F temperature.
For thicker crust pizza, baking at a temperature below 400°F is inappropriate. Keep the pizza in the oven under the ideal temperature (400°F to 450°F) for about seventeen (17) minutes.
A properly baked food ensures adequate protection from immediate pathogen infestations.
It also makes it easy to maintain/retain the minimum holding temperature requirement.
Once the food (pizza) is out of the oven, make sure it is kept hot for as long as possible (over 135°F) until it is served or consumed.
Whenever it appears the food is getting cold, which may possibly render it below the minimum hot holding temperature or push it within the danger zone.
Place it back into the oven to keep it fresh and free from pathogens until it’s finally served.
Is it Necessary To Manually Check The Temperature For Hot Held Foods?
If the heated food retains a high temperature (within the minimum hot holding temperature threshold) for as long as possible (before consumption).
It keeps it free from pathogens actions/activities, ensuring it is safe/healthy enough for consumption.
If you don’t have a clean probe or food thermometer to follow-up or ascertain hot-held foods’ temperature. This detail can be recorded manually.
However, a probe or food thermometer (inserting this device on the thickest side of the food or at the center) will give an accurate temperature reading.
Manually checking for temperature for hot held foods is mere guesswork since you won’t get the temperature reading.
Ideally, if the food is properly cooked to the recommended temperature.
It can stay/remain hot for within two (2) hours at room temperature when stored/packaged in an aluminum foil.
If it is getting cold (these can be easily detected by touching).
The aluminum foil-wrapped food can be placed in the oven at around 200°F temperature and reheated for a few minutes (up to ten minutes) before serving.
All foods have a certain cooking/baking temperature level they need to attain before removing them from the heat source or being certified adequate for serving.
As a result, the minimum hot holding temperature may vary.
This section discusses the average minimum temperature that all heated food, irrespective of the specific hot holding temperature, could be kept/stored to eliminate the effects or activities of pathogens or bacteria).
To guarantee food safety or eliminate possible danger/harm that could arise from eating toxic or contaminated food, ensure that heated foods are kept within 135°F temperature on average.
The temperature should not drop below 135°F. However, it can go way above the average minimum hot holding temperature.
Once your meal has been properly cooked and taken out of the cooking facility.
Ensure it is appropriately stored in a device/equipment that can hold/retain the temperature for as long as possible and prevent contamination.
Why Does The Temperature Requirement Vary For Different Recipes?
Every food has its specific shelf life (how long it can stay or be stored under room temperature before it spoils or becomes unsafe for consumption).
For instance, food with protein recipes such as dairy (cheese and milk), poultry (eggs), fish, pork, beef, tofu, and many more, have a minimal shelf life, affecting how they are stored.
Hence, they require adequate time & temperature control for best quality and safety.
The hot holding temperature requirement must be known and adhered to after removal from the heat source to ensure the food or recipe remains safe and healthy,
Irrespective of how long the food would stay before being served (once taken out of the oven or other related cooking facility).
You must provide the necessary measure that ensures it doesn’t fall below the minimum temperature requirement or get into the danger zone.
We hope the information we have supplied so far in this article has done more than enough to provide you with helpful answers to the question, “what is the minimum hot holding temperature requirement for pizza.”
Heated foods should be adequately monitored from time to time to ensure they remain within the average minimum hot holding temperature.
Ensure the food is well cooked, meeting the appropriate temperature before holding/storing in a hot holding device of choice.
Immediately the temperature begins to drop (entering the danger zone). Do not hesitate to reheat the food to avoid pathogens attacks.
If the food stays in the danger zone (below 135°F) for about four (4) hours, dispose of such food immediately.