Dear Rabbi Rosen,
The STAR-K KitchenAid Sabbath Mode project had been evolving for 2 ½ years. This novel venture was initiated by KitchenAid to address the needs of the Sabbath observant Jewish community that would not be able to use the new age KitchenAid ranges and wall units due to the new electronic technology and advanced features.
Jewish Sabbbath observance does not permit the kindling or extinguishing of a fire or the cooking of food on Sabbath. Jewish Holiday observance does not permit the creation of a new flame, but cooking and adjusting fire as needed for cooking is permitted.
The issues that KitchenAid engineers had to address in order to create a user-friendly oven for the Sabbath observer were the following:
1. Could the 12-hour automatic shutoff be bypassed?
2. Could the oven be opened without lighting an icon on the control panel?
3. Could the oven door be opened without turning the oven cavity light bulb on/off?
4. Could the oven’s temperature be raised or lowered without reconfiguring the digital readout?
5. Could the oven door be opened without turning off the heating element?
6. In the event of a power failure, would the oven’s functionality be able to return automatically without having to be manually reset?
John Smith, Project Head
STAR-K 2018: To date, STAR-K has certified 25 companies with a variety of Sabbath mode designs. I have compiled a list of common Sabbath mode appliance questions that we will now share with our Kashrus Kurrents readers.
MOST COMMON QUESTIONS REGARDING SHABBOS MODE
Q: What do STAR-K certified ovens with Sabbath Mode allow me to do?
A: Our Sabbath Mode certification is not identical for all manufacturers and all models of ovens. The most important feature of the Sabbath Mode for an oven/range is an override to the 12-hour shutoff built into most ovens today (as a safety feature). This allows the consumer to leave the oven on for a 2-3 day Yom Tov.
If the oven has a Timed Bake feature, usually you can use that in the Sabbath Mode for Friday night. The oven stays on for a few hours and then shuts off automatically, without your having to press a button to cancel a tone or alarm.
Since the Sabbath Mode does NOT supersede the thermostatic regulation of the oven temperature, the consumer is advised to open the oven door only once to remove all the fully cooked food which was placed inside before Shabbos.
Q: I found an oven on an appliance website, but I couldn’t find it on the STAR-K website. What should I do?
A: Just because an appliance claims to have a Sabbath Mode, does not mean that it’s a STAR-K certified Sabbath Mode. There are companies who build into their appliances what they think is a Sabbath Mode, however, these modes may not meet our halachic standards. The best option would be to call 410.484.4110 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will try to help you.
Q: Can I assume that all STAR-K certified ovens operate the same way?
A: No. For example, there are several STAR-K certified ovens from a specific company that can only be set at 190° F for the whole Yom Tov. Newer models from this company have more flexibility.
The rule with Sabbath Mode is “DO NOT ASSUME”. Don’t assume that the manufacturer/dealer is posting accurate information. Don’t assume that the Sabbath Mode in the new oven you are purchasing works the same way as the Sabbath Mode in the old oven that you had. Don’t assume that the Sabbath Mode in the oven you are buying is the same as the one in your neighbor’s oven. Buying an appliance these days is really a research project, since there are so many details and features to investigate.
Q: Can I put food into a warming drawer on Shabbos?
A: Warming drawers have the same halachic status as ovens. They are all thermostatically controlled and are above the temperature of yad soledes bo. Just as you would not put food into an oven to warm it up on Shabbos, you may not place food into a warming drawer during Shabbos. Unfortunately, many people are misled by the term “warming drawer.”
If we certify a warming drawer, our website clearly indicates how it may be used on Shabbos and Yom Tov. For simple warming drawers that don’t have any digital controls, lights, tones or icons but do have a cycling light to show when there’s power flowing to the drawer, the setting can be adjusted on Yom Tov. The temperature can be increased when the light is on, and decreased when the light dims.
Q: How can you kasher an oven that only has Aqualift™ cleaning?
A: Since this type of cleaning reaches only about 250° F, it would not reach a high enough temperature for kashering. If the oven doesn’t have a regular self-clean cycle then, after being thoroughly cleaned, it should be turned on to the highest setting (at least 550° F) for 45 minutes.
Q: In a double oven, can you use one oven for meat and the other one for dairy?
A: If the double oven has two separate cavities, one can be designated for milk and the other meat. The consumer would need to verify that they do not vent into each other. Often, the ovens share a common vent outlet. Therefore, in order to prevent the steam from mixing we advise cooking at least one item covered or dry at the end of cooking.