What is a Shabbos Blech? (Plata Shabbat and Hotplate)
A blech (plata), in it’s simplest form nowadays, is a thin flat sheet of metal placed over the stove’s gas flames or electric coils. Before Shabbos enters, the food is placed on this blech, for later use on Shabbos.
The following photo shows a blech with a hinged attachment for covering knobs on the stove.
An electric hotplate, whose temperature can not be adjusted (below), fulfills the same function as a blech.
Under certain guidelines, a pot may be removed and replaced to a blech or hotplate on Shabbos.
Blech and Hotplate Common Usage
This work many different situations—some of which occur only infrequently. The following summarizes the blech’s most common usage, following these guidelines is meant to guarantee conforming to the let- ter of the law.
Before Shabbos enters, on Friday afternoon:
The food [including water] intended for Shabbos use should be
The stove’s gas flames or electric coils are turned on. The blech is placed over these. Alternatively, the Shabbos hotplate, which needs no blech (when it is the type which has no knobs to adjust the heat level) is plugged in.
The pot is placed on the blech. Note: It is permissible to place another pot on this one.
• The pot on the blech, or another pot which has been placed on it, may be covered with a blanket, clothing, towel, cloth etc. to keep the heat from dissipating. One side of the pot should be left partially uncovered.
During Shabbos, the pots are removed according to need. After removal, it is permissible to return the pot onto the blech, following these guidelines:
The pot should be removed from the blech with the intention to replace it afterwards and held at all times, not leaned onto any surface. (A heavy or unwieldy pot may be partially leaned on a surface, while being held,
if there is no alternative.)
The food, completely cooked, must remain in the same pot and have retained at least some of its original heat.