Cooking bolognese the day before. How cool does it have to be before refrigerating?
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You want to cool down any food as quickly as possible to avoid food borne illnesses. When you are done cooking it, spread it out in a baking dish(es) because it will cool faster that way. Put it in the refrigerator UNCOVERED and when cool store in however you choose, covered. When I am in a bind for time, I also set the containers on ice.
Transfer from cooking pot to a cold pot, let sit until room temp then put in refrigerator. It will taste much better the next day, bring up to a slow simmer and serve.If in a big hurry then put the pot in an ice bath. Best to take your time and enjoy a glass of wine that will be left over from making the sauce!
I had to get a food handler's card to help out at my brother-in-laws barbecue restaurant because he was in a bind. US food safety specifically says do not let food sit out until reaching room temp, but to follow the procedure I outlined. Just sharing what the science says.
Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.
In total, you have 6 hours to cool food to 40 degrees or below. The first two hours need to get it to at least 70 degrees, so it it's something dense like a bolognese, definitely place it in an ice water bath. I also keep former beverage bottles filled 3/4 full with water in the freezer to use as ice paddles, which will cool almost anything very quickly.