Blast chillers freeze or cool food items far faster than a traditional freezer. The quick action freezing capabilities offer many benefits compared to a standard commercial freezer. If you are unfamiliar with how these devices work, take a minute to find out what they are and what benefits they can offer you and your business.
What is a Blast Chiller?
Blast chillers rapidly cool the temperature of food. The device blows forced cold air over the items you place inside to bring down the temperature. You can change the settings based on whether you are trying to cool food that is at room temperature, hot, or already chilled.
While you can quickly freeze food, you can also cool it but not freeze it depending on how you are using the appliance. Typically, you would not want to place hot food in a freezer because it would stay in the "danger zone" for too long during the cooling process. However, blast chillers work fast enough to prevent this and make for easier, safer freezing.
Rapid Food Chilling and Food Safety
The "danger zone" for food is between 5 and 70 degrees Celsius. When in this temperature zone, the food will grow bacteria and can become unsafe for human consumption. Bacteria that can grow in the "danger zone" include:
When you use a blast chiller, food will drop from 70 degrees to less than 5, leaving the "danger zone" in less than one and a half hours. This process will prevent bacteria from destroying the food and potentially making people sick.
Once you drop the temperature of the food, you can place it in the fridge, and it may last as much as 70 percent longer.
Blast Chillers Improve your Produce Availability and Quality
A blast chiller is a great way to improve food quality. The quality of the thawed foods is nearly identical to the fresh version. The blast chillers help to:
• Preserve taste
• Maintain nutrients
• Preserve texture
• Reduce freezer burn
Five Things to Try with a Blast Chiller
If you purchase a blast chiller, there are several innovative ways you can use that device. Here are a few possible options:
1. Cool baked goods quickly and help them retain their shape
2. Cool cooked pasta before adding braises or sauces
3. Quickly cool down wine or beer when you need it
4. Make ice cream or sorbet with extra smooth textures
5. Try shucking oysters, mussels, and clams
You can experiment with your blast chiller to develop other ways to use this piece of equipment. You might even discover or create new recipes to delight your clients.
Save Time and Money with a Blast Chiller
One of the many benefits of a blast chiller is that it can help restaurants avoid waste. Many of us throw away far too much food, which is environmentally unfriendly and economically harmful. By using a blast chiller, you can better preserve your food, ensuring that it lasts longer.
Blast chillers also preserve fresh produce in a way that better maintains them for future use. When fruits and vegetables are in season, they taste their best and hold more vitamins and minerals. By rapidly freezing your food, you preserve it in a way that makes it retain many of those qualities rather than allowing them to break down.
Conventional freezers form ice crystals that change the cellular structure of the food. When those crystals melt, liquid will seep out of the food along with any nutrients, flavors, and colors. Thus, the food (when defrosted) will no longer resemble the food you tried to preserve.
Fortunately, a blast chiller freezes your food rapidly, leading to the formation of tiny microcrystals. The food molecules do not change, and therefore you do not experience the same problems when defrosting those items. Your produce will not experience a dehydrated surface, leathery texture, or muted, unappealing colors. Therefore, your blast chiller will allow you to purchase produce when it is at its best and save it for use well into the future.
Using a Blast Chiller for Bakery
Using a blast chiller means bakers can quickly cool their goods and then place them into a fridge or a freezer. There is no need to let them sit on a bench to cool. This process saves time and space. Pastry chefs also benefit from a blast chiller because they can shape the dough without worrying about slowly chilling the product in a fridge.
Utilizing these products means that bakers can quickly create high-quality baked goods in the last time. The efficiency means better profitability for bakers working in a competitive field.
Bakers also understand that overworked dough can become crumbly and difficult to use. A blast chiller can help to relax the gluten in the dough and prevent the product from shrinking. As mentioned earlier, using a blast chiller helps to prevent moisture from leaking out of food products. This benefit can help when it comes to working with the pastry, which may become dry when you continually roll it out. Blast chillers make for higher quality products.
The same issues that impact produce, including the large frozen crystals that lead to water seeping out, impact pastry. Freezing can sometimes lead to sogginess, which impacts the taste and the texture, and appearance of desserts. Blast chillers can maintain the quality of your food while also allowing you to stock up on supplies that will maintain their quality longer. Your products will maintain their flavors, shapes, crispiness, and impress your customers.
Selecting a Blast Chiller
Blast chillers come in a variety of sizes and can accommodate various workflows. Smaller models can hold up to 35 pounds of food. Slightly larger models may accommodate up to 48 pounds. Inside the blast chiller, there are wire racks which you will place pans on to cool your food. You can typically adapt the rack locations to accommodate different types of pans.
Some mid-sized models accommodate 220 pounds. Similarly, these models have racks that can move to fit various types of pans. Large restaurants can also use rolling models that might fit into a walk-in and accommodate more than 500 pounds of food.
Size is not the only consideration. You should also select the best style that fits your kitchen and a model that you find convenient based on your production needs.
Individuals who frequently cook in their homes may also benefit from purchasing a small model blast chiller. A blast chiller can offer you the ability to cook several meals while removing the stress of having to cook after a long day at work.
Blast Chillers and Commercial Freezers
A blast chiller serves a different purpose in your kitchen from your commercial freezer. Your freezer can keep the food frozen once you have chilled it in the blast chiller. The freezer alone will not adequately preserve food quality and safety. Combining a blast chiller and freezer can help improve your efficiency, food quality, and shelf life.
Investing in a Commercial Blast Chiller
Investing in a commercial blast chiller is a wise decision for many businesses. The cost of this appliance can pay off through reducing food waste, offering more high-quality products, and the ability to offer a more expansive menu to your guests.