Blast Chiller How Does it Work?
The blast chiller is a much-needed companion in commercial catering and batch cooking operations. In volume cooking it’s critical to food service safety that product is cooked, chilled, kept and prepared at safe and optimal temperatures at every stage prior to reaching the plate of the consumer.
Rapid cooling is vital to ensure food quality and hygiene when preparing to store batches of hot food at +70°C temperatures. The principle of cook/chilling food production is to immediately and evenly chill cooked food for refrigerated storage to maintain the ‘just cooked’ quality of the product. If the temperature of freshly cooked food is not reduced rapidly and consistently, damage to the cell walls can result, and compromise the looks, taste, texture and integrity of your food – despite how well it was cooked. Slow or uneven cooling also jeopardises food safety, and shelf life.
We all know how unappealing the leftover cooked steak in the fridge is. If it were blast chilled and reheated optimally, it would appear and taste almost as good as when it was cooked.
Enter the blast chiller. How does it work?
Fast reduction of the core temperature of hot food prevents the growth of bacteria which can occur quickly at temperatures within the “danger zone” of +70 to +5°C. It also preserves the appearance; including vibrancy of colour, natural goodness, and flavour of the food. Rapid chilling minimises the risk of food products drying out or shrinking.
Quality blast chillers efficiently and evenly bring the food core temperature down from +70°C to +3°C in 90 minutes or less at capacity. The word blast applies to most typical brands whose power-hungry compressors, condenser units and fans use a lot of energy “blasting” cool air onto the product within the chiller. Technology has come a long way, and companies like Gram Commercial are innovating better, more energy efficient blast chiller systems.
Rather than blow cold air out onto the food, Gram’s condenser unit fans effectively ‘suck’ air to evenly draw the heat from the food. Warm air is then chilled and dispensed from the sides of the unit in a continual flow. This makes for a faster, more consistent rapid temperature reduction.
Gram’s vertical floor to ceiling compressor units feature three robust fans for effective and uniform distribution of cold air. All food items are evenly chilled – despite their position on the trolley. The fan section can be opened for ease of cleaning around and behind the unit, and condensers may be sold in appropriate multiples for installation into large custom blast chiller / freezers.
Not only are blast chillers helping chefs serve the top quality product they intended, they’re making HACCP food safety compliance a whole lot easier. All gram models can be fitted with a thermal printer for blast cycle data keeping.
Blast chiller vs blast freezer The difference?
A high quality blast freezer is extremely powerful. They can evenly bring hot food down from +70°C to -18°C in 4 hours. While a blast chiller has no freezing capacity, a blast freezer can be set to chill or freeze. If you were absolutely certain your organisation had no need to batch freeze your food, then a blast chiller will suffice. Otherwise, you may as well invest in the multitasking capabilities of a robust blast chiller freezer.
Do you need a blast chiller? Or a talented 5 in 1 fridge?
Yep, a fridge that can perform five functions in one ultra energy efficient unit. That’s impressive.