Cooling and freezing food at a controlled speed can be just as important as controlling the heating process.
Of all the unique technology in a club kitchen, the blast chiller plays a central role in keeping food fresh and safe. A blast chiller is a powerful freezer that blows chilled air onto ingredients in order to rapidly cool their core temperature.
The process takes far less time than a traditional freezer or refrigerator, eliminating many of the issues that can develop during a slower cooling process. But the benefits of a blast chiller go far beyond time and convenience.
1. Decreases Bacteria Growth
The FDA sets strict limits on how quickly heated foods must be cooled if a chef plans to store or freeze them. If the cooling process takes too long, dangerous bacteria can form over time. The blast chiller lowers the temperature of pre-cooked items heading for storage quickly and safely.
2. Maintains Moisture
Food frozen at the traditional pace transforms inner moisture into ice crystals which can damage the structure of the food when defrosted. The blast chiller decreases the frequency and size of these crystals, allowing chefs to freeze everything from meat to vegetables without sacrificing integrity.
3. Streamlines Food Prep
The blast chiller is also key to the food preparation process. For example, club chefs can quickly prepare a much smoother ice cream dish by avoiding ice crystals from getting in the way. Baking pastry dough or homemade pasta can also benefit from a quick trip to the chiller.
4. Locks in Freshness
In addition to the safety element, quickly freezing fresh ingredients allows chefs to thaw them later without losing that fresh flavor. This is particularly ideal for shellfish that typically need to be immediately served. Blast chillers, when used correctly, lock in that new flavor until the chef is ready for defrosting and cooking.
A blast chiller is a key tool in the club kitchen, ensuring adherence to safety and a high level of attention to freshness and flavor.