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Commercial Blast Chillers Buying Guide

9 Jan 2023, 2:42 PM

commercial blast chillers
Buying Guide

Commercial blast chillers are important pieces of restaurant equipment for ensuring cooked food is cooled in line with food safety regulations. For businesses that cool hot food ready for chilled storage or future reheating, blast chillers are essential.

In this article, we'll explain what blast chillers do and outline some key features to consider when buying these catering appliances.

What are Commercial Blast Chillers?

Blast chillers are high-power electrical catering appliances designed to quickly bring down the temperature of cooked foods. Rapid chilling of food reduces the amount of time it spends in the temperature 'danger zone', which is between 8C and 63C. Within this range, dangerous pathogenic microorganisms thrive and multiply. The less time food spends at these temperatures, the less likely it is to develop bacteria that could lead to serious, life-threatening illnesses. Plus, the better the food's texture, flavour, nutritional value and shelf life will be.

Food safety regulations state that cooked food must be chilled from 70C to 3C within 90 minutes in order for it to remain safe for consumption. Hot food placed into a normal fridge doesn't cool fast enough, and the heat from the food reduces the overall temperature of the fridge and makes it work harder. Commercial blast chillers carefully control the temperature of the food to ensure it cools quickly.

What are the Benefits of Blast Chillers?

For businesses that cook large volumes of food in advance and store it chilled, a blast chiller is an essential piece of restaurant equipment to ensure they abide by food safety legislation. Catering businesses, such as those that provide banqueting services, often fully or partially cook food in large volumes in advance and store it chilled until needed. Blast chillers ensure adherence to food safety requirements, but they also help to make sure the quality of food remains high while it is in storage.

Blast chillers can also help restaurant and catering businesses to streamline their food preparation processes and reduce costs. By cooking food in advance in quiet periods and blast chilling it to store it with optimal quality and texture, chefs and kitchen staff face less pressure during busy services. They can instead reheat the food and finish the cooking process quickly and efficiently. Plus, since blast-chilled food can remain in chilled storage for longer than food that isn't blast-chilled, it won't go to waste if it's not used right away.

What Features Should I Look for in a Blast Chiller?

Commercial blast chillers are expensive catering appliances so it's important to research features carefully before making an investment. Here are some common features and options to look out for:

Size

You can find blast chillers in a variety of sizes, with capacity measured in KG to help you understand how much food can be processed at once. Small-to-medium catering businesses and restaurants often suit small countertop chillers which usually have a capacity of around 5kg. Units in the 10kg to 20 kg range tend to be small enough to fit underneath worktops to save space.

Large capacity blast chillers - those above 30kg - are suitable for larger canteens and production kitchens. These freestanding units are tall and usually set on castors. Roll-in blast chillers are designed to accommodate large trolleys stacked with trays of food and these are ideal for kitchens that process very large volumes of food on a daily basis.

Types of chilling

There are three key types of blast chilling - soft chill, hard chill and shock freeze. Some models of blast chiller have just one mode whereas others have multiple modes and can be used for all types of chilling. Hard chill, which is deemed the standard mode of blast chilling, is suitable for most food products, including meat, and cooked food dishes such as lasagne and pies.

Soft chill is designed for delicate products such as desserts and patisserie, or products with high water content such as fish, pasta, rice and vegetables. It ensures that ice crystals don't develop on the surface of the food which can disrupt the texture. Shock freeze reduces food from 70C right down to -18C and is suitable for all types of food.

Programmable controls

Some blast chillers are programmable to allow you to tailor chilling-functions to specific types or quantities of food. These models also often come with preset programmes to make it easier to get started with the blast chiller. The more modern, advanced models now have touch-screen displays, but the majority of blast chillers have digital displays with a keypad.

Data recording

Blast chillers always have built-in probes which are designed to be placed in food to read temperature. They also usually have temperature sensors to identify the temperature of the chiller cavity. The majority of blast chillers simply show these temperatures on the display and it is up to chefs or kitchen staff to monitor and record temperatures manually. Advanced models of chiller are capable of recording, documenting, graphing and storing temperature information in order to streamline kitchen administrative processes.

Adjustable shelves

Some blast chillers have adjustable brackets to allow you to adjust the height of the shelves inside. This can be particularly useful for businesses that will be using the chiller for a wide variety of different foodstuffs. Distributing shelves carefully through the chiller is important to ensure heat can adequately transfer out of the food. Having flexible placement of shelves can make it easier to achieve optimum heat transfer.

Self-closing doors

Blast chillers with self-closing doors minimise the risk of accidental food wastage. It's vital that the chiller door is closed to bring food down in temperature quickly. If the door is left open the food could remain in the danger zone for long enough that it is not safe for consumption. Self-closing doors can give peace of mind that this won't happen.

Browse our full range of blast chillers

We have a wide variety of blast chillers available to suit a range of businesses, including small countertop models for small kitchens and extra-large roll-in cabinets suitable for major catering operations. Browse our full range of commercial blast chillers now.

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