A blast chiller (sometimes also referred to as a shock freezer, blast freezer, or rapid freezer) is an essential appliance that needs to be in every professional kitchen that wishes to comply with existing food hygiene regulations and preserve the quality of the food. By rapidly reducing food temperatures compared to standard refrigeration, a blast chiller helps maintain the taste, texture, and nutritional value of dishes during and after the cooling process.
Here’s a comprehensive guide to everything you need to know about blast chillers and the cooling process they provide.
How does a professional blast chiller work?
A blast chilling process, as the name suggests, enables the cooling or freezing of food in a very short amount of time, reducing the risk of bacterial growth and ensuring dishes are safe for later storage and consumption. Bacteria tend to multiply rapidly in temperatures ranging from +8°C to +68°C (46.4°F to 154.4°F). Blast chillers rapidly cool food by blowing cold air over it, reducing the temperature of cooked or heated food within 90 minutes.
What is a blast chiller used for?
Blast chillers are specifically designed to cool down bulk quantities of food quickly and effectively in a temperature-controlled environment, ensuring that food quality is preserved by reducing the spread of bacteria and saving a lot of time and preventing food from going to waste. Moreover, by quickly cooling food, restaurateurs ensure that the food being cooled does not compromise other chilled foods already in refrigeration.
This fast-cooling process is typically used in professional kitchens as it guarantees compliance with existing international and local health and safety regulations for food preservation and serving, thus making this appliance an essential item in every commercial kitchen.
The blast chilling temperature
Electrolux Professional Blast Chiller has a chilling cycle time that brings food from 70°C to 3°C (158°F to 37.4°F) within 90 minutes. In the case of the SkyLine ChillS models, the technology of the blast chiller is combined with that of a blast freezer, so the appliance can further cool food to a freezing temperature of -18°C (-0.4°F), with the entire process taking around 240 minutes. The blast freeze option, known as the X-freeze cycle, lowers the air temperature in the cavity from +10°C to -41°C (50°F to -41.8°F) and is ideal for quickly freezing all kinds of food, whether raw, half-cooked, or fully cooked.
The blast chiller allows for two types of chilling: hard and soft. Soft chilling is a gentler process that ensures delicate products, such as fish, fruit, and vegetables, do not develop ice crystals. Hard chilling is suitable for denser foods, such as meat and lasagnas.
Benefits of blast chilling
Rapidly reducing the temperature of food after cooking is essential to limit the growth of harmful bacteria. By chilling the food in under 90 minutes, the growth of bacteria is significantly reduced, providing a safer shelf life for products, and ensuring compliance with existing regulations. By adhering to these regulations, food businesses can guarantee the safety of their products and avoid potential health hazards for consumers.
Cleaning and maintenance
Daily cleaning and maintenance are necessary for blast chillers to function properly. It is essential to clean the external surfaces with warm, soapy water, while avoiding the use of abrasive detergents, steel wool, brushes, or scrapers that could damage the chiller’s surface. After washing, the surface should be thoroughly rinsed with a damp cloth and dried carefully. When cleaning the control panel, use a soft cloth dampened with water and, if needed, a neutral detergent. Avoid using direct or high-pressure water jets, as they can damage the control panel. Electrolux Professional recommends using approved cleaning, rinsing, and descaling agents to achieve optimal results and maintain product efficiency over time. By following these cleaning and maintenance guidelines, users can ensure the longevity of their blast chiller and keep it functioning at its best.
How to choose the right blast chiller
With such a broad range of commercial refrigeration products available, it is crucial for restaurateurs to choose a cooling appliance that is tailored to their specific needs, rather than relying on a one-size-fits-all approach. When selecting a blast chiller, it’s important to consider factors such as the required capacity, size, and efficiency for the professional kitchen. Adherence to existing health and safety regulations and Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPs) are also key factors in determining the appropriate product. Electrolux Professional offers a wide range of blast chillers that can be selected based on individual needs, ensuring that users have access to the right appliance for their unique requirements. This way, restaurateurs can ensure that they are optimizing their refrigeration capabilities and adhering to the regulations.