What is a Blast Chiller?

A blast chiller is a piece of equipment that quickly lowers the temperature of food. Blast chillers are also referred to as blast freezers or flash freezers. They typically have multiple shelves where food pans or sheet pans can be stored and chilled at extremely low temperatures.

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How Does a Blast Chiller Work?

Chef starting a blast chiller

Blast chillers or freezers operate by blowing forced cooled air over food placed inside. These specialized freezers usually have various settings that can be selected depending on if your food is room temperature, chilled, or hot.

This rapid cooling process decreases the number of ice crystals that appear on food. When defrosting food, large ice crystals melt and cause excess moisture to release, which largely impacts the taste and quality of your food products.

How Cold Is a Blast Chiller?

The temperature of a blast chiller varies depending on the manufacturer. The temperature ranges of a blast chiller also differ in temperature based on the setting and current temperature of the food.

How Long Does a Blast Chiller Take to Chill Food?

The goal of a blast chiller is to chill foods at a rapid rate. They can typically bring the temperature of foods down from 160 degrees to 41 degrees Fahrenheit or less in about 90 minutes. This is dependent on the temperature of the food, blast chiller setting, and whether you are freezing your food or simply cooling it.

Blast Chilling Benefits

Cooking chicken and vegetables on the stove in a pan

Blast chilling lengthens the shelf life of food to help your restaurant reduce food waste. This allows restaurants to blast chill food, thaw it, and then serve it at almost the same quality as fresh food. Below are some of the key benefits of blast chilling or blast freezing.

  • Nutrients are retained
  • Maintains quality of food products
  • Increases the shelf life of prepared foods
  • Prevents bacteria from growing rapidly
  • Allows you to cool down food products quickly when cooking

Blast chilling can also be used to assist chefs and cooks during making entrees. For example, you can quickly cool down a pasta dish in a blast freezer and add sauce once it is cooled. Additionally, you can also make smooth and creamy ice cream and sorbets without worrying about large ice crystals forming. Blast chilling is also perfect for freezing individual pieces of food quickly.

Avoiding the Temperature Danger Zone

Bacteria multiply at a rapid pace between the temperatures of 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Keeping food in the temperature danger zone for an extended amount of time increases the chances of foodborne illness. Blast chillers lower the temperatures of food at a rapid pace and protect food from the danger zone.

Blast Chiller vs Freezer

Frozen salmon

The difference between a freezer and a blast chiller is that a freezer holds food at below freezing temperature while a blast chiller cools food quickly by blowing cold air over the food product and gradually dropping the temperature in the chamber. Once chilled, the food should be removed from a blast chiller and stored in a freezer. While a blast chiller is not a necessity, it can increase your productivity in the kitchen. A commercial freezer is necessary to keep your food frozen and out of the danger zone, but freezing your food in a commercial freezer will not preserve the quality of your food. A blast chiller is beneficial to include in your foodservice kitchen to quickly freeze foods and cut down on inventory loss.

Overall, blast chillers or freezers are a great addition to your kitchen to increase efficiency and prolong food products’ shelf life. If you often freeze food to use later or find yourself waiting for food to cool, investing in a blast chiller could be a great investment for you and your kitchen staff.

Posted in: Foodservice Trends|Kitchen & Cooking Tips|By Laura Brent
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