Need to get those home-cooked dishes from hot to cold without thinking? Technology to the rescue, and restaurant grade tech, at that.
There’s a general logic behind cooling food that it takes time, and take getting food from being too hot to eat to cold enough where you can is something that not only takes some time, but also a really good refrigerator.
However professional kitchens have been using something for a while that home kitchens probably haven’t had access to: a blast chiller.
You’ve probably heard it mentioned on shows about chefs, especially those with “master” in the name, but a blast chiller is a piece of technology that works similarly to a refrigerator and a freezer, except more rapidly.
In this box, a blast chiller blows cool air quickly over food, causing it to become colder and cool down, to the point where it’s no longer hot, but also not necessarily frozen. Restaurants have been known to rely on them because it means the food can maintain the colour and texture it was meant to, and can be served more quickly.
But there’s also a catch: because blast chillers are a commercial grade kitchen appliance, they’ve not really been available for the home.
This week, however, Smeg is bringing the blast chiller to the home, though you will need a fair amount of money if you’re to integrate this in your kitchen.
Specifically, the Smeg Dolce Stil Novo Blast Chiller is someone that you have to integrate, delivering a space in the kitchen that will get the temperature of cooking down, holding temperatures for between between -35°C and +75°C.
Smeg says it can deep freeze to below 35 in the space of just under five hours (4.5), and while you might argue a freezer could do something similar, the use of blast chilling technology means ice crystals aren’t formed in the process. That could mean the difference from being served a pudding with texture and a block of pudding that could out with ice crystals as you cut into it.
Smeg’s Blast Chiller also runs as a cooker because of that range on the back half, because as you go from zero to 75, we’re told the Dolce Stil Novo Blast Chiller can actually cook by holding a temperature, similar in a way to how a sous vide might work, but without the water. This is called “low temperature cooking” and means you can get tender cooks of protein by dropping the temperature down and cooking over a longer period of time. Likewise, low temperature cooking can be used to make ice cream without doing so much of a churn (something this writer knows a few things about) simply by running the cook at a lower temperature for a period of time.
Perhaps even more interesting is what Smeg’s blast chiller does if you happen to be a baker, with programmable humidity levels, which could provide more interesting and useful baking abilities in the home.
You will need a decent amount of money to spend, though, if you’re to try Smeg’s home-ready blast chiller, because it’s hitting the Australian market with a retail price of $7490 for one designed for the home.
That’s a point worth making, too, because as blast chillers are typically made for kitchens, the models that can be may not fit in with your home. Blast chillers tend to run the gamut of price between $3500 and over $25,000. Clearly, it’s still a technology that requires money.
Smeg’s appears to hit closer to what would be a little past the entry level for pricing of these gadgets, but looks like it would sit in a modern home kitchen a little better than what the commercial grade models deliver.
You should find the Smeg Dolce Stil Novo Blast Chiller in specialist stores and appliance retailers shortly for a recommended retail price of $7490.