Blast-chilling food reduces the temperature of cooked product quickly, but this process also helps maintain safe product temperatures throughout the preparation cycle. In addition, this quick-chilling method maintains product temperature, minimizes the potential of overcooking and extends product life.
The operation’s menu will dictate whether a blast chiller is an appropriate choice and, if so, determine size and type. More delicate items, such as baked goods, are not recommended for use in blast chillers. These units are more suitable for hearty products like meat that can withstand a process that chills or even freezes food quicky.
Training is necessary for those working with this equipment in terms of how food should be sized, shaped and packaged prior to the chilling process. Chilling product with these systems differs greatly in comparison with traditional refrigeration equipment. For this reason, blast-chilling is not typically a task for inexperienced staff.
Carefully consider the operation’s footprint to determine if a countertop, stand-alone unit, roll-in or reach-in blast chiller is appropriate. High-volume concepts will benefit most from large roll-in units, while countertop models are an option for smaller footprints. Blast-chilling rooms can be created within walk-ins, which may also save space.
Food volume also plays a critical role in determining the appropriate size of the unit. Factories tend to size this equipment by the number of pounds a unit can accommodate at one time. Countertop blast chillers hold between 3 and 5 pans, while roll-in units hold quantities of more than 200 pounds.
Operators must decide if a self-contained or remote condensing unit works best. As with all refrigeration and freezer equipment, clearance is necessary around the unit for proper ventilation.
One common mistake operators make is utilizing too big of a pan for blast-chilling product. This compromises the cooling process as the cold air won’t properly infiltrate the center of the pan.
Models with built-in defrost capabilities eliminate condensation on condenser coils.