In comparison with the professional world, the domestic blast chiller reduces sizes but not performances and plays a protagonist role in the home kitchen. With smarter and smarter functions and components to save time and food quality.
by Olivia Rabbi
Control and design
“KitchenAid proposes the blast chiller in the built-in version for its discrete and elegant insertion in the domestic environment”, explains Novella Sardos Albertini, Head Of Brands, Communication And Sell Out of Whirlpool Italia. The appliance “allows cooling or freezing any food type in few minutes, transforming the water it contains into micro-crystals without altering its organic structure, through 3 functions: Soft Blast chilling, which gradually decreases the temperature of cooked foods to +3 °C in 90 minutes maximum, suitable for delicate foods or baked cakes; Hard Blast chilling for the fast cooling (+3 °C in 90 minutes) of meat recipes, first courses or soups; Fast Freezing, which lowers the inner temperature of foods down to -18 °C, forming much smaller ice crystals than those generally generated in the freezer”. Special options permit to set automatically the household appliance in “fridge” or “freezer” modality, keeping its temperature low and constant and promptly intervening if the cooling cycle ended but it was not possible to take out foods immediately; besides, they offer the beverage cooling function. In comparison with professional, “the machine sizes have been made compatible with the standard of built-in household appliance. Noise has been limited, reducing the sound impact in the kitchen environment to minimum levels, for a cavity that can operate at -36 °C at steady state for the freezing function”. Moreover, “we have maintained the availability of an inner temperature probe for the precise management (to the degree) of the cooling process, which dialogues with the machine and controls its cool delivery according to the target to be reached. The motor is suitably positioned for exploiting the internal space at best, despite the reduction to adapt it to domestic sizes”. The product usability is simplified by the interface with large characters, lit and intuitive, equipped with touch keys that can be operated with the simple pressure of a finger and highlighted with clear icons.
Electrolux and AEG have bet on built-in models, integrating them in the offer of compact products, not only in terms of functions but also of design aligned with the rest of the range. “The choice of having built-in blast chillers was made to offer a unique design solution to consumers, to underline the aesthetical aspect of the kitchen environment – states Michela Bacchi, Product Line Manager Electrolux -. This has required adapting a big-size product to a scale that can be installed in a niche for compact products, while preserving its professional performances”. The steel chamber and the LED lighting share in pointing out its provenience from the Pro world. “Our models are equipped with a special thermal probe, able to measure food core temperature. Functions can be activated by the use of the thermal probe or manually inputting the dish weight. The soft blast chilling option reaches 5 °C, the hard blast chilling drops to 3 °C, while the freezing function reaches -18 °C at the food core. The chamber reaches even temperatures around -40 °C. Setting options, functions and special assisted programmes is simple and intuitive thanks to TouchControl programmers. Electrolux and AEG blast chillers are provided with various special programmes for the assisted freezing that guide the optimal blast chilling process, differentiated for each food. The hard blast chilling minimizes the crystallization phenomenon: food molecules are not destroyed while organoleptic qualities, vitamins and properties remain integer. The special sanitizing programme allows preparing and tasting sushi at home safely while the special assisted cooling programme is ideal for drinks, wine and champagne”. Consumptions are a fundamental element, too: “the blast chiller consumes one fourth of the energy of an oven, about 450 Wh”.
Smart process from cold to hot
“Both the built-in and the freestanding blast chiller have found room in kitchens worldwide – says Luca Gennai, General Manager of Irinox -. In the first case, the product is often linked with the design of a new kitchen, vice versa the freestanding can be integrated into the kitchen at any time, sizes are compact and design unique”. The domestic blast chiller, he adds, “uses the same technology and the main components contained in a household refrigerator. However, the sizing of the main components (compressor, evaporator and condenser, with the addition of fans, the latter not equipping refrigerators) is different, to assure a fast warmth extraction from foods.
Besides the typical cooling and freezing functions of a blast chiller, Fresco & Freddy permit also the management of hot functions, for leavening, LTC (low temperature cooking), regeneration and unfreezing. The balancing between refrigerating system and internal heating is managed by software that allows preserving the intrinsic wetness of each food without the addition of steam from the outside, also during low-temperature cooking”. What are next evolution steps? “The current performances of our blast chillers are very high, just due to their derivation and company’s professional DNA. Today the challenge for the blast chiller is not technological but mainly oriented to the capability of informing the market about its use. In the specific case we think the integration of the domestic blast chiller will be mainly of digital character, making it become indispensable at home in the future, as the refrigerator became many years ago”.
Priority is the correct food conservation, of both organoleptic qualities and taste. For this reason, explains Massimo Baron Toaldo, Managing Director of Fhiaba, “all of our products, blast chillers included, propose innovative modalities of soft conservation that allow preserving and enhancing the food naturalness, paving the way to new cooking experiences. The blast chiller is conceived in the professional kitchen, to take quickly just cooked food to a core temperature of 3 °C, without exposing it to agents that would damage quality, safety and conservation. In this way, operational times decrease, speeding up the organization in the kitchen. Our multifunction blast chillers go beyond, working at temperatures from -40 °C to 70 °C, with perfect balances of wetness and ventilation: you can freeze, cook at low temperature, leaven Neapolitan pizzeria dough, crystallize chocolate, prepare yogurts and ice creams. Out strong point is the concept of soft conservation by using technologies that allow balancing temperature, wetness, ventilation and time perfectly. Cooling or heating is not enough but we must create a climatic condition that assures the delicate balance among the four variables at stake with continuity. Multifunction blast chillers mean utmost versatility in the kitchen, with the guarantee of preparing always, in simple and fast manner, natural recipes, with the entire freshness and all nutritional values of the raw material”. Fhiaba blast chiller conforms to a smart system logic: “not only it is perfectly integrated with the refrigerators and cellar columns by Fhiaba, but it was also conceived to become an ideal complement for the domestic kitchen, suiting the characteristics and the sizes of the various cooking systems. If offers, for instance, the advantageous food transfer from the oven to the chiller, without changing baking tin, faster, with fewer wastes and washings”.